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My First Pipe Kit...Ugh!

(28 posts)
  1. scloyd

    scloyd

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    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.



    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. johnsteam86

    johnsteam86

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    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.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. mso489

    mso489

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    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.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. slowroll

    slowroll

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    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.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. jaytex969

    jaytex969

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    List it on eBay as a "Shabby Chic" masterpiece for an outrageous price and see who bites...

    Gunner, Black Frigate. Say "Hello" to my little friend!
    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. mso489

    mso489

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    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.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. chasingembers

    chasingembers

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    I would carve it into a shape I like, and do a partial rustication around the pit.

    I like coffee exceedingly.
    - H. P. Lovecraft
    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. jaytex969

    jaytex969

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    I would carve it into a shape I like....

    It doesn't look proportioned to make into a 904...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  9. chasingembers

    chasingembers

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    Actually, a yacht could be shaped from that block.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  10. chasingembers

    chasingembers

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    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.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  11. mso489

    mso489

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    chase', really nice job. Looks like an easy favorite.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  12. chasingembers

    chasingembers

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    Thanks! That was the first one I made a few years ago. Need to find time to start carving again.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  13. scloyd

    scloyd

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    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.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  14. chasingembers

    chasingembers

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    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.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  15. jaytex969

    jaytex969

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    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'.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  16. chasingembers

    chasingembers

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    Randy Wiley? His Galleon pipes are rusticated.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  17. greeneyes

    greeneyes

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    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.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  18. lonestar

    lonestar

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    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.

    -Ryan Alden
    Posted 1 year ago #
  19. scloyd

    scloyd

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    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.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  20. davek

    davek

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    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.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  21. mso489

    mso489

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    It's a judgement call, if you want to spend the time hewing down the pipe so it has better shaping, despite the flaw, and hope it works out, or not. You could learn some valuable techniques for working briar in the process even if the flaw eventually makes the pipe short-lived. But it is an investment of time.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  22. oldmansmoking

    oldmansmoking

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    Great shame, mine had a few pits but turned out OK.
    Used rasps and sand paper took a week to do.

    A pipe is the fountain of contemplation, the source of pleasure, the companion of the wise ☪️
    OLDMANSMOKING
    Posted 1 year ago #
  23. scloyd

    scloyd

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    @oldmansmoking Looks nice...good job!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  24. bnichols23

    Bill Nichols

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    Agreed, scl. I've seen artisan pipes that didn't look that good.

    Head Black Frigate keelhauler, boss powder monkey, & troublemaker 1st class.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  25. chasingembers

    chasingembers

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    Let's blow that up a bit.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  26. rmpeeps

    rmpeeps

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    My first kit pipe from 1998. Living in deep South Texas at the time so I used Prickly Pear juice to stain the pipe. It’s still unsmoked; for some reason I just can’t. I carved 4 more over the years for smoking. All the pre-drilled kits were from Tinsky and pits, splits, and cavities were minor.
    No 1a
    No 1b

    Posted 1 year ago #
  27. scloyd

    scloyd

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    @rmpeeps Very nice!

    Posted 1 year ago #
  28. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Nice work!! Rather than links, you can embed the photo in the post; saves others time.....

    Once your photos are on a photo hosting site (such as Imgur.com; Postimage; Dropbox, etc. Photobucket), or on virtually any site, such as eBay, Amazon, you-name-it, select the full sized image, then Control-click (Mac) or Right-click (Windows) on the image itself, then choose copy image location. Now paste that URL (the full web address, which should end in .jpg) into the IMG box in the reply window of the thread you're posting to.

    The site's album is also a good choice.

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 1 year ago #

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