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Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > General Discussion > Do It Yourself (DIY)
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Do It Yourself (DIY) Making and repairing of instruments, accessories, and more.

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Old 12-13-2019, 02:57 PM   #1
J.R.
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Default Drilling C Nat Hole?

A better title might be "how to ruin a smallpipe chanter"

Is is possible to drill a C Nat hole in the back of preexisting smallpipe chanter? Have been thinking about getting a set of folk pipes to screw around with, and would like having the option to play a false C. I had a set of Banton smallpipes that had that feature and loved it.

Any thoughts on how to go about it? Diameter of hole? Material to seal is back up after it all goes horribly wrong?
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Old 12-13-2019, 04:02 PM   #2
BaggyMcPipes
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Default Re: Drilling C Nat Hole?

Commenting to follow the thread. I would love to know this is possible and how!
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Old 12-13-2019, 05:04 PM   #3
CalumII
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Default Re: Drilling C Nat Hole?

One option is to spend some time learning to half-hole a C natural. I can now do it pretty consistently in something like 72nds Farewell to Aberdeen. Still working on the Dirty Bee, right enough...
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Old 12-13-2019, 05:23 PM   #4
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Drilling C Nat Hole?

Iíd measure the frequency of the current notes on the chanter versus the distance from something at the top (be it the chanter top or reed), fit whatever function works (itís not very linear), and then interpolate for the correct distance for C natural. The frequency of C natural is 440*6/5=528 Hz using just intonation.
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Old 12-13-2019, 07:51 PM   #5
Kevin
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Default Re: Drilling C Nat Hole?

I would also suggest starting with the smallest diameter bit you can find, which should result in flat tuning if you positioned the hole correctly. You can then sharpen it up gradually by increasing the diameter a tiny step at a time.

Good luck and measure twice before drilling,
Kevin

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Old 12-14-2019, 07:33 PM   #6
Ian Lawther
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Default Re: Drilling C Nat Hole?

I attempted this once on a border chanter and split it. I would suggest drilling with a hand drill as I found the electric one provided to much power and when the drill bit caught the damage was done before I could release the switch.
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Old 12-14-2019, 08:17 PM   #7
Kevin
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Default Re: Drilling C Nat Hole?

Good point. If you do use a powertool, a drill press or small rotary dremel tool would probably be best. Someone on here gave me the following advice several years ago: run the drill at a relatively high speed but advance the bit very slowly.

There is a risk you will damage your chanter so good luck and proceed with caution.

Best regards,
Kevin

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Old 12-14-2019, 08:30 PM   #8
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Drilling C Nat Hole?

I would also use a bradpoint bit, at least, I bought some from Harbor Freight (only place who carried a set locally) specifically for drilling chanter holes. Make sure you support the chanter body.
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Old 12-19-2019, 09:44 AM   #9
J.R.
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Default Re: Drilling C Nat Hole?

There's something so tempting about a bad idea...

I think I'd probably Dremel it, and I like Patrick's approach, if only to take the guesswork out of the process. Some of it, anyway.

Calum - I have tried half fingering, and I'm assuming that's what Martyn Bennett was doing on some of those old recordings. My fingers are just to clunky to pull it off consistently. The Banton chanters really spoiled me. If the Mega Millions pays off I'll buy a couple dozen.
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Old 12-19-2019, 10:28 AM   #10
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Drilling C Nat Hole?

Well, you can always just tape over it if it doesnít work.
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