Maintenance Tips- Joints/Slides
It is critical that the joints between the sections are airtight. The bottom joints
between the stocks and drones should be hemped with waxed hemp. These
joints are the wettest part of the instrument, and the wax on the hemp
prevents it from expanding and contracting with changes in moisture.
When hemping, take your time and ensure that you use tight, even wraps so that the joint is hemped evenly over its length. These joints should be tight enough that they do not turn when you turn the drone tops for tuning. If these joints are hemped too tightly, or with unwaxed hemp, you will crack the tops of the stocks under the ferrules.
The tuning slides should also be hemped with waxed hemp to prevent
expansion with changes in moisture. The slides should be hemped only tight
enough to ensure that the drone tops will not slip under their own weight. If
you like, you can wrap a little unwaxed hemp or Teflon tape for the final wrap
to make the drones slide easier, but it is not necessary. You should be able
to turn the drone with your thumb and two fingers. The bottom joint between
the stock and drone sections should not move when you turn the top drone
sections on the tuning slides.
If you find that the drone top sections are loose and tight as you move them
up and down the tuning slides, the tuning chambers are worn and uneven and need to be trued up. Have a competent bagpipe maker/repairer do this for you.
In this Looney Tunes clip, Daffy Duck tries to tame the wild Tasmanian Devil with various musical instruments, including the bagpipes.