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Introduction to the 2016 web edition update
I am making several sets using the drawings here and in the process I am checking the current dimensions and taking the opportunity to update the design where experience has shown a better way. The first change has been to line the drone sliding part with brass to make the creation of a smooth sliding bore much easier and I have updated the drone drawings to show this. I will also be creating a set of drawings for a simple unkeyed set to assist in the first steps of pipemaking. I have updated the text and added a number of photos of the manufacturing process as I make the 2 sets. I will try to keep the what's new page for updated as I progress.
Introduction to the 2010 second web edition
I am now, after a 10 year lay-off, undertaking a major rewrite of the web edition of the book which will enable me to take advantage of the much enhanced facilities that modern computers have made possible. I intend that this edition will be the most complete yet. I am redrawing all of the parts using SolidWorks. This will enable better drawings and access to some very good free 3D model viewing tools that should add significantly to the information available to anyone who want to make a set or even just understand how the sets are made. To see what improved computer tools are available and to find where to get them, go to the CAD tools page.
I will add dates to the entries in the index to indicate which of the parts have been updated but it is worth going to the "Whats new" section to check.
One major change to this edition is that I have simplified the dimensioning of the smaller parts giving only the important dimensions and leaving the decoration to the discretion of the maker.
I will provide the new drawings in PDF format and I don't plan to provide DXF versions of any of them. I will have a set of 3D files for most of the parts - see the CAD tools page for more info.
I am hoping to publish the completed book as an e-book. This is currently looking like a viable option and if I manage to do this I will put the necessary files on the CAD tools page. Check the what's new page for updates on the progress.
I have given some thought to the copyright and intellectual property rights of the stuff on this site. Please go here to read my thoughts.
Unless otherwise stated, all of the drawings are unchecked. I check the drawings by making a set using them and I haven't had time to do this yet. I have compared the dimensions of the new drawings with the old drawings and correct any problems that I have found. The new method of doing drawings by first creating a 3D model of the part then using that to drive the drawing does mean that most of the silly dimension errors of the past should be eliminated.
Introduction to the 1996 first web edition
The original version of my pipemaking book was published in 1981 by Chevy Chase. The first book sold out in the first year and was not reprinted. In 1987 I began a rewrite of the text making considerable changes to both the style and the content but, despite much prodding, this rewrite did not get completed or published. This rewrite of the 1987 text will bring up to date my views on pipemaking and will have more extensive drawings covering most of the popular sizes and pitches of Northumbrian Small Pipes
This work is dedicated to the memory of Joe Hutton whose friendship and encouragement was an inspiration to me. During Joe's last years he frequently played a concert G set that I made especially for him to make it possible for Will Taylor to give up the need to carry the "pipe" fiddle when the Shepherds played. I am sure that Joe's famous sense of humour would be tickled by the thought of such a modern way of fostering the music he loved!
I would also like to remember Archie Dagg who always found something good to say about the sets I took for his approval.
Introduction to the 1981 printed edition
There is now more interest in the Northumbrian small pipes than at any time in their history. Sets are being made by enthusiastic amateurs and professional instrument makers in quantities unthought of 10 years ago and, with this explosion in interest, I have felt the need for a book setting out clearly the dimensions and details of the approximately 90 parts which make up a fully fitted 7 keyed set.
One major attribute of Northumbrian pipe makers, is their willingness to give freely of their knowledge. This has contributed in no small measure to the continued development and improvement in quality of both making and playing.
There are evening class courses run in the north specifically for pipemaking. But, for the prospective maker living too far from these, and lacking the necessary equipment at home, most towns have some kind of evening class giving access to a lathe and help in using it.
My methods for the manufacture of a set of Northumbrian small pipes are based firmly in the engineering tradition. I served a scientific instrument making apprenticeship at the Cambridge Scientific Instrument Co. and I have spent my working life as a Design Engineer. This background influences both the style and design of the pipes I produce and the methods I use. Other makers from different backgrounds will achieve similar results using methods dictated by their training and experience.
No pipe maker works in isolation, and there have been many worthy pipemakers in the past 200 years, each of whom has made his own particular contribution to the continued development of the pipes. I freely acknowledge my debt to these men, and to the makers of today, for this book is really a compilation of the techniques of pipemaking, handed down by them, to me.
In this respect I would like to thank the many people who have given me of their knowledge especially Colin Ross of Monkseaton.
Remember that the final quality of the complete set will never be better than the poorest part. Treat every operation as though it was the most important part of the set.
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