Review: A guide to Reedmaking for the Uilleann Pipes" by Pat

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bobkeenan
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Review: A guide to Reedmaking for the Uilleann Pipes" by Pat

Post by bobkeenan » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:12 pm

There is a great new reedmaking book out..... "A guide to Reedmaking for the Uilleann Pipes" by Patrick O'hare". If you want to contact him his email address is.. pohare1@hotmail.co.uk
The book is 25GBP + Shipping.

I am a beginning pipe player and an even more of a newbie to reed making. But I think I have read almost every document that you can see or download on the internet and have bought Brittons, Quinn's and now O'hares book. And I am now repeatably making working reeds for my chanter. Keeping that all in mind, here is what I thought about the book that Just got yesterday and have already read cover to cover.

1. Its the newest and nicest book on reedmaking that I have ever seen.
2. Its chock full of nice color photographs. Although I wish some were better close-ups.
3. If you have never made reeds before than this has got it all and is explained very well. Although looking at the reed making videos on na piobairi uilleann will help.
4. If you have made reeds for years its likely that you will know all of this stuff but O'hare does do a few things that I (with my vast 8 weeks of reedmaking behind me) had not seen before and I will try them out. I also suppose that even if you are a veteran reedmaker that you may still find it interesting to see how O'hare does his reeds.

As for criticisms.... only 2.

1. He only shows how to make a tubing staple. I know that Britton took the same approach but I have had some difficulty making tubing staples work for my chanter. But every rolled staple has worked. I am suspecting that my tubing problem is connected with my Brad Angus throat that is only around 4mm or. But I sort of wished he would have added a chapter on rolled staples.
2. There are several areas were he references one of his photos but in many cases the photo is not close enough. I know know what he is referencing but a total beginner may miss the point. A good Macro lens would fix that.

What does he do differently that I do..... and that I will try next.

1. He uses a straight chisel a lot to get the to the final size before gouging..... I gouge till I get there. His method seems faster.
2. He gets the slip down to around 1/2 (12.7mm) width before gouging. It would seem to me that with gouging and sanding after that you would be wearing the edges down so at the finish your width would be < 1/2". But what do I know. And I will try this
3. I pre-scrape before cutting the slip in half but he has a unique way of doing it....and I really want to try it.
4. I will try his tube staple method with his dimensions but I am not sure if it will work with my chanter.
5. He gouges for the staple but I have found that while that gouging reduces the risk of split cane during the winding.... it also reduces the air volume in the reed and that may be why my staple gouged reeds dont see to work as well..... but again I will try this.

So in summary. A nice book, great resource for a beginner, and there may be techniques in here that experience reedmakers have not seen.

outofthebox
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Re: Review: A guide to Reedmaking for the Uilleann Pipes" by

Post by outofthebox » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:39 am

Yes - there are quite a lot of differences of opinion on tubing versus rolled staples. I've never been convinced that rolled staples offer anything significantly better than tubing. But there is also a problem with manuals recommending 5mm brass tubing, as if it will work in every D chanter. It certainly will not. But there are other sizes of tubing available - imperial and metric - copper or brass. And there are ways of working the staple to achieve a desired internal volume.

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Re: Review: A guide to Reedmaking for the Uilleann Pipes" by

Post by Ted » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:31 am

Many reedmakers have not had good instruction as to how simple it actually is to roll staples. As a result, they struggle with making tubing work. Many reeds simply do not fit any available pre-made tubing. The ideal staple is often somewhere "in between" sizes. Using tubing may require a lot of different adjustments to the head measurements to get the internal volume of the reed right. The other approach is to flare part of the tubing to increase its' internal volume or to squish part of the staple or add wire rushes. I find using a standard head and changing staple sizes gives the most reliable results. You have exact control of the internal size of the staple when you roll them. The size difference between all the available tubing is just too great to fit some reeds. Also, some chanters react better to a conical staple. You can flare tubing by spinning, but the labor involved is more time consuming than rolling one in the first place. I find those who avoid rolling staples have never tried it or failed in their attempts to do so because of lack of hands-on instruction. They fear what they don't know.
Last edited by Ted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Review: A guide to Reedmaking for the Uilleann Pipes" by

Post by djm » Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:37 am

I hope you are passing all these comments back to Mr. O'Hare so that his next reprint can include fixes to the short-comings you've reported. Just griping to the choir doesn't get anything fixed.

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Re: Review: A guide to Reedmaking for the Uilleann Pipes" by

Post by Ted » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:01 pm

I wrote him about staples. He never learned to roll staples so only uses tubing. Not a complete approach to reeds IMHO. I doubt he will change the book.

