How to Make a Churchwarden Pipe

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Whether you want it as a prop, decoration, or just want to smoke in style, the long-stemmed Churchwarden pipe is one of the most easily recognizable shapes in classic smoking gear. While creating a functional pipe requires some specialty, kiln-fired clay, the sculpting techniques required to make this design are basic enough for almost anyone to try.

Things You'll Need

  • Low-fire pottery clay
  • 6 gauge wire, non-insulated
  • Wire cutters
  • Low-fire kiln
  • Pull two pieces of clay. Make one about the a tablespoon's worth and the other half again as much. Soften both pieces by working them in your hand until they're pliable and easy to work with.

  • Form the bowl. Roll the small piece of clay into a ball, then press it against your work surface to create a flat bottom. Press your thumb into the top of the ball to form a hollow, then rotate your thumb around around, pinching the sides of the hollow to make it larger and evenly shaped.

  • Create a hole in the bowl. Poke a hole in the side wall of the bowl with the needle, inserting it from the outside. Wiggle the inserted needle in a circular motion to widen the hole until it's about the size of a pencil eraser, or roughly a third to a half inch across.

  • Attach the pipe filter. Press the metal pipe filter into the soft clay on the inside wall of the bowl, positioning it over the hole you just made.

  • Build the pipe. Form the larger piece of clay into a ball. Form the long, slightly curved shape of a Churchwarden pipe with a strip of wire, then spear the ball onto the wire. Roll out the ball into a long, thin snake while it's still speared on the wire, causing the clay to form this shape around the wire.

  • Connect the pipe to the bowl. Attach the bottom of the clay pipe to the outside of the bowl's hole, blending the clay around the edges to connect it. Lay the pipe on its side, then pull out the wire. Let the clay dry until hard.

  • Kiln-fire the clay according to the clay distributor's instructions.

References

  • "Ceramic Design Course: Principles, Practice, and Techniques: A Complete Course for Ceramicists" by Anthony Quinn; 2007
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