Measuring a Chanter

Copyright 1997 David C. Daye, all text, image and sound files presented here.

Feel free to copy this work for desktop use and/or your individual study of piping. You may not republish all or any portions of this work in any form, or distribute it in any form, without permission. You may establish electronic pointers or links to this page. Questions, problems, comments or requests for permission to reprint may be e-mailed to me at CLICK HERE

For making a "Penny-Chanter" straight-tubing copy of a chanter, only a relatively few measurements need to be taken. If however a more accurate copy is desired, then many accurate measurments are needed.

I have tested the following procedure by re-measuring a chanter measured earlier by a professional maker, and found my results were virtually identical. The process is simple. Probes of carefully determined widths are inserted into the chanter until they stop in contact with the bore and the insertion distance is recorded. These distances can be used to create a graph of bore diameters which in turn allow copying of the chanter by different means.

Round or circular probes should not be used since these will only find the narrowest diameter at any given point. Wooden chanters always deform to some extent, becoming slightly oval in cross-section. The widest diameter at any given point is the closest approximation to the maker's original intentions. Therefore thin, flat probes are better because the can be rotated to find points of maximum and minimum insertion.

Metal probes should not be used, especially if they have sharp edges, or else the bore can be damaged.

A series of some 40 to 50 T-shaped probes are made. The stems are longer than a chanter (at least, long enough to protrude from the far end of the chanter when fully inserted for measuring). The cross-arms of the T's are carefully cut to length, +/- .001" or .025 mm. I make these in successive sizes from a little less than the expected throat I.D. (for concert pitch chanters, .190" or .195") to a bit wider than the expected bell (.530" or so). The first 10 or so, which measure the critical throat and upper bore area, I make in increments of .005" , and the rest increase in increments of .01" .

The stems are narrow, thin plastic as are the arms. I use very thin firm styrene plastic obtained from hobby stores, intended for model making.

Details and notes:

There will be more discussion of measuring techniques etc.

End of Copying Chanters Page
Return to David Daye's Bagpipe Page