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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:55 pm 
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I recently got a second Killarney whistle--I love these things! One in brass and one in nickel. Still not very good on either one, but much more confident about what I'm doing wrong.

The whistles are both very nicely made, very well finished. The mouthpieces are virtually identical--I can't see a difference. They sound very similar, although i feel a slight preference for the brass one. The nickel tube seems lighter and thinner, though I have not put a caliper on it.

So very happy wth the whistles, but wondering what it means that they are "made in ireland." I can't find any evidence of a Killarney whistle workshop anywhere. And looking at how the two mouthpieces are identical, I'm thinking "assembled in Ireland." As in "boxes of tubes and heads arrive from China and are assembled in Ireland." The internet tells me you can say "made in ireland" if substantial modifications are performed in Ireland.

Also wondering about faedog and oak whistles, which arrive saying "made in ireland."

Nothing against China here--our daughter was made in China by Chinese people and she is the most marvelous girl on earth as far as I'm concerned. Chinese imports are excellent! But I have my doubts abut "made in ireland."


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:09 pm 
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Why would you? The Buckleys have their works shop outside Killarney. When the yfirst started I entertained a notion the tubes may have been bought in as they were identical to Feadóg tubes but I have no real indication that is actually the case.

I don't know about Feadóg but there's no reason to assume things aren't made here.

Other than that, does it matter?

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:19 pm 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
Why would you? The Buckleys have their works shop outside Killarney. I have had a notion the tubes may have been bought in at some point as they were identical to Feadóg tubes but I have no real indication that is actually the case.

I don't know about Feadóg but there's no reason to assume things aren't made here.

Other than that, does it matter?



Sure, it matters if "made in Ireland" was part of your buying decision. Or if you are interested in specifically where your money goes, or if you have concerns about wages paid--things like that.


I'm not making a big deal out of it, and as I said I'm extremely happy with the whistles, but I am asking, because it seems to me that being an informed consumer is a good thing, and there is a significant difference between, for example, a guitar I make and a guitar I assemble out of parts CNC'ed somewhere else. Most small makers are eager to show you their workshop. I'm curious


Last edited by PB+J on Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:08 am 
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PB+J wrote:
...
So very happy wth the whistles, but wondering what it means that they are "made in ireland." I can't find any evidence of a Killarney whistle workshop anywhere. ...


A search on Google Maps gives us the Killarney school of music which was set up by Padraig Buckley and Tadhg Buckley (the directors of Killarney Whistle Ltd.) - the building is certainly big enough to include a whistle workshop. However, if you expected a steel works where the Buckleys mix their alloys and draw them into tubes (if that's how tubes are made), you'll be disappointed. But then, most builders of wooden instruments don't live in a forest with a sawmill in their back yard...

PB+J wrote:
...if you are interested in specifically where your money goes...


A fairly standard margin for retail businesses is 100% - meaning half of your money stays where you send it (to be spent on rent, wages, taxes etc. with maybe a tiny little bit left over for profit.) If you buy directly from the manufacturers, the margin might be a bit more, or you might pay a bit less than you would in a shop.

PB+J wrote:
... there is a significant difference between, for example, a guitar I make and a guitar I assemble out of parts CNC'ed somewhere else...


Is there? Or rather, in what way is it important? When I did my research prior to buying a guitar I learnt that with the cheap ones, the main problem is set up. Meaning, the parts are all okay and functional by themselves, but they are put together in a way that may make the instrument unplayable. From that I'd conclude that the assembly is as important, or more so, than the making of the parts. And I'm all in favour of reducing the margin of error by using computerized machine tools wherever possible and affordable.

But I suppose the best way to find out would be to contact the Buckleys and simply ask them...


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:20 am 
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From the Killarney website: "...each whistle is individually manufactured and “voiced” by a skilled person rather than made in a factory"

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:08 am 
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kkrell wrote:
From the Killarney website: "...each whistle is individually manufactured and “voiced” by a skilled person rather than made in a fac


Yes I read that and there's room for considerable ambiguity in the word "produced." I know that again in guitar world there are a number of expensive instruments which are carved to spec on CNC machines, sent to a different finishing shop, and then sent to the "name" maker to be assembled and setup. Sadowsky guitars are a pretty well known example.

If I go to MK whistles website, for example, I can find lots of pictures of the production process. Colin Goldie wants to show me his workshop.

I have a really excellent Freeman whistle, so I'm sold on the benefits of "voicing." But the two Killarneys I have are close enough to identical that I don't think any hand work went into them.

Which is fine by me. The whistles are great. I'm just interested in the process.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:33 am 
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But the two Killarneys I have are close enough to identical that I don't think any hand work went into them.


John Sindt managed to produce a highly consistent output. Would you doubt he did all his own work as well?

Don't you think a well set up workshop with a reasonably experienced machinist should be well able to turn out consistent parts to narrow tolerances?

I do have to add, while the C I received a few weeks ago does look very nicely finished, the D and Eflat I bought early on were less consistent, they have identical design heads for both keys but the parts of the D are a less than perfect fit and the Eflat was sent off apparently on a day the pins ran out so it came with the parts seemingly glued together rather than pinned (you can see some white-ish stuff through the hole where the pin/rivet should have been). But both the D and Eflat are lovely players so it doesn't really matter all that much although I admit I would, perhaps, have thought twice about them, when found in a shop, based on less than stellar finish.

If you check the first thread about these whistles, you'll see one user (Free Feet, I seem to remember) who maintained they wouldn't have gotten away with the finish in a first year engineer's course. I defended the Killarney on that thread because the whistle I received was such a nice player, and because he was overstating things. But on the issue of finish at that time, he had a bit of a point (I think that particular user blew his top on that thread and was removed from, or left, the forum).

