Vintage Bagpipe Archive

Photos and descriptions of all instruments featured
since October 2010

  • Duncan MacDougall, circa 1880s, full natural

    This is one of the most exceptional sets of MacDougall pipes to appear on this site. Their pedigree is outstanding, having been played by a member of the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band during their glory years in the 1970s and 1980s, winning many World Pipe Band Championships. More recently they were owned by a leading Scottish solo competitor and won many top prizes including the Former Winners MSR at London, the Oban Silver Medal and the Oban Jig and Grade A March.

    The pipes are ebony, with full ivory mounts. All pieces are original. When the pipes were stripped for refurbishment a number of hairline cracks were discovered in various pieces. None were close to going through to the bores. However, to guard against serious cracks forming in future all of these hairlines were invisible whipped, and the pipes refinished.

    The pipes are classic Duncan MacDougall — rich, steady, and with a big, cradling bass.

    This is a really exceptional instrument, both musically and historically, particularly for an established or aspiring competitor.

  • Robertson, full ivory, circa 1930

    James Robertson was one of the most remarkable and consistent pipe makers of all time. He made pipes in Edinburgh from 1908 until his death in 1948, though the company continued with pretty much the same consistency after his death and until it ceased operations in the mid-1960s.

    This set is one of the earlier ones we’ve had on the site in a while and was likely made around 1930.

    The set required no refinishing. The blowstick is not original, and the projecting mount installed onto it was taken from a different Robertson piece.

    All other pieces are original, and there are no known repairs. The ring caps on the tenors exhibit a few small chips.

    The chanter is a Naill made in the last 10 years. The original Robertson sole has been installed onto it.

    The tonal qualities are typical Robertson: bold, steady and easy to reed.

  • Robertson, full ivory, circa 1940

    James Robertson was one of the most remarkable and consistent pipe makers of all time. He made pipes in Edinburgh from 1908 until his death in 1948, though the company continued with pretty much the same consistency after his death and until it ceased operations in the mid-1960s. This set was likely made around 1940, and exhibits the flared stock bores typical of Robertsons made during the founder’s lifetime.

    Though I would never sell a set of pipes that I haven’t thoroughly tested, I have always thought I could send out a set of Robertsons that I had never played and still be confident that they would be good. They always exhibit the same full, rich and steady tone no matter when they were made. The excellent workmanship reflects the stellar tone.

    This set came to me from a pupil, Pipe Major Ian McDonald of the Grade 1 Toronto Police. They were originally owned by his father John, also a former Toronto Police Pipe Major. When I taught Ian as an up-and-coming young player in the 1980s these are the pipes he played.

    All pieces are original, and there are no repairs or major flaws. There are a few very minor dings in the wood, and some tiny chips in the ivory ring caps, obviously the result of close quarter countermarching at some point in the past.

    The pipes required no refinishing, but both the wood and the ivory have been professionally polished on the lathe.

    This is a superb set of pipes tonally and visually and they come with a solid pedigree.

    This set is being used as the model for a Robertson reproduction bagpipe being produced by myself and Dunbar bagpipes, scheduled for release in May.

  • R. G. Lawrie, circa 1930, engraved silver slides, remounted in imitation ivory

    This outstanding Lawrie set has been dated to around 1930. It is blackwood and came to me with a number of chipped and broken ivory mounts, so they have been completely remounted in imitation ivory. The engraved Sterling silver slides were added in the early 1990s. The chanter stock, blowpipe stock and blowpipe were missing. Blackwood replicas were made. The blowpipe and blowpipe stock are poly-lined blackwood to prevent cracking. The set has been refinished.

    For someone looking for a classic, vintage Lawrie tone on an ivory-free bagpipe, you could hardly do better than these. They are rich, seamless, full and steady, with a big, cradling bass sound.

    They are offered with a brand new Naill chanter with matching imitation ivory sole.

