Bourbon Stave to Pipe?

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Jan 1, 2022
Just now getting into pipes. (Got my first briar a few days ago)
As a dabbling woodworker, I was curious if anyone has made or heard of making pipes from old bourbon barrel staves? Would be an interesting project and help clear some staves I've got laying around the garage. Pictured is a bourbon barrel coffee table and matching end tables I built for a friend. Cheers.
Dec 3, 2021
Pennsylvania & New York
I've seen a Daniel Marshall humidor made from The Balvenie staves. I'm guessing the biggest challenge would be finding a way to bind the staves together to be the thickness of a pipe that can be carved and hold up to the heat of smoking it. If you figure it out, I'd be down for getting one.
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Nov 30, 2020
Sydney, Australia
Bourbon stave are made from American oak, which is NOT a very dense or hard wood. One reason why oak is used to mature spirits and wine is partly because of its porosity.

Also bourbon barrels are often heavily charred which would indicate to me that they are not very fire-resistant.

So no, I don't think they make good pipe-making material.

But the most glaring reason is you don't (or at least I haven't) come across any examples of oak pipes.


Oct 25, 2013
New Zealand
Do get some blocks of briar to carve though!!! It is a very nice wood to work with. I can't remember the website names I have purchased it from in the past, maybe someone can help with that, perhaps there is an appropriate site sponsor even?

The barrel oak could make a nice pipe rack!


May 15, 2018
Vermont Freehand, RawKrafted, and JH Lowe all sell kits which are pre drilled briar blocks with stems attached. That will give you a chance to shape briar and get a smokable pipe.
You can make a pipe out of many woods, assuming the piece is large enough, but some materials are better. Briar is at the top of the list for a myriad of reasons- among them -it doesn't have a typical wood grain structure so that splitting, strength etc is not a factor in orientation, and its really beautiful stuff.
Morta (bog oak) mentioned above is also used because of its high mineral content and fire resistance, but it is more difficult to work than briar because it’s brittle and has a grain structure.
Olive is also used as are some fruit woods-cherry, apple, pear.
Bourbon barrel staves might give you practice, but it is not likely that you are going to get a decent smoke or that it will last very long.
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Feb 21, 2013
I second making a pipe rack or racks out of the barrel staves. The furniture you made is handsome and looks durable.


Apr 29, 2017
Minnesota USA
Barrel staves aren’t that thick… you’d be lucky to get a 5/16” chamber.

I do have some chunks of barrel staves I saved from some tins of FM Cellar. I figured on using them as stem/shank adornments someday.