Vintage Bagpipe Archive

Photos and descriptions of all instruments featured
since October 2010

  • Unknown ebony, circa pre-1890, ivory, nickel ferrules

    SOLD – This is a really neat bagpipe. Tonally, it is one of the best instruments I’ve had in my hands in some time. The sound is huge and room-filling. When I put my own Ezeedrones into them and plugged the drones into my own stocks and with my own chanter, I tuned them and immediately played 4 minutes of 4/4 marches without the slightest wobble. They locked like they were digital — but with life and boldness.

    They came to me as unknown, though educated guesses range, in order, from Henderson to early Lawrie to Donald MacPhee, the latter being Ron Bowen’s considered assessment. Certainly in the Glasgow tradition. The sticks are ebony and quite massive. The pipes are noticeably heavier than other such mounted pipes, confirming the amount of wood used, especially in the drone tops.

    The ferrules are quite distincive — a bit in the old Robertson tradition — and may well be later additions. The lovely old ebony shows sapwood here and there, adding to the visual character. As with any 125-year-old ebony, there were a couple of hairline cracks. I take no chances and have all of these filled or whipped, whether they look threatening or not. This set needed no whipping. The two tenor stocks are quite noticeably different lengths. This is not uncommon among pre-1900 pipes of various makes (especially Glen), though no one is quite sure why. The bass bottom joint is worn almost smooth.

    The set was stripped (which is how we find the wee hairlines) and refinished. The tuning chambers were reamed perfectly even.

    A first-class set of pipes which may live out their lives unnamed.

  • Henderson, circa 1900, ebony, German silver and ivory

    This old Henderson set could pass for silver and ivory, but is in fact German silver, a high quality precursor to what we now call nickel.

    The wood is ebony. The pipes are beautifully made and the ivory is in excellent shape for its age, showing only a few spider lines here and there.

    The set underwent a major refurbishment with hairline cracks, particularly under ferrules, in several pieces. All were invisible whipped.

    Very few are visible except in one or two places where the browner shade of ebony couldn’t be perfectly matched on the bead.  Invisible whipping is foolproof. Those cracks will not reopen.

    Two of the five stocks are not originals. The drone stocks are all original, the chanter and blowstick stocks are replicas with the original mounts affixed. The ivory projecting mount on the blowstick was replaced with a matching Henderson mount. You would not know it isn’t original. The set was refinished.

    The pipes display a fabulous, ebony Henderson tone, full but refined in a way only ebony can offer. The drones are steady, vibrant, full of blend, and tune in the right places.

    This pipe could be played at any level.

  • Lawrie, circa 1905, ebony, silver and ivory

    SOLD – This is one of the earliest silver and ivory Lawries we’ve had on the site in a long time. All of the pieces are original except for the blowpipe, which is a poly replica with internal valve and the original mount. The chanter is an old Hardie fitted with the original engraved silver sole. The blowpipe bulb is modern polypenco, and the sleeve is engraved nickel. The blowpipe mount has aged more than the rest of the ivory, but does appear to be original. I suspect an owner at some point used a different blowpipe and stored the original in a damp place. One lower projecting mount has a rice-grain-sized chip.

    The set was dated by the previous owner, and external evidence and profiles support a date that could indeed be as early as 1905.

    As with any 100+ year old ebony, there were three or four hairline crack on the outside of the wood. None threatened any of the pieces, but I prefer to have all of these sealed or invisible whipped as required. No whipping was needed on this set.

    It should be noted that this style of Lawrie bagpipe with engraved, tapered, metal ferrules, are usually called “silver and ivory.” In fact, the silver is plating only. But Lawrie executed the best plating I’ve ever seen. Even after years of terrible tarnishing on the mountes of an unplayed pipes, these buff up to a gorgeous sheen.

    The drones are a tonal masterpiece — big, bold and steady. This is a prize set.

  • Lawrie, circa 1915, full ivory

    This beautiful set of Lawries were sold to me as Hendersons. It comes from the Great War era when Lawries and Hendersons were quite similar in appearance, but especially in tone. Vintage Lawries and Hendersons have always had very similar tonal characteristics, but it is no surprise to me that the previous owner pegged these as Henderson.

