Seasoning a Bagpipe

Seasoning a sheepskin bagpipe

Before seasoning a bagpipe, play it for 10 - 15 minutes. Initially a pipe bag may feel dry but it does not necessarily require to be seasoned. The moisture from your breath maybe enough to return the pipe bag to its proper functioning state.

Having removed the cap from the bottle heat your MG Seasoning in the microwave until it is liquid. This may vary depending on the microwave power setting but will be typically 1 - 1.5 minutes. DO NOT ALLOW IT TO BOIL.

Remove the drones, chanter, blowpipe, bag cover and any water traps. Cork all five stocks. Remove the cork from the chanter stock and pour a small quantity of MG bagpipe seasoning into the bag through the stock. Remove as much air as possible and replace the cork.

Rub the dressing into the sheepskin paying particular attention to the welt (seam) of the bag and the area between and around the stocks. The more time spent doing this the better. Remove the cork from the blowpipe stock and replace the blowpipe. Ensure that the remaining corks are secure and blow up the bag as tight as possible. This will force the seasoning into the stitching and skin. Rock the bag back and forth to allow seasoning to run along the welt while at the same time applying pressure to the bag, this will force the seasoning further into the skin and stitching.

Check that all the stocks are secure and the blowpipe valve is not leaking. If after 30 seconds or so you are unable to blow a significant amount of air into the bag, it is tight enough. NO BAG IS TOTALLY AIR TIGHT. Do not expect the bag to remain full of air for a long period.

Carefully remove the blowpipe and cork the stock. Hang the bag up using the loop at the rear of the welt and remove the cork from the chanter stock. Let the seasoning drain out ensuring that the other stocks are kept upright so any seasoning can drain down into the bag and out of the chanter stock. Work your fingers around the part of the chanter stock that is tied into the bag to ensure that excess seasoning does not build up and congeal in this area. Be sure that all excess seasoning has drained out before proceeding.

Once the excess seasoning has drained out of the bag, (there is no need to hang the bag overnight. 20 -30 minutes is ample time) you must clean the stocks thoroughly. Use a warm slightly damp rag for this. Ensure that the bottoms of the stocks are clean from seasoning. You can check the drone stocks by holding the bottom of two stocks together and looking through, inspect the blowpipe and chanter stocks by holding under a light. If they are contaminated then continue to clean until spotless.

The more you season your sheepskin pipe bag the more these areas may become contaminated. Your bagpipe will not function properly if seasoning builds up in these areas. Be careful not to over season your pipe bag, there is no set interval for seasoning it is dependent upon the climatic conditions and the frequency of playing.