Bag seasoning

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Bag seasoning

Postby adrian » Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:40 am

Take from The irish pipers' society postings:

mix it since many years by myself. At first for mouth blown pipes and later for the Uilleann Pipes.
It consists mainly of water. Gelatine (200 ml) makes it air tight. The second important ingredient is glycerine, may be two or three soup spoons full. This would be enough to reach the target to tighten the bag and to make the leather soft.
Then I add sugar, may be 100 gr, which kills bacteria and protects from rotting. Then I also add Aspirin (Acidum acetylosalicylum), which is not really necessary for the Uilleann Pipes because no breathe humidifies the bag, but it may help.
Raise temperature but do not exceed 50 °C. Fill in the slightly warm gelatine pudding as a fluid. Let it cool down and let drop off all left over fluid.
With corks locked the bag should be tight now like a football.
With this method I own now the second bag of my Uilleann Pipes, which Andreas made round about 1985. And I exchanged the bag not because it was bad, but of colour reasons.

Christian Tietje

I it old English? Adrian
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Re: Bag seasoning

Postby Julia Say » Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:10 am

I can't speak for any other makers, but for myself I wouldn't give this mixture house-room. It reads a bit like the recipe for the plates on which laboratory bacteria are cultivated!

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Re: Bag seasoning

Postby pipemakermike » Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:42 am

I still use the tried and trusted Ross dressing he told to me in 1980.
The resin is actually Rosin, also called colophony or Greek pitch (Pix græca)
I still use Vaseline but the lanoline refered to in the letter may be even better although I haven't tried it myself.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosin
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Re: Bag seasoning

Postby Julia Say » Sun Dec 11, 2011 9:52 am

Colin's up to date recipe is 1 oz beeswax, 1 oz of fiddle rosin (he still calls it resin, which is sort of botanically correct) and 1/2 pint of liquid paraffin.
For a stiffer mix the quantity of wax and rosin can be increased / up to doubled.

He abandoned neatsfoot oil altogether about 2 -3 years ago. I think this was because he had an inferior batch: we had a lot of difficulty with "neatsfoot compound" a few years ago - it has water in it, which as far as I can see, is a no-no.
In 20 years I've not heard him mention lanolin as an ingredient (this must have an experiment that got left behind, there's lots of those and they're still going on).

Myself I still use neatsfoot for bag dressing, but paraffin for almost everything else - and I withdraw the remarks I made a while back on Dartmouth about the liquid paraffin rotting the cotton thread - I now think it was something else.

Cheers
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Re: Bag seasoning

Postby Francis Wood » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:31 pm

This is just my own practice, and I wouldn't advise anyone to follow it . . . but my usual course is to do nothing at all to the bag. I use those from Jackie Boyce which seem to me to be ideal - neat, flexible and extremely airtight. A good test for successful airtightness is to inflate the bag, fold the neck so that no air can escape and sit on the whole thing. Boyce bags pass this test with huge honour.

I've heard it said that a 'dry' bag sheds leather fibres which can interfere with the reeds. This is true in principle though I've yet experienced that problem.It is, anyway, an incidental effect of a dressed bag and not in itself a good reason for dressing.

I did once buy an undressed bag from someone who was at the time dealing in NSP supplies. It proved impossible to mouth-inflate from the start, never mind any gradual leakage, because the leather was completely transparent to air. I doubt that a bucketful of dressing would have helped.

Are there advantages to dressing an already airtight bag. Does it prolong the bag's longevity? I must say that the one I've been using intensively and over a long period in an entirely undressed state (and that's the bag, not me) shows not the slightest sign of deterioration.

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Re: Bag seasoning

Postby Barry Say » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:44 pm

One reason to dress a bag is to prevent the little black bugs which drop off the suede side and get stuck in the reed. Another is to catch any passing dust. Dressing excludes airborne moisture from the leather and getting leather damp and drying it out is one of the reasons that old leather articles look so wrinkly.

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Re: Bag seasoning

Postby pipemakermike » Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:21 pm

The first set of pipes I made had a bag made from bark tanned calf leather that was (and still is) completely airtight with no seasoning. It was purchased around 1978 from:-
J Croggon & Son Ltd.
Manor Tannery , Fore Street
Truro
Cornwall
TR2 4QW
You can see from the aerial picture that they still have the tanning pits.
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Re: Bag seasoning

Postby Francis Wood » Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:47 pm

Organ builders use what they call 'pneumatic leather' - the airtight quality comes from the manufacturing process.

Some bags will benefit greatly from dressing but I doubt the value of dressing already airtight bags. It's true that dressing will capture leather fibres but if that's the only advantage it's a clumsy and messy way of achieving that end when a simple filter - the often-used acoustic-isolation foam in the chanter stock - will do exactly the same. We've probably all seen examples of the mess caused by over enthusiastic application of dressing in pipes from one source. Contamination of the reeds is inevitable in such cases and presumably the risk remains in diminished form when dressing is applied more sparingly. Whatever is used, it's highly desirable that it stays put and does not migrate where it isn't wanted.

Hotteterre recommended lard for musettes, applied melted through a paper funnel. Presumably noses were more resilient in those days.

Francis
Last edited by Francis Wood on Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bag seasoning

Postby pipemakermike » Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:43 pm

I once had the task of bringing a Hedworth set back to Cambridge from the North - I can't remember what for - and after a few miles we had to stop and wrap the set in as many plastic bags as we had in the car because of the awful smell. I later was told that this was because Bill used unstabalised tallow as a dressing and the smell was the smell of rancid tallow
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Re: Bag seasoning

Postby adrian » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:02 am

I wonder if the 'other users of neatsfoot' use these concoptions for their saddles and rub their horses down with it?
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