    It is one of the loveliest ivory sets we’ve had here in a while, both visually and tonally. The pipes are seamless and rich in quality, with a bass that cradles the whole bagpipe. The ivory patina is quite stunning and the pipes are a visual treat.

    There were hairline surface cracks in one tenor top, the bass mid-joint and two of the stocks, but these have been sealed and are undetectable. Two of the ivory ferrules had open cracks. These have been sealed, though the difficulty of matching ivory patina means they are visible.

    The ivory bushing from one one of the tenors was missing, but I had a perfect match in my box if miscellaneous bits, and you would be hard-pressed to detect the difference. One tenor ring has a small chip out of it: pretty standard with a set of this age.

    This Lawrie set is really a classic from the golden age of pipemaking in Glasgow.

  • Suspected MacDougall, circa 1850s, ebony, full ivory, brass lined

    I love this set. It is one of the oldest and most distinctive we’ve had on the site.

    I acquired them as MacDougall, and other opinions support this. Having said that, they are not exactly like any other MacDougall set I’ve ever seen. They may be too early for Duncan, and may be his father John’s, though the possibility of them being made by Thomas MacBean Glen — easily an equal maker — has also been raised.

    The set is brass lined and very MacDougall-like in tonal character. I’ve played them for the last three months, and am taken with every aspect of them.

    As is usually the case with brass-lined ebony, there were some cracks adjacent to the brass. These have been invisible whipped and will never be trouble again. The set came without stocks. By pure coincidence, several days after I purchased this set a friend approached me about a box of parts that contained one complete set of stocks — ebony and from likely the same period. They were a near perfect match for the pipes.

    The blowstick is a poly-lined blackwood replica. The set has been stripped and refinished.

    Though the identity of this set may not be positive, there is no doubt they are the exquisite product of a high-end mid-19th century maker.

  • Henderson, circa 1912, blackwood, ivory, nickel

    This is one of several Henderson sets of this vintage to appear on the site in recent months, though the seamed ferrules on this set suggested they might be earlier than the 1920s. Additional information provided recently by a reader who has seen an identical set with the same bass stock engravings suggest they were made prior to the Great War and spent time overseas during the war with the 236th Battallion in New Brunswick.

    236 Battalion, New Brunwick, prior to departing for the Great War. It almost certain that this Henderson is in this picture and that Miss Louisa F. Murray is front and centre. Click to enlarge.

    The pipes were in fantastic shape, requiring only a polish on the lathe. The blowstick was missing completely, so a poly-lined blackwood replica was made and a perfectly matching Henderson ivory blowpie mount was found in my stock of “otherwise useless” parts.

    The tuning chambers were a bit uneven, so they have been gently reamed to perfection, and of course the set was rehemped.

    An inscription on the ferrule of the bass drone stock reads, “Donated by Miss Louisa F. Murray, Douglas Avenue, St. John.” There is a number “16” inscribed on the chanter stock ferrule.

    There is nothing more to be said about this set. It is a top-drawer, vintage Henderson bagpipe: steady, rich and full, easy to reed, with a big, solid sounding bass.

  • Hamish Moore Scottish Smallpipe in key of D, circa 2004

    Hamish Moore is well known as one of the great makers and revivalists of the Scottish smallpipe. His pipes are played around the world by perhaps the majority of top smallpipe players.

    This bellowsblown set is in the key of D. It was made around 2004. It is made in blackwood with cocobola ferrules. The common stock is hallmarked Sterling silver, so I suspect the ferrules are silver as well, though too small and troublesome to hallmark.

    I’ve owned this set for a number of years and had great pleasure out of it. Because of the extreme winters in Ontario I’ve sometimes found Hamish’s cane reeds finicky. Recently I sent this bagpipe to John Walsh in Antogonish, Nova Scotia, a great smallpipe maker in his own right, and had John reed it with his plastic reeds. This has made the smallpipe totally steady and reliable, even when my Ontario relative humidity is at 15%. The chanter reed is slightly higher pressure than most smallpipe reeds, so has great volume.

    The set does not come with a bellows. You’ll need to provide that yourself! This would be a great set for someone who may already own a bellowsblown set in A and wants to expand their horizons!

  • David Glen, circa 1900, cocuswood, nickel

    David Glen cocuswood pipes like this circa 1900 set can be a visual delight. The tone is extremely rich, with great locking ability and chanter blend. Glen pipes do not generally give a booming drone sound but are steady and subtle. This set has great character both tonally and visually.