  • Robertson, silver and ivory, 1950

    James Robertson was one of the most remarkable and consistent pipe makers of all time. He made pipes in Edinburgh from 1908 until his death in 1948, though the company continued with pretty much the same consistency after his death and until it ceased operations in the mid-1960s. Though not hallmarked, this set had only one owner, and he said it was purchased in 1950.

    When I test pipes, some sets require 10 minutes of playing before I can really assess them. This set locked into tune 30 seconds after I struck up and I was mightily impressed by the sound and steadiness. From the maker of remarkably consistent pipes, this set is exceptional.

    They are in superb condition, and the finish is original. When I acquired them, the upper bass tuning pin was broken off at the projecting mount. This is the easiest fix on a set of pipes and the old pin was matched and replaced with a new one.

    All other pieces are original, including the original Robertson chanter and engraved silver sole. There are a few very minor dings in the wood, and a couple of yellowish stains on the ivory. The original ivory mouthpiece bulb has a barely visible hairline crack. It doesn’t leak, but it could open up over time.

    The wood, ivory and silver have been professionally polished on a lathe.

    This is as fine a set of Robertson pipes as you will ever play.

  • R. G. Lawrie, 1950, nickel, imitation ivory

    This set of Lawries came in its original box. The pipes were packed in newspapers from 1950, thus the dating. The pipes have had minimal usage. They look almost brand new — perhaps owned by a new piper who gave them a short go and decided piping wasn’t for them.

    They are blackwood, with iconic tapered Lawrie nickel ferrules. The projecting mounts are blackwood; caps and original chanter sole are imitation ivory.

    The pipes play very well. Many Lawries from this era maintained a big, classic, seamless Lawrie/Henderson sound from the earlier part of the century, and this set is one of them — steady, easy to reed, easy to tune, rich and vibrant.

    They required no refurb aside from mimimal re-hemping.They have been oiled.

  • Henderson, cocuswood, circa 1920, wood mounts, nickel ferrules, artificial ivory caps

    This is a remarkable set of Henderson pipes made of cocuswood, likely around 1920. The projecting mounts are wood and the ferrules are nickel.

    Sometime in the 1990s the ivory drone caps, which apparently were badly cracked, were replaced with artificial ivory. So the great advantage in this bagpipe, aside from its tone, is that it is free of ivory. All pieces appear to be original except for the blowstick stock which is poly-lined blackwood. The cocuswood It is quite dark so the blackwood stock matches the rest of the set quite nicely.

    I actually acquired this bagpipe a year or so ago and have been playing it off and on for the past eight or 10 months as my #2 set, so I can attest to its exemplary tone. While this set would be a beauty for anyone to own, it might be particularly valuable to a top-flight competitor traveling regularly across borders.

    It should be noted that the artificial ivory caps are not quite as orange looking as they appear in the photos!

  • Cocuswood, suspected Center, circa 1880, German silver caps, ferrules, button mounts, bone bushes

    These pipes were purchased as Centers, made in the late 1800s. Though they are not stamped, the wide cord quides and the lovely, rich tone and fine craftsmanship support the Center supposition. The tone is very much in the Glen/Center tradition: rich and extremely steady, though not booming like Hendersons.

    The set is very finely crafted and light as a feather. They have been stripped and refinished. The blowpipe was cracked but has been invisible whipped. One tenor stock showed a small crack and two beads have been invisible whipped.

    This is quite a distinctive and lovely set with great visual and tonal character, a first-class cocuswood tone, and a very affordable price.

  • C. E. Kron “Heritage” model, circa 2004, plain silver ferrules, slides, artificial ivory mounts, caps

    I have a personal connection to this bagpipe. Back around 2001 I worked closely with the C.E. Kron company and then-employee Dave Atherton to help Charley Kron market a set of pipes that used the exact bore measurements of a set of lovely 1912 silver and ivory Hendersons that I was playing at that time. Kron marketed the pipes as its “Heritage” line and they became quite popular.

