Man Vs. Nature - Everyone has to start somewhere.

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ivapewithfire

Member
Nov 26, 2014
269
0
West Virginia, USA
Everyone has start somewhere.
I started by staring at an overgrown hedge. On the right front side of my property, my neighbor was grown a black walnut tree. Not on purpose mind you, it was pure negligence.
It grew big enough to shade the dashboard on my Jeep. A couple of years of trimming branches that blocked the public sidewalk made me offer to cut the bastard down. My neighbor graciously agreed to let me enter her yard so that I could cut down the shrub (keep in mind anyone else would have called it a tree).
It took me an entire day with a handsaw to get it cut down. When I was getting ready to haul the carcass of the tree out back, I had a an idea.
I needed a trophy.
For a good 7 years I had stared at that eyesore. I didn't just teach it a lesson, I conquered it. It was lying dead at my feet.
There were two sections of the "shrub" that were about 3 feet long. As I was hauling it out back for the city workers to remove, I took those two sections and set them aside. At the time, I didn't even know what I was going to do with them. I just knew that I was going to get my revenge by turning the eyesore into something.
I work in the computer industry and spend way too much time sitting. I started developing some lower back and leg pain. My doctor recommended spending more time on my feet. I started woodworking.
The last thing I had made from wood was a junior high shop project, the results of which still grace my parents beach house. I honestly think they are just too cheap to buy a new lamp.
It started by grabbing a branch from that "shrub" that I had set aside and whittling. When I started I didn't even know what I was making. I just a knife to wood and started moving it. It turned out that a pipe was a very easy shape to whittle.
I don't even know what took me that direction. It could have been anything. It wasn't just anything though, it was a pipe. I'd only tried to smoke a pipe once before. A good twenty years before carving this pipe. It was an awful experience. It was a cheap drugstore pipe with cheap drugstore weed and I had no idea what I was doing. It was hot and my tongue felt like it caught fire. Either way, that is what appeared in my hands when I started moving the knife.
I figured what the hell. I carved the shape of a pipe, I might as well drill a couple of holes to see if I could make it functional. I didn't have much of a collection tools. I had to go out and buy a couple of drill bits. I bought a 1/2 inch and 9/32 long shaft bits.
Some type of pipe magic let me take those two bits and hand drill a functional bowl and draught hole. It certainly didn't have anything to do with any skill I possess. The draught hole was a little off center (about 1/32" to the right of center), but it did enter at the bottom of the bowl. It was an almost perfect junction.
All I needed at this point was a stem. I was driving down I-79 one day and noticed a very attractive staghorn sumac. It almost called to me. It said "Rob, suck me". That kind of turned me off. I decided that tree needed to die. I circled around and cut it down. I know that Native American's used to use sumac for stems on calumet pipes. I thought it would probably make a great stem for mine. I cut off a good 12" section, threw it in the back of my jeep and drove off.
Now that I had all of the materials I needed, I started to work. I used nothing but hand tools so it has taken me several weeks to finish it. It still needs some polish, but it's to the point that I've started smoking it.
During all these weeks of working on the pipe, I figured I should try to see if I like pipe smoking. I bought an MM Cobb and loved it.
Not only have a cut back on cigarettes, I'm less stressed, my back and leg pain has disappeared, and I've found something to do with my time that has a tangible result.
It may not be a high caliber pipe, but I made it with my own two hands. It will always be a special pipe because it helped my find the magic of pipe smoking.
I did a little photo shoot last night in my shop so that I could share the results. Keep in mind when I say "shop" that means an old kitchen table in the basement, a couple of cinder blocks, a hobby vise and a crap load of dust and cobwebs.
And here it is:








 

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blueeyedogre

Preferred Member
Oct 17, 2013
1,539
0
It shames me to come on here and see the great things you guys are making out of wood. I tried a hand at carving once and after several hours of work I had a mangled chunk of wood that looked like it had been attacked by a band of angry beaver. Well done my friend, I am suitably jealous.

 

jeepnewbie

Preferred Member
Jul 12, 2013
872
1
Byron
@ivape, that is a wonderful looking piece of work. Congrats and the work, thanks for the great story. Let us know how it smokes.
@blueeyedogre, glad I didn't have my drink in my hand when I read the angry beaver bit. Give it a try again sometime, it takes a bit of practice.

 

ivapewithfire

Member
Nov 26, 2014
269
0
West Virginia, USA
Thanks for the comments.
It smokes as good as my MM Cob, so it works great for me. The first couple of bowls had a little bit of after taste. Now that a little bit of carbon is coating the wood, all I taste is the tobacco.
The walls of the bowl are pretty thick (I was afraid to make them any thinner because I wasn't sure of the strength of the wood) so it smokes nice and cool.
@blueeyedogre - This was actually the second pipe. The first one my wife won't allow me to show in public :) I came out of the basement when I was done with that one. She said "So which one of the kids is smoking pot?" I asked her what she was talking about. She said she assumed that home made pot pipe in my hand came out of one of my girls rooms. Then she started rolling laughing because she knew that it was the pipe I had been working on for the past two weeks....

 

newbroom

Preferred Member
Jul 11, 2014
5,539
471
This is an amazing story and the pictures are fantastic. You're a great addition to this forum and a perfect example to those of us 'intending' to complete our own kit pipes. You've already eclipsed the concept by sourcing your own wood and starting from scratch. (yes, I did see the briar you made with all the fissures in the briar, and again, I applaud your persistence and honesty)

I laughed out loud at the anecdote confessing that the pictured pipe was your 2nd effort. Again, such candor is appealing.

That you've experienced such wonderful health benefits from your newly acquired hobby (woodworking) and have 'stumbled' into the world of pipes and pipe tobacco just adds value beyond measure.

Keep up the great "work".

mike

 
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