    These pipes were on the site a few years ago with visible external whipping on the tenor tops. This has now been augmented to invisible whipping. While it’s impossible to hide the whipped combings completely given the variations in cocuswood colouring, the overall effect is excellent, as seen in the photos of the tenor tops.

    The blowpipe stock was badly cracked, so a poly-lined cocobolo replica was made. In all other respects the set is in great shape.

    The chanter actually plays quite nicely, albeit at a very low pitch. The ivory sole suggests it is not original to the pipes, though it is a more than suitable match. The pipes themselves are free of ivory.

  • Thow, circa 1910, ebony, ivory, German silver

    Kudos to my friend Ron Bowen for identifying this set as Thow of Dundee. Once he gave me the lead I was able to match up the style of projecting mount with a documented 1909 silver and ivory Thow set I sold a few years ago. This set lacks the iconic Thow scribe line on the cord guide, but, as Ron reminded me, Thow “was all over the map” stylistically.

    This is a beautifully made bagpipe with lovely overall aesthetics. The pipes were purchased from an estate dealer. Other items in the estate were a hat badge and sash belonging to a warrant officer in the Highland Cyclist Battalion 1908-1918, as well as some literature with connections to the Clan MacRae Pipe Band.

    The only notable fault is that the ring caps appear not to be original, though the German silver matches that on the rest of the pipes. The ivory bush inside one of the tenor caps is set slightly askew. The cap could not be removed to fix this without risking damage. Given that this would have no effect on the sound, it was decided to leave it as is.

    As is often the case with old ebony pipes, there were slight hairline cracks under a number of the metal ferrules. Though no immediate threat, these can spread years down the road, so the ferrules were removed, the tenons whipped, and the ferrules reaffixed. The mouthpiece bulb doesn’t appear to be ivory, and the mouthpiece is almost certainly not original to the pipes. The set will be shipped with this mouthpiece as well as a standard plastic mouthpiece.

    The pipes were stripped and refinished and the tuning chambers were reamed slightly to even out the tuning action.

    Tonally, this set is much like the 1909 silver and ivory set previously mentioned: full, steady, and with a great blend with the chanter, unlike some Thows I’ve had that can be quite mellow. The sound reminded me a great deal of a Sinclair set I played during my competitive years in the 1980s, though the set is certainly not Sinclair. I like this bagpipe a lot.

  • R. G. Hardie, 1970-71, hallmarked engraved Sterling silver, ivory

    The original R. G. Hardie firm in Glasgow was the most successful pipemaking company during the 1960s and early 1970s. A great player and pipe major, Bob Hardie’s standards were high. The company used superb, well-seasoned wood, and the pipes were steady and easy to reed.

    This set came to me in excellent condition. It is common to see hairline cracks begin to form beneath ferrules due to the pressures of swelling hemp. They can be found in most pipes. I prefer to have these fixed to circumvent future trouble, and two such pests were whipped under the ferrules on this set. Aside from that, the pipes were simply cleaned and polished on the lathe and rehemped.

    Hardie pipes are sought in many circles for their mellower tone. They are not bold like Hendersons, but they are just as steady. This set fits that pattern and comes with all original pieces, including the chanter, engraved sole, and ivory mouthpiece bulb and silver sleeve. In truth, while it’s nice to have, a 1970 Hardie chanter can be difficult to reed. But it can be done if you’re a fan of the 1960s pitch.

    This is a beautiful set in great condition, perfect for a hobbyist who has always longed for a sparkling and steady high-end bagpipe.

  • Lawrie, circa 1905, ebony, ivory, nickel

    This is one of the oldest Lawries to appear on this site, thought to have been made within a few years of 1900-1905. They are ebony, with ivory projecting mounts and ring caps, and high quality nickel ferrules, Required repairs were relatively few given the age and the wood.

    One tenor stock and the tuning pin of the bass middle joint required some invisible whipping to seal hairlines. The blowstick was invisible whipped its entire length. None of these repairs will ever again reopen, such is the effectiveness of invisible whipping. The bead on one projecting mount has a small chip. The finish that was on the set was in fine shape, so the entire set was simply put on the lathe and polished. The nickel in particular came out beautifully.

