The Sand Type Of Sandblasting

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cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
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Sarasota Florida
I am not positive but I have heard that guys like JT Cooke and Jose Rubio use some special sandblasting system that no one else uses. I have a Jose Rubio pipe with his Dragon scale blast. The reason I bought it was I was curious to see how it was done. I got a great deal on my Rubio from Max at pipes2smoke.

The pipe is a good smoker, not a fantastic one but still damn good. The more I look at JT Cook and Rubio the more I think their pipes are almost carved along with some kind of blast. I still have my one Rubio and have no plans on buying anymore.

I guess I prefer the natural blasts that are just more interesting to me.
Here is what I mean about the natural blasts.
Rad Davis::



Jack Howell

Bruce Weaver:

Larrysson
 

hoosierpipeguy

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Jan 28, 2018
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I am speculating they use some type of tool that directs the blast media, almost like a pencil. Then use this to focus the blast media where they want to go deep. Perhaps almost carving with sand. I also heard it takes around 8 hours of this blast work to complete a pipe. I do not believe any hand carving is employed. Looking at their pipes, it doesn't appear to be the case and it would be very,very difficult to do.

Your Rubio is older, you don't have a good example of his more recent work. You also got it from Max, who's a great guy but doesn't get Jose's best pipes the same as SP doesn't get Ryan Alden's best pipes to sell. Obviously, I'm a huge Rubio fan and find his pipes to smoke as good as any I've smoked and better than most. I love the look of the dragon scale finish and they're extremely comfortable in the hand. I honestly don't give a shit how he does that finish, I love it. When I go to a steak house, I don't ask to stick my hand up the cow's ass before choosing my steak either.
 

georged

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Mar 7, 2013
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I am speculating they use some type of tool that directs the blast media, almost like a pencil.
.
Yup. The process is best described as hand rustication using a pin-point sand nozzle. Takes 10-15 hours to do well.

Mike Butera used to have something called his "Marron" finish that was gouged by hand with chisels/rotary tools BEFORE conventional blasting.

Lots of ways to skin the BlastCat. :col:
 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
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Neither do I. But, I want to see and approve the slab before it hits the grill in all but one restaurant in Anchorage. I'm just picky I suppose.

I eat at steak houses where it is reasonable to trust they are going to serve me a quality piece of beef. If for some reason they don't, I send it back. YMMV For the most part though, I don't go to a steak house often these days. I'd rather go to the local butcher, and as you say, pick my piece of meat and take it home to grill on the Traeger. When I go out the eat, I'd rather go to a restaurant that specializes in something I'm unable or unwilling to fix myself.
 

sablebrush52

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Jun 15, 2013
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I love a good sandblast, even more when the carver does something creative with it:
 

ssjones

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May 11, 2011
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JT Cooke did the PipesMagazine podcast a bunch of years ago. I remember him saying that he created his own unique nozzles for sandblasting, that gave him his unique look.

Now, you can blast with dry-ice and other different compounds, I wondered if any pipe makers have adopted those new tools?
 

chilllucky

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Jul 15, 2018
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I work in a machine shop that makes plastic injection molds. I can tell you just from seeing parts of the molds with different surfaces to give the plastic part different textures that what we call "sand blasting" is a whole field of engineering with subfields and technologies for throwing various media at various materials up to and including robotic control of media size, flow rate, angle and distance, and nozzle shape.

The real artistry of pipemakers who develop their own styles of it lies in the fact that briar is a natural material, and may not react predictably to even the most scientific approach to media blasting.
 
Aug 5, 2018
141
85
Southeast Michigan
This is very interesting, thank you for bringing this up! I've always wondered why some sandblasts look different than others and since I don't know much of anything about the process I find this fascinating.

One question I've had for a while now, and I hesitate to show an example because I don't want to call anyone out, but there are some, I'll say, "less expensive" sandblast pipes on the market today that don't really look sandblasted at all and have pock marks on them rather than the ridges one would expect from a sandblasted finish. Does anyone know what I'm referring to? If so, any thoughts on why this happens? Is it a product of the blasting process or the type/quality of the briar?
 

cigrmaster

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May 26, 2012
18,403
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Sarasota Florida
I eat at steak houses where it is reasonable to trust they are going to serve me a quality piece of beef. If for some reason they don't, I send it back. YMMV For the most part though, I don't go to a steak house often these days. I'd rather go to the local butcher, and as you say, pick my piece of meat and take it home to grill on the Traeger. When I go out the eat, I'd rather go to a restaurant that specializes in something I'm unable or unwilling to fix myself.
I seem to remember a time when we were at Mortons and you asked if you could sniff the cows ass to make sure it would be a good steak. lol
 
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