Lacing Tape

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outofthebox
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Lacing Tape

Post by outofthebox » Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:47 am

I've been trying to find black waxed lacing tape - as an alternative to hemp. It's widely available in the US in almost any colour, but the UK suppliers only seem to have it in white/natural. Anyone know where I can get the black tape?

billh
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Re: Lacing Tape

Post by billh » Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:14 pm

I think RS (aka radionics.ie over here) has it in its "Global" range - RS Stock No. 2508357916. Expensive (about 90 euro all told, for quantity 1 delivered) but I it's a big spool (1000 metres), haven't tried it yet.

I like the small polyamide, 1.2x0.4mm, 10 kg (22 lb) tensile strength; the black is listed as 32 lb so probably thicker.

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awilde569
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Re: Lacing Tape

Post by awilde569 » Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:14 pm

Came across a few sites that -seem- to have it available for the UK

http://uk.farnell.com/lacing-cord
http://www.cablecraft.co.uk/ProductGrp/lacing_cord

I've been using the stuff for making my own reeds and a little bit goes a long way since the tape is so wide compared to hemp or dental floss.

** Came across another link that might be more useful (since I noticed the actual tapes in the above were of the white variety...) http://www.findtheneedle.co.uk/products ... -cords.asp It looks like you would have to contact them to see if they do small orders though.

If all else fails there are a few online US based sites that do work with international shipping agencies, one is Aircraft Spuce & Specialty co. http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/e ... gTapes.php I'm just not sure how much the shipping would be on it.
Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity

outofthebox
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Re: Lacing Tape

Post by outofthebox » Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:43 am

Thanks for the links - I don't want to spend a lot on this as I won't need a lot. I got a little bit of the white tape for my chanter top and it is really very good indeed - much better than hemp. So I'm going to replace all of the hemp joints on my set with lacing tape. I may end up getting a small roll of the white tape and colour it black with a permanent marker pen. 8)

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Re: Lacing Tape

Post by billh » Thu Jun 24, 2010 5:00 pm

outofthebox wrote:... So I'm going to replace all of the hemp joints on my set with lacing tape.
Bad idea! DON'T DO IT!

It may be OK for non-sliding joints beneath metal, but you'll begin to see the problems as the seasons change. Waxed thread of all sorts - especially the synthetic stuff - compresses down and doesn't spring back. Thus it still gets loose when timber shrinks in winter, but then gets tighter again when humidity returns - after you've added more. This is a recipe for bad tenon compression.

For drone slides especially, it's even worse since what you want is a sliding fit that isn't actually very tight, but doesn't let air through. The lacing tape is a bit better than PTFE in that it has some grip, but the lack of 'fuzz' and reluctance to spring back is a problem. You might get away with it if your drone slides are made of metal tubing, though I think it will have the same downside as the seasons change as I mentioned above. Underneath timber drone slide sockets I think it's especially dangerous - I think it's dangerous to use it with wooden chanter caps for much the same reason. I have used it in the past but have mended my ways (before having to mend my pipes)...

I've gone over to unwaxed cotton or linen - the rougher the better - for most all joints, on the basis of both direct experience and advice from several seasoned pipemakers. It's yet another case where the "old boys" from the past were right.

regards,

Bill

outofthebox
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Re: Lacing Tape

Post by outofthebox » Fri Jun 25, 2010 4:11 am

I can see that problems might arise from forcing wooden joints in too tight - but that problem equally applies to hemp. As I see it the advantage of lacing tape is that it flattens easily to provide a good airtightness, while still allowing the joint to come apart easily. This advantage becomes apparent when we consider how many times a single drone or regulator needs to be taken out when setting or adjusting a reed.

As I've been struggling with the hemp joints on my set I've thought about the possibility of some kind of spring release method for drones and regulators. Something very simple - on the same principle say, as the quick release spring mechanism that holds a light bulb in a light fitting. Just a thought...

