Pipehacker Tip: Bagpipe Bag Hole Punch

Ever since the advent of synthetic bagpipe bags, the hide bag has drifted in and out of fashion. The ubiquitous rubber drone stock grommets—even on the newest hide bags—has rendered the skills to tie in a good stock on a hide bag dead on arrival. Fortunately, there are those out there who still swear by sheepskin and still need the total skills for bag tie-in.

For those new to the hide bag tie-in, it has always been necessary to measure out and place the spots where your stocks will insert. A quarter-sized hole is then cut into the leather and the stock pushed through. The trick is always to get as round a hole as possible. The more perfectly circular the hole, the less likely it will be to tear when you push your stock through. The only way to do this well is to have an ideally sized “punch” to stamp out that hole.

The perfect hole punch for a hide bagpipe bag is made using a copper 3/4-inch male threaded pipe connector. The opening is just larger than a standard 3/4-inch copper pipe and is the same size as a US quarter. The threaded connector end provides a beefier end for a hammer strike.

“Sharpen” the opening using the method detailed in the project “DIY Blowstick Valve.” File the outer edge and run a debarring tool in the inside until you have a decent edge that will cut through leather.

The punch will need a solid base in order to strike through the leather. Slip a narrow piece of 1/4-inch plywood through the neck of the bag and maneuver it underneath the spot where you will punch your hole. Line up your punch and give it a few good whacks with a hammer. If your edge has been sharpened well enough, you should go through the leather in a few strikes. You’ll have a perfectly round hole that will resist tearing when you aggressively push your stocks through.

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