My First Pipe Kit...Ugh!

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scloyd

Preferred Member
May 23, 2018
1,853
140
I bought a "make your own" pipe kit from P&C. With 15% off and free shipping it only cost me $21. I'm very limited on woodworking tools, a jig saw, a small table top disc sander and some files. While shaping and sanding a crack started to appear and the more I sanded, the large the crack became. So I decided to quit and smoke it the way it is unfinished. It's butt-ugly. I'll still smoke it occasionally...just for the hell of it.
Photo 1 - Block as it it arrived. No noticeable sign of the crack.

Photo 2 - The crack as it is now.

Photo 3 - Inside the bowl. The little reddish spot is what I believe the other side of the crack.






 

johnsteam86

Member
Jan 1, 2018
271
0
That's a risk that comes with buying briar blocks. While from the outside it can look like they are perfect the more you dig deep into it can reveal cracks or sandpits. Sometimes the cracks are not deep and can be carefully filed away and never seen again while others they get bigger. I generally turn my blocks that have cracks in them into tasters for new tobacco. If your block has traveled a long way make sure to let it set for a little bit before trying to work on it. If it has not acclimated itself to the new environment you can form a crack while working on it.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,245
450
Doing your own pipe from a "kit" is a brave endeavor if you haven't done a lot of similar woodwork. I think most of the carvers shape their blocks on a wheel or by other mechanical means. Whittling away with a blade or jigsaw, etc., is slow work for most people, again unless they have some carving experience. Worse of course when the material has a flaw or flaws. Still, it's a good way to get a feel for what pipe carving is. For some of us, it illustrates why we leave crafting a pipe to someone else.

 

slowroll

Member
Apr 25, 2017
282
0
The good news is that's not a handling or acclamation crack, but a natural flaw. Regrettably, it happens often with briar. I have a number of tractor/shop pipes for that reason. Always disapointing though.

 

jaytex969

Preferred Member
Jun 6, 2017
4,383
735
List it on eBay as a "Shabby Chic" masterpiece for an outrageous price and see who bites...


 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,245
450
Call the shape Brutalist, which to my surprise is actually the name of a school of architecture where a lot of the concrete support of the building is exposed. That pipe is getting more expensive by the minute.

 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
15,970
822
This was made with a drill press, disc sander, and sandpaper. Some small pits are visible on the shank,and I thought about rusticating behind the bowl. After waxing, it actually turned out well. You could go for a partial or total rustication to make the pit less obvious, and still have a great pipe.


 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
15,970
822
Thanks! That was the first one I made a few years ago. Need to find time to start carving again.

 

scloyd

Preferred Member
May 23, 2018
1,853
140
Thanks for the comments.
@chase, that pipe is awesome. You gave me hope...maybe I'll continue on it and see what happens. I'm retired, so I have a lot of free time.

 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
15,970
822
Just take your time and enjoy the process. Here's an example of something you can do with that pit. Rusticated in and around it to make it look intentional.


 

jaytex969

Preferred Member
Jun 6, 2017
4,383
735
I was looking at some Wiley pipes recently and learned that he doesn't do rustication. If he encounters a small flaw on an otherwise worthy briar, he carves a feather over the blemish and keeps on truckin'.


 

greeneyes

Member
Jun 5, 2018
128
34
Ive always wanted to try my hand at a hobby block. I heard that Vermont Freehand has good quality blocks. I don't know if that means they're less likely to have pitting and inclusions or if they're just drilled and fitted with stems better.

 

lonestar

Preferred Member
Mar 22, 2011
2,821
0
Edgewood Texas
Believe me I know how awful briar can treat you. I have literally boxes full of expensive blocks that had unacceptable flaws once drilled.

But that's not just bad, it's totally unacceptable. I don't think they will help you out since you carved on the block already, but that should never have been sold, period. Even a cursory look in the bowl would have sent that to the fireplace, even for a $25 kit.

IMO you will eventually end up with hot embers in your hand if you do light it up.

 

scloyd

Preferred Member
May 23, 2018
1,853
140
After all of the helpful comments I decided to continue working on the pipe kit. At the very least I'll get some more experience working with the wood...shaping, sanding, rusticating, staining and polishing. I'll post photos in the future.
Thanks again everyone.

 

davek

Senior Member
Mar 20, 2014
314
10
I bought an estate cheaply a while back (cheaply) which had a pretty big crack. Upon smoking and waxing the crack has closed somewhat and it smokes great with no leaks. It does not take a lot to burn tobacco, it might be fine.