Profiling removes the bark from the blade of the reed. Profiling bassoon cane used to be done by hand; now machines do most of the work and produce a more even uniform reed blade surface. In order to profile, the piece of cane must already be gouged. If you want to do any hand-gouging of the blade area, it should be completed before profiling. Cane should be soaked before profiling, it wears out the blade if it isn’t! I soak my cane at least 2 hours before profiling, usually 8 hours. Do not soak the cane for more than 24 hours.
There are a number of profilers on the market. I own a Rieger profiler; I chose the Rieger profiler because of the sturdy construction, shape of the handle, collar and middle cutters, and consistency of profile.
The machine does most of the work so the important thing is to line up your gouge correctly on the spindle. The thickest part of the gouge should be in the center of the spindle surface. The thickest part of the gouge is not necessarily in the middle (width) of the piece of cane so identify it by sight. Also make sure that the piece of cane is centered lengthwise on the spindle.
Put the spindle in the profiler and take off the first layer of bark. It is important to then turn the spindle and do the other side’s first layer. Continue to alternate removing a thin layer at a time. The amount of cane removed will be dependant on the amount of force you exert on the handle. Start with light force and gradually increase each time you turn the spindle. The profile is complete when you can no longer remove any cane with maximum force. At that point mark your collar and center with the cutters if your profile has those options.
Continue on to shaping a piece of cane