Cherrywood....Branch Sections - for Pipe Making

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sumusfumus

Senior Member
Jul 20, 2017
352
7
I would like to try carving/turning a Cherrywood pipe. Can anyone direct me to a source where I might purchase a few well-seasoned, branch sections for pipe carving? I am particularly interested on branch sections that have a short side branch, so that bowl and shank can be carved from one piece of wood. I can get plenty of thick, 12/4 cherry lumber, but I need short sections cut from branches.
Many thanks,
Frank

 

winton

Preferred Member
Oct 20, 2010
2,102
13
Branch wood is only good for smoking in a BBQ or in a fireplace. It is used to holding a lot of weight horizontally. When that stress is released, by cutting the branch, it will distort like crazy.
If you want a pipe out of cherrywood, then use the dried lumber that you already have.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,245
450
Cherrywood is one of these terminology short circuits in pipe lore. This post is directed at using the actual wood from a cherry tree as pipe material, but of course cherrywood is also a shape, a poker sitter with an angled shank. I only point that out so that if you see a pipe listed as a cherrywood, you'll look closer to see if it is the wood, or the shape, or both. The shape is often made out of briar or in some cases some wood other than cherry.
A similar confusion comes with the Calabash, which is classically made from a gourd, but the shape is also imitated in briar and other materials done in a shape similar to the gourd pipes, or intended to be.

 

sumusfumus

Senior Member
Jul 20, 2017
352
7
mso:
Thank you for your interest, and for clearing up my less-than-accurate terminology. I didn't realize "Cherrywood" was also a pipe style/shape.
Still trying to find some well-seasoned, cherry tree branches, but not having much very success. I wanted some branch sections having a small side branch growing from the larger diameter branch for fabricating a slightly bent pipe. I wanted to exploit the stronger, natural grain at the junction between the two sections on this branch. But without a source for wood....no pipe.
I'll have to resort to the 12/4 cherry slab that I've had laying around for the last 30 years....I think it's just about seasoned by now.
Question: Should the bowl generally have a thicker wall section than normally used on a briar pipe? I can leave a good, 1/2" -5/8" wall around the tobacco hole. Yes, no, maybe so?
Thanks,

Frank

 

winton

Preferred Member
Oct 20, 2010
2,102
13
Frank,
That is an interesting idea. If you can get this to work, it would be cool. I would like to see a picture.
But remember that the pith is your enemy. ALL cracks will start at center of the piece and radiate out. To make this work, you would need to find a branch that has the angle for your stem. Drill out the air hole exactly in the dead center of the rings. The branch would need to be part of a piece of wood that is at least double or triple the size of your bowl. You would need to cut the blank, so that there is no pith included in bowl portion and that the pith of the branch is drilled though. Then put the blank in a cool dry place for a year or two, until the wood is dry.
In other words, this is an interesting idea, but I think there are too many things that could go wrong for it to be practical. But impractical can be great.

 

sumusfumus

Senior Member
Jul 20, 2017
352
7
Winton-
I'm inclined to agree with what you say about the dangers of pith cracks, etc. Wish I could get my hands on a section of thick, trunk (without pith area) for the bowl and having a smaller side branch for the shank. But, I don't. And also the time it takes to season the wood is also a big demerit. I'm 68 years old....tick-tock.....who has the time to wait! : )))
Thanks for your interest.
Frank

 

echambers

Member
Nov 21, 2017
113
1
@sumusfumus, I agree with @weezell, that a branch section of a cherry tree is going to distort quite a lot as it dries. However, if you are still looking I am going to be pruning my cherry tree this weekend and will be happy to see if I can't prune it in such a way to give you a blank or three. Of course you'll have to wait while they dry -- my guess a year or two at least. PM me if you're interested.

 

nevadablue

Preferred Member
Jun 5, 2017
1,193
0
I have seen pictures of a lot of pipes made from branch wood. Just be sure to get it stabilized and dry before making something out of it.

 

davek

Senior Member
Mar 20, 2014
314
10
I'm hardly an expert but I think that small branch pieces would dry much more quickly than in a year or so, but that you would have trouble with them cracking. You dry slowly to avoid cracking.
Maybe cut a bunch of blanks and dry for a couple months. Pick the winners.