This is what one of my blanks looks like. I like to thin the will-be tip a bit and trim off the ears. The rest I leave until the next day. This particular reed: K.Ge cane, .60mm, Joshua shape, Chudnow-E staple. I started experimenting with these staples a couple years ago. I really like the "E", but the "S" hasn't really worked for me. If you understood any of that, you might be an oboist.
Here is the famous spool:
We had a busy day today, so I only started at about 9:30pm (including soaking and shaping). I only tied one on tonight. I still need to start a few others from the other day.
So congratulations, variegated blue! And thanks to those of you who voted!