A forum to discuss the arcane art of making uilleann pipes, reeds, and set maintenance.
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I was thinking of trying to make staples from 5mm diameter copper tubing - the kind that comes in coil form. Has anyone else tried this method. Most people seem to be using brass tubing - is there any reason why copper tubing wouldn't work?
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- Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 6:51 pm
- Real Name: Alex DeWilde
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Well, you can get brass tubing that's noticeably stronger with much thinner wall thickness than you can with copper. I don't think using brass or copper will make any real difference on the sound seeing as how it's the cane lips that are doing the vibrating versus the staple which its tied on to. Before I started using 4mm ID brass tubing I was hand rolling copper staples from 0.5mm thick copper shim stock (just takes a good deal longer than cutting a piece of tube and giving it a few whacks with a chasing hammer on the mandel) and can't say there has been any difference other than it being easier to fit the staple to the slips.
Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity
Thanks - I was thinking that with copper tubing it might be possible to shape it in the manner of a rolled staple - with an inward taper from the chanter seat to the reed head. What I'm aiming to do is to make a chanter reed with a shorter, narrower reed head fitted to a longer staple.
The wall thickness of the rolled tubing is much thicker than the 0.020" thick copper normally used to roll staples and the 0.014" thick brass used in the tubing for staples. There is a small tonal difference between copper and brass. I have made a few staples rolled from sterling silver sheet and find the resulting reeds having more bright overtones. The same head re-tied on a rolled copper staple will lose the brighter sound. I have also used red brass and 10K gold sheet for staples. The gold did not suffer from the brightness that the sterling silver had and will not tarnish. Very old reeds can sometimes be improved by cleaning the tarnish and detritus out the staple's interior with a pipe cleaner and a dampened abrasive. Some 95% alcohol on a piece of paper can clean (use great care) the insides of the reed head. As a reed acts as a sort of filter it can pick up and hold quite an amount of smoke etc. Now that smoking is banned in pubs, this will become less of a problem, unless you smoke while practicing at home.
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