How to seal a leaking oboe reed

by | Mar 13, 2023 | Reeds | 2 comments

Ugh, leaking reeds.

We all know that dreaded feeling when our reed begins to leak air out of the sides. There are a number of instances when a reed might leak, and when we might need a little help sealing it up.

Oboe reeds can leak to due a poor gouge, a warped piece of cane, or the way the reed was shaped or tied.

When you might need help sealing your oboe reeds:

  • If you are learning to make reeds and need help while you learn to tie them correctly
  • If you are a band teacher or educator and need to seal up leaking reeds that were purchased
  • If you are a student purchasing reeds and have an occasional reed that leaks (they are expensive and you’ll want to be able to play on all of them!)
  • If you have trouble with your own reeds leaking from time to time

What are the options?

For years I used Teflon tape (also known as plumbers tape), but I always disliked the white “bandaged” look. Teflon tape is cheap and easy to find at your local hardware store.

Another method is fish skin, which is available through many double reed suppliers. Fish skin works well, but I found it didn’t always stay on very well and had to be reapplied often.

When I discovered Parafilm Tape it was a game changer. Parafilm is a stretchy laboratory film that can be cut into small pieces and wrapped around the based of the reed much like Teflon tape or fish skin. However, it stays on better, seals better, and is clear in color.

Note: I do want to mention that wrapping the base of the reed (right above the thread) with any material may limit the vibrations slightly. This may or may not bother you. I have no issue using Parafilm on student reeds and will even use it on my own reeds on occasion, but won’t perform on a reed that leaks, even with Parafilm applied.

How to Seal a Leaking Reed:

Where to buy Parafilm

10 squares for $10 (+free shipping)

Currently no vendors are offering a small supply of Parafilm. Therefore, I’m selling 10 squares for $10 via email. This is enough to seal approximately 200 reeds.

Send me and email for details. US shipping only at this time. If the demand increases I’ll set up my website for online orders.

Buy in Bulk on Amazon

If you are and educator or band director, you can invest in the same roll I purchased (shown in the video). Order on Amazon >>

A note on storage:

You may find your Parafilm lasts longer in a sealed baggie. I live in a dry climate and find it dries out a little over time. I store mine in a ziplock bag for longterm storage.


  1. Christa Garvey

    Is great Stuff! I remember that Jim Brody always had a huge roll available to students at CU- Boulder but haven’t used it since.

    Thanks for the reminder!

    • Khara Wolf

      Nice! I don’t know how I missed Jim’s stash when I was a student there, but that is awesome. I’ve got a stash now for my students, lol. 🙂


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