I got a brand new bellows a few weeks ago and an issue arose in relation to the air inlet valve. The bellows was perfectly airtight, but I found that the inlet valve was a little too tight and efficient. This meant that the bellows wasn't drawing in air as quickly as I could on my old bellows. So I removed the valve and made it a little bit looser - first by reducing the width of the valve hinge and also by manipulating the valve itself so that in resting state it is hanging a little loose off the end of the inlet pipe.
What this does is allow me to draw in air with a lot less effort and also, which is important in playing terms, to draw smaller amounts of air without making a full sweep of the bellows, so less effort and motion of the bag arm is required to get the air supply that I need. It might seem that loosening the valve would reduce overall efficiency of the bellows, but actually it works out that the looser valve improves playability by making the bellows intake more responsive.
A forum to discuss the arcane art of making uilleann pipes, reeds, and set maintenance.
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