Ser Jacopo -- curved drilling question

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Dec 16, 2014
Northern Virginia
I've come across an estate SJ bent Dublin that's approaches a calabash in shape, apparently drilled using a curved drilling machine which I assume is to better follow the curve of the stummel/stem. Since this method doesn't appear to be in widespread use I'm wondering what the community thinks, is this a good, bad, or indifferent thing? Is there anything I can look for that would suggest avoiding purchase?



Preferred Member
Dec 25, 2010
Columbus, Ohio
I think its good. The only American carver I know who used to do this was Steve Anderson of S&R pipes. This type a drilling allowed for slimmer profile on bents where the curve goes into the bowl. It also allowed pipe cleaner to reach the bottom of the bowl, even on full bents. It definitely takes skill, he told us of the mistakes he made while learning, such as sending the drill bit through the bottom or side of the bowl on more than one occasion. Their pipes are the only one that I have tried with this drilling but it was good.


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Preferred Member
Jul 6, 2010
I have a Ser Jacopo Maxima Maxima that would be nearly impossible without the curved drilling. It's got an excellent draw.



Senior Member
Nov 12, 2014
Springfield MO
I have 2 Jacs, both Bent Dublins.

The first one is a smooth Compta with a military stem, which is my engligh/balkan pipe.

The second is a coral dot S2 which is my vanilla/aro blend pipe.
Both have excellent draws and awesome flavor.



Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
I have a Ser Jacopo I bought new that has what they describe as a serpentine shank/stem, and it seems

perfectly drilled. It passes a pipe cleaner easily, but more to the point, it is drilled so the passage of

air and smoke through it is smooth, effortless, and well focused. Open, but not so open you are pumping

mostly air and just a little smoke. This is just one pipe, but if it is typical of SJ, they are precision engineers.



Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
Nothing new about curved drilling. French carvers were using it early in the last century, Genod being one of them, which allowed them to create bents with delicate shank profiles. The famous Dunhill 120 swan's neck is based off of the Genod design, but Dunhill didn't have the knowledge to drill curved airways as the French weren't sharing. So, some of these Dunhills have shanks that were spliced to the bowl to allow for straight drilling in sections.



Preferred Member
May 11, 2013
Guys, here's a link to the method- Curved pipe drilling
It involves a flexible shaft with a burr soldered to the end.That fits inside a curved tube You hold the stummel in a vise, drill a starter hole and start feeding the tube and spinning cutter into the block. There's no chip clearance, so you have to back it out every .25" or so...and it takes a long time...
The worse part about this is that you can't get a reamer through the curved channel, the draft hole has to be oversize to begin with to accommodate the tube and cutter, and the inner surface would be much rougher than a conventional draft hole...
Other than that, it's a fine idea- there's a reason almost nobody uses this technique....



Preferred Member
Feb 17, 2014
I have been wondering about Ser Jacopo and their drilling. Mainly since I saw a quite peculiar one of theirs that arrived on one of the websites for sale a week or two ago. I could not even begin to describe the lunacy of the shape I witnessed. Never seen anything like it before or since frankly but I did obsess about how it may have been drilled. It is either genius or madness. Of which I am unsure.
I am also unsure of the rules here regarding posting direct links to sales sites so I will just say that if you google Ser Jacopo Insanus Rusticated Barrel with Silver you will find it at one of this sites sponsors.
Honestly, it is worth a look. I love their pipes and own one. I will certainly own more as I think they are that good but this one is just plain odd.

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