Im Considering Making My Own

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
.

sthaddix

New member
Oct 28, 2018
14
15
  • Like
Reactions: adui

d750

New member
Aug 20, 2019
25
24
I'm a beginner also. I've made 13 pipes in the last couple of months. I really enjoy it. Some of them are dogs and yet they still smoke okay. I buy briar blocks plus pre-made stems from Vermont Freehand. The last few I made are shown below:

4525

They look okay from a distance but they have plenty of flaws and serious pipe makers would laugh at them but I'm getting better.

I was fortunate to have an old drill press and a band saw. If you are buying a pre-drilled kit then you don't need either of those.

You will need tools to shape them and finish them. I think at a minimum you'd need a rasp, a rat tail file and lots of sandpaper. I'd say 100, 220, 400 and 800 grit. You can get mixed packs on Amazon for $8-10. It will take you a good while to shape it that way but its part of the fun.

I started with a sanding disk that fit into a hand drill that I clamped in a vice. If you have a drill that can be a cheap sander alternative. I recently bought this belt sander:


It is a Chinese piece of junk but works well for pipes and is only $52.

Once you have it shaped and sanded super smooth you'll want to finish it. At first I just used tongue oil and then basic minwax wax. Now I used Feibings leather die and carnuba wax.

Even if you go the cheapest route: kit+files+sandpaper you're going to be in $50 at least. So if this is just to get a pipe then you can get a decent pipe for that. If it is for the fun of making your own go for it.

Most of the tools and supplies I've bought can be used for other stuff so that's something to keep in mind. That belt sander is great for sharpening tools and knives and even drill bits for instance.

If you are too strapped for cash to even buy a pipe I bet someone here would donate one.

George
 

adui

Senior Member
Aug 26, 2019
432
1,310
Mesa Arizona
So I got my predrilled block. I'm going to start by rounding it into a drum ish shape around the bowl. Once I have that done Ill start working the top and bottom in to finish the rough shape. After this, if I haven't changed the plan more than a dozen times I will clean it up, and apply the finish I want.

I'm a little concerned from the get go. My block seems well drilled, the draw hole is well centered in the stem, but the bowl was drilled quite deep. There cant be more than 3/16th of an inch material in the bottom of it.. I will have to be REAL careful not to take too much material off while shaping it.
All in all I'm pretty excited about the project. Even if it looks amateurish when complete I can say I made it myself!
 
  • Like
Reactions: scloyd

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
.

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
30,577
13,042
adui, are you active duty Navy? During one of the ancient wars, I was a radioman (now a defunct rating) on an all wood hull minesweeper (now defunct ship construction) with four Packard diesels (a long-defunct engine and auto company). That's a spiffy look frigate (or whatever class ship it is).
 

scloyd

Preferred Member
May 23, 2018
2,956
1,977
Looking forward to seeing your finished pipe. I bought a pre-drilled block about a year ago and worked on it on and off when I had nothing better to do. I shaped mine mostly with a cheap belt sander (like the one above), files and a mini sanding block.
Purchased block:
7431
How it looks today:
7432

Good luck.
 
  • Like
Reactions: scottygod

adui

Senior Member
Aug 26, 2019
432
1,310
Mesa Arizona
adui, are you active duty Navy? During one of the ancient wars, I was a radioman (now a defunct rating) on an all wood hull minesweeper (now defunct ship construction) with four Packard diesels (a long-defunct engine and auto company). That's a spiffy look frigate (or whatever class ship it is).
Nope, I was in from 1987 to 1992. In just long enough to float around the Persian Gulf looking pretty while our army and marine brothers were inland getting shot at. (Oh yeah, and the air force folks too). One of my best friends was a Radioman, I was a Sonar tech
 

adui

Senior Member
Aug 26, 2019
432
1,310
Mesa Arizona
Looking forward to seeing your finished pipe. I bought a pre-drilled block about a year ago and worked on it on and off when I had nothing better to do. I shaped mine mostly with a cheap belt sander (like the one above), files and a mini sanding block.
Purchased block:
View attachment 7431
How it looks today:
View attachment 7432

Good luck.
My block looks quite similar, but I opted for a bent block with a longer (almost Churchwarden) stem. Im hoping to spend some time at a place called Heat Sync Labs in town that has shop equipment for the public to use. They are a pretty cool non profit, and while their main emphasis is more computer and electronic related they do have some shop tools I can use (Drill press, and bench sanders) I'm going to do most of the basic rough shape there and then finish work at home with hand tools. This way I get the majority of the waste wood out of the way, but leave enough in the rough shape as to not screw it up, (Or so I hope)

Absolute worst case scenario, I ruin it. Then I get another block and try again! I have three pipes in my inventory now, so this is not about getting a cheap pipe, its about me making something myself. Once upon a time I used to be really handy with wood shop tools. We shall see what I've lost soon.. (Really want a wood lathe, but I cant afford it and they require training that I cant get to to sue theirs)
 
  • Like
Reactions: scloyd

adui

Senior Member
Aug 26, 2019
432
1,310
Mesa Arizona
adui, are you active duty Navy? During one of the ancient wars, I was a radioman (now a defunct rating) on an all wood hull minesweeper (now defunct ship construction) with four Packard diesels (a long-defunct engine and auto company). That's a spiffy look frigate (or whatever class ship it is).
As for the ship class, that there is a now defunct Spruance class Destroyer. That specific one was my first ship, the USS Thorn DD-988. They are the predecessors to the Ticonderoga and Arleigh Burk class \ destroyers we have now.

Loved that ship, I was sad to hear they sunk her in the Atlantic for a test target.
 

adui

Senior Member
Aug 26, 2019
432
1,310
Mesa Arizona
Heatsync was a bust. They are having problems with the city on permits so none of the woodworking tools are set up for use. I'll do it by hand till I can afford the belt sander from Harbor Freight.
Meanwhile I'll pick up a couple good rasps and make it the old way.
 
  • Like
Reactions: scottygod

craig61a

Preferred Member
Apr 29, 2017
1,103
5,157
I started making my own using black ash, maple, and lilac. A cheap drill press, spade bits, drill bits, injection molded stems.

The hardwood comes from trimming trees in my yard. And if I screw it up, no big deal.

There’s a certain satisfaction smoking something you made yourself.
 
  • Like
Reactions: scottygod

scottygod

Junior Member
Sep 2, 2013
96
390
38
Arizona
www.etsy.com
I started making my own using black ash, maple, and lilac. A cheap drill press, spade bits, drill bits, injection molded stems.

The hardwood comes from trimming trees in my yard. And if I screw it up, no big deal.

There’s a certain satisfaction smoking something you made yourself.
I, too, use hardwoods for my own pipes. Only cherrywood and maple so far. Briar might give me too much anxiety.

8403
 

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
.