A Typical Bagpipe Refurb
Here is a pretty typical bagpipe refurb for us. This is a set of 1916 Henderson bagpipes.
Click on any picture to take you to a gallery of before and after pictures.
The bagpipe came to us in fairly good condition but it had not been played in quite some time so it was extremely dry. The first thing we did was give the bagpipe a quick examination to make sure there were no glaring issues. If there were apparent cracks, etc. this would hinder the refurb process and we would have to address those issues right away. We found no problems with this set on our initial check so we went on to strip off the old finish.
Once we got all of the finish off (down to bare wood), we gave the bagpipe a through examination. At this point, we only found a small, hairline crack in the body of the bass stock so that was sealed to prevent any further problems. We then polish all of the bores with very fine steel wool and give the entire set a good oil bath to get some moisture back into them. Once we take it out of the oil bath, we wipe the compete set down and let it sit for a day or so to allow the oil to dry.
While the oil is drying, we cleaned and polished up the ivory mounts and silver ferrules, rings and slides and also made a new mouthpiece as the old one was cracked.
Once the oil was dry enough, we refinished the set with our hand rubbed wax finish. This is a friction wax finish applied on a lathe with a lot of "elbow grease" (the heat from the friction of the the soft cloth against the piece turning on the lathe cures the wax). We applied 3 coats of wax to this set.
Once the finishing was complete, we re-hemp the entire set and then gave the entire set a final buff using a very soft flannel buff on a buffing wheel.
As I mentioned, this is a typical refurb and there were no major problems found on this set. If anything was found, we would contact the owner before proceeding with any work.
A typical repair such as this usually runs around $450.00 Canadian (around $340.00 USD) but various factors could affect the cost. Some old finishes on bagpipes are much more difficult to remove than others (we refer to these as a poly-urathane finish) and therefore more time consuming. Obviously, if any problems are discovered, this would add to the cost as well.