Tools for pipemaking

A forum to discuss the arcane art of making uilleann pipes, reeds, and set maintenance.

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upiper71
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Tools for pipemaking

Post by upiper71 » Thu Jan 12, 2006 9:31 am

I've searching around for at least a few tools as well as a wood-lathe. What tools does one start with for a beginning wood-turner? I have a few saws, a drill press, a mitre saw, and a few others to begin with...but.

I have turned out a few make-shift recorder-style (pieces of uh-hum...wood :) but after making a few hundred reeds, am fairly confident to turn some wood in my favor and I'm interested in making my own chanters to start.

Any suggestions for a beginning turner? Tools, methods, suggestions?

upiper71

cj dixon
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Post by cj dixon » Thu Jan 12, 2006 10:14 am

Hi Daryl,
For turning chanters you will need an air compressor, gun barrel drill bit tapped for air intake (side or end depends on your lathe setup), good turning chisel set and reamer (which you can make). You cannot use a twist drill for the bore pilot hole as it will wander over the distance and that is why the gun barrel drill bit is necessary. Having a 2 axis vise for your drill press is an inexpensive method for drilling your tone holes. A metal lathe for turning your brass would be helpful as well, but not not mandatory. If you modify your wood lathe to have a tool steady rest, you could turn your brass on it.

I won't get into too much detail as far as technique etc. here but you can email me for more information.

I hope this helps and good luck.
CJ
CJ DIXON Celtic Instruments
www.cjdixon.com

upiper71
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Post by upiper71 » Thu Jan 12, 2006 10:44 am

Hey Chris,

Thanks for the prompt reply.

I think I'll take you up on the offer to email you. I'd like to see some pictures as I am very visual and can remember a technique or method directly from memory. I just purchased a home here in Montreal-West and my wife's uncle used to teach workworking and is in the process of retiring, and getting rid of his equipment. I wil of course take full-advantage of that and buy some of his sets.

I am doing this as an experiment for myself only, and NOT to produce sets, as it could time consuming. I am also interested in some of the Great-Canadian hardwoods we have here and try to turn out something of reasonable value for myself. I was thinking a Applewood or Honduras-Rosewood maybe..(even if it's not Canadian) LOL.

Anyways, I'll have to cut this short...but I'll be in touch and thanks again for the pointers..

Daryl Mc.

Kevin Popejoy
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Post by Kevin Popejoy » Thu Jan 12, 2006 11:48 am

Gundrills are a nice time saver but are not required. With proper technique all step drilling on a chanter can be accomplished with inexpensive twist bits. Gun drills would be nice for boring out all the various parts on drones but there again, only a convenience not a requirement. I would only consider such an investment if I were planning on making several sets.

Kevin

billh
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Post by billh » Thu Jan 12, 2006 12:00 pm

Hi Daryl:

I agree with CJ that a metal lathe would be useful - but mainly because to do a good job you'll have to make a number of your own tools, in particular reamers. If you only ever need/want to make one set of reamers, then I suppose if you are sufficiently tenacious and meticulous it could be done with a woodturning lathe. The main thing is that you'll need to crank the speed way down, and you may find that most of the task of reducing the reamer blank to a cone would have to be achieve with files and abrasives. Lathe filing at wood-turning speeds can be quite dangerous, so I wonder if it's advisable; I'd keep the speed below 800 RPM when filing, and be sure to use good handles on your files (but not gloves!). I think that you'll find that most of the tools you need are things you'll end up custom-making yourself, which is why a metal lathe can be so helpful. Like a number of makers, I do all of my work on a metal lathe, even the wood turning; if you could choose, I'd recommend a metal lathe over a wood lathe if you only have money or space for one. Whatever you use for boring and turning your wood will need at least 16 inches between centres (18 inches for flat pitch pipes).

I also agree with CJ that gun drills are very desirable. However there are successful makers who do without them (as did the old-timers who made pipes before gun drills existed). Instead you can make your own D bits and do reasonably good (but very slow) long-hole boring with them. This saves the cost and space of a good compressor and gun drill. If you're just messing around for fun, and money is an issue, then perhaps the gun drills can wait. So you could save that money for a small metal lathe, for making your reamers!