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Re: Review: A guide to Reedmaking for the Uilleann Pipes" by

Post by ausdag » Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:06 pm

Ted wrote:You can flare tubing by spinning, but the labor involved ...
I used to flare my tubing by annealing it and then stretching it over a suitably-tapered nail punch, simply by hammering the punch down into the staple. Sometimes took a bit of effort to separate the staple from the punch but generally just a matter of working over it with a few taps of the hammer. So long ago now I've forgotten whether the flared part went into making the eye end or the reed seat end. I think it was the eye end.
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Re: Review: A guide to Reedmaking for the Uilleann Pipes" by

Post by Ted » Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:51 pm

I just received a private message from Patrick O'Hare about rolled staples. The conversation I had written about above about rolling staples was with another reed-maker, not Mr. O'Hare. He pointed out that he rolls staples when needed, but feels that he can often produce good results with hobby tubing. He also feels beginning reed-makers do not need to know how to roll staples and he has his reasons for not including instuctions on rolling staples in his new book. He did not share his reasons with me. No doubt Patrick is a good reed-maker who often achieves good results with tubing staples. I have a different approach. Please note I did not say better, just different. I have a couple of chanters in my possession that absolutely require rolled staples. No tubing staple, coupled with whatever modified reed head will work in them. He also admits such chanters exist. I learned the art from old reed-makers living in the US who did not think there were many chanters that could be reeded with tubing and insisted on rolling staples for everything. I use tubing where I can, but seldom in chanters. These are not vintage chanters. He seemed to imply that only vintage chanters may require a rolled staple. Rolling staples is simply what is easiest for me to get great results. Patrick also pointed out that some of my post was "frankly insulting to reedmakers who acheive the highest standard of results with hobby tubing". I did not mean to insult anyone, just pointing out what works for me. My post was more directed at the previous poster on the forum, not Mr. O'Hare. I am sorry that I did not recall the proper reedmaker, with whom I had talked, who had never used rolled staples. Mr. O'Hare reports he can and does roll staples.

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Re: Review: A guide to Reedmaking for the Uilleann Pipes" by

Post by outofthebox » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:56 am

I think that one big reason why there is so much concentration on staples is because the tuning of chanter bores and tone holes is so problematic. In many cases the tuning of the chanter bores is not good. If tuning is an important consideration then I think that NPU should concentrate it's efforts on resolving these issues. For instance - if I wanted to know how to make a D chanter that had a good tuning I would be looking very closely at Tom Aebi's chanters, which I believe include some significant innovations which have taken the tuning of UP chanters forward, rather than constantly harking backwards to the Leo Rowsome model.

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Re: Review: A guide to Reedmaking for the Uilleann Pipes" by

Post by Mr Hulot » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:19 am

outofthebox wrote:I think that one big reason why there is so much concentration on staples is because the tuning of chanter bores and tone holes is so problematic. In many cases the tuning of the chanter bores is not good. If tuning is an important consideration then I think that NPU should concentrate it's efforts on resolving these issues. For instance - if I wanted to know how to make a D chanter that had a good tuning I would be looking very closely at Tom Aebi's chanters, which I believe include some significant innovations which have taken the tuning of UP chanters forward, rather than constantly harking backwards to the Leo Rowsome model.
Must be spring at last as OOTB has finally managed to write something I agree with :D My own set of pipes by a UK maker do not follow the Rowsome design and are in tune throughout the whole two octave range and jump between the octaves easily.

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Re: Review: A guide to Reedmaking for the Uilleann Pipes" by

Post by outofthebox » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:05 am

Mr Hulot wrote: Must be spring at last as OOTB has finally managed to write something I agree with :D My own set of pipes by a UK maker do not follow the Rowsome design and are in tune throughout the whole two octave range and jump between the octaves easily.
Compliments of the season to you too Mr Hulot 8) I think that Mr Aebi has actually taken the Rowsome model and by means of some cunningly eccentric bore alterations, made it play in tune at A=440. I don't own an Aebi chanter - all I know is that he is a flute maker who turned his attention to making D chanters - (not full sets) and because of this dedicated focus he made a real breakthrough on chanter tuning.

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Re: Review: A guide to Reedmaking for the Uilleann Pipes" by

Post by billh » Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:19 pm

I think it bears pointing out that with the right staple (and, sometimes, a 'reasonable' rush), many Rowsome chanters can and do play in tune at A=440. Very few makers (if any) make accurate Rowsome 'copies', so it is far from the case that modern makers can blame Leo for their tuning problems. The closest thing to a Rowsome bore that you'll get today is from Koehler/Quinn, Koehler, or Nakatsui, and I don't think you've much grounds to complain about their tuning.

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Re: Review: A guide to Reedmaking for the Uilleann Pipes" by

Post by seethelight » Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:31 am

I find using a standard head and changing staple sizes gives the most reliable results.

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Re: Review: A guide to Reedmaking for the Uilleann Pipes" by

Post by twined » Fri Mar 04, 2016 3:08 am

I use tubing where I can, but seldom in chanters.
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