    The line is not made anymore. The manufacturing standards for this bagpipe was extremely high and the tone was superb — a full, rich and seamless Henderson sound — and this has become a desirable bagpipe since that time.

    This particular set was actually purchased by a student of mine around 2004. The mounts got quite chipped through various mishaps so around 2006 we had Dunbar bagpipes remount the pipes using their unbreakable artificial ivory. The profiles of the original mounts were retained.

    The pipes are in excellent shape, but for a few tiny nicks in the wood. As was the tradition at the Kron company at the time, the blowstick and chanter stocks and the blowstick itself are polypenco plastic. The metal mounts are plain sterling silver.

    This is a lovely, full-bodied set for use in competition or as a workaday bagpipe.

  • Henderson, 1920s, cocuswood, natural, silver-plated brass

    This set of circa 1920s Hendersons is tonally top-drawer, but comes with some visual compromises and is priced accordingly.

    At first glance, the metal mounts appear to be engraved silver. However, there are no hallmarks, and it actually looks to be engraved brass, or perhaps German silver, and silver plated. The effect is very much like the real thing.

    The pipes are cocuswood, but it appears the bass bottom joint has been stained to look more like blackwood — perhaps an abandoned effort to make the pipes look like blackwood.

    The projecting mounts are in good shape except for the bass mid-joint. About a quarter of this mount has been broken off and subsequently buffed smooth. The blowstock appears to be blackwood, with the original projecting mount. The blowstick has a repaired crack near the mouthpiece.

    Tonally, the pipes are excellent — full and steady in the Henderson cocuswood tradition. The tenors tune a bit lower than my own 1920s cocuswood Henderson.

    These pipes are a good opportunity to acquire classic Henderson cocuswood tone without the price tag of a classic silver and ivory set.

     

  • David Naill & Co., full plain silver, 2009

    Though not the usual sort of item offered on this page, this particular set came to me for an exceptionally good price and can be offered here at considerable savings.

    They were made by David Naill & Co. in 2009, and are hallmarked full plain silver. If they have been played it is hardly apparent from the appearance of the pipes. They are in mint condition and come with a Naill poly chanter.

    Naill pipes have ben played at all levels, including the very highest, for close to 40 years.  The company was founded by Les Cowell, who learned the pipemaking trade with the Henry Starck company in the 1940s.

    Naill pipes are steady, full, smooth and very reliable. The company has always use the highest quality wood.

  • R. G. Lawrie, silver and ivory, 1970s

    These Lawries came to me as a circa 1940s set with the silver added later. The silver is Lawrie-produced, hallmarked RGL with a date that appears to be 1976. The style of the projecting mounts and other evidence suggest the pipes were actually made when the silver was hallmarked.

    The set has been recently refinished. There are some very minor dents in the silver from normal wear, but overall the pipes are beautiful and are in fantastic shape.

    The tone is full, though not as booming as the classic old Lawries of 100 years ago, and the pipes are priced appropriately. The pipes are very steady and very easy to reed.

    For someone looking for a well-priced, beautiful silver and ivory pipe as a reliable work-a-day instrument, you could hardly do better than this.

  • Lawrie, full ivory, circa 1940s

    This elegant set of Lawries is blackwood, and mounted in full ivory. The large bead on the bottom projecting mounts on the drones suggests a manufacturing date in the 1940s or 1950s, with the ivory patina suggesting early in that era.

    The set was free of cracks and has been stripped and refinished. There is some age-staining on the ivory mounts.

    The original chanter remains with the pipes, though in truth, old Lawrie chanters were rarely prized for their tonal excellence. However, it is nice to have the complete bagpipe.

    The pipes are full-bodied in tone and steady. Like Lawries in general, they are easy to reed. This is a lovely instrument visually, with great lines and character and a good Lawrie tone.

  • David Glen circa 1900, cocuswood with nickel ferrules

    Here is an ivory-free set of David Glen pipes in cocuswood with button mounts and nickel ferrules and rings. Estimated date of manufacture in 1900-1910. The chanter does have an ivory sole, so it may or may not be original to the pipes.

