For those of us with limited resources, the answer to the latter is yes. Inevitably, a lot of cane will be thrown away, but only using perfect pieces of cane is prohibitively expensive for budding musicians. It is okay to test the boundaries of what you can functionally use and what your gouger can still process. Some gougers will take care of the problem for you, but there are some machines on the market that will gouge anything, and that requires more discipline and discerning from the reed-maker.
Did you like our last case study? Well, hopefully you did since we have another informal assessment.
When a tube of cane is split, it is almost always longer than a piece of cane should be, so it is shortened with a guillotine. The great thing about using a guillotine is that you can basically choose what part of the cane you want to keep. You can chop a little off of both sides if the piece of cane is slightly bowed on both sides, or if one end of the piece of split cane is acceptable and the other is not, you can cut the excess off of one end of the piece of split cane and leave the other alone.
With this in mind, we have some examples of split pieces of cane that need to be guillotined:
Case No. 1
We are in luck with our first piece of cane! It has a slight curl at one end, but most of the piece is flush with the desk.
Case No. 2
Case No. 3
Case No. 4
Now you have seen the good, bad, and the ugly as far as cane is concerned. Hopefully, you can use the information to make informed judgments in your own cane processing adventures.