Smoking pipes not only serve the purpose of burning the aromatic pipe tobacco favored by pipe smokers, but also they make fine collectible pieces. A pipe carved from a beautiful piece of wood is a work of art in its own right, and many pipe smokers have pipe collections they treasure. Learn how you can carve your own pipe for smoking tobacco, or even just to add to your collection of smoking pipes.
Things You'll Need
Wood or carving material of choice
Drill with 1/8-inch bit
Plastic joint fitting
Think about the design of your pipe. The great thing about making pipes is that they can made from just about anything, and you can carve your pipe in just about any design you choose. Popular materials for pipe making are briar and meerschaum, a soft white mineral resembling ivory that's perfect for carving faces and other designs in a pipe.
Use a sharp carving knife and a block of carving material, such as wood. Work around the block of wood to shape the bowl of the pipe to your satisfaction. Any shape you want the bowl to be is fine, and any size you want it to be will work as well. Once you've cut the basic outer shape of your bowl, use a combination of carving knife and hand reamer to remove wood to form the inside of your pipe bowl. The size of the bowl cavity will depend on the size of the pipe you're carving, but don't remove so much wood that you have a thin wall for the bowl. You want to include a 1- to 2-inch tail on the bottom of the bowl. The tail should be rounded and hollowed out with the knife and hand reamer. This will form the fitting joint for the pipe stem. You'll need to cut a very slight recessed groove around the edge of this tail piece to fit the stem over.
Cut the stem of the pipe from the same block of wood as you did the bowl. You'll need a block about 6 to 7 inches in length and 2 to 3 inches across. You'll carve this block of wood to the approximate shape of the stem, and then you'll notch the a horizontal mouth slot into the end of the stem. Turn the stem around and approach it from the other end. You want to use the 1/8-inch drill bit to drill the air channel in the stem, taking it all the way up until it just breaks through where the horizontal notch is at the opposite end of the stem. If you want a curved stem, soak the stem in water for a day or two, until it's soft enough to bend, and then let it dry.
Use rough sandpaper to polish the bowl and stem until they are extremely smooth, and then finish them with wood varnish, stain and a clear lacquer. Fit the end of the stem over the notched end of the tail on the bowl and your pipe is ready for tobacco.