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Re: Lacing Tape

Post by Ted » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:36 pm

I am with billh on this one. Shoe thread, which is single spun flax (referred to by GHB players as hemp), is traditional and probably best for wrapping tenons. It has become harder to source in the last few years. I think PTFE or teflon tape is an abomination and not good for joints as it slips too easily and requires a tight joint to work. Dry spun flax consisting of plant fibers which are twisted together is nobby, which means it has bits of loose fibers sticking out all along the thread, and these fibers are what contributes to the superior air-tightness of it. The joint doesn't have to be wrapped so it is difficult to move to be air-tight, which leaves some room for expansion and contraction due to temp./humidity swings. The best weight for UP is 20/1, the /1 meaning single spun. GHB pipers use 10/1 or number 10 weight, which is twice as thick as the 20/1, and too thick for tenor drone tenons and other smaller tenons. Some genuine hemp is now available, even dry spun and nobby. You can add to or subtract from the wrap to accommodate movement of the wood. Some makers are using silk thread like some flute makers use for their tenons. I may apply bees wax to the bottom layers of multi-layered joints, being sure the top two layers, which are on the outside, are left un-waxed for air-tightness. I have used waxed thread with cork grease or tallow used as a lubricant on the outside of the wrap on a chanter with a metal cap. You need to occasionally re-new the grease.

outofthebox
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Re: Lacing Tape

Post by outofthebox » Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:17 am

Just an update - after much searching around on the web, I finally settled on a roll of this stuff.

http://www.canford.co.uk/Products/39-23 ... -250g-reel

I have used it to replace all of the flaky, old yellow hemp joints on my set and it is excellent stuff for this purpose. It looks white on the photo, but is more of a creamy buff colour, with it being so heavily waxed. As it is a round twine about 1mm thick it is quite a springy cord and because the strands are so heavily impregnated with wax it compresses together very nicely and the wax provides lubrication for tenons and tuning slides. The twine can be sub-divided into thinner strands - very useful for getting those slides just right. Only problem was I had to buy a 500m roll - total cost including vat and delivery about £17.00. I'll be using it for reedmaking too - but I suspect there will be enough on that roll for several piping reincarnations 8)

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DMQuinn
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Re: Lacing Tape

Post by DMQuinn » Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:50 am

BillH gave his advice on June 24, and Ted his on June 25. Both of these guys know whereof they speak, and both advised with reasoned arguments against the use of waxed thread.

The product description PDF of the Canford lacing cord specifically touts the use of wax as contributing to a non-slip knot. The stuff may be great for wrapping reeds, but it's not a good idea to use wax on joints that are supposed to be moved, such as drone slides and reed tenons.

outofthebox
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Re: Lacing Tape

Post by outofthebox » Fri Sep 03, 2010 3:42 am

Well all I can say is the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The issue for me was - would this lacing cord perform better on my set than my old yellow hemp? Having put it to the test I now know that the answer is yes. 8)

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DMQuinn
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Re: Lacing Tape

Post by DMQuinn » Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:13 am

Time will tell.

brazenkane
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Re: Lacing Tape

Post by brazenkane » Fri Sep 03, 2010 3:20 pm

David's right! You'll have problems later that are considerably worse than parts falling off!

Ted
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Re: Lacing Tape

Post by Ted » Fri Sep 03, 2010 5:00 pm

Some guys just have to learn the hard way. Many have been down this path before and think they know more than the old-timers.

outofthebox
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Re: Lacing Tape

Post by outofthebox » Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:16 am

I appreciate your concern and if any problems do arise I'll certainly post an update to this thread. But it's just in my nature to put things to the test. 8)

brazenkane
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Re: Lacing Tape

Post by brazenkane » Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:00 pm

Peter Hunter mentioned once to not even to use nylon thread on tenons, preferring only cotton thread! He recounted a chanter top that now had built in nylon thread pressed into the wood! :shock:

David, Ted, Peter, Sam....all authorities with mega experience that have seen damaged instruments as a result of "good" ideas. I'll gladly follow their sound advice, and stay as far away from the instrument hospital as possible!

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