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My Second Pipe Gets Underway

December 24, 2008

Having an extended Christmas holiday this year, I decided that I would attempt to make a second pipe. A bent pipe at that, with a silver ring, if I could. I ordered a block, a mouthpiece and a piece of silver tube from a pipe makers supplier and began to plan my project.

Block 1 002 Looking at the plateau block, I decided to let the knobbly outer surface of the block be the underside of my pipe. Mainly, because I thought the grain would show better that way, but also the curved surface made it easier to visualise the underside of my pipe-to-be.

I wanted to try using a hole saw to start the process up. The idea was that the hole saw would form the outer surface of the bowl and the central drill bit in the hole saw would centre the chamber. It sounded like a good idea, but my attempts to use it failed as the hole saw bit into the block and actually stopped the pillar drill. Undaunted, I replaced the hole saw with an ordinary drill bit and pre-bored the chamber.
I then followed that hole with a reground spade bit to finish the chamber. Unfortunately again, the spade bit chattered like crazy during the boring and very nearly ruined the block. The chamber was out of round and badly marked inside.
Block 1 003That meant sanding out the chamber to make it conical. I did this and managed to right up the bore and the inner surface of the chamber is smooth now. I then turned the block on end and measured up for the airway and tenon. Lining it all up as best I could, I used the pillar drill again and bored the airway with a 4.5 mm bit. I hit dead bottom centre of the bowl! It is visible in the first picture.

I followed the airway to bore for the tenon and after a little sanding of the mouthpiece, I fitted the whole thing together. Voila! It is starting to resemble a pipe.
I can draw air through it with very little effort indeed. A pipe cleaner runs smoothly all the way down to the bowl.

Block 1 004 The top surface of the bowl is equally rescueable. I have a ring marked in the block where the top of the bowl should have been. This is off centre now due to the rescue job on the chamber, so I will either change my original design slightly, or sand the block back to smooth and continue as first planned. Either way, there is room to adjust as the chamber is deep and the outside of the block is still virtually untouched. There is little doubt in my mind that it is the boring that is the critical part of pipe making. Once one gets past that, the rest is fun. I am looking forward to releasing the pipe from the prison that is the block.

So far, so good. The project will have to wait until Christmas is done with. Family comes first.

I am also looking forward to getting my Christmas present. My dear wife has bought me a belt sander.

That should help in the final stages.

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