Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I'm still alive and in business - Honest!

My apologies - I've been so very busy that I've fallen behind in my website and social media (how DO these other artisans get any work done when they're constantly stopping to take photos and write about what they're doing?)

Henceforth I'll try to be a wee bit more diligent with my updates and news.

Here's a link to my FB page - I'm generally good (or at least 'less awful') at posting news and updates on it;

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bagpipe collection for sale!

I've got too many sets of pipes and no time at all with which to enjoy them, so I have decided to offer them all for sale. The last set to remain unsold will become 'my pipes'...which I will then still not have any time to play......

I dearly love music, specifically 'pipe music', but I work 80- to 100-hour weeks, which leaves me no time to practice. My instruments sit on their shelves in silent reproach - which bothers me, and this undermines my productivity- which bothers me even more. I really need the money - and this bother me to no end!

Questions? Interested? email me! (info - at - westcoastkilts - dot - com)

1) A full Uilleann set in 'D'; Chanter and regulators by Bruce Childress, drones by Eugene Lambe, Bellows, a second, narrow-bore D chanter, and a separate 'practice' bag-and-stocks by Brad Angus, Leather bag by L&M.
$5000 the set - which is a heck of a deal, given that you might wait up to a year or longer from 'time of order' from a reputable maker.

subtract the practice bag and the Angus narrow-bore chanter: $4000

The drones are rock-steady with a wonderful bass that just fills the room.

 The Childress chanter is made of African blackwood with holly(?) mounts and has a fine clear voice that is perfect for playing in a noisy pub.

The Angus narrow-bore chanter is of Blackwood with sea-ivory (probably walrus) mounts and has a wonderful tone, but it is of course not as loud as the 'concert' chanter.

I haven't really used the regulators as it wasn't until I'd received them that I found that a)  a full set looks grand but I dislike the weight and b) the extra playing-pressure that the regs require is just beyond the comfort level of my (ruined) right shoulder.

I MIGHT consider parting this set out. I will sell the Childress chanter at any stage  but I will only sell the drones AFTER I have sold the regulators, and the starter set ONLY after having sold the drones and regulators.

a) Drones $1000
b) Bass regulator $1100
c) all 3 regulators $2300
d) Childress concert D Chanter $1000
e) Angus narrow-bore D chanter $1200
e) 'starter set' of bellows, bag, stocks and chanter $1400

top; Brad Angus narrow-bore in 'D',

bottom; Bruce Childress 'concert- D' chanter

4) Glen "3/4" or 'reel-pipe' with your choice of chanters;

- A modern 'Bb' MacLellan chanter in African Blackwood and an ivory sole, free from cracks or any other damage, and

- A 'Glen-style' Bb African blackwood chanter with imitation ivory sole made for me this last year by Nigel Richard of Garvie Bagpipes;

This chanter has only a few hours of play and is in new condition, and the tone is outstanding - both rich and full!

. The drones and stocks are of African Blackwood with full ivory mounts.
I believe that this is either an early David Glen or a late J&R Glen. In any case it 'feels' far older than the 'miniature' pipe listed below, and was probably made no later than 1900-1910. Leather bag by L&M.  The chanter shown with the pipes in the top photo is the McLellan in ABW with ivory sole .

This is a handy pipe for playing indoors and the volume is ideal for playing with other instruments - which of course was the original intent!

This pipe with one chanter: $1200
with both chanters; $1700

left to right: MacLellan, Henderson (SOLD), Garvie


5) Glen 'Miniature' Highland pipe in cocus with ivory projecting-mounts and caps, with steel ferrules (which were probably nickel-plated) Chanter is marked "David Glen & Sons, Edinburgh". Horse-hide bag, silk drone cords (pay no attention to the classy bit of butcher's twine in the photos), Ezeedrone sythentic drone reeds and plastic chanter reed. these pipes come with a blue velvet bag-cover not shown in the photos.


I bought these pipes because they intrigued me, and I found them a very useful teaching-aid for very young pipers. With proper reeds (as they now have) they have a surprisingly rich tone. when played in a 'hard' room (such as an unfurnished room with plaster or concrete walls) they have an astounding tone!
This is quite a rare instrument, particularly since it has its original chanter, and so the price is $1200.


6) a pre-1939 silver/ivory Highland pipe
Set of silver-and-ivory Highland pipes. This is a beautiful instrument with a terrific tone, but I haven't had them out their case for over 2 years and they deserve to be played.

 The OLD Henderson chanter has a warm tone and the (worn) fingerholes feel wonderful under the fingers. L&M hide bag (autographed by Alan MacDonald of Glenuig - who played and admired them when he visited my shop - see the attached vid) Seaforth bag-cover and green silk cords.

The drones have quite the nicest tone of any set that I have ever played.

