Introduction: Easy Smoking Pipe for Absolute Beginners

Picture of Easy Smoking Pipe for Absolute Beginners

This is a pipe I made purely for the purpose of killing time. It is easy and relatively quick to make, and requires minimal tools. Obviously, use your common sense, smoking is bad for you, don't take up smoking, all that stuff. I assume if you're old enough to use a drill, you're old enough to make good choices. I have all the steps covered so that anyone can make this with a bit of patience. Comment if there are any questions or suggestions for other beginner projects.

Step 1: Gather Supplies

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You'll need: 1. Wood. (I used a tree branch) 2. Saw. (I used a hand saw, but a bandsaw would be easier) 3. Drill press. (You could use a hand drill but make sure you have a vice or something like it to hold the pieces steady) 4. Pocket knife. 5. Wood glue (I used gorilla glue) 6. A good pair or gloves, preferably cut resistant, are a good thing to have while carving. 7. Some water based stain. 8. Some water based varnish. 9. A bit of honey. 10. Some ash.

Step 2: Get Your Wood

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The wood I used was from a tree in my backyard. The wood was quite green, and I don't recommend this because it is harder to drill and carve. The wood you use cannot be treated with anything like building grade 2x4s. they are treated with chemicals you don't want to be setting on fire. Make sure the wood is thick enough in diameter to have a reasonable pipe bowl drilled into it. Cut the wood into two pieces. The thicker of the two will be your pipe bowl, and the thinner will be the stem.

Step 3: Drill Holes in the Wood

Next, you're going to need to drill a few holes in the wood. (Never wear gloves while using a drill) One large one for the pipe bowl. This one does not need to be very deep. Once the pipe bowl is drilled out, take a much smaller drill bit and drill a hole in the center of the bowl. Then take the same drill bit and drill down from the side of the pipe bowl so that the new hole intersects the one drilled down from the pipe bowl. Make sure the drill bit used for the last two holes is big enough to get sufficient air flow through. About the same size as a drinking straw. Lastly, take the same drill bit, and drill a longer hole through your second piece of wood. This will make up your pipe stem.

Step 4: Get Out Your Knife

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Grab your pocket knife, and make sure the blade is sharp. At this point you should get on some cut resistant gloves. Only at this point though. Never use gloves while drilling. This step is the most up for interpretation of the maker. You choose how you want the pipe to look. If you have never carved before, use long strokes. Keep the blade angle very close to that of the wood. Make sure not to dig large chunks out of the wood and rather to take long shallow shavings off. Large chunks will only dull your knife and make it harder to carve. Make sure to sharpen your knife if you notice that cutting is getting harder. Obviously, be careful, don't run with knives, don't cut towards yourselves. Use common sense.

Step 5: Sand and Glue

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Get a bit of sandpaper and sand your pipe down until it's nice and smooth. Sand a flat area on the bowl where the hole is drilled on the side so that the stem can be glued without an air leak. It may he a good idea to get some fine mesh or screen to glue between the connection of the bowl and stem, that way little flaming pieces of whatever you are smoking don't accidentally end up in your mouth. Finally, glue the stem to the bowl. If you have a clamp that you can hold the pipe in, great! If not, you may need to hold the pipe between your fingers, squishing the stem to the bowl for about an hour while the glue sets. This is by far the most tedious part. Read the instructions on the glue you use to see how long it needs to set for.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

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Get out your stain, make sure it's water based. I used General Finishes' "Black Cherry" for the one in the pictures. It has to be water based due to the toxins in other stain types. Stain the pipe. Don't worry about the inside of the bowl, it is going to get burnt anyway. Use an old rag to stain the pipe, but make sure to let the rag lie flat, not crumpled on a non flammable area with nothing combustible nearby while drying. Crumpled rags with combustibles nearby have been known to spontaneously combust and burn down sheds or workshops. Get out your varnish (also water based) and repeat the process. The last thing you should do is to get some honey and a cloth. Melt the honey, and use the cloth to generously coat the inside of the bowl with it. Then get some ash and press the bowl into the ash. The ash will stick to the honey and this is supposed to fireproof the bowl. Wipe off the excess ash and you're all done.


pfred2 (author)2013-02-03

If you carved mating tapers I don't think you would need to glue the stem to the bowl. Something about possibly smoking Gorilla Glue gives me some pause for thought. Plus it would be handy to be able to take the stem and bowl apart for cleaning now and again. You pipe looks good though. Whenever I make pipes I make them out of one piece of wood, but it is tricky to align the stem hole to the bowl. I have missed.