Making Bagpipes

Every maker has his (or her) own individual methods of working and so this is a personnel viewpoint and the reader is recommended to make use of the bibliography on this site and also to talk to other manufacturers where possible. Amongst these are Boosey and Hawkes the well known musical instrument firm whose factory and museum at Edgeware in North London contains amongst the many instruments no less than 76 bagpipes representative of a wide variety of types from all over the world. (It is accessible via guided tours and these must be booked in advance).

Whilst there have been a number of books published already on the subject of making both Bagpipes and other Wind Instruments, the information given on the tools required and how to make them is generally with the odd exception very basic and in some cases misleading. Within the limits of this web site it is hoped to redress the balance at least in part and provide a working knowledge of these and other aspects so that those who wish to embark on making their own instruments will be saved some of the frustrations.

As a book is in preparation on this subject (by myself) I do not wish to pre-empt it's publication which is some time off and so the information contained here is only in the form of guidelines. The book will cover in detail the making not only of the instruments but also and possibly more importantly the many tools, accessories and procedures that are necessary to manufacture a high quality Bagpipe or like instrument.

Before going on to the pages on tooling, materials and manufacturing techniques it is highly recommended that the Workshop Safety section be studied. Having had a few near misses myself, the worst of which resulted in a visit to hospital for some needlework, this aspect of making cannot be stressed to strongly.