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  • Cork instead

    I’m thinking of installing cork on all my joints instead of hemp. Anyone have any experience? Cork thickness , glue where to buy the cork?
    Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again

  • #2
    I think this has been discussed in detail here in the past, and that the general consensus was that it's not a good idea.

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    • #3
      Cork is ideal for woodwinds that are stored in a dismantled state - with pipes, because the joints are left in place, the cork compresses over time and the joint becomes loose. People do experiment with it from time to time, but I don't think many people have really been happy with it.

      Woodwind repair/supply places are where you want to look if you want to give it a go, though. With glue, just use something that can be removed!
      http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
      -- Formerly known as CalumII

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      • #4
        I corked my drone slides and loved it. In my experience, the drones were always a perfect fit and easily tuned - and this was over the course of years. The only maintenance was applying cork grease when needed.
        One of the bagpipe retailers at the time supplied a kit including the necessary cork sheet, adhesive and cork grease at a very reasonable price.
        If you try it:
        1) Cut the upper edge of the cork at a slight bevel where the slide will enter the drone
        2) Bevel the the edge of the cork that will be applied first to the slide and also apply adhesive to that bevel. When you wrap the cork around the slide, you can overlap that bevel and then trim off the overlap. That saves you trying to get an exactly cut piece for a butt joint.
        3) Use the sandpaper to bring down the correct fit for your drone. Do a little at a time, apply cork grease and try the fit. Repeat until you have the fit you want. This is also why the initial cork thickness isn't really an issue.
        4) I disassembled my drones after playing, so compression of the cork over time was never an issue - even after years.

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        • #5
          I agree with Calum on all his points. And, as Doug pointed out, this has been discussed in the past. In fact, I remember pipers trying cork 40 years ago. If cork had worked out, it stands to reason that most of us would have it, rather than hemp, on our joints.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by EquusRacer View Post

            I agree with Calum on all his points. And, as Doug pointed out, this has been discussed in the past. In fact, I remember pipers trying cork 40 years ago. If cork had worked out, it stands to reason that most of us would have it, rather than hemp, on our joints.
            Yes...I did it in the ‘70’s...but as it compressed I added hemp as a quick fix ....versus untimely re-corking efforts and/or trying to patch in. A fleeting novelty that wore off.

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            • #7
              Seems a hassle, what's wrong with hemp? Nice and easy. Cork's not common at all. If it were better for pipes it be used more. Just my 2 cents.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Bram View Post
                Seems a hassle, what's wrong with hemp? Nice and easy. Cork's not common at all. If it were better for pipes it be used more. Just my 2 cents.
                Seconded. Various makers have experimented with it. If it were better, why is it not more common?

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                • #9
                  I remember the corking fad!

                  It was big, what, in the late 1980s?

                  My PM and I had our pipes corked. Soon the cork began breaking up and coming off.

                  The musical instrument repair person explained that the gap in clarinet barrels (for example) is quite narrow, meaning a think layer of cork. Highland pipes generally have a much wider gap meaning much thicker cork.
                  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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                  • #10
                    I had until recently a set of 1970s Gillanders & McCleod that had been corked by the maker. I purchased the pipes from the original owner, who had not played them in several years. The cork was in perfect condition. I played those pipes as my primary set for a number of years and never had to add any hemp to the cork. The corked joints were all nice and snug and tuning the drones could be easily done with two fingers. There was no slippage of the drone tuning sections. This was one of the nicest sounding sets of drones I have come across. Since I already had another set of G & M that I dearly love, I sold the corked set to one of my prize-winning students as his need was greater than mine. Corked joints can be great, but I think it all depends on who does the corking.
                    Ian
                    http://www.thepipersden.net

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                    • #11
                      I was a high school band director when I started playing pipes, and was used to doing basic repairs on brass and woodwind instruments, so when the Joints on my G&M pipes needed works, I corked them and kept them in cork for many years. Over time, the cork compressed, but could be brought back to size by adding cork grease and heating over a candle flame, which made the cork absorb the grease and swell.
                      unfortunately, over time that would cause the grease to penetrate all the way to the cement layer, causing the cork to fall off.
                      I went back to hemp.
                      Slainte Leibh/ Slan Leat, Bob Cameron

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