How to Oil Bagpipes

Time: 15 minutes
When: 2 or more times per year

What You Need:

  • Large towel or work mat
  • Clean soft cloth
  • 5 Brush Set (make this a dedicated oiling set, not your drying set)
  • Small Bagpipe Brush
  • Pipe Guard Spray Oil
  • Bagpipe Swab Set


Oiling cleans and conditions the raw bores of Blackwood bagpipes. It can prevent moisture loss and protect bores from absorbing condensation. Pipes have a finished exterior, so you don’t need to oil the outside. Remember that oiling alone does not prevent cracking. To keep wood stable, humidify your pipes by playing regularly and/or using a case humidifier. The humidifier is especially important in arid regions and during dry winters.

Oiling Steps

1. Prepare your instrument on a large work surface—one that you don’t mind getting oil on!

  • Disassemble your drones
  • Remove blowpipe (set aside lined or Poly blowpipes, mouthpieces)
  • Remove and set aside drone reeds
  • Remove and set aside chanter (even Blackwood chanters don’t get oiled)
  • Remove and set aside drone valves, Moose valves, etc.

2. Spray Pipe Guard into each stock and drone piece. If you have an unlined Blackwood blowpipe, spray it, too.

3. Go right back through and use bristle brushes to gently work the oil in and through each piece.

4. Push the conical bristle brush through the ring cap end of each drone top to reach the bell.

5. Use your cloth to wipe excess oil from the openings on all parts.

6. Use soft brushes or the 2-piece bagpipe swab set to remove excess oil from each part.

7. Re-install components and reassemble pipes.

You’re all done. Nice work!