Most of the time my day in the sorkshop goes very easily. I am making pipes, "D" pipes. They are all similar, and the routine of the work ensures things go smoothly. The machines are well oiled, the tools are sharp and the workshop well lit. Everything hums.
Yesterday it didn't. Reason. I had received an order for a "D"pipe, a "D" fife and a bamboo "DD" fife, the long one, 550mm long.
The first problem:- my supply of bamboo Textilis, the "right" bamboo for pipe making, was depleted. So I cut some more. That was too green so I tried with some other bamboo I had in stock. I tried some Oldhamii. Fine but it was not in tune.
Second try,.. much better in tune but still not right.
Third try.. black bamboo. Nice sound but problems with the upper register.
Fourth, tuning was better but there was a serious problem where I had a fingerhole going through a node point. So no success. [Count from the bottom]
Here is a foto of the results.
Nest, I tried to turn a fife in "D" size [270mm long]. I drilled it out to 16mm.
I used some puriri from a friends selection up North. Beautiful wood and a gorgeous sound, but upper register was out of tune. See the large finger holes! That didn't work.
The fife is shown at the bottom of the picture.
The next fife attempt needs no explanation. The picture tells all. [2nd from bottom].
The third fife [also16mm] was a great success, except that the upper register stopped at top G. It was a beautiful piece of Rimu so I can use it for busking. Just play no high tunes.
The fourth pipe [top] was made from Maire... Black Maire. This is the best wood a man can turn. The pipe was stunning, the sound glorious and the upper register was good. The hole in the centre was 13mm not 16mm like the others. OK I knew all along the the upper register is hard to get right if the internal diameter is too big for the length. Lucky for the customer.
However, drilling a smaller 13mm bore was the cause of the next problem.
You see how my workshop has lots of Auger Bits [the long ones] lining the walls. See in the foto.
None of these work when drilling the very hard Black Maire. I chose a new Daredevil Auger that has recently arrived from Texas Instruments. This is an absolutely brilliant piece of design. The auger will cut into Maire like a hot knife into butter. However, it drills so fast the wood chips don't clear in Maire. The drill jammed. This foto show the result. One totally destryed piece of wooden gold [Maire] and one bent [but later straightened] Auger.
I can use this auger quite successfully. Just drill for ten revolutions and then reverse to clear the wood. It is quicker using this method than any of the other augers I have.
I have another piece of Black Maire in the lathe for the second Black Maire instrument. This time a pipe in D. Just the same as all the other D pipes I make. No problems. It will be finished by the time you read this blog. See foto.
This piece of Maire is even better than the first one. It has stripes of black in the wood. Brilliant. This sure is for one lucky customer.
Cheers Chris the pipemaker