    The pipes are in excellent shape. One hairline crack was invisible whipped in one tenor top. Someone has previously put a brass insert in the blowstick stock. This work has been done very well and there was no reason to remove it.

    All pieces are original. The set has been refinished.

    David Glen’s workmanship is superb and well respected by modern pipemakers. His sets are renown for their steadiness, ease of reeding, and a tone which is very rich and harmonic but a little mellower than the larger bore Hendersons and Lawries.

    The pipes are lightweight and suitable for any level of piping, from parade use to professional level competing.

  • Wm. Sinclair & Son, full ivory, circa 1960

    This full ivory set by the Edinburgh firm of William Sinclair and Son was purchased new by the previous owner around 1960.

    William Sinclair started business in 1931 and still operates today. They have gained a well-earned reputation as the best and most consistent modern pipemaker. The Sinclair sound is full — not quite as full as Henderson — but very rich and bright. I played a Sinclair set throughout the 1980s and won most of my major prizes in Scotland with them.

    This set was stripped and refinished, including the chanter. There were no cracks or replacement pieces. The ivory ferrule on the chanter stock has a crack that has been filled. Though quite visible, it is stable and will not cause problems. If you look at the photo of the very typical Sinclair ivory drone caps, you’ll see that someone has lightly etched a serial number into each. While visible up close, these do not detract from the overall appearance of ivory.

    The set comes with its original Sinclair chanter. Unlike Hardie chanters of the same vintage, which age badly, the majority of good Sinclair chanters made from the 1950s to today still play very well with modern reeds, though at a flatter pitch than today’s chanters.

    The lines, mount shapes, ivory and tone are all exemplary on this set:  lots of character here from one of the greatest modern pipemakers in their prime!

  • Dave Atherton MD model, MacDougall bores, nickel and imitation ivory, 2009

    This set of Athertons was made in 2009 and owned by me until a couple of years ago. They were purchased and have recently come back from a player who has had to sell off his collection due to financial strife. They are blackwood and mounted in nickel and imitation ivory. The blowstick and stock are poly, as was Dave Atherton’s usual practice. The chanter stock is blackwood, not Dave’s usual practice.

    The only visible flaw in this set is a slight nick in the wood just below the hemp on the bass bottom tuning pin. The mark is not visible when the pipes are together and being played.

    Dave Atherton is regarded by many to be the best pipemaker of modern times. His attention to detail, quality materials and perfect workmanship are legendary. These pipes were a reproduction of a Duncan MacDougall cocuswood bagpipe previously owned by the late Roddy MacDonald of Wilmington, Delaware, and now owned by his son Calum.

    The tone is bold and steady with Canning tenors and a Kinnaird bass and the pipes are as steady as any set you will find.

  • Lawrie, circa 1920-1930, engraved silver, ivory

    This set was purchased as a set of Lawries made around or before 1900, though input I have had suggests they are more likely at 1920-1930s set.

    The pipes are ebony and appear ususually free of cracks or blemishes in the wood. The silver engraving is shallow, a Lawrie trait, though the ferrules lack the later conical Lawrie shape. The shallow bells suggest Lawrie, as do the larger ivory beads on the bottom drone projecting mounts.

    The ferrule on the bass mid-joint has been replaced with a more recent engraved silver ferrule more in the tapered Lawrie tradition. The plain silver slides are a very recent addition, hallmarked 1999. The metal mouthpiece is also modern, likely engraved nickel. Despite the later additions the visual effect of the pipes is lovely and strong, and none of these pieces detracts from the overall appearance.

    The tone is robust though not booming:  seamless, very rich and very steady, and very much characteristic of ebony. The lovely, natural, buffed finish suggests the pipes were refurbished fairly recently — perhaps when the slides were added.