    The set is typical vintage, ebony Lawrie: the drones locked in immeidately with my Ezeedrone set. The bass tuned quite low, as most Lawrie and Henderson of this vintage do. (Some folk think this is problematic; it is not. You want your tenors to tune high. Low-tuning bass is common, perfectly fine, and free of roaring strike-ins.) The tone was full, rich and seamless.

    For someone looking for classic, vintage tone at an affordable price, you would do well to consider this set. These old mid-range Lawries in ebony are every bit as good as their expensive silver and ivory cousins!

  • Cocuswood, possible Glen, circa 1920s, nickel, artificial ivory

    The make of this stunning cocuswood set is a bit of a puzzle, but the caps, tone, wood and workmanship suggest David Glen, sometime after 1920. The wide beads between the combing sections are unlike Glen, and other thoughts range from Henderson to MacRae. The tone is first class cocuswood: rich, buzzy and steady.

    The set came with catalin rings on the drone tops, thought to be a later addition. These had turned the usual pumpkin orange, and I had Dunbar Bagpipes replace them with non-chip artificial ivory.

    The set also had came with no stocks. Replica stocks have been made from cocobola, and I found superbly matching nickel ferrules from my collection of parts. The cocobola is an excellent match to the original cocuswood, almost undetecatable as replacements.

    The bass mid-joint had a hairline crack running an inch or two up from the ferrule, but this has been invisible whipped and you would never guess it was there.

    Tonally speaking, this bagpipe is exceptional, and the work is clearly that of a high-end maker. The appearance in person is stunning.

    The price is reflective of the unknown make and replacement parts, but not of the tone!

  • Thow, 1893, cocuswood and ebony, full ivory, presentation set

    “Presented to Piper Charles Dunbar by Major Campbell, 1st Seaforth High’rs, in remembrance of good piping, good conduct and good fellowship, during the years of 91, 92, 93, at Fort George.”

    Thus reads the silver shield that was affixed to the chanter stock of this presentation set of Thows. Charles Dunbar (1870-1939) was a prize-winning Halkirk native, Seaforth Highlander and Gordon Highlander, a Boer war and WW1 veteran, who emigrated to Canada and served for many years as Pipe Major of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in Hamilton, Ontario.

    The pipes are certainly Thow, showing the scribe line on each cord guide distinctive to that company. One would expect the pipes were made the year they were presented, though it is also possible that they were Dunbar’s regimental set and he was simply allowed to keep them along with the shield when he left the Seaforths for the Gordons in 1893.

    The pipes have obviously seen long usage. Both tenor drone stocks are new blackwood replicas with the original ivory ferrules affixed. The blowstick stock is a new poly-lined blackwood stock with the original mount. The chanter stock appears to be an earlier replacement, though pin marks indicated clearly that the shield had been affixed there. The blowpipe is a new, poly-lined, blackwood replacment as well.

    The tone of the pipes can best be described as “mellow,” in the Glen tradition: steady and rich, benefiting from the mix of early woods: all three drone bottoms are cocuswood, the rest of the pieces are ebony, but for the replacement stocks.

  • Henderson, circa 1920, blackwood, nickel, ivory

    This set adds to the plethora of lovely old Henderson pipes that have appeared here in the last couple of months. The set is blackwood, and while it was purchased as a 1930s set, the seamed ferrules and dinner-plate style chanter sole suggest 1920 or even earlier.

    The pipes are in fantastic condition. No cracks were found in the wood, and the finish was in fine shape, so the pipes were just put on the lathe and polished.

    There is spider cracking on some of the projecting mounts — another sign of advanced age. The cracking is fairly pronounced on one tenor projecting mount (visible in photos) but the mount is solid and stable and should remain so without a serious knock. There are a couple of inconspicuous chips in the ivory rings that are normal for a set of this age.

    The tone on the set is top-drawer vintage Henderson. The drones all tune in the proper positions, the tuning chambers are smooth and even, and the pipes are full, rich and seamless, with a superb chanter blend.

    While it’s nice to have the original chanter with the pipes, an early 20th century Henderson chanter would probably not fare well at the Glenfiddich Piping Championship — but the pipes would!

