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 Wood choices?

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alanchrz



Registration date : 2012-03-13

PostSubject: Wood choices?   Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:21 am

I'm new to the world of pipes and pipe making, but so far I'm enjoying it!

Just curious what other woods people have used to make quality pipes? and your opinions on one piece pipes?


Here's my own DIY:
Cocobolo













Olive (Unfinished)





Comment and criticism is welcome! Thanks for looking
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:16 am

I've heard of (as shown) cocobolo and olive wood, but there's cherry wood, corn cob, and morta. These, besides briar, are the only things I know of that have been used to make quality pipes.

All I personally have are the standard briar and a couple in morta.

Nice one-piece pipes you've made. Did you stain and seal them with a separate finish or just smooth and wax them?
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alanchrz



Registration date : 2012-03-13

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:35 am

These have no stain- I've sealed them and that's all. Lit the Cocobolo pipe today, smokes very well!

A previous (and failed) attempt, I had gone ahead and finished just to see how it would look and to 'test' a few options. It was finished with wax and gave it a great finish.. I'm sure I'll be using that again soon!
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:30 am

I'm confused.

You've sealed the pipes with...varnish? Shellac? And then waxed them, or you've only used wax and nothing else?

I've made a few pipes and found truly "sealing" them with something (rather than leaving them just wax) made them smoke differently--so, just wondering.
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alanchrz



Registration date : 2012-03-13

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:18 am

Oh, sorry! I used poly to seal it. I know there's better options and poly is more than likely the wrong way to go, but this was meant more for a mantle piece-- a conversation piece if you will. Of course I want it to be functional but when it came down to it, I was looking to make it and display it.

I'm still sanding the Olive pipe and it will be sealed with carnauba wax.
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George Kaplan

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Age : 47
Location : Kalamazoo, MI
Registration date : 2012-01-07

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:25 am

Ever hear of the strawberry tree? I don't know much about it but I've seen pipes made from its wood.
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alanchrz



Registration date : 2012-03-13

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:31 am

I have heard of Strawberry, but I haven't seen any of the wood.
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:41 am

Strawberry tree wood, too. Yes.

Back to finishes, perhaps look at the pipemakersforum.com site for some ways to use carnauba wax to get a good shine, that place opened my eyes a little and I stole some techniques. Contrary to what it seems, the wax actually doesn't exactly "seal" the wood, rather, it protects it while also allowing it to breathe while smoked. Probably the semantics that got me confused in the first place when you were describing how you were finishing these beauties. Laughing Cool

I'm not sure sealing the pipe with polyurethane is a "wrong" way, especially if it is only for display, but since they are one-piece pipes, to make them truly smokeable, wax would be king. I've never smoked an all-wood one piece pipe before. I imagine "clenchers" that like to chomp on bits would eat one of those quickly, but for a "hold 'em" smoker like myself I can see a nice relationship with something like that. Cool
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Wet Dottle

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Location : Littleton, CO
Registration date : 2008-02-27

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:28 pm

Isn't cocobolo toxic?
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alanchrz



Registration date : 2012-03-13

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:12 pm

The latest--

Olive wood, carnauba wax











Thanks for looking, comments and critiques welcomed

Alan
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:13 pm

It's a great pipe, Alan. Cool I'd put one in my collection. It's unusual. What tobacco chamber depth/dimension/diameters do you usually use?
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:18 pm

Wet Dottle wrote:
Isn't cocobolo toxic?

Research states "yes."

Also, there are cocobolo pipes out there--a detail I missed until I looked closer, they all have briar, meerschaum or other inserts to make them appropriate for smoking. Cool
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alanchrz



Registration date : 2012-03-13

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:31 pm

The diameter of the two I've shown are 3/4 inch and roughly 1 1/4 inches deep.

I've also done some research on the Cocobolo toxicity level and it IS considered a lung and skin irritant, but it's generally just the dust that cause issues for some people.
I'm in no way discrediting the fact that it is in fact considered toxic, just stating my findings. In working with the wood (cutting and sanding) I personally have had no issues.
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:41 pm

Well, imagine if you will, the mouth and nose also being a skin-like mucous membrane, and to consider dust isn't the factor here, it's the possible heat/moisture leaching of whatever this toxicity is to the mouth of the pipe smoker. There's obviously reasons why the cocobolo pipes I can find have inserts!

Feel free to keep right on smoking that beauty if you like, if I want mouth irritants, I can just get some Borkum Riff, dry it like a craker and power-puff the stuff in a metal-stinger Grabow. Laughing

Future endeavors, if these pipes are to be made for those other than you, one might suggest alternate woods to use. Cool
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alanchrz



Registration date : 2012-03-13

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:50 pm

By all means, I would never put something out there that could cause someone harm. Like it was said earlier, that was made more for a mantle piece. My brother took it on his own to smoke it once, he enjoyed it and now it's back on the rack for the next foreseeable future.

Again, I appreciate all the concerns about the use of a toxic wood but as soon as it was made and the thought of using it was approached, I dug up whatever I could find on the wood.. The intent was never to use it as anything other than a test in creating a pipe.


