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William McKenzie 03-09-2019 01:33 PM

Re: Polyester thread instead of hemp = game changer!
I've had a chance to play with this polyester hemp for a few days now.

  • Finer thread meant for sewing seams. Would be better if it were thicker for the amount of turns we use in our instrument (though finer does mean you get a really perfect fit and function in your joints versus the waxed linen).

Neutral (could be a con or pro to you):
  • 'Goldenrod' color is very close to waxed yellow linen hemp. It is however not waxed (obviously) so it is slightly shinier compared the typical duller linen we mostly use. 90% of people will never ever notice unless looking close or told
  • Not as much tensile strength as waxed linen. Not easy to snap but much easier than waxed linen (which I think is too strong and can hurt to pull apart when scissors aren't handy).
  • Might need more patience to start hemp initially since it is fine and has no grip (no wax)

  • Made from Polyester so it is smooth to the fingers and easy to work with
  • Doesn't seem to take up much moisture. Not cotton like most linen based hemp, it doesn't appear to be prone to rotting and no wax that can go goopy on hot days or brittle on cold
  • Joints are perfect. Relatively easy to achieve a great friction fit that still is smooth and allows for sliding because of the Polyester and the finer thread which makes things even if done well

So far I'm enjoying this. Thanks for sharing Matt and for the video :thumb:

Chris C. 03-11-2019 04:09 AM

Re: Polyester thread instead of hemp = game changer!
^^^^^ How long does it take to wind on a pipe compared to yellow hemp?

Pip01 03-11-2019 07:44 AM

Re: Polyester thread instead of hemp = game changer!

Greetings to All,

Now... these (and many :) Donkey's Years past... when the
then new-ish teflon tape was first being tested and used on
pipes... the Old Fellows in my first band... thought the teflon
to be... the best thing... since sliced bread!! :)

Some now prefer it... and some (and emphatically)... do not!!

But I have used it ever since... and with no discernable (at
least to me) ... ill effects...

Likewise... I think that I shall now jump... onto this newer
pool... of available "piping" products... and give this a go...
as... "Nothing ventured. Nothing gained." :)

If... if... it works... and for the better... then... "All's Well That
Ends Well"... :)

But... and if not...and at least for me... then nothing lost but
a bit o' Time... and... some of my further education... gained... :)

I shall take the liberty of posting some observations and my
results here... "As the Old Chariot Rolls Along"... as I then
shall meander down this new... Polyester Trail...

However... none of that... shall take place... until well after...
the 19th of March!! :) (Recovery days... I hope!! :)

Regards to All,


RJB 03-11-2019 07:50 AM

Re: Polyester thread instead of hemp = game changer!

Originally Posted by Chris C. (Post 1335543)
^^^^^ How long does it take to wind on a pipe compared to yellow hemp?

That process can be speeded up by making an insert for your cordless drill, onto which you place the section to be wrapped, and pull the trigger. Variable speed drills are best for obvious reasons. If the fit is tight, you can apply quite a bit of pressure to get good tight wraps. You could even make another insert for the other end (held in a vise), thereby giving you more support during the winding process.

just a thought.....

paul_111 03-11-2019 11:39 AM

Re: Polyester thread instead of hemp = game changer!
I put polyester thread on my poly Crisler pipes just about 2 months ago.

I like it.

After an unpleasant St. Patrick’s parade in the cold, pouring rain on Saturday, I was able to disassemble my pipes with the greatest of ease. Not the slightest swelling. Others had a bit of a struggle, especially with hemp where the wax was waning...

The only downside I see at the moment is that if you found your tuning pin, for example, too loose, a lick won’t help in a pinch.

RJB 03-11-2019 03:45 PM

Re: Polyester thread instead of hemp = game changer!

Originally Posted by paul_111 (Post 1335549)
The only downside I see at the moment is that if you found your tuning pin, for example, too loose, a lick won’t help in a pinch.

Good point!

