Christopher Redgate is developing a new oboe for the 21st century and is working with composers to develop new music for the instrument. This article addresses the early stages of his collaboration with Sam Hayden. It demonstrates some of the coordination problems at the inception of a project that includes an instrument with a long history. The article sets out some of the ongoing concerns in documenting this work, arguing that the oboe itself is one of the principle forces shaping a collaboration that is future-focused.