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 Growley Poker: How it was made

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Growley

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Age : 42
Location : Fairhope, Al
Registration date : 2012-04-10

PostSubject: Growley Poker: How it was made   Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:27 pm

Hey Brothers, and Sisters.

Several days ago I got a very unique commission request. Our brother peckinpahhombre requested that I make him a Poker....ANY Poker. He had absolutely no requirements on the pipe whatsoever, no preferences, no suggestions. He just gave me free reign Very Happy ....with one stipulation Suspect , that I photo document the process so he could see how it was made, AND share it with you guys, so you could see too. Wink

So, at peckinpahhombre's request, here is the "How it was made" post for his brand new Growley Poker. I have to admit, taking pictures is actually kind of a hard thing to do when you're in the zone. It's easy to breeze through steps without snapping a shot or two. But, I think with the plethora of pictures to follow, there was little I forgot to snap.

I hope enjoy!

On a new design, I always start with research. I look at tons and tons of pictures of pipes to get as many good shapes in my head as possible. Then, I start sketching, until I come up with the pipe I want to build. Once I've sketched the pipe, I choose the perfect block to fit the bill. In this case, I wanted to leave natural plateaux on top and watch the straight grain flow from top to bottom, and all the way around.







Once I find the right block, I transfer the pipe drawing onto it to make sure it will work out exactly the way I want it to. To do this right, you actually kind of have to look into the block, imagine the pipe sitting inside it.



Now I choose the stem materials. For this pipe, knowing it was going to have a long shank, I wanted to give it some flair at the end with an Acrylic Amber stem and a white accent ring. Here are the stem materials before they're cut into anything recognizable...



I pre-cut and drill the accent and cap ring to the desired diameters.



Now back to the block. Here, I cut it out on my band saw which gives me a reference for building the entire pipe. Not every pipe maker follows this approach as there are many, many ways to make a pipe. But, this way seems to work well for me.



After it's cut out, I choose my drill bits (Chamber bit, mortise bit, and smoke hole bit) and mark them out to the desired drill lengths. PS. No that's not blood, it's red stain.



As with any project, prep work is important. Now that it's done, it's time to make that lathe work.



Here I'm drilling the mortise and smoke hole.



Now that my holes are drilled to length, It's time to turn down the shank.



After completing the shank and mortise, it's time to flip the block around and drill out the tobacco chamber.



At this point, I've done about all that I can do on the lathe. Once I've made sure I'm absolutely done with it, I can remove it from the lathe and start working the shape on other various sanders. It's important to make your list and check it twice here, because it's almost impossible to get the pipe back on the lathe in the exact same way if need be. So now, I remove it and begin shaping on the disc sander.







With my rough shaping done, it's time to move on to hand sanding. Here's where I do my final tweaks to the shape. In this particular picture, I'm removing the bark off of the plateaux. There are lots of ways to do this, but for me, for now, I use a pic.



Since I don't use pre fabricated stems, it's time to start creating the stem from scratch.



On my lathe I turn the stem down to fit the rings, and turn it again to cut the tennon to the exact right size to fit snuggly in the mortise.





From there I rough shape the stem with files and sand paper.



Once the stem is shaped and opened up properly, I stain the pipe and buff it.



...and buff it some more..



and buff it some more...



...and with the final buff and wax, she's finally ready for inspection and the Growley stamp of approval.



Final product:

You can see more pictures on my SITE!

To give you a bit more insite on "how it was made", this pipe ended up taking me about 10 hours of solid work, in which I used about $4,500 worth of tools. If it were blasted it would have taken about 11 hours total, and use of another $2,500 worth of tools.

I hope you enjoyed looking through this, and I hope Dean enjoyes his new pipe!

Brian.
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Slide



Age : 55
Location : Benton, Louisiana
Registration date : 2011-11-23

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:47 pm

Wow!

