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INCREASING worldwide scarcity of hardwoods has serious implications for makers of bagpipes and other instruments, members of the Lowland and  Border Pipers' Society were told at a meeting in Edinburgh earlier this year. As hardwoods become more and more difficult to come by, - cauld-wind pipe-makers, at least, may well turn increasingly to the more traditional fruit woods for their instruments. This was the warning given by David Moore a retired forestry expert now making cauld-wind pipes in association with his son, Hamish Moore. During his talk, in the School of Scottish Studies, on  various woods and their properties regarding Pipes, Mr. Moore ranged over the hard woods, passing round samples ranging from holly, sawn only two days previously, to a 30-year-old section of purple heart from Trinidad, and discussed their diverse properties which pertained to pipe-making, such as density, texture and water content.

Having dealt with these, he said that one of the biggest considerations for the future of pipe-making--both Highland and Lowland--was the problem of supply. Two years ago, in his then capacity as a forestry advisor with the UN, he had visited Tanzania and Malawi. There, the pressing concern was maintaining the supply of native timber for firewood, to supply the growing urban populations. "When that question arises, the implications for pipe-makers aren't good." In Tanzania, for instance, women living in the cities would spend 9 hours collecting wood and bringing it home as fuel—"and this is an area where we get blackwood from".

"But there's very little Tanzanian blackwood coming in now, I know one pipe-maker using stuff from Mozambique, while other makes are using  Canadian maple impregnated with resin to increase its density."

There were, he continued, some woods which had vanished from the market altogether-—-such as partridge wood or cocus.

“What chance does the small pipe-maker have in the future against large firms like Boosey and Hawkes who have their own resident buyers in these countries?".
Alternative woods would have to be considered, and from the point of view of the maker of cauld-wind pipes, we should be looking at the wooda which were traditionally used for these pipes... laburnum, holly, hornbeam, blackthorn and all the fruit woods. "They all give very pleasant tone indeed,  although they're maybe not quite so loud.”