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Northumbrian Pipes Maker – Bellows

Making Northumbrian Pipes Bellows

 

Northumbrian Pipes

Northumbrian Pipes – Bellows Cheeks

Northumbrian Small and often Border Pipes are bellows driven, so each set has a set of bellows.  For this set I’m using Elm for the cheeks.  The Elm is cut to shape and a stitching groove established near its edge.  This groove is then drilled and what will be the inside of the cheek varnished while it is accessible.

 

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Northumbrian Pipes – Stitching Bellows

The Leather is hand stitched through the drilled holes using Saddlers Stitch.  This stitching takes time and is done in such a way that an airtight seal is established between the leather and the wooden cheek.

 

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Northumbrian Pipes – Stitching finished and ready for inlay

I’ve finished one side of the bellows here.  Once both bellows cheeks are stitched on, the next step will be to fill the stitching groove and finish the handmade brass fittings

Northumbrian Pipes

Northumbrian Pipes – Bellows Fittings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once completed, the one way air valve will be made and the leather belts, hinge and straps fitted.  The Bellows are then finished off and tested.

For more information on buying a set of Northumbrian Small Pipes contact me at Kim@Northumbrianpipes.co.uk

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Northumbrian Pipes Maker – Keys

Making Keys For Northumbrian Smallpipes

Northumbrian Pipes Maker

Keys are Hand Forged from Brass

Northumbrian pipes are available either with or without keys.  Originally, the instrument had a plain chanter with no keys and a unique and distinctive repertoire to tunes were played.  In the 18th Century, this chanter was developed by makers in Newcastle-on-Tyne and North Shields through the addition of keys. This allowed pipers to explore the fiddle repertoire as well as the older pipe tunes of the region.

Keys are hand made, which is an extremely time consuming job.  However, the results are well worth the effort, both in terms of the tunes which can be played and the beauty of finished chanter.  I’ve been making keys this week from brass sheet.  This is cut, cold forged and filed to shape.  The round head which will cover the hole on the chanter is cut and soldered on before a leaf spring is hand made and riveted to the key shank.

 

 

 

Once finished, the key is drilled to take the pin which attaches it to the chanter and final shaping and adjustments are made to ensure a smooth action.

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Final Fitting to Ensure Smooth Action

 

 

 

For more information on buying a set of Northumbrian Small Pipes contact me at Kim@Northumbrianpipes.co.uk

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Northumbrian Pipes Maker

Northumbrian Pipes Maker

The finished round secti

Preparing Wood For a Set of Smallpipes

The most popular wood for Northumbrian pipe making is African Blackwood.  This is bought in squared billets and my first job is to turn it to rounds on the lathe.

 

Once turned, each piece is individually bored to the appropriate diameter, cut to length and then returned to the shelf for several months.  This allows the piece to slowly dry and prevents cracking.

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Cut and turned wood is then slowly dried

 

For more information on buying a set of Northumbrian Small Pipes contact me at Kim@Northumbrianpipes.co.uk

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