I have a simple question: Where is a reliable source of Handmade reeds on the web? Is infinitireeds a reliable source? I love some of the things it offers. Anyway, I'm tired of using these machine made reeds (Jones & Emerald, though they are very reliable), it takes too long to find one perfect one. I have been using the same reed for way too long now (Aren't you supposed to switch reeds out every 2 months?) and it is loosing it's perfect pitch.
Perfect oboe reed? I wish. They are persnickety and vile things that play music one day and squeal like a beginning violinist the next.
The best source of reeds is your oboe teacher who will not only make the blasted things but adjust each one so you sound your best. Failing that, I've had fairly good results with reeds from Stu Dunkel, Cooper Wright and Neilsen (black thread)amongst others, once adjusted. Perfect sound right out of the box? Possible but unlikely.
As to how long reeds last, the answer is as long as they sound okay. It might be a day it might be, rarely, as long as a month or more.
I agree with the other poster as well. Check with your teacher to see if they have a suggestion. Not all teachers want to make reeds for their students so they may have opinions on suppliers. It seems like you have tried a few places that have good reputations. Have you combed through www.reedreviews.net for a new supplier? It really is tough even with a resource such as that to find reeds that are perfect for you. Since cane is a living thing, reeds may be great from supplier "A" one day and not so great from that same supplier the next time you purchase. Keep searching. Read lots of forums and ask your oboe and bassoon buddies. Good luck!