Question About Carving Pipes

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BarrelProof

Preferred Member
Mar 29, 2020
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The Last Frontier
It's worth pointing out that, for the foreseeable future, I intend to buy pre-drilled blanks with stems. I'm considering a way to start carving some pipes while at work and the idea of a single tool is more reasonable than trying to set up a shop down here, which is neither practical nor possible.

I've watched a ton of videos and read piles of articles on pipe carving. I'm seeing some commonalities in the tools used by some of the more experienced pipe carvers. Drill presses, bandsaws, belt sanders, bench grinders, and lathes seem to be fairly pervasive in the craft. I have a few questions about finding an alternative that might provide me with an effective, short-term solution. I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel and I understand that there's definitely a reason that nearly all of them are using the same tools. I also understand that doing it differently will likely come with compromises in both efficiency and efficacy. I think those are compromises I'm willing to make right now in order to scratch the itch while also stifling some of the boredom associated with a two month (and counting) stint at work.

In the past, I've done a little waterfowl decoy carving and have always wanted to upgrade to a serious rotary tool for working on decoys. I'm wondering if something like one of these Foredom kits that folks use for decoy heads would also be useful for pipe carving, particularly in this situation. If I can find multiple uses for it, I can more easily swallow the price tag.


Apart from the accurate drilling of the bowls and airways, it seems like you might be able to accomplish everything else with it. Obviously it's nowhere near as good as having a dedicated shop with a lathe, bandsaw, drill press, belt sander, bench grinder, etc. However, it seems like you'd at least be able to remove material, do some rough sanding and rustication, and be able to buff/polish with it. At this point, I'm willing to make some concessions in order to have a simple, compact, versatile set up that I can use while I'm at work and then also use for several other tasks/hobbies once I get back home.

Just looking for some feedback from folks who have experience with all of this.
 
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alexnc

Preferred Member
Oct 25, 2015
851
575
The tool you posted looks like it might be pretty awesome. I'm not familiar with them, if you can make a decoy with it seems like you could make a pipe. If it's a dremel on steroids makes me really curious! Seems like you'll still need a set of files, sanding supplies and a clamp no matter what though. You'll probably get bored with predrilled kits pretty quick. If you can carve decoys you're not really a typical beginner!
 

BarrelProof

Preferred Member
Mar 29, 2020
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The Last Frontier
I bought it, along with 2 more blocks from Mark Tinsky, some dye, bunch of sand paper, some buffing wheels, and some carnauba wax. We’ll see if I can get out of this thing without losing a finger.
 

adui

Senior Member
Aug 26, 2019
431
1,317
Mesa Arizona
FWIW I did my first two or three carves on predrilled blocks with files rasps, a Dremel and a palm sander. They weren't anything to write home about but they were decent smokable pipes. (My first is still my favorite and I smoke it often. My second was bought by a forum member because he liked the shape)

Edit: Oh yea, and a couple of clamps to hold it still while I ran the rasps and files across it.
 
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BarrelProof

Preferred Member
Mar 29, 2020
1,905
7,285
36
The Last Frontier
FWIW I did my first two or three carves on predrilled blocks with files rasps, a Dremel and a palm sander. They weren't anything to write home about but they were decent smokable pipes. (My first is still my favorite and I smoke it often. My second was bought by a forum member because he liked the shape)

Edit: Oh yea, and a couple of clamps to hold it still while I ran the rasps and files across it.

Sounds good. If it doesn’t work, I’m sure I can find some other uses for it. Should know more next week.
 

adui

Senior Member
Aug 26, 2019
431
1,317
Mesa Arizona
I've not lost a finger yet but I've definitely lost some blood!
Every one of my successful carves have exacted their own pound of flesh so to speak. Now that I have a lathe I must pray to the Briar gods (Or at least to God) to be sure that price doesn't go up!
 

alexnc

Preferred Member
Oct 25, 2015
851
575
I've only hurt myself trying to freehand drill - you'll be OK! I only bled a little - bandaid level! But I think that's my way on every project of any kind. If I don't contribute a little blood I probably didn't finish