Freehand Pipe Build #1

Discussion in 'The Brown Leaf' started by cb91710, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. I posted this photos in the LE discussion thread, but don't want to hijack that thread with my "build progress" thread.

    So here we go.

    While discussing Mark's work and browsing his pipes, SWMBO suggested that I try my hand at carving a pipe.
    Now, I'm nothing NEAR the skills of MyCarver... I mean compared to his work, I'm at the Lincoln Log stage :biggrin:

    But I ordered a PK12, 1/4 bend, medium bowl, with a Military lucite stem.

    It arrived today.

    I was going to go with a freehand, but the top is pretty angled, and the bowl is almost 2" deep (by 3/4" diameter) so I don't think it will lend itself well to that, so I think I'm going to go with a bent octagon, diamond-faceted at the top, and bending the octagon into the shank.

    I really do wish that I had requested a large bowl.

    View attachment 238440 View attachment 238441
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2012
  2. Very cool. Excited to see your progress along the way!
  3. Kentos

    Kentos Moderator Emeritus

    Wow that's not what I expected to see from your other a pretty rough chunk of briar.
    I may follow your lead!
  4. I'd call it done and smoke it like that :)
  5. That is exactly what I expected from reading his site.

    He says to take a wire brush on a bench grinder to it to remove the bark... says it won't hurt the base.
    But since I'm probably not going to keep the "knotty" top surface around the bowl, I may just saw it to rough shape without removing the bark.
    We were joking about doing that.

    I may allow it to dry for a few months before smoking or even sealing it with stain and wax... the wood does feel a bit moist, and smoking it too soon could cause excessive cracking.
  6. jwhite

    jwhite Moderator Emeritus

    A couple tips the briar will carve better a bit moist, but after carving I'd stain and wax. The wax will breathe and allow it to dry at a controlled rate. If it drys too fast where you have differences in thickness you could get checking so don't rush that aspect of it - wax or oil it. You can smoke it at your own discretion, allowing to sit a while after waxing is just fine and a safe choice. The other option is to allow it to dry thoroughly and then carve that way if any checking occurs it can be carved away and wax or oil immediately.
  7. I look forward to watching this unfold!
  8. I decided to try this out too -- at the moment I'm working on some "mock-ups" made out of 2x4 to help me settle on a shape. (I want to do something really unusual...)

    Still waiting for the briar itself to arrive.
  9. Good tips Jim!

    I figured that the wax would tend to seal the moisture in.

    I'm still debating whether or not to buy a small bandsaw or try to carve it 100% by hand.
  10. Looks like some nice grain in that piece, good luck.
  11. jwhite

    jwhite Moderator Emeritus

    Up to a point it will but not like a hard finish and you'll want to leave the interior of the chamber unfinished. To be fair I haven't carved a pipe but I am familiar with wood working principals and that's SOP for carving and turning bowls, boxes, and the like. For all of those you want a fairly high moisture content to facilitate carving/turning then oil and/or wax right away to prevent warping and checking as they dry. For smaller items the material can be left to fully dry in larger blanks than carved.

    I really wouldn't worry about it too much I'd just work on it 'till your happy, give it a nice finish and smoke it when you're ready. if it feels moist when your done do the above, if not you could smoke it unfinished if you wanted, I doubt the briars too green to smoke well. Just wanted to give you an idea of what to do if it felt moist after carving.
  12. I am undecided on the bowl.
    I ordered a medium. It's only 3/4" diameter, but it's 2" deep.
    Compared to my Pete's, they're closer to 1-1/4 deep and around 7/8 diameter.

    I'm debating whether to get a 7/8" or even a 1" ball-mill and open it up, or just leave it alone.
  13. Legion

    Legion Moderator Emeritus

    Cool. I'm half tempted to try that myself, even though I don't smoke any more.

    BTW, do you have a link to the pipes Mark made? I'd like to see those.
  14. Price

    Price Steward Contributor

    You've got me teetering on the brink, Rich.
  15. LOL!

    Ya, if you have the woodworking tools, his largest block of Plateaux (vertical grain, bark left on the top) is only $40 plus shipping with the Lucite stem!

    If you don't have the tools, it can get expensive, OTOH, for hobby-level use, a $120 Skil bandsaw from Lowe's should do the trick. It'll handle a 3.5" block, mine measures just over 3.5, but that includes the excess under the stem hole, so I'll be cutting that away first.
  16. You mentioned you wish you would have requested a large bowl. Is it impossible for you to drill the bowl a bit bigger? I do some woodworking, so I think you could clamp that under a drill press and pick whatever size bit you want to drill it bigger. But you did pay $40 for that little hunk of wood. So, don't take my advice and bust the thing, but if it was me and I wanted the bowl bigger, I'd drill it myself. Maybe he'd drill it again if you sent it back?
  17. I've got both 7/8 and 1 "ball" router bits on order. The problem with just drilling is getting the proper shape at the bottom, and of course positioning the bit so it will cut evenly and not grab.

    But ya... that's the plan if enlarging the bowl is a good idea. I just don't know that it is, especially as deep as it is.
    I mean I don't have to pack it FULL... but given that the air needs to flow through the pack, I'm wondering if I'll hurt the characteristics by going larger.
  18. jwhite

    jwhite Moderator Emeritus

    It certainly is possible to re-drill the chamber, however you need the appropriate bit and spoon or twist bits suitable for drilling the chamber are not cheap. Spoon bits and twist bits that will do a good job are in the $100 range. There are pretty affordable spade bits for the pipe but I have no experience with them. you want to take it slow and drill before carving to insure it doesn't go sideways on you. You do not want to go more than 1/32" further than the existing bottom or you'll have trouble getting a cake to form at the heel and possibly a wet smoker any more than that and you'll always have unsmoked tobacco at the bottom.
  19. Definitely not going to go deeper.
    I hear ya on the bits and their cost, but I'm thinking the router bit will work since I'm not actually making the hole, just enlarging it.

    So what do you think? Any problem with a bowl that's 2" deep and 7/8 or 1" around, or is 3/4 really better with that depth?
    I'm not going to cut it shorter.... I'd have to section and reattach the rough section unless I just facet and polish the whole thing, but I'm wanting a more traditional freehand.

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