This is the set that I was given by the family of an old piper who had played at Tobruk, Alamein and Cameron Ridge. I don't know for a stone-cold certainty that it was this set that he carried during the War (he never showed me his pipes during our visits) but the age is right.

 $3500, including pipe-case full of the usual piper's detritus (reeds, etc)


7)  Four rope-tensioned regimental side-drums.
First up: a side-drum of the 2nd Bn Seaforth Highlanders ca1919-1947 for $ 800

2nd; Rope-tensioned side drum, need only new calfskin heads and gut 'snares' (plus a tin of brasso) to put back into first-class playing order. $400
- currently-employed as my waste-basket....

An unpainted side drum that appears to be at least pre-1939. It needs only new gut snares to be in first-class playing condition; $500
and last;
Drum 'kit': Victorian brass side-drum shell, one tension hoop, two 'flesh-hoops', plus new hemp rope, buff 'tugs', brass slides and hook which I purchased new from George Potter and Sons; $300


Monday, May 9, 2011

The Best Kilt Cloth in the World

As you've no doubt read in my website, I only buy cloth from DC Dalgliesh in Selkirk, Scotland.

Here is an informative video about them:

for some reason, my senile old computer won't enable the link. Search for "Scotland's Last Artisan Tartan Mill: A Tour of D C Dalgliesh"

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Year of the Seaforth

Are you, or have you ever been a member of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada (Battalion or Cadet Corps?

Are you related to/descended from a Seaforth?

Join "Seaforth 100" on Facebook to find out what's happening in this, the Centennial Year of the Regiment in Canada:

Friday, March 19, 2010

That's "Professor" MacDonald, thank you!

Life's Strange Tapestry:

A few months ago I received a 'cold-call' from Ontario's Haliburton School of the Arts (

The college had decided to offer a kiltmaking course as part of their Fibre Arts Program, and that I was the person to teach said course.

Fortunately for me, I have done a great deal of instructional program design, so I'm not unduly worried about cramming a multi-year apprenticeship into 5 days!

I suffered through too many years of egotistical,incompetent and/or malicious 'teachers' to EVER inflict that on others - in fact since completing my teacher training I've become a real snob about 'quality of instruction' and the 'Competency-based Education' model. (which means that all other factors being equal: If you didn't learn anything it's because I didn't reach it to you correctly!)

Even with a 'pre-course package' that will teach everything that can be taught outside of the classroom setting, it's going to be a pretty intense week...

I take this extremely seriously for at least two reasons:

a) Each student will be laying out a great deal of money and if they don't feel that they've gotten their money's worth then they will (rightly) voice their discontent; and

b) There will be a number of people describing themselves as 'Kiltmakers trained by Rob MacDonald' released upon the buying public. If they do well it's due to their hard work, but their failures will be my failures.

I can't wait!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

New Prices for 2010

I have been able to keep my prices the same for many years now, but my costs have risen and thus made a price increase necessary.

What has not, and will not change, is my commitment to the highest level of customer service and quality of product.

Here is the new price list, effective immediately:

- Kilts $800.
" " with box-pleats $880.

- Cut, Make and trim, using your kilt cloth; knife-pleats $400.
- " " " " " " " box-pleats $480

- Shoulder-plaids tailored to the old 'Officers' pattern as worn by the Highland Regiments when they wore scarlet full-dress (as opposed to the untailored length of cloth thrown over your shoulder that the other shops offer) :
-if ordered at the time you order your kilt: $250.
-as a single order $350

- To have your suit-jacket 'cut away' into a kilt- jacket $100.

- Gentlemen's Inverness Capes $1000.

- Tartan design service now normally runs around $400.00

I no longer will accept 'Band' orders because I work alone and therefore cannot complete large orders as quickly as you or I would like.

I will soon be offering tartan waistcoats.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New "Seaforth Centennial" tartan

Deep in my cedar chest lies a kilt that is well over 100 years old.

Rain, mud, sweat and beer, the dust of South Africa, the trenches of France and Flanders and the desert sun of Sicily and the North-West Frontier of India have faded the colours to a very atttractive hue.

Were I more slender I would wear it yet, and perhaps a fourth generation of my family will do so.

In the meantime, I have commissioned the D.C. Dalgliesh Mill to weave me a bolt of "Seaforth #2" kilt-cloth in the faded colours of this old Seaforth kilt.

I have named this tartan the "Seaforth Centennial Tartan" in honour of the impending 100th Anniversary of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada in 2010.

This is a 'limited edition' tartan, and the proceeds will be used to buy ceremonial uniform items (sporrans, etc) for the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada.

Slainte ago Buath gu Brath nan Giliean Cabar Feidh!
(Health and Success forever to the Lads of the Stags' Head!)