Donald McDonald

Donald MacDonald died in 1840. The pipe chanter from the following set has his stamp, and the pipe chanter is the original with these pipes. Therefore the pipes cannot have been made later than 1840. They are in almost perfect condition. The wood is cocus with shellac finish, and they are fully mounted in ivory. The workmanship is exquisite, with many subtle details. This is the most interesting set of pipes I have ever seen, and inspired this section on the site.

mcdstamp1.jpg (59312 bytes) mcdstamp2.jpg (59439 bytes) mcdstampbetla&b.jpg (59096 bytes)
Three views of the stamps on the pipe chanter. The last one is between the low A and B holes.
mcdpcbulb&ferruleclose.jpg (60875 bytes) mcdpctop&pcs.jpg (64373 bytes) mcdpcbulb&pcs.jpg (60466 bytes)
Three views of the pipe chanter top and stock. Notice the fine detail of the beads on the pipe chanter and ferrule. The pipe chanter and pipe chanter stock make an artistic whole; the scribe lines match for depth and placement, the diameters match exactly as one would expect for original pieces, and the sweep of the bulb was made by the same person who made the sweeps at the end of the stocks and on the mounts.
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Above are views comparing scribe lines on the drones to scribe lines on the pipe chanter sole. The ivory is of identical age and condition. The scribe lines again have identical depth and aesthetic touch.
mcdpcbulbback.jpg (62612 bytes)He probably debated whether to put the bit of sapwood in front or back. The bead is actually a "half dome" and matches that on the mount opposite. The sweep to the left of the bead also matches that on the mount. mcdtbtopmount.jpg (57300 bytes)Compare the bead on this mount to that of the pipe chanter opposite. The sweep up to the largest diameter also matches.

mcdpctbbbtenons.jpg (63808 bytes)The hemp tenons are exactly the same style, and the grooves match.mcdpc&tbtenons.jpg (61420 bytes)

mcdpcfullfrombot.jpg (61109 bytes)mcdpcfull.jpg (64048 bytes)mcdpcfull2.jpg (54721 bytes)Full views

mcdpcsoleside.jpg (38695 bytes)mcdpcsolebot.jpg (57349 bytes)The beautifully made sole.


mcdbtcordhldrs&c&b.jpg (52025 bytes)mcdttc&b.jpg (49986 bytes)


Above, some nice examples of the combing and beading. Left: bass top. Right: tenor top.

Combing & Beading Comparison

mcdbptop.jpg (61458 bytes)mcdbpfull.jpg (63599 bytes)The blowpipe has been cut down by a considerable amount. This is shown by the plain taper at left being very off center. The original may have had a built-in cocus mouthpiece, designed to be cut down incrementally as the piper chews his way down the blowpipe. This practice was also common with old-time practice chanters.

mcd2tb.jpg (62027 bytes)mcdbottoms&bp.jpg (60992 bytes)The bottoms. On the left can be seen the two tenors. Notice that the bottom mounts do not match at all. My theory for this is that the original was broken or cracked, and this is a replacement made by MacDonald "sight unseen." On the right the four bottom mounts from the bottom. The outside tenor mount is seen clearly to have a smaller diameter. It could have been turned down after damage, but the lengths do not match either. They were made by the same person, though

mcdbasspiecesnobs.jpg (61862 bytes)
The bass drone, glowing with class.

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A tenor drone
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The above views of the tenor stocks clearly show the pressure regulators added to the bottoms by the maker. These devices are unnecessary today, thanks to the vast improvement in reeds. There was one originally in the bass stock of this set too, but it is missing. The tenor stocks were made from the same billet.


The tenor tops. Notice how the dimensions and shapes compliment each other. Also notice the perfect (and probably original) shellac finish.mcd2ttfrombot.jpg (62169 bytes)mcd2tttopsmost.jpg (63619 bytes)


mcdtbttop.jpg (31168 bytes)
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Bass top showing cord holders and sweep details.
mcdbttop.jpg (36114 bytes)
All three tops were cut from the same piece of wood. The sapwood fingerprint tells it all.
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More detail of the top.


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Tenor bottom tuning pin.
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The bass bottom bottom mount.
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A tenor bottom bottom mount.
mcdbbtopmount.jpg (42567 bytes)
The bass bottom top mount.


mcdttcordh&tbtopmountcomp.jpg (63472 bytes)
This picture compares a tenor top mount with the tenor cords & tassels. Notice how the shapes match. You can read as much detail into this as you want. It's all there.

mcdttfer&tbtopmounttouch.jpg (60054 bytes)mcdttfer&tbtopmountalmosttouch.jpg (61038 bytes)mcdtsfer&tbbotmounttouch.jpg (63741 bytes) These shots look the same, but on the left is a tenor bottom bottom mount and its stock ferrule. On the right is the same bottom joint's top mount and its top ferrule. These shots show how perfectly the diameter of the cut-in on the ends of the mounts matches the corresponding ferrule.


Other pictures of this set.   mcdstocks.jpg (48728 bytes)  mcdbsferclose.jpg (49171 bytes)

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