  • Kron Heritage, 2004, artificial ivory, plain silver

    The Kron Heritage was created in around 2001 using my own 1912 silver and ivory Hendersons as a model. C. E. Kron in Dobbs Ferry, New York, developed the model, which was made by then Kron employee Dave Atherton. Charley Kron ceased producing this model a few years later after Dave left the company.

    The pipes were extremely well crafted, and this model was the standard configuration: plain silver ferrules and artificial ivory projecting mounts and ring caps. The tone is full and steady in the Henderson tradition. This set is in virtually pristine condition. There are a couple of slight scratches on the chanter stock, but aside from that they look like they have hardly been used. The chanter is the original chanter that came with the set, a Kron Medallist, #776.

    This would be an excellent work-a-day set for a young competitive player, or an attractive, easy-to-reed and trouble-free pipe for a learner of any age.

  • David Glen, circa 1900, cocuswood, nickel, ivory

    SOLD -This is a great old Glen set is well priced because it are visibly whipped in several places. It was purchased from this site several years ago and has now been repurchased after several years of playing by the owner.

    They are cocuswood, with button mounts, nickel ferrules and ivory rings. The bass middle joint is not original to the set, but it is a Glen of the same era in ebony and matches the set perfectly. The tone of this set is classic Glen cocuswood — not booming, but ample, very rich, and really, really steady. The set has been owned and played by several good competition players over the past few years who have since moved onto higher-end sets.

    The whipping is external, and locations can be seen in the photos. This work was done several years ago before the refurbisher developed the invisible whipping technique. The whipping is quite apparent up close. As a result, I was able to acquire the pipes for a very good price and am selling them for a price that might work for someone who can’t afford some of the other sets here.

    The set plays really well and, in typical Glen fashion, is easy to reed.

    There are two blowsticks — they match, and one is longer than the other. One may be a blackwood reproduction.

  • Alexander Glen, 1865 Presentation set, ebony, ivory

    This presentation set of Alexander Glen pipes, was presented to Archibald Forbes as winner of the piobaireachd at Perth Highland Games in 1865. Alex Glen judged the contest. Duncan MacDougall was another judge on the day — both leading pipemakers of the time. The set was acquired by an Ontario piper in 1984 and played in leading Grade 1 bands trom then until 2014. They were played in the 78th Fraser Highlanders for many years in the late 1980s and 1990s. Research on the set includes the newspaper report of the contest from the Perthshire Courier.

    Alexander Glen made pipes in Edinburgh from 1833 until his death in 1873. His son David continued to run the business, which thrived for another century. Alex and David were foremost pipemakers of the time, and modern makers still marvel at the quality of their work. The set has been well used, but the integrity and history of the instrument have survived.

    The shield reads, “Perth Hi. Society; 1st Prize for Pibroch to Arch Forbes, Aug 26 1865.”

    Made in ebony, with marine ivory mounts, the pipes had numerous cracks when they were acquired, though they continued to play well. In 2002 the previous owner undertook a partial restoration by having brass sleeves inserted into all of the tuning chambers and several other bores as well. This work was done beautifully in a traditional style. I had Dunbar Bagpipes strip the pipes, fill all visible cracks, refinish all of the wood and rehemp the joints. Only the blowpipe is a replacement piece with the original projecting mount, about a quarter of which has at some point been broken off and worn smooth. A small piece is broken off the upper bass projecting mount as well.

    The chanter, though not playable, is original and shows the A. Glen Edinburgh stamp.

    The pipes are steady, rich, and mellow in the Glen tradition, quite the antithesis of full-volume Hendersons. This is a lovely historic relic and a proven top-level instrument

  • Circa 1950s Robertson, full ivory

    James Robertson’s Edinburgh pipemaking company is the most consistently superb pipemaker I know of. From the firm’s founding in 1908, through Robertson’s death in 1948, right to the company’s dissolution in 1967, the quality of the instruments remained consistently high, especially tonally. While I test every set of pipes I offer, I’ve often thought that Robertson is the one make I could actually send out without testing and be fully confident of what my customer receives.

    As expected, the tone of this set was full, rich and steady. I removed a set of Ezeedrone reeds from my vintage Henderson set, plugged these drones into the stocks with the same reeds and they locked into tune after 10 seconds of tuning. Typically lovely.

    While all drone pieces are original, the set has several compromises. Two tenor stocks and the chanter stock are not original, but the visual match aside from the scribe lines and bead size is excellent. The blowpipe is also not original, but the poly-lined replica and imitation ivory mount made by Dunbar Bagpipes is superb.

