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  • To oil or not to oil?

    Greetings to you all. I've got a set of cocus Hendersons, circa 1905, that I've played only a few times since early 2009. They've been stored carefully in that time, but played once a year or less. Once I put a new bag on them, I want to play them regularly again. I'll do so very gradually, beginning with just a few minutes each day. Question: would it be good to oil the drone bores now, or wait until they've had some playing time? I'm inclined to oil them lightly now and let them sit for a few days, but I read somewhere that it would be best to put some playing time on the bores first.

    The drones appear to be in great condition, and today I plan to treat the exteriors with Renaissance wax.

    Thank you!
    Eddie
    "All politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision." Lord Shaftesbury

  • #2
    Leaving aside the question of oiling or not to one side, any suitable oil for this purpose dissolves in water, and so it doesn't really matter what state the drone is in when you oil them, Though if you are just bringing them back into use, a heavy oiling or wetting is probably best avoided.

    What tends to cause issues is not humidity or lack of it, it's rapid cycling of moisture levels.
    http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
    -- Formerly known as CalumII

    Comment


    • #3
      Ask 10 pipers about oil and you'll get 34 different answers.

      In my mind, it depends largely on your climate, but in the realm of getting the drones back into playing shape here's my two cents. Avoid rapid anything. Because different parts of the wood have ever so slightly different moisture absorption properties (dense vs sparse grain, different rings from the tree, different trees, etc.), sudden changes are the most dangerous course of action. So, if they are dry now, keep them dry as best as you can while also gradually bringing them out of dryness. You could probably do a very very slight oil, but my inclination would be to play them like 5 minutes for a couple of days to a week, and then 10 for a few days, 15, 30, 45, so on. Also being sure to swab out the moisture from the bores. You want to help the wood get less dry but you also want to maintain the equilibrium that the wood has achieved through not being played.

      My other piece of advice would be to examine each piece while you swab them out after playing each time. Notice the grain, and start making a mental map of how things look. That way, you can easily spot if a crack is starting before the crack gets to be in "piece replacement" territory.
      Jack
      Serving Jello with a ladle since... forever

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree, on most levels, with both above. Not to rephrase or extend...or necessarily disagree, I would run good oil through them now, and certainly (as Calum states) before too much moisture (water) is in the bores. And, yes, slow and gradual changes.

        Comment


        • #5
          I've read somewhere that, if oiling inside and outside of drones, it's best to do inside first, then outside. Adding oil or moisture to the inside, however gradually, while sealing off any outside absorption - due to applying wax right away - seems to feed the one while starving the other.

          I think the inside and outside of bored wood should be treated with equal measures.
          “Where’s my beer?”

          Comment


          • #6

            Ah... Eddie!!

            What a lovely set of pipes to have!! :-)
            (You Lucky Devil, You!! :-)

            And yes!! As noted above--"X" number of pipers--will
            always--get you--beaucoup opinions!! ('Twas ever thus. :-)

            With myself--having both Cocus and ABW pipes of more
            than 100 years of age--I am assiduous--in my care--of--
            and for them!! (And--how not?!)

            And Yes!! Kindly and please--oil them--and with a light--
            and gentle hand...

            Further more--I--and many--many others--have found
            "The Doctor's Bore Oil"--to be--without comparison--
            or peer--in the care--and the protection--of woodwinds--
            and pipes. (I first learned of it from friends that I have in
            symphonic orchestras.)

            It is easily available on-line--and from its original source--
            is inexpensive--and if you get the larger size--"Bob's Your
            Uncle!!"--and for any--Foreseeable Future!! :-)

            If you choose this Avenue of Approach--your pipes will
            be happy!!--and you shall then have many fewer worries
            about bad weather--rain--cold--and a hot and glaring sun.

            How e'er you go--wishing you--and your pipes--All the Best!!,

            Pip01




            My friends all know,
            With what a brave carouse...

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Calum View Post
              Leaving aside the question of oiling or not to one side, any suitable oil for this purpose dissolves in water, and so it doesn't really matter what state the drone is in when you oil them, Though if you are just bringing them back into use, a heavy oiling or wetting is probably best avoided.

