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

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Old 12-09-2018, 01:26 PM   #1
MichiganGaidar
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Default Advice Needed - Replacement stocks

I've had my current set of vintage Lawries for just over six months - they were acquired for 550 from Northwest Bagpipes, and have been a very good instrument. I actually wound up selling my Naills after they got back from repairs so that I could keep these Lawries as my main set. I invested an additional 350 into getting some touch-up work done on the Lawries.

Unfortunately, I've just lost two stocks in as many weeks. I had a split stock tube on hand to replace the blowpipe stock, but a set of replacement drone stocks, plus a chanter stock to match, will run me just shy of 300.

I'm concerned that the whole lot of the wood is not in as good shape as I think, and that I may start seeing splits on my drones, as well. I am not sure if I should just replace things as they fail, or cut my losses and get a set of new drones.

Has anyone had a similar case? What would you do given the circumstances described?
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Old 12-10-2018, 04:58 AM   #2
magsevenband
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Default Re: Advice Needed - Replacements

I would sell them if you are having longevity concerns...try to get those Naills back if possible.
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Old 12-10-2018, 06:37 AM   #3
Jay Close
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Default Re: Advice Needed - Replacements

The most important thing would be to address why you've had so many wood problems. A set of pipes that has remained unplayed for a length of time needs very careful "playing in" before they ought to be subjected to the rigors of regular and prolonged practice. It's also important to look at how the instrument is stored between playing sessions. In a case? Out of a case? Put away wet or dried out? Near a blast of hot, dry air from central heating? Roddy MacLellan's website has a good few tips about pipe care that you might look at. Good luck.
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Old 12-10-2018, 09:14 AM   #4
Toxpert
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Default Re: Advice Needed - Replacements

Lynne at House of Bagpipes (San Francisco) can repair the split stocks using brass sleeves.
This is but one option for a cost effect repair that keeps the wood intact.

Lynne sleeved my early Lawrie ebony stocks...as opposed to invisible whipping which would have removed much of the wood turnings for a much more expensive repair cost.

Also, like the others other responder noted...old pipes require lots of oiling, careful blown in period, and always remove moisture from inside after every play time. Otherwise, the inside of the bores swell up and turn your pipes in a broken pile of splintered wood.
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Old 12-10-2018, 10:06 AM   #5
Pip01
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Default Re: Advice Needed - Replacement stocks





MichiganGaidar,


I'll second Lynne at House of Bagpipes.

Though I have yet to get to his shop... I have seen
his work... and have highly recommended him to
several others... over time...

How vintage... (year?)... are your vintage Lawries?

Were I in your position... I would do all within my
power... to preserve... to protect... and to play them...
until such time as you must bequeath them... to a
family member... or friend.

My Lawries are 1916s... and were here loong before
I arrived... and barring fire or other such catastrophe...
shall most probably be here (and playing away!! :)...
loong after... I have gone... :)

As a side thought... it might be possible for him to
rent some temporary Delrin replacement stocks,
blowpipe, et cetera... so you could continue to
play... until the work was done. (Just a thought. :)

Wishing your pipes... the Best of Good Fortune!!

Regards,

Pip01





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Last edited by Pip01; 12-10-2018 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 12-10-2018, 02:09 PM   #6
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: Advice Needed - Replacement stocks

Last year I bought a set of poly stocks for a spare bag I keep for emergencies. $121.01 from Ayrshire bagpipes. They have several styles, including the combed and beaded, nickel ferrules that look like my G&Ms
Correction, they have stainless ferrules. https://ayrshirebagpipes.co.uk/index...tegory&path=15
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Last edited by Klondike Waldo; 12-10-2018 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 12-10-2018, 02:22 PM   #7
MichiganGaidar
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Default Re: Advice Needed - Replacements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Close View Post
The most important thing would be to address why you've had so many wood problems. A set of pipes that has remained unplayed for a length of time needs very careful "playing in" before they ought to be subjected to the rigors of regular and prolonged practice. It's also important to look at how the instrument is stored between playing sessions. In a case? Out of a case? Put away wet or dried out? Near a blast of hot, dry air from central heating? Roddy MacLellan's website has a good few tips about pipe care that you might look at. Good luck.
Michigan is infamous among orchestral woodwind manufacturers for wood problems. There's an oboe manufacturer who claims that MI and upstate NY account for nearly 40% of warranty claims in North America. Here in MI, we have very humid summers and very dry winters, so even though I oil my instruments as the wood begins to look dry, and only ever store them in a closed case, away from heat vents and direct sunlight after swabbing out any standing moisture, some instruments just haven't made the cut. My Naills lost a ferrule, two mounts, and a hemp stop, and one of my gaidi became highly unstable in short order. My clarinet, on the other hand, has weathered ten years of MI weather without any of the usual wood maladies - no splits, no bound keys, no intonation problems, no stuffiness. My kaval and my "nice" gaida are on the same track after three years.