    The ivory shows signs of a well used set, with some minor chipping and staining here and there. Overall, though, this is a solid and toneful Robertson bagpipe, priced to reflect the slight deficiences.

  • Henderson, circa 1905, cocuswod, full ivory

    This remarkable turn-of-the-century Henderson set is in superb shape for its age. It is made in very dark cocuswood — only apparent when the pipes were stripped for refinishing — and mounted in full ivory. The ivory is remarkably white for a set of pipes 110 years old, almost as though the pipes were in dark storage for decades.

    The only flaw is a few greenish stains in the ivory, likely from long contact with a bag cover. Some of these are apparent in the photos.

    The only refurb the set required was stripping and refinishing. They have been played off and on by the previous owner over the last 15 years. The tone is really high-end vintage Henderson of the quality that could win any piping competition on the planet: full, seamless, rich, and with a bass sound that cradles the whole bagpipe.

  • David Glen, circa 1890s, cocuswood, nickel, ivory, with original practice chanter

    David Glen pipes can be visual gems. This set is made in lovely, striped cocuswood, with ivory projecting mounts and rings, and nickel ferrules.

    When the bagpipe was acquired, the bass ring and one tenor ring were missing. Fortunately, in my stock of parts I had almost identical rings from cocuswood Glens of the same era, so these have been added. Photos show that the patina is slightly different on the bass.

    The chanter stock and one tenor stock each had a hairline crack, so these were invisible whipped and will not trouble anyone again. There is a small chunk of wood broken off of the bass cord guide. I believe it is visible in one of the photos.

    The tone of these pipes is extremely rich and surprisingly full for Glens — almost as fully as an ebony Henderson set. The chanter blend was magnificent.

    This set also came with a mint condition David Glen practice chanter that plays beautifully. Hard to say if it was purchased with the set, but it certainly is a perfect match.

    This is quite a stunning and distinctive set of pipes, both tonally and visually.

  • Stamped William Ross (Queen’s Piper), in ebony, full ivory, brass inserts

    This is another rare and remarkable set sold on this site some years ago to an owner who for personal reasons is downsizing his collection.

    William Ross was a monumental piping figure during the latter half of the 19th-century. He was born in 1823, and died in 1891, having held the position of Queen’s Piper to Queen Victoria since Angus Mackay’s death in 1854. His 1869 publication of piobaireachd and light music, called “Pipe Music” is one of the most significant collections of the century.

    The exact history of his pipemaking business is not clear. He was a very clever businessman and well-to-do. Jeannie Campbell tells us he made the prize pipe at Inverness from 1873 to 1886. Whether he was a turner himself or not we aren’t sure, but later on he hired turners to make his pipes for him. From about 1880 onwards, he used Henry Starck, whose family had immigrated to London from Germany many years earlier. This would mark the beginning of the Starck pipemaking business, and the pipes made by the company for the next 30 years would be their best.

    After Ross’s death, Starck would stamp his pipes “H. Starck/late W. Ross.” It is thought that sets stamped only “W. Ross” were the earliest, perhaps even turned while Ross was actively involved in the business.

    Starck and Ross were meticulous about stamping instruments, often in several places, and this set is stamped “W. Ross” on each stock. The distinctive projecting mounts are typical of Starck’s later wide shapes, though shallower and using a softer, rounded bead rather than the straight cut bead he would use later on. This styling may well have originated with Ross. The tuning chambers have brass slides installed. One drone ferrule has a narrow split that was filled during the orignal restoration some years ago.

    All pieces appear to be original, though the blowstick was missing. A new poly-lined blackwood blowstick has been made using an old, matching Starck mount. The chanter with this set a Brian Donaldson chanter with an original W. Ross ivory sole. The original chanter stick was damaged beyond repair. (Note that these photos are the original photoset, and the chanter is not the same, though the sole is.)

    The set had several cracks, only two of which required whipping. Kudos to Dunbar Bagpipe Maker for a remarkable restoration of this instrument, which now should have another 100 years of life left in it.

    The tone of this set is typical of the earliest Starcks: big, robust and buzzy: very much a MacDougall sound. They are as steady as a rock and a joy to play and behold.

