How to Make a Stone Pipe

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Novice stone workers should begin with the basic  L or T shape for their pipe.
Novice stone workers should begin with the basic L or T shape for their pipe. (Image: pipe image by Anthony CALVO from Fotolia.com)

Stone pipes have been in use for thousands of years. In some cultures, the stone pipe is a ceremonial object used for religious and cultural rituals. While the pipe its self is relatively easy to carve, how ornate it will be is up to you. Catlinite, also known as red pipestone, can be located for sale on the Internet, as can steatite, also known as black pipestone. Both of these materials, though stone, are soft enough to carve, sand and polish.

Things You'll Need

  • Sheet of catlinite
  • Black marker
  • Bandsaw
  • 12-inch farrier's file
  • Drill
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • 3/8-inch drill bit
  • Cone-shaped rotary file bit
  • 100 grit sandpaper
  • 150 grit sandpaper
  • 200 grit sandpaper

Draw the outline of your pipe in the stone you will be carving from. Typically, stone pipes are of an L or T shape that allows the user to put a degree of distance between their lips and the burning tobacco. Savvy stone workers should feel free to modify these basic shapes, but for a beginner, either shape should suffice.

Cut the shape out of the stone with a bandsaw.

File the pipe down to a more rounded shape with the farrier's file. There should be a 90-degree angle from the bowl to where the pipe stem joins.

Center the 1/4-inch drill bit in one of the arms and drill a hole all the way into the angle, taking care to withdraw the bit repeatedly to clear waste from the hole. This is the pipe stem. The arm that extends at 90 degrees from that will be the bowl. Drill slowly into the top of the bowl with the 3/8-inch bit, until contact is made with the pipestem hole at the bend of the angle. Widen the bowl carefully with the cone shaped rotary file bit until it is sufficiently large to hold pipe tobacco.

File the mouthpiece, carefully tapering it so that it is easy to draw smoke from. Use the file to smooth any corners and modify the final shape of your pipe.

Sand the pipe smooth. Begin with 100-grit sandpaper and move on to 150 followed by 200 grit until your pipe is sufficiently smooth. When working with the 200 grit, periodically dip it in water for best results.

Tips & Warnings

  • Saw blades with 18 teeth per inch work well on Catlinite. A sheet of Catlinite measuring 8.7-by-3.7-by-1.5-inch can be purchased for $80-$90 on the Internet.
  • Use proper eye protection when working with power tools.

References

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