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karam

Preferred Member
Feb 2, 2019
614
2,126
Athens, Greece
Here I am, not having finished or smoked my first homemade pipe that I am already getting two more. This time from a local pipe maker using Greek briar, so hopefully should be pretty good wood. They are both pre-drilled, and drilled perfectly straight. Both have fairly cavernous cylindrical bowls so I want to use them for VaPer flakes exclusively.

What I'd like to do is to make a sitter poker with a slight angle for the chunky poker block, and a zulu type with the plateau block. I know it won't be proper zulu since they are mostly drilled with a slightly obtuse angle but that's my plan anyway.

I dabbed a bit of water to see the grain, I like both the birdseye grain of the poker as well as the curved grain of the plataeu. Pity the block was not cut from the other side so the grain could follow the stem but can't do anything about that.

Really looking forward to some recommendations, including for colouring. I'm thinking I may not get PAD, but instead PMakingD ;)

IMG_20200527_113359.jpgIMG_20200527_113345.jpgIMG_20200527_113504.jpg
 

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karam

Preferred Member
Feb 2, 2019
614
2,126
Athens, Greece
I can't chime in on what shape you should carve, but if you like the grain always stick with a lighter stain to show it off.

Thank you, yes that's the plan. Honestly for me the colour the wood gets just by dabbing some water on it does it just fine, I'll try a few stains on any larger pieces I manage to take off before staining. I'm looking to get transparent stain, light brown, darker brown and some mahogany.
 

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Country Bladesmith

Preferred Member
May 2, 2020
3,310
14,092
Louisiana
@Country Bladesmith this is beautiful, can hardly believe it's a first hobby block! Is this simply sanded with fine sandpaper or you buffed with some wax?
All I did was sand it with progressively finer sand paper. The progression I usually use is 120 to fine-tune the shape, then 220, then 320 (which is the most important grit for getting rid of prior scratches, in my opinion), 400, 600, 800, 1000, then buff with pink no-scratch compound and then buff with carnauba. And it might’ve been my first hobby block, but I’ve had a lot of practice on knife handles, so there was some skillset and toolset overlap. It wasn’t my first time sculpting and finishing something like that.
 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
17,756
9,995
Carmel Valley, CA
Lookin' good, all those DYIs!

I like the idea of going all the way up the scale to 1000 grit or more. Great feel.

As to shine, you don't need to worry. Without wax, you'll have a nice matte look.
 

alexnc

Preferred Member
Oct 25, 2015
841
547
It looks like you might have some really nice grain. If you cut off pieces you can experiment with staining. You might try staining all black when you think it's smooth enough for you, then sanding carefully until you expose the natural color of the briar being careful to stop before you sand off the color from the grain. It will make the grain a lot more prominent. Then stain over with a lighter color.color2.png
 

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Country Bladesmith

Preferred Member
May 2, 2020
3,310
14,092
Louisiana
It looks like you might have some really nice grain. If you cut off pieces you can experiment with staining. You might try staining all black when you think it's smooth enough for you, then sanding carefully until you expose the natural color of the briar being careful to stop before you sand off the color from the grain. It will make the grain a lot more prominent. Then stain over with a lighter color.View attachment 31457
That’s pretty cool.
 

karam

Preferred Member
Feb 2, 2019
614
2,126
Athens, Greece
It looks like you might have some really nice grain. If you cut off pieces you can experiment with staining. You might try staining all black when you think it's smooth enough for you, then sanding carefully until you expose the natural color of the briar being careful to stop before you sand off the color from the grain. It will make the grain a lot more prominent. Then stain over with a lighter color.

Thanks, that's the plan but I first need to get a bit familiar with the whole process. I've definitely already thought about trying to take some pieces off and experiment with how stains work. I also read about the two stain technique you mention: putting on a darker colour first to colour the grain, then sanding it off for a lighter colour.
 
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Country Bladesmith

Preferred Member
May 2, 2020
3,310
14,092
Louisiana
Keep some of your scrap pieces. If you run into a pit, you can take the cut off portions and sand them to make some wood dust for fills. A lot of people fill them with putty, but it’s pretty noticeable in my opinion. I like to use two part epoxy mixed with the dust to fill, as long as the pit is superficial. Obviously don’t put epoxy anywhere that sees tobacco or a flame.
 
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alexnc

Preferred Member
Oct 25, 2015
841
547
The wood dust is a really good idea. If you get a pit that's too severe you can also consider filling it with black cyanoacrylate & wood dust and then rusticating over it. The pipe in the pic I posted has a real bugger of a pit in the rusticated part. My original plan was to just stain the top 1/4" or so black. But it turned out looking great. No one would ever find it.
 
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alexnc

Preferred Member
Oct 25, 2015
841
547
Keep some of your scrap pieces. If you run into a pit, you can take the cut off portions and sand them to make some wood dust for fills. A lot of people fill them with putty, but it’s pretty noticeable in my opinion. I like to use two part epoxy mixed with the dust to fill, as long as the pit is superficial. Obviously don’t put epoxy anywhere that sees tobacco or a flame.
What kind of epoxy works well for you?
 

Country Bladesmith

Preferred Member
May 2, 2020
3,310
14,092
Louisiana
What kind of epoxy works well for you?
I use G Flex, but simply because that’s what I keep on hand for gluing up knives. For fills, I imagine you would be fine with a less expensive product, as long as it dries clear and colorless. I just sand scraps from the same piece of wood with a fine grit sandpaper to make a small pile of dust, then mix it with the epoxy to make a paste. Fill the pit, leaving the fill a little higher than the rest of the surface, let it cure, then sand it back down flush.
 
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