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  • Heated Stocks?

    With the near freezing temperatures starting to make my reeds misbehave, I wonder if anyone has ever tried to invent such a thingy as heated pipe stocks? It seems to me that if the reeds were in a warmed micro environment, playing time in cold weather might be extended.

    If that is a possibility, how might one actually heat pipe stocks?

    Here's my musing: First, at least the internal lining of the stocks would have to be constructed of a heat conductive material, such as copper, or aluminum. Then, as there are rubber-coated heat cables for cold weather water pipes to prevent freezing, such a cable could be attached to each stock, as with moisture control tubing. Finally, a rechargable battery source, contained within the bag, as with MCS cannisters, could serve as a heat cable power source.

    Yes, no, maybe? Pipe bags on fire??
    “Where’s my beer?”

  • #2
    I could see where that *might* work with poly/ delrin drones and chanter, but would worry about it causing cracks in a wooden set. When it’s well below freezing, I have on occasion tucked a body warmer pack inside the bag cover close to the drone stocks and blow stick without any visible damage.
    Slainte Leibh/ Slan Leat, Bob Cameron

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    • #3
      I agree with Klondike. In addition, how often that would be required likely has to do where you live. But even then, how often would you be playing in such conditions? 1% of all your events? 10%? Would such a modification impact your other 90% or more in a positive way or not? Most of us value the sound we've worked to achieve on our valuable instruments. All that said, I suppose one could have one such set for those rare events.

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      • #4
        It certainly seems doable, and with modern microcontrollers and sensors should be fairly easy to make safe.

        What I'd be interested in though is doing some research to see what exactly it is that causes reeds to fail in cold weather. Is it the temperature of the instrument? Humidity? Air temperature inside the bag? What's the minimum intervention necessary to slow it down?
        http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
        -- Formerly known as CalumII

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        • #5
          I'd like a heated chanter so there's a remote chance I can feel the holes on November 11 and St Patrick's Day...
          Welcome to Canada

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Lochie View Post
            I'd like a heated chanter so there's a remote chance I can feel the holes on November 11 and St Patrick's Day...
            Welcome to Canada
            Ha, ha! Yes, indeed! For us, in a bit more moderate Oregon (though we've had some bone chillers), I'd be satisfied with a reservoir of hot Irish coffee under my bag cover, with a tube up a drone and from which I could sip, periodically!

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            • #7
              Another harebrained idea?
              Record an mp3 file of your drones only, using a small bluetooth player and a hockey puck size rechargeable bluetooth speaker and your drones plugged, you are ready to go.
              I have a tiny JBL bluetooth speaker and the low frequency it can handle is quite amazing.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by EquusRacer View Post
                I agree with Klondike. In addition, how often that would be required likely has to do where you live. But even then, how often would you be playing in such conditions? 1% of all your events? 10%? Would such a modification impact your other 90% or more in a positive way or not? Most of us value the sound we've worked to achieve on our valuable instruments. All that said, I suppose one could have one such set for those rare events.
                Oregon is a beautiful and temperate state. Here in Toronto I'm facing 6 months of no pipe blowing outside, which is none at all. I think for many people, every year for many months there's a big anxiety of whether the pipes will play in the cold. If so, for how many minutes before embarassment, and the ruin of a special event, not to mention the simple ability to practice. Cold climate is so disabling for this instrument. I hope it doesn't have to be that way.

                After some thought, I've begun a small research project with the theory that by using small external heating pads on the exterior of my poly stocks (yes, on wood such heating in a cold environment invites cracking disaster), I can maintain the performance of reeds by heating the surrounding poly stocks. Will the heating pads powered by a lightweight portable usb power bank be enough? I'll report the results of my experiments on this thread.

                I'm now awaiting delivery of the basic components. Glory or insanity awaits!anker-powercore-13000.jpg
                Attached Files
                Last edited by Billy Boy; 11-22-2021, 05:27 PM.
                “Where’s my beer?”

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                • #9
                  Interesting project. I have wondered about insulating a bag and making stocks out of something with better thermal insulation properties than AB or polypenco. The humidity in your breath condenses when it cools down and when that happens near your reeds it makes them gurgle or stop. If you could keep the air warm until after it passes through your reeds, it might help (until there is enough condensation in your drones to drip down into the reeds....). Another approach might be to intentionally cool the air (perhaps in a metal blow pipe) and cause the condensation to drop out of the air well before it reaches the reeds. The latter approach would need a tube trap on the blow pipe to catch the moisture before it drips into the bag.

