Free Flow Valve / Water Trap
Launched in June 1999, the Free Flow Valve is a combination blowpipe valve and optional water trap. The valve can be installed into the bottom of the blowpipe stock in a matter of seconds.
The aperture of the device is approximately the size of the a blowpipe bore itself, so there is little if any restriction to air flow to the bag. A large, cupped rubber valve is held in the middle of the apparatus, creating an efficient and durable seal. These two features will help most pipers to attain a more constant pressure while playing.
The optional water trap can be fitted if desired, and this is a simple tube insert that allows moisture to accumulate around the edge of the valve. Simply disconnecting the blowpipe and tipping over the bag (ugh) drains off collected saliva. But beware of ruining your mother’s new living room rug.
The Free Flow Valve/Water Trap is a well designed and nicely made product. When combined with the increasingly popular Ross Canister Pipe Band System, it will allow an additional element of moisture control.
Even without the water trap, the valve by itself improves the overall efficiency of the instrument.
The Free Flow Valve is a product that the Piper & Drummer recommends. After all, if you’re going to spend $100 on synthetic drone reeds, $300 on a Ross Canister Bag, and $10 on a pipe chanter reed, a $25 water valve that lasts a lifetime is a relative bargain.
— Andrew Berthoff is Editor of the Piper & Drummer