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Technique & Instrument Related to techniques, to the instrument, to the components, to maintenance.

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Old 02-13-2019, 03:55 AM   #1
Piping Potential
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Default Polished drone bores?

Tonight I found an old bagpipe instruction/maintenance book I had and one of the things it mentioned was that drone bore roughness would disrupt the sound waves and create a rough tone. The author said that the drone bores "should be polished as smooth as glass." Anyone else heard this?
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:46 AM   #2
thevoidboy
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Default Re: Polished drone bores?

Yes. Smooth. Glassy. Shiny.
I have heard it spoken of.


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Old 02-13-2019, 05:04 AM   #3
Søren E. Larsen
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Default Re: Polished drone bores?

My 100 year old ebony Hendersons have very rough bores, one of the tuning chambers have a repaired crack, the same with a more than 100 year old set of ebony Lawries which also have a pin replacement. Both set of pipes are superior in tone to any modern smooth bored set of pipes I have played.
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Old 02-13-2019, 05:07 AM   #4
el gaitero
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Default Re: Polished drone bores?

If the maker is using very sharp gun drills the bores should not need additional smoothing
If ‘polished’ further by the end user ...it should be done using fine grade steelwool on a e.g. rifle cleaning rod chucked in a variable speed hand drill.
This will polish the bore ( DONT use wax) ...but will not remove gouges in the wood left by shoddy work initially.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:04 AM   #5
CalumII
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Default Re: Polished drone bores?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piping Potential View Post
Tonight I found an old bagpipe instruction/maintenance book I had and one of the things it mentioned was that drone bore roughness would disrupt the sound waves and create a rough tone. The author said that the drone bores "should be polished as smooth as glass." Anyone else heard this?

Yes, repeatedly, although I have never seen any physical explanation of why it might be true.



Conceptual models of how things work are useful as long as they help us predict in some way. It would be interesting to hear what happens to the sound of a bore as it polished progressively smoother.
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Old 02-15-2019, 05:46 AM   #6
Green Piper
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Default Re: Polished drone bores?

There’s a concept in shamanistic medicine and that was certainly used in medieval medicine called the Doctrine of Signatures.

Basically put, it relates the physical appearance of something to a medical effect. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of shamanistic medicine that modern, western medicine can from.

In the case of drone bores, it may be applied thus:

rough bores = rough sound
smooth bores = smooth sound

In terms of acoustic physics, we’ll there may be evidence to support the above.

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Old 02-15-2019, 09:56 AM   #7
Keith Jeffers
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Default Re: Polished drone bores?

Perhaps the whole polish it to a mirror marketing scheme is an effect to help a subpar bore configurations sound brighter in tone.... at least for a little while. You see, there is no constant here as stated before in this thread. As in, the bores will degrade shortly after the mirror polish takes place leaving us with these fantastic mellow yet rich sounding drones.
The species of wood is also dependent on the mirror polishing effect as well as the boring process. Most makers that are known are using gundrills. Is one maker using a gundrill that is so much different than another that it is lending more polished bores than another? Doubtful.
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Old 02-15-2019, 10:39 AM   #8
el gaitero
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Default Re: Polished drone bores?

I visited the Sinclair shop in ‘02..had a pleasant chat with Alistair for a while ...who showed me his operation. When I espied a small pile of ABW ‘end cuts’ off eg stocks,drones etc ..he said it was a trash pile to be burned and sure...help yerself. I took one piece..not combed or beaded..maybe an end cut off a bass section..about 2 “ long . The bore was as smooth and shiny as a shotgun barrel bore. I’ve seen a few other maker new bores..not any as well drilled /finished I thought. Getting near 20 yrs later I still have it and sand ABW dust off it to mix in with repair glue.

Last edited by el gaitero; 02-15-2019 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 02-19-2019, 12:28 PM   #9
Dan Bell
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Default Re: Polished drone bores?

There's certainly a trend in bagpipe marketing towards using bore-finish as a mark of superior craftsmanship.

Anecdotally, my ear tells me that it's not that important. There are a lot of other factors in play. A lot of old bagpipes aren't up to today's workmanship standards. Some of them sound every bit as good as any modern instrument being made by anyone. There are also plenty of meticulously-made modern pipes that are fairly mediocre, tonally.
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