              What tends to cause issues is not humidity or lack of it, it's rapid cycling of moisture levels.
              Thank you, Calum. You are quite right: a slow and easy return to use seems best for the old pipes.
              Eddie
              "All politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision." Lord Shaftesbury

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jackhawkpiper97 View Post
                Ask 10 pipers about oil and you'll get 34 different answers.

                In my mind, it depends largely on your climate, but in the realm of getting the drones back into playing shape here's my two cents. Avoid rapid anything. Because different parts of the wood have ever so slightly different moisture absorption properties (dense vs sparse grain, different rings from the tree, different trees, etc.), sudden changes are the most dangerous course of action. So, if they are dry now, keep them dry as best as you can while also gradually bringing them out of dryness. You could probably do a very very slight oil, but my inclination would be to play them like 5 minutes for a couple of days to a week, and then 10 for a few days, 15, 30, 45, so on. Also being sure to swab out the moisture from the bores. You want to help the wood get less dry but you also want to maintain the equilibrium that the wood has achieved through not being played.

                My other piece of advice would be to examine each piece while you swab them out after playing each time. Notice the grain, and start making a mental map of how things look. That way, you can easily spot if a crack is starting before the crack gets to be in "piece replacement" territory.
                Jack
                Thank you, Jack. That is excellent insight and advice. I will certainly follow it.
                Eddie
                "All politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision." Lord Shaftesbury

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Billy Boy View Post
                  I've read somewhere that, if oiling inside and outside of drones, it's best to do inside first, then outside. Adding oil or moisture to the inside, however gradually, while sealing off any outside absorption - due to applying wax right away - seems to feed the one while starving the other.

                  I think the inside and outside of bored wood should be treated with equal measures.
                  That seems like a good insight, Billy. Thank you!
                  Eddie
                  "All politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision." Lord Shaftesbury

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Pip01 View Post
                    ...
                    Further
                    more--I--and many--many others--have found
                    "The Doctor's Bore Oil"--to be--without comparison--
                    or peer--in the care--and the protection--of woodwinds--
                    and pipes. (I first learned of it from friends that I have in
                    symphonic orchestras.) ...
                    Thank you, Pip. Yes, they are beautiful old pipes, and too good for me. In the hands of a good piper, they sound as good as they look. I've always used Doctor's oil (or almond oil on occasion) and will do so again. And these won't be allowed outside in bad weather; I've got a different set for that kind of thing I hope you are enjoying your old pipes; they sound lovely.
                    Cheers!
                    Last edited by Andrew Lenz; 11-20-2021, 10:59 AM. Reason: Trimmed down block quote.
                    Eddie
                    "All politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision." Lord Shaftesbury

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Anyone bought any Doctor's lately? Last time I looked it seemed unavailable except from a few places that had small bottles only. Emails to Doctor's Products went unanswered

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Raibeart View Post
                        Anyone bought any Doctor's lately? Last time I looked it seemed unavailable except from a few places that had small bottles only. Emails to Doctor's Products went unanswered
                        I've searched and can't find it available. Is purified almond oil still considered a suitable oil? Other oils for woodwinds are out there, but I haven't used them.
                        Eddie
                        "All politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision." Lord Shaftesbury

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I found this article by Dave Atherton very detailed, and useful...

                          https://www.dmatherton.com/education.php

                          But I note that you mentioned your pipes were cocus, not blackwood....that should be considered.
                          Either way, it's a fascinating read by a premier pipe maker.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Lochie View Post
                            I found this article by Dave Atherton very detailed, and useful...

                            https://www.dmatherton.com/education.php

                            But I note that you mentioned your pipes were cocus, not blackwood....that should be considered.
                            Either way, it's a fascinating read by a premier pipe maker.
                            Thank you, Lochie. That is an interesting and informative article. Though some suggestions vary in detail, the one constant seems to be that protecting the pipes from significant changes in temperature and humidity is most important. That I am doing with care. The Hendersons are too lovely and old to be subjected to any rough treatment, so I'm going to bring them back to playing condition slowly and carefully.

                            Thanks again to you and everybody else for the valuable advice!
                            Eddie
                            "All politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision." Lord Shaftesbury

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Kinnaird Bagpipes makes a good bore oil. Clarinet, or woodwind, oil would be fine, from what I can discover.

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