Aside from the woods and the weight that can be associated to them, are there any benefits/drawbacks to having a one piece pipe? Why are they not as common?
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:04 pm

Why are one piece pipes not as common and what are the drawbacks?

I'll speculate a little here with you. All are possible:

* Briar is expensive. Finding pieces to cover that much real estate would be pricey (and hard to accomplish).

* Breakage. Bust a one-piece pipe at the stem, it may be its death. Break a stem in a traditional briar, you can have it fixed. You might be able to salvage a one-piece pipe with a broken stem with a lucite/vulcanite one--then you wouldn't have to worry about this speculation. Hehehehe.

* Tooth damage (to the pipe, not the tooth). Again, easier to replace/refinish/refurbish a bit than chewing on a wood one. Ever see a bitten pencil?

* Moisture damage. Briar to be smoked needs to be dry. Slobbering on a wood bit would likely impart flavor and unintended interaction with the wood at a minimum, possibly swelling and cracking if the smoker is a real drooler.

* Mouth comfort. Bits are shaped the way they are for a reason--harder to do and keep structurally intact with wood. Also, pretty inconvenient to have a pipe unable to be held in the mouth very easily!

* Cleaning. Having a breakaway between the bowl and stem makes it easy to really give a proper scrub

* Tradition. The look and method of making these pipes has been developing for a long time, and for good reason: they're very functional, and can be very attractive. There's nothing finer than the craftsmanship of a pipe made by hands of a master (well, to a pipe smoker/collector, anyway... Laughing )

All things considered, there's no absolute way to make a pipe, but I think there's a good, informed reason why the system of pipe we know it today is in place--they're hardy, relatively easy to make (but hard to make well), easy to maintain and provide an excellent smoke. It's a tough act to improve upon, and boy, has it been tried.

Cool

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ejames

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Age : 67
Location : Poplar Bluff,Mo.
Registration date : 2012-02-01

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:39 pm

Nice work on those. They have some nice color and grain! I have used Mulberry with good results. Have one I've been smoking for about 1 1/2 years. A lot of the pros use shellac,mostly on rusticated pipes. Makes it much easier to get a shine on the rustication,and it will breath. Pic is of my Mulberry,cheated on the stem--used a Grabow.
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Wet Dottle

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Location : Littleton, CO
Registration date : 2008-02-27

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:05 pm

Nice pipes you guys are making.

Toxicity aside, the concerns about using other woods is that wood burns and imparts flavor to the smoke. I've never used anything but briar, so I can't tell how other woods are. Many years ago, there were debates on ASP about this. Some contended that if you smoke slowly, the tobacco burns at very low temperatures and wood type is not an issue anymore. Someone made a pipe of balsa wood and smoked it to prove his point. I think someone even used paper, but my recollection is a bit fuzzy. Perhaps others can shed more light on this issue.

All-wood pipes are around. At one time, the ukelele shape, all in wood, was more or less in fashion among some pipe makers. I've tried, but didn't like it. Found it too soft, easy to put teeth marks on, and didn't like the feel of it. But that's personal taste and there's no law against it. Smile Use it if it works for you.

Personally, I'd have much more satisfaction smoking a pipe I made than smoking an expensive pipe made by someone else. Kudos to you.
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ejames

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Age : 67
Location : Poplar Bluff,Mo.
Registration date : 2012-02-01

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:56 pm

Some of the major pipe makers,in the US anyway,have made all wood pipes. Kaywoodie made an all briar as did WDC and LHS- IIRC. D&P pipeworks of Sparta,NC. made pipes from Mt. Laurel and /or rhododendron with a wooden stem. D&P was bought out by HLT,their factory became the home of Sparta Pipes,makers of Dr. Grabow.
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:24 pm

A side note, from makers who have handed this information down to me, shellac will not really let the pipe breathe, although it is indeed used on rusticated pipes. There are two things, however:

* Use a thinned shellac. Whether the liquid type at the store or the flakes, keep the recipe about half shellac than what is called for, or 2:1 (Denatured Alcohol:Shellac) or even 4:1. I found the mix I use to be almost watery in nature, and I use two coats.

* If you have parts of the pipe that aren't rusticated, don't shellac them, sand, buff and wax them.

Both of these tips used with briar will allow the breathing that the briar is known for. I'm not sure how it would translate to other woods, but I imagine it is similar.
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alanchrz



Registration date : 2012-03-13

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:46 am

ejames wrote:
Pic is of my Mulberry,cheated on the stem--used a Grabow.

Love the grain on this one!
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ejames

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Age : 67
Location : Poplar Bluff,Mo.
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PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:22 pm

Mulberry does display some nice grain and I love the natural color of it. Doesn't need a stain, only wax.
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alanchrz



Registration date : 2012-03-13

PostSubject: Re: Wood choices?   Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:56 pm

I agree! That's really how I feel about most woods too. Occasionally I like the look a stain can bring, but the natural color of a wood has always been a favorite of mine.
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