Pipe Making 101

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Project by MadMark posted 05-18-2016 03:55 AM 1805 views 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Pipe Making 101
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This is a first draft of what should become a nice illustrated tutorial on making a pair of one piece pipes.

The pipe making process is much more complicated and needs a lot of tools to make.

Pipe making requires:
  • Table saw
  • Drill press (several bits)
  • Band saw
  • 4” Stationary Belt sander
  • Oscillating Spindle Sander
  • 1” belt sander
  • 8” disc sander
  • ROS sanding @ 120 & 240
  • Hand sand with sanding sponge

At this point the pipe is ready for finishing.

We start with the table saw and cut a blank that is 1-1/4” sq and 9” long. This blank will yield two pipes. Our pipes bowl form is basically a cube. We use a 5/8” drill to help the neck shaping. To make these holes we find the side center and mark a parrallel 5/16” past the center. If you use a drill other than 5/8” adjust the spacing to the new radius.

Likewise mark 1-1/4” plus the same 5/16” from the end. Rotate the stock 180° keeping the lies up an mark this end the same way. Drill 5/8” thru holes at both ends.

While at the drillpress drill the bowl down to 3/8” from the bottom with a 3/4” Forstner bit

Move to the bandsaw and cut in at the drill tangents and cut the center on the line to split the block.

Back to the table saw and trim the curved end off at 7”.

Mark lines approximately 1/4” in from each side of the stem. Move back to the bandsaw and remove the sides exiting as you get near the bowl.

Back to the drill press to start drilling the stem. Most drill presses don’t have a 7” travel so we have to drill the stem in two parts, first we pilot on the drill press with a 3/16” brad point bit as deep as possible. Then we clamp the pipe with a wooden clamp and finish drilling the stem with a 12” x 3/16” brad point drill in a hand power drill.

The stem drilling is hard to do consistently and wild grains will make the long drill bit stray.

Check the stem is clear by blowing in the bowl end of things – save the stem end for the customer!

Next stop is the 4” belt sander. We form the stem and bowl shapes and remove as much bulk material as possible.

Use the end of a file in the mouthpiece hole to get a controllable grip on the stem. Bring down the stem to an even wall thickness. Use the 1” band sander to final shape the bowl.

The disk sander rapidly forms the mouthpiece taper.

There will be a rough area at the neck of the pipe. Use the OSS to get into the area.

Use the ROS at 120 & 240 to smoothen the flats left by the other sander.

Use a fine sanding sponge to even out any remaining divots.

Final finishing to follow

-- Madmark - [email protected]

10 comments so far

View drbyte's profile


831 posts in 4545 days

#1 posted 05-18-2016 12:28 PM

This is a great project! You need to make it a blog and we need lots more photos!! Very intriguing build process and I’m sure many of us would like to try it! Thanks for posting this project. What kind of wood is that? Where do you get it? Inquiring minds just want to know more!!!

-- Dennis, WV

View CaptainSkully's profile


1610 posts in 4041 days

#2 posted 05-18-2016 01:46 PM

I second the blog request! I want to make some of those crazy long pipes they used in Lord of the Rings.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View fd_cox's profile


55 posts in 2060 days

#3 posted 05-18-2016 03:40 PM

Blog please

-- Floyd - Harrison Arkansas

View McFly's profile


273 posts in 1510 days

#4 posted 05-18-2016 10:48 PM

X4 on the blog request.
Cool project.

View leafherder's profile


1838 posts in 2435 days

#5 posted 05-18-2016 10:50 PM

Thanks for the how-to. I am also interested in more pictures, and the type of wood. Is there a type of wood that is better for pipes than other types of wood?

-- Leafherder

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1936 days

#6 posted 05-18-2016 11:12 PM

Blog created!

Hardwoods are better than soft. Fruitwood imparts a subtle flavor. Pine & oak are useless, as is ash.

Please post any additional comments to the blog and not here. Thank you all!


-- Madmark - [email protected]

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10700 posts in 4535 days

#7 posted 05-18-2016 11:45 PM

Possible to use Briar wood? Isn’t it supposed to be the super wood to use for pipes?

Have never seen it advertised or used in anything…

Would have been nice about 16 years ago… when I was smoking pipe… :)

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1936 days

#8 posted 05-19-2016 12:50 AM

Briarwood generally doesn’t have a form for a single stem.


-- Madmark - [email protected]

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12785 posts in 3640 days

#9 posted 05-23-2016 06:03 AM

wow, cool project, thanks for posting…
Looking forward to reading the BLOG on this one…

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

View Druid's profile


2141 posts in 3278 days

#10 posted 10-03-2016 07:40 PM

Here’s a link to some of the characteristics of various types of wood that are commonly used for pipes.
Hope it helps…
Waiting to see the next posting on finishing. ;)

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

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