Unfortunately I sanded the shank down just a little too far and exposed the cork in the shank.
I have a bunch of stem blanks and I choose an oval saddle. So when I shaped the shank I got a little carried away with sanding. Not a big deal though, I loaded up the lacquer to cover it.
I line the mortise with cork because after making several of these I noticed the ash tends to expand and contract a little when smoking it. Ropp did that with their cherry woods, so I figured they must have been on to something.
it’s neutral. I used a bowl coating because it tends to char a little easily. But on the ones that I didn’t coat, there was a woody lightly floral taste for first several bowls. I did coat the uncoated bowls afterwards. The pipes burn rather cool after coating. Apple has a tendency to crack, and needs to be carefully dried. Once it has stabilized it is good wood though.
I have a large chunk of Rock Maple drying that I’m looking forward to making pipes with. My Rock Maple pipes are some my favorite pipes. And the flavor is good. Probably why Brigham choose that to make their filters. Mellows the smoke.