Mandrels are made to fit the taper of the individual staples that bear the same name. It gives you something to hold while you tie your cane on, and keeps the staple’s shape during the tying process.
It’s important that the tip of the staple is flush with the tip of the mandrel and that it fits well. If the mandrel doesn’t support the tip of the staple when tying on, over time the shape of the staple can begin to deform to whatever the mandrel shape is. And if the tip of the staple is above the tip of the mandrel, the staple isn’t supported and can begin to buckle or bend. If the mandrel protrudes beyond the staple, it can be hard to tell where the staple ends, and you can accidentally over-tie the reed, which will choke its vibrations.
Some mandrels have a rounder tip shape than the average tip shape of the corresponding staple model. The individual staples whose shape is flatter than the mandrel will have their tip shape rounded out when tying on the reed. This is likely to happen with the Chiarugi 5 and the Marigaux 1 staples. (Click on the links to see notes on these staples.)
Once the most important part of the mandrel is chosen, there is also a variety of handle styles and decorations on the handle end of the mandrel. The fancy ends of some mandrels are called 'French-style' and the shorter, more triangular handles are called 'Baroque-style'. 'Baroque-style' handles are sometimes more comfortable for small hands.
Though most staples have a mandrel made for them, there are some staples that do not. Other brands can be found to “fit” these staples but, in many cases, it is really not a full-length fit.
For example, in the case of the Bonazza staples, a number of different brands “fit” at the tip but the corresponding staples bear minimal resemblance to the Bonazza at the bottom and top measurements. The reason they appear to fit is because the angle of the taper in the Bonazza staple happens to hit a stopping point on these other mandrels that lines up with the top of the staple. The shape of the staple top is still close enough that it looks like it fits and will suffice. The bottom of the staple is bigger than the mandrel but because there is a stopping point that fits snuggly further up the staple and the top is very close, the bottom doesn’t wobble.
Chiarugi, Glotin, Guercio, Marigaux, and Pisoni all make mandrels to fit their staples. In addition, Chiarugi makes mandrels to fit other brands that they manufacture (Eterion, Lorée, Le Roseau Chantant, Reeds 'n Stuff, Rigotti).
The brands that don’t have corresponding mandrels are 'American', Bonazza, Gualco, and Prestini. The mandrels of other brands have been found to “fit” these staples and are recommended in their respective brand discussion at the links above.
Though it is important that you get a mandrel that fits your staples, if you're just trying a bunch of different sizes, you can probably get away with using your old mandrel to hold the staples while you try making reeds on them. This may mean that in some cases your staple doesn't go all the way on the mandrel, or the mandrel sticks out the top. If your old mandrel appears to fit, that's great while you're trying the staples, but don't be tempted to keep using that mandrel if you decide to switch to a new staple model. It is likely that the fit is not that great throughout the length of the staple and you may eventually change the shape of your staples to that of the old mandrel. You will have the best results if you have a properly fitting mandrel.
Click on the Conclusion button to wrap things up and find out about the new computer tool we are developing for helping you pick which staples to try.