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Forestone Synthetic reed Factory tour no.1

2020-01-22

Theme:Wind Instruments

Forestone, a Japanese manufacturer that produces resin reeds for saxophone & clarinet. I went on a factory tour to find out how the company's plastic reeds, which are frequently used by professional players as well as for educational purposes in Japan, are made.

Advantages of resin reeds

Before we tour the factory, let's summarize the advantages of resin reeds compared to natural reeds.

▶Durability
Depending on the frequency of use, natural reeds can be considered as weekly replacement items, while resin reeds can be used for several months. Since there is little change in shape due to moisture and humidity, a single reed can be used for a longer period of time. It is also hygienic because it does not absorb moisture and can be washed with water.

▶Small individual differences
There is little variation in resin reeds, while a pack of ten natural reeds may include inferior reeds as well making players wary of purchasing in packs.

▶Can be blown without getting moist
Reduces the necessary preparation time for outdoor performances.

Among resin reeds, the unique features of Forestone are below.

▶Bamboo fiber composition
 By mixing Japanese bamboo fiber with polypropylene, tone and elasticity similar to natural reeds are realized!

▶Uses mold injection production
 The reed tip thickness can be reduced to 0.1mm using a manufacturing method unique to Japan.
* General resin reeds are manufactured by cutting the reed from the material. .

▶Special processing on both sides of reed
Special processing on both sides of reed

▶Reeds can be processed
Reeds can be processed according to the performer's preferences, such as applying a streak to the surface of the reed with a cutter or cutting the tip a little to make it thicker. This is a feature of the material and the manufacturing method.

Now that the characteristics of the resin lead are known, let's visit the factory!
I went to Ashikaga City in Tochigi Prefecture, where the Watarase River flows.

I went to Ashikaga City in Tochigi Prefecture, where the Watarase River flows.

Forestone's partner factory is similar to many other small factories that are the pride of Japan. The factory has been manufacturing plastic parts using molds for 50 years, but has been involved in the development of resin reeds since only 2007.

Although not shown in the photos, they produced a variety of resin products besides reeds.
This tour was joined by President Lars Heusler of Forestone Japan (on the far left) and the president of the manufacturing plant (second from the left) and the chairman (far right).

Let’s check out the production site.

When you think of “Forestone reeds”, “bamboo-derived cellulose fiber” comes to mind.

As the fiber content increases, the brownness and the reed strength increase.

The standard state of the produced reed is the Traditional model. Blackbamboo is a firmer carbon material. Some reeds contain a dye instead of carbon. MONSTER REED brand, a collaboration between Forestone and the European EC site Thomann, is green.

First, the bamboo fiber, which contains a lot of moisture, is dried for 2-3 hours to make it easier to process.

Next, the material is injected into the mold

It took considerable effort before they found the right temperature at which the bamboo fiber and polypropylene could be melted, and the right mold pressure for the best results.

Molds are available for each instrument and cut style, such as the Alto filed cut (French cut), Alto unfiled cut (American cut) and so on.
* The photo shows the filed cut (French cut)

As mentioned above, at Forestone, the strength of the reed changes depending on the fiber mix ratio, and each model uses one type of mold.

The mold is installed on the machine and the material is poured in. In technical terms, it is called “injection”.

The freshly made reeds were slightly warm.

Most resin reeds are manufactured by machining, but Forestone reeds can be thinned to 0.1mm using injection molding.

It has a runner like a plastic model. When the reed cools, it is carefully removed from the runner with a cutter.

Add the printing, and voila!

No, not really.

If the reed is left as it is, the material will warp or get distorted during cooling. After it has cooled, it is processed to improve the mouthpiece fit and the blowing feel...

To be continued!

Forestone Synthetic reed Factory tour no.2

Sales Masaya Naraki

Started oboe at the age of 10, junior high school participated in brass band, high school participated in orchestra club activities. Utilizing his experience in wind instrument repair, he is actively developing a lineup of PLAYTECH wind instruments inspection and new products. My hobbies are cooking and visiting home centers.

Forestone / アルトサックスリード ブラックバンブー MH

Forestone

アルトサックスリード ブラックバンブー MH

¥1,880(excl. tax)¥2,068(incl. tax)

Alto sax reed, black bamboo, made of resin, MH

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Forestone / Bbクラリネットリード ブラックバンブー MH

Forestone

Bbクラリネットリード ブラックバンブー MH

¥2,180(excl. tax)¥2,398(incl. tax)

Clarinet reed, black bamboo, made of resin, MH

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Forestone / Bbクラリネットリード 檜-ヒノキ- M

Forestone

Bbクラリネットリード 檜-ヒノキ- M

¥1,880(excl. tax)¥2,068(incl. tax)

Clarinet reed, Hinoki, made of resin, M, 1 pc

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