Nice work! Glad to meet a kindred spirit.
PM me and compare notes. In my limited experience, I've had more success with cherry and maple, than my stock of black walnut, especially to gracefully accepting stain and a smoother finish. (more closed grain)
Anxious to see more of your creations.
Walnut smokes decent.It's a little bit bitter the first 20-30 smokes and it's prone to burn easily.So must have over 5 mm thikness around the bowl hole.10 mm it's ok.If nicely carved and drilled can last much more than cobs if in a good rotation.I've made some pipe with european walnut and i'm satisfied enough.Nothing of course to compare with briar