There is excellent info on making reamers in the Sean Reid Society Journal volume 1, available from NPU. There is also much vital information on pipemaking in David Quinn's pipemaking CD-ROM which he published last year, including detailed note on making concert pitch drones, and discussion of reamer-making. Also, you'll need to get ahold of good bore data for a decent set of pipes, which is harder to do than one might think. Fortunately, excellent detailed measurements for a 1930's Leo Rowsome stick were published in the Autumn 1999 issue of the Pipers' Review (back issues from charm@seanet dot com) http://www.irishpipersclub.org/

I don't recommend using the various printed plans/blueprints as your definitive measurements; the sources above are both more detailed and more reliable IMO.

best regards

Bill

upiper71
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Post by upiper71 » Thu Jan 12, 2006 1:32 pm

Hi Billh,

Thanks for the reply. I appreciate it A LOT! :D

I think I may end up going for the metal lathe at first, I'm sure my wife's uncle will certainly give me pointer or two on workin' it. :)

I currently have a 1/2 set of Robbie Hughes pipes of Co.Strangford N.Ireland, and I'll try calling Robbie to see if if he'd mind selling me his plans or passing on some dimensions. Like I say I'm just toying with the idea of makin' me own chanter just for fun, and not really into making for anyone else, although I've made a couple of reeds successful for others over the course of the last year or so.

I will definately consider your suggestion of D.Quinn's CD as I only live an hour away from their shop, and could order it from them I hope. Also, do you have suggestions for types of metal used for "reamers"?, and types wood you use in your craft..;) I've heard of rumor that your turning some more than decent sets...you could of course PM me if that's in fact, true or false.. :wink: Thanks very much again...

Kevin Popejoy
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Post by Kevin Popejoy » Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:56 pm

upiper71 wrote:Hi Billh,

Thanks for the reply. I appreciate it A LOT! :D

I think I may end up going for the metal lathe at first, I'm sure my wife's uncle will certainly give me pointer or two on workin' it. :)

I currently have a 1/2 set of Robbie Hughes pipes of Co.Strangford N.Ireland, and I'll try calling Robbie to see if if he'd mind selling me his plans or passing on some dimensions.
Perhaps a better practice might be to measure the chanter you have rather than seek dimensions from Robbie. It's a part of the process of making a chanter and a prime learning opportunity. The tools you make to accomplish the measurements will serve you well as you finish your chanter.
Also, do you have suggestions for types of metal used for "reamers"?, and types wood you use in your craft..;)
I use O-1 (oil hardening tool steel) drill rod for my reamers. It's generally available in a broad range of diameters, is relatively inexpensive, and easy to work with. There are a variety of useful woods available. It's probably best not to stray too far from what a typical pipemaker would use. Ebony, Cocobolo, Mopane, Boxwood come to mind. There are inexpensive South American hardwoods that you might consider, particularly as you practice your technique. It's probably best not to risk that nice stick of ebony on your first attempts. I've used Platymiscium pinnatum (common name: granadillo) to good effect. It has a density similar to cocobolo and has an oily nature so it takes a nice polish.

Kevin

upiper71
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Post by upiper71 » Thu Jan 12, 2006 8:37 pm

Kevin,

Thanks for the suggestion. I will be following everyone's direction as best I can for the moment, once I am up and running.

Again ...thanks a lot. :D

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PJ
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Post by PJ » Sun Jan 15, 2006 11:29 am

Daryl,

Should I place my order now or is your waiting list already 10 years long? :wink:

Seriously though, it would be interesting to have a look at a pipemaker's workshop and maybe see some of the stages of pipemaking. Maybe through the club we could organise something.
PJ

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dropkick
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Post by dropkick » Mon Jan 16, 2006 5:35 am

PJ wrote:Daryl,

Should I place my order now or is your waiting list already 10 years long? :wink:
You silly, silly man, he's already stated that he does not intend to go into making pipes as a profession, just to make a set for himself.... but, come to think of it, once he has taken all of the money and time required to develop the skills, knowledge and gather the tools necessary for this experiment, he could have a change of heart. :twisted: :mrgreen:
There are two ends to every pudding... -Cptn. Jack Aubrey.

Image
http://flojoereeds.com/

upiper71
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Post by upiper71 » Thu Jan 26, 2006 6:20 am

Dropkick wrote:
PJ wrote:Daryl,

Should I place my order now or is your waiting list already 10 years long? :wink:
You silly, silly man, he's already stated that he does not intend to go into making pipes as a profession, just to make a set for himself.... but, come to think of it, once he has taken all of the money and time required to develop the skills, knowledge and gather the tools necessary for this experiment, he could have a change of heart. :twisted: :mrgreen:
Maybe...just ....maybe... :lol: No Guarantee's...I guess it'll depend on how much cursing $%^&*@!!!!! ....I do. :lol:


PJ, Yes, perhaps, in the spring. I've been trying to organize something for the club. Maybe sooner than later??

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