How to Carve a Pipe

10 Steps to Carve a Pipe Easily | How to Carve a Pipe


We all know that the smoking pipe has been very much around for ages. They come in different styles ranging “the gambler” to “the Churchwarden”. There are many DIY procedures that you can follow to make a smoking pipe.

The art of smoking pipes used to be the pastime of men and women for many years. A pipe that is well crafted can be seen as a thing of beauty. They can be classified as a work of art as many pipes around today are handcrafted or carved out of wood.

Well, for those new to the world of smoking pipes, there are a few things you should know before I proceed with my guide.  There is the bowl, where the tobacco is burned, he shank which acts as the neck of the pipe, the stem, lip and the filter. You would find my DIY guide to being quite an adventure as the materials for building are very inexpensive.

Without any further ado, let’s delve into this write up on how to carve a pipe.


Table of Contents

For a start, you need to have a clear picture of what you want your pipe to look like. You can draw it out on paper, or surf the internet for some wonderful designs. This is your opportunity to decide whether it should have a simple look or an elegant one?

Step 1: Carve The basic Outline of the Pipe On a Block of Wood

You would have to start with a cube shape that is about two inches high. This would be the bowl of the pipe. Your Classical DIY pipe should also have a handle and a tube that would connect to the bowl. Go ahead and draw out a length of about three inches extending out from the bowl. You should by now if you have got everything right from the onset, have “P” shaped outlines. This “P” shaped outline should be lying on its back with the hump of the letter facing upwards. Lastly, you are not drawing out one P shaped outline, but two Ps.

Step 2: Cut the Pipe Out From the Block of Wood

From the already drawn outline, carve out your want-to-be pipe into a more recognizable and defined shape. You might want to give the bowl and the Cylinder a round shape. Also Endeavour not to shape the interim pipe too much, as you might need the excesses for adjustment sake.

Step 3: Drilling the Bowl

For this stage, you would need a drill bit. The drill bit should be longer than the length of your pipe. Also note that when drilling, the diameter of the bowl should be significantly small. Though the size you want might depend on the amount of tobacco you plan to inhale. The larger the diameter, the more tobacco smoke you would be inhaling. In the light of this, when you are drilling your hole, don’t drill all the way down the cube. Your target should just be to drill halfway with your drill bit.

Step 4: Digging out the Airway of the Pipe

On the two halves each, drill a cutout so that when you put the two halves together, you would have a cylindrical airway on the inside. In this stage, you have to use a Dremel or a rotary tool to carve this out. Remember not to go down too much on the stem.

When you are done with the carving, you can now put the two halves together, so that you would have the airway inside. Blow through the end of the stem with your lips. If blowing through was easy, then you are good to go. If not, keep carving until you can blow through easily.

Step 5: Glue the Two Halves Together

Now, what you are about to do, would end up giving you a realistic shape of your dream wooden tobacco pipe. To start, dab a little bit of very strong wood glue into the blank spots that you have not carved anything. Also put a little glue on the stem, so that when you bring your two halves together, you won’t have the glue sipping into the airway.

As you are done with the gluing procedure, clamp the two halves together leave for a few hours.

When the pipe is dry, take the pipe and blow into it with all your might. If you could blow through the airway, then, you are set for the next step. On the contrary, if you couldn’t blow through, place the tip of a flathead screwdriver onto the meeting point of the two halves, this time around, remove the glue and carve the airway of your pipe a little deeper.

Finally, hit the top of the screwdriver with a hammer and repeat the gluing procedure again.

Step 6: Cut Out the Stem Of the Pipe.

You can choose to use a band saw or a hack saw for this procedure. Well, my choice is the hack saw because I would have much more control over it. Draw an outline of a line showing where you want to cut. Endeavor to widen it at the end where you would blow through. A pipe with a wider stem would definitely be comfortable on one’s mouth. With your Hack saw, cut down the line that you previously drew.

Step 7: Sand the Stem of the Pipe

Take a rotary tool and carve out the corners of the stem of your pipe. keep carving till you have a good looking stem. Then, get an 80 grit sandpaper and sand your stem. You can step up with a 150 grit sandpaper and sand your stem even more. Keep increasing the grits until you get about 500 grit.

Step 8: Carving out the Bowl Section of the Pipe

To do this, put your pipe in a vice and cut out all the corners of the bowl with a saw. My preferred choice of saws is the hack saw. This is because I can control it easily. When you are done with the carving, move to the next step.

Step 9: Sanding the Bowl Section of the Pipe

Take a 150 grit sandpaper and sand all the bowl section. You can choose to do the sanding with your hand, but I must admit that it takes an awful lot of time. In this step, I used an Electric DA sander to get the job done.

Step 10:  Polish and Enjoy your Pipe

You can add a little more character to your tobacco pipe by using a little bit of wood stain. Afterward, go ahead to coat it with Lacquer. When if you are planning on smoking the pipe, don’t use Lacquer or wood stain, as your pipe would go up in flames. If you are looking for a simple finish, you can use mineral oil. Dab a little mineral oil on top of a 1500 grit sandpaper, and sand the whole pipe. When the whole pipe has been sanded, polish it off and enjoy your DIY homemade pipe.

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