"Penny-Chanter" Dimensions

C/C# Flat Narrow-Bore Chanter, Possible Old "Harrington"

Tube dimension corrections and improved reed design, Feb. 2011

Copyright 1998, 2011 David C. Daye, all text, image and sound files presented here.
First published 1998.

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 

New May 1998

Table of Contents


The source of these dimensions is an old C# chanter, possibly a Harrington, owned by Kevin Rowsome of Dublin Ireland, grandson of the late Leo Rowsome the famous pipe maker. I spent 2 days measuring this chanter when Kevin taught at Irish Week at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, West Virginia USA in 1997. In my lessons I played the first production Concert D "Rowsome" Penny-Chanter and Kevin was quite favorable to it. Kevin shared his C# chanter with all the students who unanimously pronounced it appealing to hear and well-behaved to play.

Table of Main Bore Tubing Sizes


  • Tubing is shown here in *OUTSIDE* diameters just as it is sold.
  • All the bore tubing is small enough to fit within a CPVC 1/2" I.D. plastic water-supply tube which will form the exterior from the very top to the bottom of the bell.
  • A decorative brass tube is used over the outside at the very bottom of the chanter.
  • Overall Length: 380 mm.
  • Click Here to See how measurements were taken.

    Table of Main Bore Tubes -- Corrections 2/15/2011

    and Bell (mm) 
    Bottom & 
    Bell (mm) 
    1/4 73 380 307
    9/32  123 380 267
    5/16  157 380 223
    11/32  198 380 182 
    3/8  148 280 132
    13/32  209 280  71
    7/16 243 280 37
    15/32 280 280 0
    21/32 40 40 0
    3/8 ID
    30 380 350
    1/2 ID
    380 380 0

    Alternate Construction Note February 2011

    If you're willing to work a little harder at construction, you can make a very accurate reproduction of a chanter by cutting each of the tube bottoms at a steep angle just like the Penny-Chanter upper bore piece, following the taper of the bore plot faithfully along with any wobbles. The chanter will tune somewhat flatter in the 1st octave compared to a step-bored construction, owing to the removal of airspace in the steps.

    Special Tapered Upper Bore

    This upper bore is easily made, using 2 pieces of tubing. Their bottoms are cut at an angle so as to approximate the behavior of  the tapered bore in the original wood chanter. The innermost or Throat Tube consist of a medium length cylinder with a long tapered tail, and is fixed partway into the next larger or Upper Bore Tube. The Upper Bore Tube reaches from the head of the chanter down part way to the back D or thumb hole, and also has a taper. The reed is hemped and will slide, for tuning purposes, within the Upper Bore Tube between the chanter top and the throat. Some authorities believe that this "Reed Seat" region should be as narrow and smooth as possible. Accordingly an extra tube of the same diameter as the Throat Tube can be installed above it, extending to the top of the chanter, providing a narrow reed tuning slide.

    Beware of leakage around the outside of the Throat Tube. Its cylindrical section is so short that there may not be an effective seal between it and the Upper Bore Tube. Creative gluing; perhaps a thicker modelmaking glue, may be necessary to achieve an airtight seal. Leakage here will increase the chance of gurgling bottom D and probably some other performance problems.

    Table of Throat, Reed Seat and Upper Bore Tubing

    Tube Name   Outside Diameter  Cylinder Length   Tail Length   Taper Type  Location of Top 
    Reed Seat   7/32" 12 mm 0  --  0 mm 
    Throat Insert   3/16" 8 mm
    20 mm Slight
    368 mm 
    Throat Tube 7/32" 28 mm 35 mm  Slight concave  368 mm 

    Finger Holes


  • "Distance" is measured from bell to the center of the hole.
  • Table of Finger-Hole Dimensions

    Note: Notes are named as though chanter is in the key of D.

    Distance from 
    Bell (mm) 
    E-  56 5/32
    89 3/16
    F#  122 13/64
    153 3/16
    190 3/16
    222.5 3/16
    [ C' ]  237 .
    252 11/64
    D'  271.5 11/64

    Reeds for the Flat Penny-Chanter

    New Narrow Bore Reed Design February 2011
    A generic C/C# and maybe D reed for the slightly wider narrow-bore chanters, by Craig Fischer. "A good Egan type."

    Staple is 0.015 sheet, best in brass since annealed copper this thin is a bit weak.
    Length of blank = 52mm
    Eye end width = 10.6mm
    Throat end width = 12.5mm straight tapered sides.
    When rolled, the tube diameters are about 3mm up to 3.6mm.
    Squash the eye down to 1.3mm ID min, ( gives about 2.05mm ID min)

    Cane head is square with rounded knees.
    Cane slip: 100mm long 1mm thick, sanded to ID = 45mm ( about 22 to 23mm tube used), width = 10.8mm
    Cut in to 2 by 50mm head pieces and put knees 25mm down from the top.
    Tie up the reed to slightly over 80mm and finish back to just under 80mm.

    If you want it a bit less strident take the head width down to 10.2mm and make the eye min a little bigger.

    David Daye: in my experience the slight taper of the staple tunes and performs noticeably better than a straight cylinder of the same basic diameter.

    Original version published with this page:

    Still under development. Flat chanters take rather small narrow reeds. Present efforts:

    Click here to see extensive photos and some diagrams of the reed-making process. This, too, is an incomplete work in progress!

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