Thanks to both of you for sharing the process!
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riff raff

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Location : Western Maryland
Registration date : 2011-05-24

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:50 pm

What a fabulous Poker and fascinating process. Thanks for taking the time to take such fine photographs of the steps. Peckinpahombre has a real winner!
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Ocelot55

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Location : Columbus, OH
Registration date : 2012-03-28

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:03 am

Awesome! Thanks for the tutorial Brian! As usual your work is stellar.
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peckinpahhombre

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Age : 48
Location : Niagara Ontario
Registration date : 2012-11-02

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:06 am

Very fascinating. I am learning a lot here.

One question - you indicate that the pipe would have taken 11 hours as opposed to 10 hours if it was blasted. As a relative novice to the hobby, one thing I have noticed is that sandblasted pipes (JT Cooke excluded) almost universally seem to be less money than smooth pipes. Why is this the case?

Love the pipe and can't wait to smoke it. Will have to figure out what blend I devote this beauty to.




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deepbass9

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Age : 46
Location : Philly
Registration date : 2011-02-21

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:16 am

Nice, succinct step-by-step. Thanks.


One question, though. I see that the accent rings seem to be about the same thickness...the white and the tortoise colored material. When you show the stem on the lathe, though, and then later on the finished pipe, the tortoise ring looks much thinner. Can you explain what you did? Is it countersunk in the white? In the pic on the lathe, the tortoise ring is facing out, towards the freshly turned piece, yes?


Nice work.

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the rev

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Age : 51
Location : Oak View CA
Registration date : 2012-10-08

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:18 am

because of the rarity of a flawless piece of briar. People sandblast to cover up small imperfections or uninteresting grain

rev
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peckinpahhombre

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Age : 48
Location : Niagara Ontario
Registration date : 2012-11-02

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:26 am

So, Rev, I gather that the extra cost of a smooth pipe is because of the briar and not because of incremental labor costs? Can an artisan tell from simply looking at the raw briar whether the block can make a good smooth pipe, or is this a process of trial and error? I could see it costing so much more for a smooth pipe if the artisan had to carve 10 pieces of briar before they got to one that worked as a smooth pipe
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the rev

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Age : 51
Location : Oak View CA
Registration date : 2012-10-08

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:33 am

peckinpahhombre wrote:
So, Rev, I gather that the extra cost of a smooth pipe is because of the briar and not because of incremental labor costs? Can an artisan tell from simply looking at the raw briar whether the block can make a good smooth pipe, or is this a process of trial and error? I could see it costing so much more for a smooth pipe if the artisan had to carve 10 pieces of briar before they got to one that worked as a smooth pipe

There are certain companies that will sell briar that is better, has less flaws, is prepared flawlessly and aged well. They of course are much more expensive, but even from the very best briar source you can be almost done with a piece and then you wind up discovering a flaw that not only makes a smooth finish impossible, but could make the pipe unsellable. Which is why commissions are weird business, because if you do say you want a smooth pipe, there is the chance that you will either have pits, or it will take more than one try

rev
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DrumsAndBeer

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Age : 45
Location : Northern, CA
Registration date : 2012-04-04

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:23 am

Lovely work Brian. Fascinating to get a little glimpse at how you work your magic.
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Kyle Weiss

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

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:14 am

I have seen a few step-by-steps from quite a few respected (by me, if not others) carvers out there, and the one thing I always walk away thinking is "...wow, that was a different approach." Each and every one seems to have their method that works, and I really like that. Some use four-figures cash worth of tools, others are a bit more modest: but they all use what they have, and do it well.

Really cool insight, tour and process you have, Brian. Thank you. Smile It's inspiring to get to a point where I can turn a few chunks of briar I have stashed away, when I get the appropriate tools and space.