                  Good luck with your experiment and please let us know how it goes.
                  Kevin

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                  • #10
                    I agree, decreasing the amount of moisture in the warm breath air passing from blowpipe to bag to stocks to pipes is the first stage. Just recently installed a moisture trap blowpipe and have attached a Bannatyne MCS cannister and tubes inside my synthetic bag with poly stocks and pipes. Suppose that's as good as I can do on reducing the moisture that would develop from breath in a cold environment.

                    The challenge now is to make the stock chamber just warm enough so that the residual air moisture coming from the bag does not accumulate in the four stock chambers or on the surrounded reeds sufficient to impact performance. I have the most difficulty with the chanter reed, which is closest to the cold air present through the many holes of the chanter. The drone stocks are much further away from drone top openings.

                    My concern is that no matter how much those small heating pads warm the outside of the polystocks, plastic does not conduct heat well at all, and those stock walls are 1/4" thick. Failing this, I may have to have aluminum stocks made which would conduct the heat much better from outside to inside surface around the reeds.
                    Last edited by Billy Boy; 11-23-2021, 07:27 AM.
                    “Where’s my beer?”

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                    • #11
                      Ideally your heated stocks would have a conducting material on the inside, then the heater, then an insulating material on the outside. Without the insulating material, I would imagine you will go through batteries trying to maintain temperature on a cold day.

                      Kevin

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                      • #12
                        As long as we’re dealing with poly stocks, so we are not worried about cracking, what about using some of those hand or body warmers wrapped around the stocks. The body-or-toe-warmer models have an adhesive side. (Hot Hands is one brand. Alternatively, you could make ( or adapt) a fleece sleeve, like Wristies•that you could slip a hand warmer into.
                        Slainte Leibh/ Slan Leat, Bob Cameron

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                        • #13
                          [QUOTE=Kevin;n1375338]Ideally your heated stocks would have a conducting material on the inside, then the heater, then an insulating material on the outside. Without the insulating material, I would imagine you will go through batteries trying to maintain temperature on a cold day.

                          Very good points. Yes, if crafting custom cold-weather stocks, that would be the layering order of elements. A fine balance seems best between heat and cold - don't want to make the reeds too hot. (Though, not sure what dangers too hot a stock chamber may or may not cause various reeds to fail, or how so.) Very much appreciate your advice on outside insulation. Of course! That's how plumbing water pipes are protected against freezing the standing water within; heat cables wound around the copper, then wrapped in fiberglass with paper outer skin. And, a reflective material as an outer layer also, I suspect, to keep the heat directed toward stock interior. Those stocks may get to be a bit bulky with winter stockings. Ha-ha!
                          “Where’s my beer?”

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Klondike Waldo View Post
                            As long as we’re dealing with poly stocks, so we are not worried about cracking, what about using some of those hand or body warmers wrapped around the stocks. The body-or-toe-warmer models have an adhesive side. (Hot Hands is one brand. Alternatively, you could make ( or adapt) a fleece sleeve, like Wristies•that you could slip a hand warmer into.
                            Those chemical hand warmers might work too. More good ideas! Though, I think it could get a bit expensive for poor me. I do hope to get out quite often this winter, if I can, and the one shot and done warmers ain't cheap. Think I prefer to have electric heat pads powered from rechargeable power pack. Whether the powersource of pads will provide sufficient heat it what I'm about to find out when the gear shipment arrives. So.e of the heatpads also have low/med/high settings which might be handy.

                            My other problem, of course, is painfully cold and stiff fingers. I've found that tight and thin knitted gloves with tight surgical gloves on top allow me enough sensitivity to locate the chanter holes and make a note-giving seal. At least I can in a warm room with the practice chanter. Will give it a zero Celcius test tomorrow.
                            “Where’s my beer?”

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                            • #15
                              For quite a few years we used the chemical hand warmers in fingerless gloves on the back of our hands, back of the hand keeps the blood vessels warm to the fingers. I had a notion to put one of these packs on the outside of the chanter stock with an elastic under the bag cover piece in an attempt to stabilize the reed. It is very successful as its just warm enough to help with the reed without harming wood or poly chanter stocks. The use of Bannatyne hybrid bags and moisture controls we have had a full pipe corps playing for Santa Claus parades into Dec., tuning time, standing around, and actual parade. All this being said we've not had a cold weather parade in 2 years due to the pandemic.

                              We don't practice outside in the winter as a band and any personal time is indoors.
                              General Order May 2, 1779; by Order of the Commander-in-Chief The Queen's Rangers henceforth shall be known as the "1st American Regiment".

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