The bellows are the 'heart' of a set of bagpipes, and a good set of bellows-blown pipes needs a good set of bellows. This is a fact that's often overlooked - unless they're efficient and comfortable you'll be struggling! I have put a lot of care and attention into the design and making of my bellows, to ensure that as well as working well, they look good.
I make three types of bellows. My basic English bellows, my 'rather superior ' Anglo/French bellows and my Scottish bellows which are in a class of their own!
All the bellows boards are made from British-grown hard woods. The inlet valves are removable for maintenance. The transfer pipe stays connected to the pipe bag and fits into a standard sized tapered socket in the back of the bellows. Thus all my pipes and bellows are interchangeable. All my pipes are supplied with appropriate bellows, but please feel free to discuss your requirements. Bellows are also available separately.
I am proud of these bellows. Making them is time consuming and ultimately a labour of love! I make them this way because I enjoy having as much to do with all the processes of pipe making as I can.
I supply these bellows as standard for my Leicestershire and English Double pipes. They are sturdily made of local cherry or hornbeam to a design which I developed in which the leather is nailed onto the board edges. They are fitted with a reliable hinge of thick leather and an adjustable arm strap.
These are rather superior bellows that I have developed which combine the best features from my English bellows with the distinctive shape of the French cabrette style bellows. They supply a large volume of air and whilst they can be fitted to my English smallpipes, they are ideally suited to bellows versions of my larger pipes. The leather is nailed to the boards and finished with neat 'piping' to conceal the edges. The inlet valve is removable. They are fitted with an upholstered pad on the front to cushion the player's arm and a contoured saddle on the back to fit against the body. They are very comfortable to use.
|Morrocan bellows boards||
This year I have started on an exciting project to create the most intricate and highly decorated bellows with the help of some of the woodworkers in the Morrocan coastal town of Essaouira; a town famous for its marquetry in local thuya wood.