  • Lawrie, circa 1910 ebony, full ivory

    This is quite a pristine set of Lawries in ebony, mounted in full ivory, and thought to date from the years around 1910. They have been refinished, though it’s possible they have had an earlier refurbishment.

    The wood is flawless, and the ivory is in superb shape, except for a split in the ferrule on the blowstick stock, which has been repaired. The tuning chambers are perfectly even.

    The pipes are rich and steady, thought perhaps not quite as robust as some some Lawries. This can be typical of some ebony pipes which are often not as loud a blackwood sets of the same vintage. It’s a stunning visual set with a smooth and seamless tone much in keeping with its appearance.

  • Gavin MacDougall, circa 1900, ebony, full ivory, brass inserts, built-in watertrap, original chanter

    I’ve had numerous MacDougall sets on this site, but few as classic or in such great condition as this Gavin MacDougall set. The pipes are ebony, the mounts are ivory, and all tuning chambers are fitted with brass inserts.

    While the pipes aren’t stamped, the chanter is stamped “G.C. MacDougall, Aberfeldy,” and appears to be a perfect match with the set. The cord guides are in Duncan MacDougall’s wide style, suggesting that this set was made early in his son’s career. Gavin took the business over when his father died in 1898, though he had been making pipes with Duncan for many years. Lots of pipes stamped with Duncan’s name in the late 1890s were almost certainly made by Gavin.

    The blowstick stock is uniquely Gavin: split, and fitted with a brass watertrap. This seems to be a special feature he offered, and I’ve seen only two others like this.

    The pipes were stripped and refinished some months ago, and a hairline crack was lightly invisible whipped in one tenor top at that time. I’ve been enjoying playing this set for the past three months. It’s a beauty, both visually and tonally — seamless, with a lovely bass sound.

  • Dunbars, circa 1970, engraved silver with holly projecting mounts

    This is the first older Dunbar set we’ve had on the site. This set was almost certainly made by Jack Dunbar himself, who served his apprenticeship in the Peter Henderson shop in the 1930s when the firm was at the peak of its pipemaking powers. He brought that expertise to Canada when he founded Dunbar Bagpipe Makers in the 1960s.

    Jack’s pipes were all made in the Henderson tradition. He was the first pipemaker to create instruments out of polypenco plastic. Perhaps as a result of this, his blackwood pipes were for many years underrated. But they are superbly made instruments with a bold and steady Henderson sound. Their manufacturing standards are very high, which is why I’ve chosen the company for all my vintage refurb work.

    This set was originally mounted in the engraved silver pictured here as well as catalin. The previous owner had the orange catalin replaced with holly, giving a great set of pipes new visual life. Only the original catalin bushes remain.

    The finish is original, and this 40-year-old set plays with a bold and steady tone that displays a rich, dominating bass.

  • Duncan MacDougall, ebony, natural mounts, circa 1880s

    I have been playing this ebony Duncan MacDougall set for about 8 months, and it is one of the finest MacDougalls I have played. The bass tunes higher than most, but it is one of the richest, most voluminous MacDougall basses I’ve heard: a real joy to play.

    Though not stamped, it is clearly Duncan MacDougall, with full natural mounts. When the pipes were stripped we found there were cracks beginning in both tenor tops, the bass mid-joint and the bass stock. These have been invisibly whipped and the pipes have been refinished.

    One odd feature of this set is the tuning pins, which look as though they are made of a different wood from the rest of the pipes. It is possible that they are replacements, though it would be odd of have four replacement pins on a set that is in otherwise good shape.

    The blowpipe stock may be a replacement. There are spider lines and tiny nicks on some of the mounts, but the wear and tear on this workhorse did not detract from my pleasure in playing them.

    I am replacing them with a lovely Gavin MacDougall set in mint condition and with its own special sound, but this set is a tonal masterpiece.

