• Unknown ebony set, full ivory, circa 1890s

    This set was sold to me by a Scottish pipemaker as an 1880s cocuswood set, “possibly MacDougall.” One would expect a pipemaker to know wood, but in fact they are ebony, likely circa 1890s, and, if anything, possibly early Lawries. The Lawrie moniker is an educated guess, by a fellow vintage afficionado who has a great eye for shapes and lines. In fact, the tone is quite similar to a circa-1900 ebony/celluloid Lawrie set that was once owned by Captain John MacLellan and sold on this site a few months ago. The sound is rich and very steady, but not the big, full Lawrie/Henderson sound. If you like a mid-range volume set of drones with old Lawrie quality, this set is a good candidate.

    Being ebony, there were some hairline cracks, and, being ebony, I take no chances with these. Ebony does not glue as well as blackwood, so both tenor tops and the blowpipe have been invisible whipped. The ebony stocks have been replaced by blackwood, with the orignal ivory mounts. The ivory mount on the chanter stock was reclaimed from another stock. The blowpipe stock was missing; the new stock is poly lined and has an imitation ivory mount.

    This is not an unusual amount of restoration for a pre-1900 ebony set of pipes, and the end result is a distinctive old pipe with a lovely, steady tone. A piobaireachd player would like this set.