Tag Archives | bagpipes

How to Look After Northumbrian Smallpipes

‘Rules’ for looking after Northumbrian Smallpipes

A well maintained set of Northumbrian Pipes will last a lifetime. If they are played, handled and stored correctly you will protect them from damage and they should only ever need minor maintenance to keep them in top condition.  However, it’s important to inspect them regularly and carry out a few checks to head off any problems.  There are also a few ‘rules’ it’s wise to follow to help avoid accidents.  Do remember that your pipes are very fragile so look after them well.

Storage

Northumbrian Smallpipes are safest when stored in a case. The delicate drones and chanter can be protected wrapped in clean cloths and inserted into plastic tubes. I recommend you use these whenever your pipes are not being played. Protect your pipes from excessive cold and heat, avoid storing them in direct sunlight or extremes of humidity.  Never put them down where they might be damaged.  People have put them on chairs where they have been sat on, or on beer tables in pubs where they have been spilt on.

If you are moving from one environment to another, the change might affect the reeds and they might need a short amount of time to settle down and play in tune.

Handling

Support the Pipes and the Stocks

Always handle with care. Handle your pipes by the two main stocks (the Chanter and Drone Stock) near the bag, and always support the chanter.  Do not let it dangle freely as it may fall from its stock and break. Do not lift the set just by the bag, the drones or the chanter.

Regular Checks

The joints holding the drones and chanter into their stocks should be tight enough so nothing moves but not so tight that they jam. Check them often.  The drone slides should slide easily to tune them, but should be tight enough to be air tight. The end caps are all held on with bindings and are not usually glued (unless you have a Burleigh set). With any set, some compression of the bindings is may occur and they may work loose. As the joints are made from wood and wood changes size with humidity, over time the bindings might loosen too. If they do you can wind a length of cotton thread (usually waxed lightly with bees wax) to make them hold again.

 

Following these simple ‘rules’ will prolong the life of your pipes and hopefully avoid any damage.  For more information about Northumbrian Smallpipes contact Kim@northumbrianpipes.co.uk

Northumbrian Pipes

‘Because He Was A Bonny Lad’ played on Northumbrian Smallpipes

Here’s a quick tune on a set I finished last year.

For more information on Northumbrian Smallpipes contact me on Kim@northumbrianpipes.co.uk

Northumbrian Pipes Maker – Dealing with Smelly Old Leather!

ABBS, or Armpitted and Boxed Bellows Syndrome –   you know, the rancid smell that’s takes over the room when you get an old set of bellows which have been shut in a box for decades.  Getting rid of the awful smell can be a real problem.  Leather doesn’t like being washed.  Too much water and cleaning chemicals can damage or ruin it.

I gave this set a light clean with a soap, then nourished the leather with dubbin mixed with a few drops of scented oil.  If the problem persists, a few drops of scented oil dripped in through the bellows inlet can do the trick.

People will queue up to sit next to you as you emit pleasant odours as you play!

For more information contact Kim@Northumbrianpipes.co.uk

 

Northumbrian Pipemaker – Refurbishing a set of Northumbrian Pipes

Northumbrian Small Pipes Fettling

Here’s a 9 key set of Northumbrian Pipes in need of restoration.  The bag was old and leaking and the set needed stripping down and a thorough clean.  A build up of dirt in the bore was deadening the tone and once cleaned and fitted with new reeds the set was singing again.

The set as it came in

The set as it came in

 

 

Stripped down and cleaned. Ready for new reeds and a new bag.

Stripped down and cleaned. Ready for new reeds and a new bag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information contact Kim@northumbrianpipes.co.uk

Northumbrian Smallpipes 7 key Set

I’ve just completed the commission of a 7 key set in Blackwood and Brass, with imitation ivory end caps for delivery to Italy.

Turning the Drones

Turning the Drones

 

 

Making the Chanter

Making the Chanter

 

 

Forging the Keys

Forging the Keys

 

 

Hard wear complete and ready to tie into the bag

Parts Complete and Ready to tie into the Bag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tying Stocks into the Hand Stitched Leather Bag

Tying Stocks into the Hand Stitched Leather Bag

 

 

Stitching up the Bellows

Stitching up the Bellows

 

 

The Completed Bellows

The Completed Bellows

 

 

 

Northumbrian Pipes

Northumbrian Pipes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information about Northumbrian Smallpipes contact me at Kim@Northumbrianpipes.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northumbrian Pipes Maker – Making a Keyless Set

I was recently commissioned to make a keyless set of Northumbrian Pipes.  These are a rarely made, but early version of Northumbrian Smallpipe.

After initial turning of the blanks, I started work on the drones.

After initial turning of the blanks, I started work on the drones.

 

 

Keyless Northumbrian Pipes

Drones are completed and the Chanter turned.

 

 

Keyless Northumbrian Pipes

Tone holes are drilled in the Chanter.

 

 

www.northumbrianpipes.co.uk

The Stocks are completed.

 

 

All parts complete and ready to fit to the bag and bellows

All parts complete and ready to fit to the bag and bellows

 

 

 

 

Bag fitting

Bag fitting

 

 

Complete with Bellows

Complete with Bellows

 

 

Elm Bellows

Elm Bellows

 

The Finished Keyless Set of Northumbrian Pipes

The Finished Keyless Set of Northumbrian Pipes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information contact Kim@northumbrianpipes.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northumbrian Smallpipes – Drone Stocks

When starting a set, I quite like to building the drones from the stocks upwards.  This means I need to make the stock first, then rough out the standing sections and finally the sliding parts of each drone.  Following this plan, I’ve made up the drone stock for the keyless smallpipes set.

northumbrian pipes

Starting with a rounded length of blackwood and a section of brass tube.

northumbrian pipes

The Blackwood is roughly shaped and drilled to take the drones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

northumbrian pipes

The stock is reversed in the lathe and the taper shaped.

northumbrian pipes

Now the body of the stock is hollowed out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northumbrian pipes

The brass ferrule is fitted and it’s ready for final polishing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now this is complete I can start turning the drones and build the set up form this base.

For more information contact Kim@northumbrianpipes.co.uk

 

 

 

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