How to I get my pipes un-stuck?

Pipe joints are almost always stuck because of moisture issues.  I'd suggest that the first line of "fixing the problem always involve getting rid of the excess moisture.  In the larger view, however, there are  three approaches to this problem - shrink/swell, press/pull and twist/torque.


The premise here is that the reason that something is stuck is that the hemp has swollen.  Sometimes just waiting a couple days (without playing) will resolve the issue as the moisture will evaporate.  You can accelerate drying out the hemp by placing the affected part in a warm place, an oven at 150 F, in the hot sun, or using a hair dryer.  I would ONLY apply heat as a last resort. Beware rapid heating as you can get stress build-up and cause the wood to crack.  If the joint involves the stocks, I'd be cautious about the impact of heat on the bag, too.


If drying doesn't work, this is the preferred approach.  Basically we use a "wedge" to force the pieces out of the stocks without any twisting.  The basic methods are:

The thread approach works well for most joints and is preferable for chanters, practice chanters and blowsticks.

This works acceptably for lower drone sections.

This works for tuning pins/slides.


Again, if drying doesn't work...This is a good way to break chanters and tuning pins.  For threaded blowstick mouthpieces, consider using a Dremel tool to cut down the side and split the old mouthpiece off!  A vice with rubber pads can be helpful.  Wrapping a piece with rubber tape and using pliers can work.

This approach is best for lower drone sections in stocks.

Copyright S.K. MacLeod 1996-2016