Rick Epping says:
"It can of course be used in a manner similar to the common
practice of inserting a thin wire crossways between the valve layers and
pushing down on it with the finger to create a kink toward the back of the
valve, but I've developed another method that I prefer."
"While pushing down on the valve with the tool inserted all the way back, slowly pull the tool out, following it with the finger lightly pushing down on the valve above the tool's end ridge. This will give the entire upper valve layer a curve and tension, like that shown in the Easy Reeding article I wrote on the windsaver."
18 November 2003
Rick Epping says:
"The above image shows what the tensioned valve looks like when adjusted
in a manner similar to that I was taught for leather and wire accordion
The upper figure shows the bottom valve layer pushed down to show the
curve of the top layer. The bottom figure shows the valve when attached
to the reedplate. Notice that when installed, the two layers should both
"The 'ski jump tip' on the free end of the upper layer, made with tweezers, is to prevent the sharp edge of the upper layer from catching on the lower layer as it slides forward while opening. It helps with wire and leather accordion valves and may or may not make an appreciable difference with plastic harmonica valves."
"One advantage of this tool over a simple wire is that the flat lower surface of the tool protects the lower valve layer from being kinked or otherwise deformed while the upper layer is worked on. The lower layer should be as flat as possible to prevent buzzing."
19 November 2003
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 12:41:29
To: Slidemeister Email Group
From: brendan @ power.com
Subject: Rick's Windsaver Tool
Faulty windsavers can be the bane of a chrom player's life, as the torrent of posts on this topic over the years attests. For such insubstantial items they can drive you mad, and chew up a lot of time in fixing the variety of problems associated with the damn things - so it is a real bonus when someone comes up with a fix that actually works.
Not surprisingly it is the ever-inventive Mr. Epping who has investigated this problem in his usual scrupulously detailed manner, and he's come up with a wondrous little gadget to preserve us all from Windsaver Rage.
Rick introduced his nifty little valve tool at SPAH , and kindly gave away about 20 to various interested people.
It takes a little practice to get the right nuance of finger pressure to avoid kinks in the spring, but once you do it really works well. I've been using it regularly on my custom Hohner chromatics to good effect.
'G' says: Rick Epping provided me with a couple of these back in 2003, and I've been using them ever since. Combined with stock Hohner valves they work very effectively. I use a length of 0.008" feeler stock for supporting reeds when retuning or adjusting their gapping. I also use this with Rick's valve tool when retensioning valves. I place the feeler stock between the two flaps of the valve and lay it on the reedplate protecting the bottom flap and giving a hard surface to work off. With the feeler gauge sitting against the reedplate, I apply the tool to the top flap pulling it along with my right hand and pushing down with my left thumb. It takes a bit of practice to work out how much pressure to apply, so to begin with start gently and make as many passes as you need to get the right amount of tension. It's worth the effort.