Pipehacker Tip: Air-flow Triage

Bag problems can be a particularly pesky problem to pipers. If you’ve ever had a troublesome bag, you know. It seems synthetic bags are no better when it comes to the occasional leak or hole. Whether you’re new to bagpiping or have years of experience under your belt, diagnosing hard-to-find leakage in your instrument is a perennial ritual you’ve likely gotten frustrated about, or broken things over more times than you care to count.

I won’t go into detail about all of the techniques (silly and otherwise) pipers have used to find leaks. We’re done with that. Most of them are not fail-proof. Plus, all you end up with is a wasted afternoon or soaked bagpipes.

Here is what you do from now on: Run to the supermarket and grab yourself some kiddie foam soap in a pump container. The stuff is not liquid but puffy, shaving cream-like foam–sans water. Pump blobs of the foam over possible trouble spots and fill your bag. Escaping air from even the smallest, pinhole of a leak will generate big soap bubbles through the foam to let you know.

Once your done, just wipe away the foam. No saturated, slimy mess to deal with, no soaking your bag. All that’s left behind is a clean set of pipes and a whiff of your soapy scent of choice.

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