Northumbrian Pipes Maker – Tagua Nuts

Northumbrian Pipes – Materials for Mounts

Tagua Nuts

Tagua Nuts

I received a nice parcel containing Tagua Nuts recently.  These are from the Palm Nut family, and are also known as Vegetable Ivory.  They’ve been used over the years for making buttons and for decorative carvings.

Each nut is about the size of a Satsuma.  Under the skin, the nut has a hard, waxy texture and is a lovely creamy, ivory colour.  Always on the look out for new materials to experiment with, and as makers of other types of bagpipes have been using these for mounts, I was keen to give them a go.

northumbrian pipes

On the lathe, they turned beautifully and easily and I was excited by the way they worked.  But then I found their problem.

Pipe Mounts

Each nut has a hollow area in the centre, which only became apparent when the work was almost completed.

Because drone and chanter end caps are relatively large, I couldn’t turn them without encroaching on this ‘space’ in the nut.

Sadly, it doesn’t look like these will be viable.  It would be possible to cut the nuts open before using them, and select a piece which would be suitable to smaller mounts or ferrules, but it’s a shame they wont be suitable for end caps as it’s a lovely material.

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