  • Lawries, circa 1950, silver and ivory

    This set of Lawries is in prime condition and was likely made around 1950.

    These pipes came to me in excellent shape. They have been stripped and refinished. A tiny hairline crack was found just around the ferrule on one tenor drone stock and this has been sealed. The blowpipe was bored out to provide a restriction-free modern bore. The original ivory bulb was not present — these crack with moisture and rarely survive — but the engraved metal sleeve was, so the sleeve was fitted to an imitation ivory bulb.

    This Lawrie set displays a classic, seamless, steady Lawrie sound that ranks with the best of this make. The set comes with the original chanter and sole. In truth, Lawrie chanters were never among the best made, but it is good to know that the set was cared for well enough that the original chanter is still present along with the sole.

  • Robertson, circa 1954, full ivory

    Robertsons continue to be one of the most popular makes on this site. Their consistency in tone and manufacturing standards is legendary, and their distinctive look makes them a sought-after legacy set.

    This set is all-original and in superb condition. The original finish has been left as is. There are a few stains on the ivory. One stain on the middle tenor ring cap is green from long storage contact with a bag cover. It is visible in some of the photos.

    The set had one owner and was reportedly purchased new in Edinburgh in 1954.

    As with all Robertsons that have appeared on this site, the tone is full, rich and steady. With the exception of the blowstick being rebored to modern wide-bore standards, some wear on the finish, and the stains mentioned above, this classic 1950s Robertson bagpipe is exactly as it was when purchased.

  • Henderson, circa 1910, blackwood, full ivory

    This is a classic, old, full-ivory Henderson with character that matches its age. It is one of the older Hendersons to be on the site in a while. The profiles, ivory patina and pattern of spider lines in the ivory suggest pre-Great War, 1910 or so. That they are blackwood suggests they are not much earlier than that or they would likely be ebony or couswood.

    There have been a number of minor repairs. Hairlines under ferrules are common in old pipes (even in newer ones!), but we take no chances and have these whipped. There were four such repairs here. There was small opening — perhaps just a cut actually — in the shoulder of the bass middle joint which was filled. The blowpipe stock was invisible whipped. The chanter stock was missing, so a blackwood replica was made and a period Henderson mount installed. One ivory ring crack on a tenor top was filled.

    An odd repair was needed on the bass stock. A shield had evidently been placed there at some point, and a gouge was made in the stock to seat the shield flush. This was filled and recombed. It is just visible in the stocks photo.

    This is a beautifully toned set: the rich, full, steady, seamless Henderson sound of the early part of the century is very apparent.

  • R. G. Hardie, hallmarked 1950 Silver and Ivory

    This rare set of R. G. Hardie pipes was made the year the company was founded in 1950, and the engraved silver is hallmarked accordingly. The pipes had one owner who bought them new, though they have been in possession of the his son, unplayed since the original owner’s passing.

    The set was well used during its playing career in both Scotland and Canada, but is still in superb shape. The wood and finish are in excellent condition and required only polishing on the lathe.

    The blowstick and blowstick stock were missing and had been replaced with poly pieces and the original mounts. These have now been replaced with a brand new poly-lined blowstick and stock with the original mounts retained. The blowpipe bulb is new artificial ivory with the original engraved silver sleeve. The bottom projecting mount on one tenor bottom has a rice-grain sized nick.

    Bob Hardie (who would have turned this set) was renown for using well-aged, high quality blackwood. His pipes are best described as “mellow,” not as full as a Henderson or Lawrie, but steady and easy to reed and tune.

    While there is no original chanter with this set, I’m quite confident I could provide at added cost an engraved silver sole from my stock that would match the silver pattern, minus the hallmark.

  • David Glen, circa 1900, cocuswood, ivory caps, nickel ferrules

    This is a classic button-mount turn-of-the-century David Glen set in cocuswood. The stocks look distinctly unlike cocuswood. The sapwood showing on the chanter stock suggests they might be ebony. Back in the early 1900s it wasn’t unsual for makers to mix woods like this, but I’ve never seen a cocuswood Glen set with stocks that weren’t cocuswood. They might be replacements, but certainly made in the Glen style, if not by the company itself.

    The pipes are in superb shape, the only visible flaw being some orange staining on the ivory rings of the tenor drones, partly visible in the photos.

