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romeowood

Lifer
Jan 1, 2011
1,942
155
The Interwebs
Hey gents & madams, just thought I'd post a note here that some fella (me) is selling a fine block of morta over in the pipes & accessories section. I'd gotten it from a pipe show long back (maybe 10 years?) and have since moved 6 times and far away from my woodworking equipment, but can't bring myself to just toss it. And, in self-service, I would love to see pics of someone actually making a nice pipe out of it!
 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
41,210
60,473
I'm not a pipe carver, but out of curiosity, how is morta worked? Would you use the same tools as briar, or is it done differently? It's bog oak, right? So do you sculpt it like rock or carve it like briar?
 
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TheWhale13

Part of the Furniture Now
Aug 12, 2021
803
3,420
Sweden
I'm not a pipe carver, but out of curiosity, how is morta worked? Would you use the same tools as briar, or is it done differently? It's bog oak, right? So do you sculpt it like rock or carve it like briar?
I assume that you would shape it the same way as briar. Morta is often sandblasted too right?
 

romeowood

Lifer
Jan 1, 2011
1,942
155
The Interwebs
It's wood that has been mineralized; it's hell on cutting tools, but as far as cutting and shaping it seems to behave much like other hardwood exotics (e.g., purple heart or pink ivory, etc.) or manufactured stone that is a composite of mineral powder and acrylic. It's gorgeous when done right, sandblasted or smooth:
 

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Searock Fan

Lifer
Oct 22, 2021
1,966
5,439
U.S.A.
I just happened to spot this thread and haven't read any of it, but.... A warning to new wouldbe carvers. Beware those "carve your own pipe" things. You know, the kind that come with a block of briar that's been drilled and includes a stem. I've smoked several, one I made years ago and a few that other guys made, just as a test to see for myself. Without exception they all smoked terrible. Totally worthless, I suspect uncured cheap briar. A word to the wise.... puffy
 
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Reactions: motorjon68
Dec 3, 2021
5,034
42,718
Pennsylvania & New York
As I recall, the listing was for a big hunk of undrilled morta, possibly enough for more than one pipe with careful planning. I was considering buying it when he first listed it, but, I was reluctant because of the wear and tear on tools. I also suspect I wouldn't be able to make as delicate carvings as with briar.
 
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Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
43,614
110,283
I just happened to spot this thread and haven't read any of it, but.... A warning to new wouldbe carvers. Beware those "carve your own pipe" things. You know, the kind that come with a block of briar that's been drilled and includes a stem. I've smoked several, one I made years ago and a few that other guys made, just as a test to see for myself. Without exception they all smoked terrible. Totally worthless, I suspect uncured cheap briar. A word to the wise.... puffy
Mark Tinskey sells some good ones. Cut and drilled however you like by Mark himself.
 

LotusEater

Lifer
Apr 16, 2021
4,145
56,422
Kansas City Missouri
While this is mostly smooth, the deeper marks

This actually illustrates my concern. While the surface is mostly smooth, the grainy areas between the smooth sections are what I perceive as being crude, maybe because of the broadness of the lines with tiny voids? These are the areas that seem like they wouldn't hold detail.
I see what you mean but I think that’s just what oak grain looks like- either you like it or you don’t. Blasting or rusticating obscures the grain pattern.
 
Dec 3, 2021
5,034
42,718
Pennsylvania & New York
It's not that I don't like it—my concern is solely to do with holding the finer forms and details I'd want to carve. I suspect the gaps in the grain would be problematic for what I would want to achieve.

*I was writing on the subway, and a sentence disappeared between stations. I see it turned up above the quote.
 
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Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
43,614
110,283
While this is mostly smooth, the deeper marks

This actually illustrates my concern. While the surface is mostly smooth, the grainy areas between the smooth sections are what I perceive as being crude, maybe because of the broadness of the lines with tiny voids? These are the areas that seem like they wouldn't hold detail.
It may as well be stone. Most of my pipes get banged around and they don't lose any detail. That one is one of my desk drawer pipes at work.