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Silver vs. Nickel... pro/con advice (new pipes)

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  • Silver vs. Nickel... pro/con advice (new pipes)

    Looking to purchase a new set of pipes and I was wondering if there was any benefit/risk afforded by upgrading to h dog silver (Naill Vintage line), vs. “half nickel”?

    If you set aside the cost, their my retirement gift . I’d appreciate opinions... I suspect... no difference in tone/sound, silver offers beauty, but is softer (nicks), and requires polishing. Fit/finish durability - will be located in Northern Florida... support/resistance to cracking/splitting over aged resin ivory mounts... “metal is better”, but no impact on nickel over silver.

    I’m leaning to the h as of silver set, but would appreciate a “sense check”... thanks for the assistance and support!


  • #2
    If I were looking at buying vintage style pipes made by Naill, the pipes made by Naill for Roddy Macleod would be high on my list. You should also go to Roddy’s website and look at his offerings.

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    • #3
      There is/has been recently a pristine full silver set of new ish Naill pipes for sale in FL. $7000. They won’t make or help you play better ....but you might ask around if your purse will afford it.

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      • #4
        I've owned several sets of each. There is no effect on the sound, and even "soft" silver is still pretty tough, I doubt you could dent it without wrecking the pipes. Both tarnish, but silver polishes very easily with a few twists of a silver cleaning cloth. Nickel, on the other hand, is often a royal pain to polish up....and it dulls again quickly.
        Recently i had a set of pipes I loved the sound of, but the ghastly nickle mounts looked like pewter just days after I cleaned them.
        Not being able to afford silver, I instead swapped the nickel for aluminum made by Dunbar, and hand engraved in a pattern of my choice by David Davidse. Stunningly gorgeous, near impossible to tell its not silver, and 2 years later I haven't had to clean it, still looks like new.
        So that might be an option for you too.
        By the way, full silver pipes are noticeably heavier than standard pipes. Not a show stopper, but after a long parade you might feel it...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Lochie View Post
          By the way, full silver pipes are noticeably heavier than standard pipes. Not a show stopper, but after a long parade you might feel it...
          Naill uses quite substantial pieces of metal, silver or nickel, so I'd agree, if the kind of piping you do involves long stands or the like, a heavy set of pipes can be a nuisance.
          http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
          -- Formerly known as CalumII

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          • #6
            Greetings, LeoCDN,

            Well... it's certainly a nice problem... and decision... to have... and
            Congratulations!!... on your forthcoming retirement... and a hardy
            Welcome!!... to the Forum!!

            For your decision... and your dilemma... kindly allow me the following...

            I have always had (I just... Came That Way From the Factory.) a great
            and four-fold preference for silver... over nickle... or any other metal.

            The first... is that... and at least to me... though some may disagree...
            it is... warm... in its varying hues... and presentations...

            The second... is that over Time... and various polishings... the darker
            residue... that shall assuredly accumulate... in some of the crevices...
            do but serve to accentuate... the warmer radiance... of the silver...
            over Time... and bespeaks the long lineage ... of its use...

            The third... is that... Yes!!... Though the weight shall be the greater...
            on both your shoulder... and your purse... both... are but an almost
            minuscule... "small price to pay"... for such a presently magnificent set...
            and one that shall become... the more so with... the Passage of Time...

            Fourth & Final... Though it may be a bit of an Odd Duck consideration...
            (Again, apologies... just... Came That way From the Factory) ... silver...
            precludes the possibilities... of any iron... being in your mounts... and
            as many may know... The Little People... Na Daoine Beaga... dis-like...
            and always stay far away from... any iron... and any... of its particles...

            How e'er you go...
            Wishing for you... Great Happiness in your choice...
            and... All the Best!!

            Pip01







            Last edited by Pip01; 02-10-2021, 09:44 AM.
            My friends all know,
            With what a brave carouse...

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            • #7
              Somehow duplicated.

              Now expunged.





              Last edited by Pip01; 02-10-2021, 09:39 AM.
              My friends all know,
              With what a brave carouse...

              Comment


              • #8


                Somehow triplicated.

                Now expunged.







                Last edited by Pip01; 02-10-2021, 09:39 AM.
                My friends all know,
                With what a brave carouse...

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'll second the congratulations on your retirement. I'd also second Lochie's and CalumII's comments. I've owned a Naill full silver and they are heavy. I've also owned pipes with hand engraved aluminum and those were so lite on the shoulder. And, I've had pipes with nickel ferrules too. I currently play a half silver Naill with aged imitation ivory mounts. I prefer the look of the silver and just based on my personal journey might suggest you may regret not having gone with the silver. So, not to channel the devil, but it's your treat after a long career. Enjoy! Splurge. Wishing you happy piping.
                  Chris Knife

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks to all for the feedback and supportive guidance. I must say... I need to spend a lot more time on this forum... quality of the feedback/support was the best. “Half silver” it is... I like the idea of playing/maintaining a set of pipes on loan from a future piper, something to enjoy and pass on. . Enjoy your day!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I play a set of half silver Naills and I have never regretted the purchase. The engraved silver combined with the aged ivory is stunning. The nickle could be a very good alternative, but something to consider is that I believe only certain engravings are available with the nickle. The price differential can be hard to swallow, but it's a one time thing and you will have your pipes for many years so get what you really want!


                      Naills.jpg

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by John Miner View Post
                        I play a set of half silver Naills and I have never regretted the purchase. The engraved silver combined with the aged ivory is stunning. The nickle could be a very good alternative, but something to consider is that I believe only certain engravings are available with the nickle. The price differential can be hard to swallow, but it's a one time thing and you will have your pipes for many years so get what you really want!


                        Naills.jpg

                        John, those pipes are stunning... spectacular! Thanks for sharing!

                        All the best!
                        Leo

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          There's no substitute for the way hand-engraved Sterling silver looks. Silver has a uniquely classy colour, and with hand-engraved mounts the cuts, the facets, gleam.

                          Going back into bagpipe history, throughout the 19th century and up through around WWII bagpipe mounts, sporran cantles, Highland buckles, dirk fittings etc were typically made out of "German Silver" also known as "Cupro-Nickel" and "Nickel Silver" which was an alloy that actually contained no silver.

                          So RG Lawrie offered the same pipes in silver & ivory and German Silver & ivory. These sets looked identical except that the German Silver sets lacked Silver hallmarks. Both the Silver and German Silver mounts were solid, not plated. Here's a Lawrie German Silver & ivory set from the early 20th century. (I owned this set for years and the German Silver mounts didn't tarnish quickly and didn't require frequent polishing. Music shops sell specially treated cloths for wiping down Nickel instruments which keeps them nice and shiny without actually polishing them.)

                          Last edited by pancelticpiper; 03-08-2021, 05:50 AM.
                          proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

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                          • #14
                            Kintail was one maker who continued making chased "nickel" (German Silver) pipes, here's a Kintail set from 2003

                            proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

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                            • #15
                              (BTW these are separate posts because this site won't let me add to my existing posts.)

                              Here's another thing that some pipemakers did. Looks like a Silver set, but it's solid chased German Silver which was silver-plated. By Kintail 1981.

                              proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; Son of the Revolution and Civil War; first European settlers on the Guyandotte

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