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Oiling Your Bagpipes

by Keagan
(Arizona)

I have a set of African blackwood bagpipes that were made by McCallum in 2006. I live in a hot, dry climate (Arizona) and have never oiled my pipes at all. I played my pipes multiple times a week when in a band for two years but for the next four years they have been in storage due to lack of time in life. I want to begin playing them again but I am afraid that without proper oiling they may crack.


I have been researching the best oil to use and the best method to oil them with but it seems there is much debate over this issue. I would highly appreciate your experienced advice in this matter as what oil you have used in the past and how you have applied it. Thank you.

P.S. Thank you for the "DVD of Piobaireachd Technique Interactive Tutuorial." It has been a real blessing at giving me direction into the world of Piobaireachd.

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Sep 05, 2012
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Oiling Your Bagpipes
by: Bill Robertson

Hello Keagan,
To tell you the truth, my bagpipes have never been oiled, that after being resident in most varied climates - from UK and other parts of Europe, the Middle East, Far East, mostly with the British Army at most of the seasons of the countries. Also much time here in New Zealand. I have had no proplems, although I always made sure that the pipes were pulled through thoroughly after much playing especially to eliminate moistute from the bores of the droes, and the stocks, with particular care to make the process very soon after finishing playing, and especially the chanter stock.
I believe that if one wants to oil etc., that a recommended oil is a rather thin one called Almond Oil, and diluted to some degree with a suitable solvent. A suitable pull-through and absorbent cloth sized dampened with the oil is pulled through the drones essentially (perhaps stocks, although I would be reluctant to), then followup with a dry pull-through to finsh. You should avoid over doing the oiling. Keep it light if at all.
Over to you - If all looks good after say all dry pull throughs and good inspection, think hard.
Hoping that helps,and all the best,
Bill

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