    In typical Glen fashion, the tone is subdued but rich with the vibrant nature of cocuswood. They are rock steady and easy to reed and tune. The pipes appear to have been refinished at some point fairly recently.

  • R. G. Lawrie, circa 1930, ebony, nickel, celluloid

    description lost

  • Grainger and Campbell, hallmarked 1962-63 silver and ivory

    The Grainger & Campbell shop opened in Glasgow in 1946 and later took over the Duncan MacRae shop on Argyll Street when that firm closed in 1952. The great piper John MacFadyen became a partner in the 1950s, and Donald MacLeod joined the shop in 1962. As a result, the company was making some of the finest pipes available through the 1960s and 1970s.

    This set is hallmarked 1962-63, made during the company’s tonal prime, and is in superb condition with all original pieces, including the original chanter and sole, and ivory mouthpiece bulb and silver sleeve. The pipes required no major refurbishment. They were cleaned and polished on the lathe, the blowstick was shortened and bored larger, and the tuning chambers were slightly reamed to even-up the tuning action. The silver pattern is gorgeous, and typical of the company.

    The drones are full and very steady. I know a number of professional-level players who purchased sets like this new in the 1960s and never found reason to change.

    The chanter is quite low-pitched, as one might expect, but still plays well. The set spent most of its life with one owner, a former 48th Highlander. The last owner had them for four years and decided to pass them along after having rarely played them.

  • Circa 1890s David Glen, cocuswood, full ivory, brass slides, stamped

    Full ivory David Glen pipes are not common. These sticks are cocuswood – David Glen’s favourite wood. The previous owner of this pipe lived in a dry climate in the US, and after he acquired the instrument several of the ivory ferrules cracked. He worked with an ivory conservator and made quite expert repairs that have held firmly now for many years.

    The bass drone stock and the blowpipe also cracked. He inserted a marine glue that remains malleable after it dries, and these repairs have never moved. He also inserted a thin brass tube into the blowstick to further reinforce it. The repairs are visible, but not obivous, and since they have remained stable for decades they have not been altered.

    The tuning chambers have brass slides, a fairly common practice for David Glen.

    The David Glen stamp is barely visible on each of the tuning pins.

    Glen was a meticulous craftsman, and his manufacturing standards were very consistent. As a result, it can be difficult to date his pipes. The age of the ivory and the fact that these pipes are cocuswood suggest that they were made prior to 1900.

    David Glen drones are really a treat, and if you’re looking for a reliable and remarkably steady set of drones with a rich, buzzy, but not overwhelming tone, you can’t go wrong with them. They are easy to reed and blend superbly with the chanter. It’s a bright, cheerful drone sound.

    These pipes required no additional restoration work.

    This set was purchased from this site a few years ago and have come back from a player who has decided to downsize his collection. This is the original listing, but the pipes are exactly ths same. I don’t believe they were played much.

  • Thow, 1893, cocuswood and ebony, full ivory, presentation set

    “Presented to Piper Charles Dunbar by Major Campbell, 1st Seaforth High’rs, in remembrance of good piping, good conduct and good fellowship, during the years of 91, 92, 93, at Fort George.”

    Thus reads the silver shield that was affixed to the chanter stock of this presentation set of Thows. Charles Dunbar (1870-1939) was a prize-winning Halkirk native, Seaforth Highlander and Gordon Highlander, a Boer war and WW1 veteran, who emigrated to Canada and served for many years as Pipe Major of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in Hamilton, Ontario.

    The pipes are certainly Thow, showing the scribe line on each cord guide distinctive to that company. One would expect the pipes were made the year they were presented, though it is also possible that they were Dunbar’s regimental set and he was simply allowed to keep them along with the shield when he left the Seaforths for the Gordons in 1893.

    The pipes have obviously seen long usage. Both tenor drone stocks are new blackwood replicas with the original ivory ferrules affixed. The blowstick stock is a new poly-lined blackwood stock with the original mount. The chanter stock appears to be an earlier replacement, though pin marks indicated clearly that the shield had been affixed there. The blowpipe is a new, poly-lined, blackwood replacment as well.

    The tone of the pipes can best be described as “mellow,” in the Glen tradition: steady and rich, benefiting from the mix of early woods: all three drone bottoms are cocuswood, the rest of the pieces are ebony, but for the replacement stocks.