  • Henderson, silver and ivory, circa 1910

    This old silver and ivory Henderson set is in excellent condition. It appears to be blackwood, though the finish that was on the pipes was in good shape so I didn’t have it removed. The silver on the stocks is hallmarked 1910. The matching silver on the pipes has a different hallmark that I couldn’t trace but is clearly the same pattern and vintage.

    The bass top is a Henderson replacement that may be older than the rest of the pipes. The silver pattern is different but equally lovely and in no way stands out. It is hallmarked 1909.

    I played this set for a week and it is robust and steady in a fashion typical of blackwood Hendersons of this era: really a first class instrument.

    If there have been any repairs done they are invisible to me.

  • R. G. Lawrie, circa 1925, ebony, full ivory mounts

    This set of Lawries was purchased by the previous owner from Jim McIntosh some years ago. Jimmy identified them as circa 1925 Lawries, and I concur.

    The are in ebony with immaculate full ivory mounts. There is no evidence of any repairs to the drones or stocks — rare for ebony pipes nearly 100 years old. There is no staining on the ivory, and the patina of the ivory is lovely, with the grain showing beautifully. The pipes were stripped, checked for cracks, and beautifully refinished by Dunbar Bagpipes, who, I am confident, do the best refurb work on the planet.

    The set plays beautifully, as nearly all old Lawries do — they are full and balanced, steady and vibrant, and lock into tune in a way old ebony seems to do. They went well with both Ezeedrone and Canning reeds. I doubt you’ll find many vintage, fully ivory Lawries in ebony as lovely as this one.

  • R. G. Hardie, engraved silver and ivory, hallmarked 1964

    This silver and ivory Hardie bagpipe is hallmarked 1964. Except for some minor chipping on the bottom of one tenor drone bell, the set looks like it was played very little. The original finish is almost perfect. All original ivory hempstops and intact.

    The original mouthpiece is missing, but aside from that, all other pieces are original. The only flaw is a crack in the ivory projecting mount on the blowstick, which has been filled. The blowstick has been rebored, since blowsticks of this era tended to be narrow and restrictive.

    While the original chanter (not pictured) comes with the set, the silver sole was installed on a 1990s poly Dunbar chanter. This was and is an excellent chanter — a little lower pitched than today’s — and I saw no reason to change it.

    Bob Hardie kept a large cache of well aged wood, and the quality of this wood is reflected in the tuning chambers of these drones, which are perfectly even and required no reaming.

    In classic Hardie fashion, the set is steady and easy to reed. The drone sound is mellow, with a nice bass/tenor balance. Though the more subdued drone sound keeps Hardies from being played at the highest solo levels, I find these pipes perfect for a middle-age hobbyist looking for a reliable drone sound that won’t overpower the chanter, particularly if the piper’s tuning skills are not  yet at a high level.

  • Circa 1900 David Glen & Sons, cocuswood, nickel, ivory caps

    This is a lovely example of David Glen’s work, likely from around the turn of the 20th century. The pipes are cocuswood, the ferrules are nickel, and the stylish drone caps are ivory.

    This set did not require any refinishing or major refurb work when I acquired them, except to invisible whip a crack in the chanter stock.

    David Glen’s craftsmanship — inherited from his meticulous father Alexander — is still admired by pipemakers today, and his drones are known for their rich, subdued tone and steadiness.

    He began making pipes with his father in the 1860s and took the business over after Alex’s death in 1873. Around 1900 he added “& Sons” to the business name of David Glen. He died in 1910, leaving a voluminous legacy of high quality instruments and collections of pipe music. The business continued for many decades after his passing.

    David appears to have favoured cocuswood over ebony or blackwood right up until his death.

  • Dave Atherton, MacDougall bores, 2007, mounted in palm ivory

    This is one of Dave Atherton’s earlier MacDougall-bored sets, and has had only one owner, who purchased it new in 2007. It is mounted in “palm ivory,” a tropical nut. Very few sets were mounted in palm ivory due to reasons of efficiency: often flaws would appear in the nut only after considerable work had been done making the mount and the nearly-finished mount would have to be discarded. These mounts have turned a rich honey brown. Combined with Dave’s great eye for lines, this is one of the most visually beautiful bagpipes I’ve had on the site in a long time. The photos don’t do it complete justice. I have long contended that Dave Atherton is the premier pipemaker of the last 50 years, and this set does nothing to dissuade my belief.

