Fall 2012 :

A set of uilleann pipes, pitched in concert D, for Lesley S. of Victoria. We're ultimately planning on a half-set.. Materials are cocobolo, boxwood and brass.

The project so far (scroll down for the latest update):

(Sept 2012) Officially under way! Here's the blowpipe and its stock. Because i'm sick and tired of burping blowpipe valves, i've redesigned my standard blowpipe to use the "Little Mac" valve. It's a commercially-made product aimed at highland pipers, but it should work just fine for uilleann pipes as well.

The rest of the parts for the practice set (all except the chanter so far), from left to right:

- Chanter top. We decided on the out-the-top "swan" neck arrangement.

- Blowpipe in its stock.

- Chanter stock.

- Bellows. The inlet valve is made of cocobolo to match the rest of the set, and i've just finished making up the belts and cushions so it's ready to go.


Getting ready to drill the chanter. This takes a series of 16 drills, half of which are homemade step drills which help to keep the series concentric through the bore as i drill from the largest diameter down to the smallest.
(23 Sept) Here we're about halfway through the step drilling process.
After drilling and then reaming, the result is a nice smooth tapered bore.
Starting on the outside turning. Here we've made it to the "rolling pin" stage...
...And now it's starting to look more like a musical instrument!
(30 Sept) Here i'm using my homemade machine to do the slotting and other operations on the key blocks...
...Followed by the fingerholes.
(2 Oct) Ready for keys and reeds!
(7 Oct) Two keys: back C, and F natural.
(July 2013) After a hiatus to work on some other (mad science) projects, we're back to start on the drones! Here's the mainstock, made of maple.
And the rear view. The valve plate is, as usual, a current Canadian quarter. I use these to kind of "stamp" the set with the date and country of origin. I don't know if other makers do this, but it seems like a nice idea to me.
(29 July) I'm doing these drones at the same time as Darren's drones; it kind of makes sense to do some of the parts in batches like this. Here are the bass drone bends and resonator "pucks."
(31 Aug) Here's all the drone sections, turned round and bored out - ready to be made into actual drone parts. The C set is the back row, the D set is in the front.
Here are the wooden parts of the baritone drone.
(28 Sept) And the tenor drone.
(7 Oct) And finally the bass drone. That's all the parts made! Next up is finishing/polishing, and gluing/assembly.

(15 Oct) The drones are ready to go! All finished & assembled, just waiting for reeds and tying in.

(28 Oct) Tied in, reeded and playing well!

(Click the image for a larger version.)

Last updated on 28 October 2013, by Penny.

Back to the index page