In the case of these Lawries, they were from the early 60's and underwent a complete exterior makeover before they were offered for sale. So, they're not of particular value as a vintage instrument. The rejuvenation actually went pretty well - the bores are holding a decent sheen, and the wood is a nice, inky black. Unfortunately, I understand that bringing old timber back into service, even if done with care, is neither a guarantee nor an exact science - and this is what I'm told from the local woodwind guru, who works with instruments worth a whole lot more than even our sought-after 19-aughts Glasgow pipes.

I'll see if I can have the split in my drone stock filled on the cheap, and keep them around as a #2 set. I won't likely divest myself of them, because of their sentimental value as the set of pipes on which I won my first medal. I'll work with my local supplier in finding a nice set of modern-made pipes, preferably from timber which is more brunette than inky black.
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Old 12-14-2018, 05:07 AM   #8
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Advice Needed - Replacement stocks

That explains a lot! What the oboe maker said.

It's been puzzling to me how I can play pipes here in California, new pipes or century-old pipes, play them indoors and outdoors, at 100 degree Highland Games and in the rain in Scotland, for decades, and never have a crack, yet when I sell such a set to somebody "back East" they crack within a few months.

About the slow break-in period I've never worried about that. I got those 100 year old Lawries which had been hanging over somebody's fireplace for 30 years (and probably hadn't been played since the 1960s) and cleaned them up and started playing them in the band and for gigs, for years.

Likewise my two 1940s set and my 1960s set, I just began playing them. No issues whatsoever.

But, I'm not one of those people who will play their pipes for four straight hours till the pipes are soaking wet. Maybe that's part of it.

But back to oboes, the oboe professor at a local University told me that all oboes crack in the top section at around the one-year mark. He says you send them back, have the crack fixed, and then have an oboe for the rest of your life. (This was in conjunction with his expressing amusement at the piper's crack-phobia; "all oboists play a cracked oboe" he explained.)
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Last edited by pancelticpiper; 12-14-2018 at 05:10 AM.
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Old 12-14-2018, 06:42 PM   #9
MichiganGaidar
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Default Re: Advice Needed - Replacement stocks

Quote:
Originally Posted by pancelticpiper View Post
But back to oboes, the oboe professor at a local University told me that all oboes crack in the top section at around the one-year mark. He says you send them back, have the crack fixed, and then have an oboe for the rest of your life. (This was in conjunction with his expressing amusement at the piper's crack-phobia; "all oboists play a cracked oboe" he explained.)
Oboists are really the odd ones out... clarinetists hate cracks, as well, but we'll put up with it if the repair can be done to a very high standard. In that regard, I'm lucky that my local woodwind tech is considered to be one of the best, if not the singular best in the state. He had a lot to say about bringing my Lawries back into service, though even he conceded that it's ultimately a matter of the wood. Some pieces can be brought in and out of service over a century or more, some can't... and you just don't know which you have until you have a go at it.

Oboes are unique in that they absolutely will crack... once. My understanding is that it's a function of the extremely thick wall in the top joint and the internal stress to which it is subjected while playing. If a clarinet cracks once, that may not be the last time: that crack may open again depending on the method used to repair it, or a new split may occur. It's more a function of that piece of timber and whether it can take the stresses of playing. That seems to be what happened to my Lawries - there was a repair on the bass midjoint that had to be re-filled shortly after I bought them. The crack was not a hissing, leaking monstrosity like the one in my drone stock, but it did, in fact, re-open.

Last edited by MichiganGaidar; 12-14-2018 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 12-23-2018, 06:13 PM   #10
pancelticpiper
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Default Re: Advice Needed - Replacement stocks

But yes if you're splitting your stocks regularly it might be time for polypenco stocks!!

As mentioned above they're available from Ayrshire Bagpipes rather inexpensively.

A nice aspect of the Ayrshire Bagpipes stocks is that they have pretty big bores, .78 inch.

Some vintage pipes have large tenons, too big to fit in some narrow-bore modern stocks.

My 1940s Starcks have .763 tenons on all three drones.

I have a random set of stocks with .755 bores! No-go with the Starcks. I use the Ayrshire stocks with them.

My c1905 Lawries had .809 .816 .813 drone stocks, larger than anybody makes nowadays, probably.
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