Adam, when I wrote about the reed being rusty when installed, I simply thought that you didn’t see the finalized work. I would never suspect that you knew the condition of this reed and didn’t tell. Also, the amount and depth of rust really seems like the result many years. It really looks like the added material was put on the rust, it is THAT deep.
If there was no rust on it roughly 6 months ago, then this reed must go.