I think the only thing in evidence here is that Killarney has now turned out so many whistles the skill in making them has increased to a point where their output has become more consistent and well finished.

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Last edited by Mr.Gumby on Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:57 am 
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Anybody who has spent any time in a machine shop can see how these whistles are NOT mass produced. A good worker will make fixtures/jigs to make the process repeatable. And consistent. Even with manual equipment. One does not have to have CNC equipment nor a large shop to create quality products.

China does not do CNC for simple items - automated machinery and labor laws prohibit it.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:29 am 
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Back when I tried my hand at making whistles (and I'll admit, I never got that great at it), I could turn wooden tubes that were within thousandths of an inch of each other in outer diameter. Calipers and metal lathes make this a pretty painless task.

I created some jigs to make my toneholes all end up straight along the bore and in exactly the same places, every time.

My hand-finishing and labium ramp production was less than ideal, but I expect that if I had stuck with it, I would be making pretty fancy looking whistles these days.

With the investment of a few thousand dollars in some modern shop tools, I see no reason why someone couldn't produce high-quality and consistent products without the use of CNC, or without importing parts from China.

You wouldn't have found evidence of a "Mahan Woodwinds" workshop anywhere, either. I pulled the cars out of the garage in my house, and did all of the work there.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:23 pm 
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This issue has come up with bagpipes.

There was a person in Ireland claiming to be an uilleann pipe maker, but it was obvious from the photos that he was selling Pakistani-made pipes.

Another person in Canada was claiming to be a Highland pipe maker. It seemed obvious to everyone that despite his claims, his pipes were made in Pakistan. In fact his pipes had unmistakable features linking them to one particular Pakistani maker. Still he claimed to make them, until someone visited him in person and saw that he was receiving the pipes in the post, and had no workshop.

I suppose it doesn't matter to some. But some buyers don't want dishonesty and misrepresentation to be parts of the buying process.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:29 pm 
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Quote:
This issue has come up with bagpipes.

There was a person in Ireland claiming to be an uilleann pipe maker, but it was obvious from the photos that he was selling Pakistani-made pipes.

Another person in Canada was claiming to be a Highland pipe maker. It seemed obvious to everyone that despite his claims, his pipes were made in Pakistan. In fact his pipes had unmistakable features linking them to one particular Pakistani maker. Still he claimed to make them, until someone visited him in person and saw that he was receiving the pipes in the post, and had no workshop.

I suppose it doesn't matter to some. But some buyers don't want dishonesty and misrepresentation to be parts of the buying process.




I don't believe that issue is at play here at all Richard. I hope you're not suggesting it is. :really:

Even if some of the manufacturing of the whistles were outsourced, that would be perfectly legitimate. The (modifying and) reselling of Pakistani made instruments as one's own is am issue of dishonest practice and really of a completely different magnitude.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:14 pm 
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I enjoy watching the whistle making process posted by whistle makers, even the ones I don't intend to purchase. It's just very rewarding to see how it's done. My recent Anak whistles made by a husband and wife team in Korea is a good example of this. They have excellent pictures and videos of their workshop. They even sent me pictures of the actual whistles they made for me, which I really appreciated. By the way, I will post sound clips down the line.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:58 pm 
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I'd be interested to see the process--it's interesting and fun to see. If you pay eightimes aht a standard issue generation or Feadog costs, one of the things you're paying for is attention to detail and consistency. The two Killarney's I have are extremely well finished, the fipple polished smooth on the underside and finished a nice uniform matte on the upper side. On both the pin holding the fipple in place protrudes a bit on either side, which I like, but has a beveled edge. The tubes have fine brushed finish. I'm impressed with the consistency.

It is certainly very possible that a small shop could manage this level of quality. There's also a significant money in selling "made in ireland" goods to the children of the irish diaspora, e.g., people like me. The Oak and Feadog whisetles I have both say "made in Ireland," but I can't find any evidence of a Feadog factory. The Killarney is not the same tube as as the "feadog Pro" I have. the whole spacing is different and the finish at the end of the tube is much better.

Bravo to Killarney if they are managing to produce this whistle in ireland at this price. i hope they are making a good living at it.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:36 pm 
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PB+J wrote:
Bravo to Killarney if they are managing to produce this whistle in ireland at this price. i hope they are making a good living at it.


I think the whistles are just a side gig. The Buckleys run a music school, and the whistles were created to give their students a consistent, affordable product. They have not marketed nor increased awareness of the whistles in any way to the general public, to my knowledge at least. (aside from their modest website, that is) i don't think they are are really trying to expand into a whistle empire.

If you mouse over the photos on their website, the text clearly states that Padraig is 'co-maker'. combined with "These companies are typically either a single individual or a very small group of craftsmen who work closely together.", this becomes a srongly implied two-person operation, yes?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:40 am 
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They have not marketed nor increased awareness of the whistles in any way to the general public


There was a bit of that during the Fleadh last summer, I seem to recall seeing a banner in the street and possibly a stall (I didn't look closer) but overall they're not very high profile.

Quote:
The Killarney is not the same tube as as the "feadog Pro" I have. the whole spacing is different




Yes, well, experiences/observations may differ there.

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Random bunch of Feadógs of different models and vintage, an old US made Oak, Killarney


Quote:
I can't find any evidence of a Feadog factory


It's not rocket science, their website gives you a unit on an industrial estate:
Quote:
8 The Westway Centre, Ballymount Avenue, Dublin 12,

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