Cool
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Dutch

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Age : 52
Location : On the road.......
Registration date : 2010-11-06

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:35 am

Excellent documentation on your creative process Brian. I really like the shape you chose to go with for this poker. It reminds me of a Charatan that I was bidding on a couple weeks ago. Cool
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Greyson

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Age : 36
Location : England
Registration date : 2012-08-03

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:22 am

Really good post Brian, thanks for sharing it with us!
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i.keenum

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Age : 27
Location : coast of mississippi
Registration date : 2011-06-12

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:02 am

B eautiful poker. Thanks for the pics they are great.
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Mr. Doody

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Location : MA, USA
Registration date : 2012-04-14

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:16 am

thanks a ton for sharing all that growley! totally fun to see how the sausage gets made!

doody.
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Bluecrab

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Age : 33
Location : Boonsboro Maryland
Registration date : 2012-07-25

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:50 am

What a great poker, and great tutorial.
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Growley

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Age : 42
Location : Fairhope, Al
Registration date : 2012-04-10

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:37 pm

peckinpahhombre wrote:
Very fascinating. I am learning a lot here.

One question - you indicate that the pipe would have taken 11 hours as opposed to 10 hours if it was blasted. As a relative novice to the hobby, one thing I have noticed is that sandblasted pipes (JT Cooke excluded) almost universally seem to be less money than smooth pipes. Why is this the case?

Love the pipe and can't wait to smoke it. Will have to figure out what blend I devote this beauty to.






I can't speak for other pipe maker's methods, but from my thinking a blasted pipe has to be basically finished before blasting it. When you see the smooth area on a blasted pipe where the maker's mark has been placed, it's smooth and stained because that process has to be done first, and then masked off before blasting to stay looking shiny. Sure, you could just stain and finish just the shank, and that's probably what most do, and maybe what I'll do in the future, who knows.

As far as why they cost less normally...I'm not exactly sure. Perfect grain is harder to find, so maybe pipes that can show perfect grain cost more just because it's harder to find blocks with perfect grain. A blasted pipe can still look fantastic even if the grain isn't perfect. In some cases, you've got blast masters who probably use nothing but perfect grain, and their blasted pipes cost just as much as their smooth pipes.

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Growley

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Age : 42
Location : Fairhope, Al
Registration date : 2012-04-10

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:39 pm

deepbass9 wrote:
Nice, succinct step-by-step. Thanks.


One question, though. I see that the accent rings seem to be about the same thickness...the white and the tortoise colored material. When you show the stem on the lathe, though, and then later on the finished pipe, the tortoise ring looks much thinner. Can you explain what you did? Is it countersunk in the white? In the pic on the lathe, the tortoise ring is facing out, towards the freshly turned piece, yes?


Nice work.


Close. Each ring has to be perfectly faced off to fit perfectly against the other with no gaps. In the method I use, I have to start with somewhat larger rings than what I intend to end up with. Facing them off shrinks them some.
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jogilli

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Location : Germany
Registration date : 2010-08-08

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:44 pm

Brian

really enjoyed reading through that... oh yea.. nice pipe also...:-) the owner should be very happy when it arrives

james
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peckinpahhombre

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Age : 48
Location : Niagara Ontario
Registration date : 2012-11-02

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:42 pm

The owner can't wait to light up Brian's hard work
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monbla256

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Age : 71
Location : DFW Metroplex, Texas
Registration date : 2012-01-15

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:15 pm

What your excelent pictorial can't show is YOUR SKILL in your hands telling you when things are THERE. Thanks for the small insight into a craftsmans life Razz
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Harlock999

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Location : Los Angeles
Registration date : 2010-10-22

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:55 pm

Beautiful pics, and a nice tutorial.
And monbla got it right above^! cheers
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leatherneck

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Age : 56
Location : OCONTO, WI.
Registration date : 2012-08-21

PostSubject: a MASTER'S TOUCH   Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:06 pm

it AMAZES me a what PERFECT work this PIPE MASTER can do in wood, with what GOD gives us every day to breath from. PROUD owner of a GROWLEY PIPE!!!


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Hawker

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Age : 51
Location : Alberta
Registration date : 2012-05-15

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:05 am

Awesome post. Very informative & interesting, thanks to both of you. Neat to see how it's actually done.
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dshpipes

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Age : 33
Location : Durham, NC
Registration date : 2011-03-06

PostSubject: Re: Growley Poker: How it was made   Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:06 am

Great process photos, Brian! Kudos for remembering to stop and take them. Wink
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