Published: August 11, 2021

Kintail, Glen brands resurrected with new pipemaking company

Kintail Bagpipe Makers, the firm that gained ground under former Peter Henderson manager Greig Sharp in the 1970s and ’80s, has been restarted under Managing Director Peter Weidig, a friend of the Sharp family and currently a piper with the Vale of Atholl organization.

The new company has taken on the Kintail brands, as well as those of historical bagpipe makers J&R Glen and David Glen, offering hand-made instruments modelled after vintage designs, which the company has trademarked. He purchased Kintail Bagpipe Makers with all assets and intellectual property rights in 2020.

“I’ve always been fascinated with bagpipes,” Weidig said. “Playing, collecting and the manufacturing process – a true passion of mine.”

I felt the names were too big to leave lying dormant. – Weidig

Weidig added that during the pandemic lockdowns he “decided to take on a new project and bring the business back. I felt the names were too big to leave lying dormant.”

He added that he has known the Sharp family since he first started playing, spending a lot of time in the company’s Glasgow workshop.

“All our pipes are hand-turned to the highest standard,” Weidig stressed. “I don’t believe in using CNC on pipes as a slower operation achieves better results in letting the wood settle between production stages.”

He said he now has Kintail products back to what the firm produced in the 1970s, when the famous Dysart & Dundonald pipe-major, Bob Shepherd, was involved in the company.

An example of new Kintail drones.

“Kintail was a relatively big name in its day, but I felt the whole product range needed a bit of a shake-up. Kintail pipes are now back to what they produced in the 1970s when they were at their best.”

Sharp acquired or co-opted the Glen brands decades ago but, instead of reproducing to their vintage specifications, he apparently manufactured them using Kintail specs and tools.

“We’re now back to original sizes having refined some of the original Glen tooling that we still have. Everything is hand-turned only from properly seasoned wood with the main focus on quality.”

The well known piper Stuart Samson is already playing new J&R Glen pipes made by Weidig, complete with a new Kintail Adfrican blackwood chanter. Samson for many years had played a set of vintage Glen pipes.

While Kintail was probably the first bagpipe maker to resurrect inactive vintage bagpipe brands, other companies such as McCallum Bagpipes and R.G. Hardie have brought back famous names like Henderson and Lawrie, manufacturing instruments to original specifications.

The practice was probably first implemented when Atherton Bagpipes created bespoke instruments from vintage MacDougall of Aberfeldy specifications. McGillivray Piping, run by the famous piper Jim McGillivray, has been producing via Dunbar Bagpipes a variety of bagpipes from various big names of the past, including Robertson, Gavin MacDougall, Glen, MacPhee, and MacRae, each to specifications taken from drones currently played by top pipers.

pipes|drums subscribers can learn all about vintage bagpipe makers of the past in our series of “Pipemakers” articles by McGillivray and Jeannie Campbell, links following.

 


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