Matt Willis Bagpiper 03-11-2019 04:47 PM

Re: Polyester thread instead of hemp = game changer!
I'm happy to hear several other pipers have found this method useful! I appreciate folks giving this a good college try.

Con: Fine thread = more work... I've found running 3 or even 4 spools at once minimizes or eliminates this. I've attempted thicker polyester thread, but I didn't feel it worked nearly as well (very quick to want to unravel while applying)

Con: tends to unwind/not stick to tenon: I always start the first 24-36 inches in beeswax, be it hemp or polyester, so I haven't found this to be an issue....

Quick lick won't work: This is probably the biggest problem, but really, unless the weather has shifted DRASTICALLY, and I mean enough there's real movement in the wood*, I find I can get by. But I always have a spare spool in my sporran now for quick fixes.

*If the wood is moving this much, I'd likely recommend oiling them and doing so repeatedly until the wood is more dimensionally stable. I find fully oiled pipes move far less through climactic conditions than un-oiled pipes...

William McKenzie 06-01-2019 01:11 AM

Re: Polyester thread instead of hemp = game changer!
Just an update, I finished rehemping my entire pipe with this polyester thread last week and have had time to play the pipes. It was a labor of love. Here is what I did:

I started hemping by hand first on the chanter and realized after that this was never going to work. The thread is too fine, takes far too much to create the needed thickness, and because it is so fine and because it takes so many wraps its very very difficult to keep the wraps evenly distributed and evenly pulled tight throughout the process. And it slips on itself and took a long time so that only compounded every aspect above.

Instead I got a wooden dowel slightly smaller than the bore of one of my tenor bottoms and put the dowel into a vice. For each end of the drone parts that needed hemping I slid that end of the part next to the vice. I got some thicker aquarium style tubing and put a small piece over the chuck of my hand drill, then lightly pushed this tubing coated drill chuck into the reed seat (which in my drones are tapered so the tapered chuck with grippy tubing over it fit well and created a nice friction fit). I took a long nail and slid it through the thread bobbin which gave my other hand something to hold the thread with so it could spin while I gripped it. I used a bit of cobblers wax to start off the first couple turns on every joint and then just kept a steady speed of the drill and steady tension on the bobbin while I moved my hand up and down evenly spreading the wraps. I did this on all remaining pins and stock connections.

This worked incredibly well. I tied off the end threads and on some I used a dab of shoe glue to ensure it wouldn't unravel on itself. I checked and rechecked for fitment and added one or two additional wraps by hand if needed to really dial in the desired feel. The thread is so small it works incredibly well for getting a perfect fit. On the stock connections I again used cobblers wax that I melted lightly and rubbed in with my fingers to add grip and cohesion in the stock. This worked really well to sink into the threads and create a tacky, solid piece that made a very secure connection. On the pins I have a nice fit that allows my tenor tops to be nearly at the top and not wobble. I finished these with a wrap of PTFE tape (the horror!). Like the cobblers wax, the PTFE went on nicely and once the tops were moved around the PTFE perfectly smooshed into the threads creating a solid, secure and smooth connection. Truly the best I have ever done in any style of hemping I've tried over the years.

All of these joints settled a bit after the first week of playing and became somewhat looser, both at the stocks and the pins. In the stocks a simple additional quick hand wrap with more thread brought them right back to nice and secure and the previously applied cobblers wax sucked in the new threads from the compression. On the pins I added another wrap of PTFE to each and moved the tops around over this to compress it in. Again, it distributed the PTFE perfectly to create a solid dowel that easily allows the tenor top to move yet is very secure with no wobble.

I can't recommend this polyester thread enough. Easy to work with, can snap with hand strength like traditional linen hemp, and excellent for fine adjustments. Far more impervious to moisture and very durable. Should not rot. :thumb:

RJB 06-01-2019 07:39 AM

Re: Polyester thread instead of hemp = game changer!
When I wrapped my pipes with polyester, I bought 3 spools (90˘ ea), and wound them all at one time. It didn't take long at all. The joints are so smooth now, hold well, and are easy to adjust with one hand.

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