    The tone is full and seamless, with a rich, dominant bass and excellent blend with the chanter. The blowstick is lined with stainless steel to prevent cracking.

    There are no cracks or flaws. Besides being an outstanding musical instrument, the mounts and its distinction as one of Dave Atherton’s earlier bagpipes make it somewhat of a collector’s item.

  • Henderson, silver and ivory, hallmarked 1935

    This set is a gem, physcially, tonally and historically: silver and ivory Henderson, hallmarked 1935-36. All pieces are original. There are no repairs to the wood. Several of the ivory projecting mounts had small cracks opening in them. These have been glued, and while they show when you get close, they in no way detract from the overall appearance of the pipes, and no further cracking should occur.

    The finish is in good shape and appears to be original.

    The original chanter has cracked near the bottom and has had extermal whipping done to it. The sole is in magnificent shape and can be moved onto a modern chanter.

    The pipes are exceptional tonally, even for Hendersons — a big bold sound, very steady, and with a very forgiving tuning range that makes the old Hendersons one of the steadiest makes ever.

    The pipes were first purchased for a grandson of Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie had a strong piping connection as he owned a castle in Scotland and for many years employed as his personal piper Angus MacPherson of Invershin, son on Calum Piobaire and wife of Mrs. MacPherson of Inveran. The pipes were sold out of the Carnegie family some years ago.

    As the photos show, the silver is exquisite. No recent work has been done to these pipes.

  • Circa 1949 Robertsons, full ivory, engraved silver slides

    This set of Robertson pipes came to me with a brass plate on the bass drone giving the owner’s name and the words “Christmas, 1949.” I have taken this as the date of manufacture. The plate did not compliment the look of the pipes and has been removed, though it will be included with the pipes.

    The pipes are full ivory mounted. They were in storage for some time, so some of the ivory has slight stain marks, though the overall patina is a lovely honey colour. The original finish was in very good condition and has been left.

    The engraved slides lack hallmarking and were most likely added later. The hand-engraving is deeply cut and beautifully done. While the original chanter is missing, the sole remains.

    The pipes were free of any cracking and the bores are straight and true. The drones play with typical Robertson power and steadiness and were easy to reed.

    The stock bores are slightly tapered, as was Robertson’s practice in earlier days. The sole can be taken as is or added to a chanter for CAD $95.

  • Circa 1900 David Glen & Sons, cocuswood, nickel ferrules, ivory caps

    This is a great old Glen set that I’ve priced well because they are visibly whipped in several places.

    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.

  • Robertson, 1956, silver and ivory

    This hallmarked silver and ivory Robertson set was made in 1956 and shows the distinctive ivory projecting mounts this maker was so famous for.

    The set has been refinished, but had no cracks or flaws in the wood. A number of the ivory mounts show some spider cracks, one large one in particular, but these are not unusual and they threaten the mounts in no way.

    The original ivory mouthpiece bulb is not present, so the original engraved silver sleeve has been fitted to a new mouthpiece.

    The stocks show bore flaring that is typical of many of the higher-end Robertson sets, said to enhance tone and steadiness. (This means any canister system used will need to employ sleeves rather than inserts.)

    I’ve never played a set of silver and ivory Robertsons that weren’t absolutely superb, and this set is just the same:  a robust, seamless, steady tone. It’s a great old set and quite lovely.

    While there was no original chanter or sole with this set, I do have a matching sole made in the same pattern by the same Birmingham engraver. The only difference is that it is hallmarked for RG Hardie, 1968. It has been installed onto a McCallum MCC2 blackwood chanter.