Introduction: Homemade Tobacco Pipe (PART 2)

Picture of Homemade Tobacco Pipe (PART 2)

This Instructable is based on the Instructable 'Homemade tobacco pipe'. You are going to learn to seal and polish your pipe.

Step 1: What You Will Need...

Picture of What You Will Need...

You will need:

- Carnaubawax
- Wood stain (water based)
- 1 sponge
- 1 brush
- some water
- oneway gloves
- 2 soft cloth

Step 2: Adding the Wood Stain

Picture of Adding the Wood Stain

The color of the wood stain influence the aspect of the final product. For this pipe I have chose cherrytree.

How it works...

... dissolve the wood stain powder in one half pint of hot water and allow solution to cool. Spread the solution thickly and evenly over the watered, ground and dust-free wood using a brush or sponge. After 2 min. remove superfluous stain with the brush or sponge. Allow the stained surface to dry thoroughly. Then brush it. Always make a test stain.

Step 3: Polish the Pipe...

Picture of Polish the Pipe...

Usually I use carnaubawax to polish the pipes. Spread the wax thinly and evenly over the wood using a soft cloth. You have to do it in direction of the grain. After that, take a dry and soft cloth and polish the wood.

Step 4: Enjoy Your Pipe...

Picture of Enjoy Your Pipe...

You are done. Nice job. Relax and enjoy your pipe.


trike road poet (author)2009-09-15
One thing to check out, some exotic wood resins are poisonous, their resin is released as fumes, as the wood chars in being smoked and can be a seriously bad thing. Stick with the woods used by pipe makers, they use them for the very reason they are not inherently dangerous. If you want to use the exotic woods, consider laminating 'cheek pieces' to the 'safe' woods as surfaces to carve and shape for finish, and the burn to only take place in 'safer' woods.

Here's a listing of woods to watch out for;
  • Alder: irritant/eye & skin, respiratory
  • Angelico: irritant/eye & skin, respiratory/great/dust
  • Arborvitae: irritant/respiratory
  • Ash: irritant/respiratory
  • Baldcypress: sensitizer/respiratory/small/dust/rare
  • Balsam fir: sensitizer/eye & skin/small/dust/rare
  • Beech: sensitizer/respiratory/great/dust/rare
  • Birch: sensitizer/respiratory, nausea/great/dust, wood/rare
  • Black locust: irritant/nausea/great/rare
  • Blackwood: sensitizer/eye & skin/great/dust, wood/common
  • Boxwood: sensitizer/respiratory/small/dust, wood/rare
  • Cashew: sensitizer/eye & skin/great/dust, wood/rare
  • Chechem: irritant/respiratory, eye & skin/great/dust, wood/unknown
  • Cocobolo: irritant/respiratory, eye & skin/great/dust, wood/common
  • Dahoma: sensitizer/respiratory/great/dust/common
  • Ebony: irritant, sensitizer/respiratory, eye & skin/great/dust, wood/common
  • Elm: sensitizer/eye & skin/small/dust/rare
  • Fir: irritant/eye & skin/small/rare
  • Greenheart: sensitizer/respiratory, eye & skin/extreme/dust, wood/common
  • Guarea: sensitizer/eye & skin/extreme/dust/rare
  • Hemlock: nasal cancer/great/dust/rare
  • Ipe: irritant/respiratory, eye & skin
  • Iroko: irritant/respiratory, eye & skin/extreme/dust, wood/common
  • Katon: irritant/respiratory
  • Kingwood: irritant/eye & skin
  • Mahogany, American: sensitizer/respiratory, eye & skin/small/dust/rare
  • Mahogany, African: sensitizer/respiratory/great/dust/rare
  • Manzinilla: irritant/respiratory/dust/rare
  • Maple: sensitizer/respiratory/great/dust, wood/rare
  • Mimosa: irritant/nasal/extreme/dust, wood/common
  • Oak, red: nasal/great/dust/rare
  • Obeche: sensitizer/respiratory, eye & skin/great/dust/common
  • Olivewood: sensitizer/respiratory, eye & skin/great/dust, wood/common
  • Opepe: sensitizer/respiratory/small/dust/rare
  • Orangewood: respiratory/rare
  • Padauk: irritant/respiratory, eye & skin, nausea/extreme/dust, wood/common
  • Pau ferro: sensitizer/eye & skin/small/dust, wood/rare
  • Peroba rose: sensitizer/respiratory/great/dust, wood/common
  • Peroba white: sensitizer/respiratory, eye & skin
  • Purpleheart: sensitizer/eye & skin, nausea/small/dust, wood/rare
  • Quebracho: nasal cancer/great/dust/rare
  • Ramin: irritant/respiratory, eye & skin/small/dust/rare
  • Redwood: sensitizer/respiratory, nasal cancer/small/dust/rare
  • Rosewood(s): irritant, sensitizer/respiratory, eye & skin/extreme/dust, wood/common
  • Satinwood: irritant/respiratory, eye & skin/extreme/dust, wood/common
  • Sassafras: sensitizer/respiratory, nausea, nasal cancer/small/dust, wood/rare
  • Sequoia: irritant/respiratory, nasal cancer/small/dust, wood/rare
  • Snakewood: irritant/respiratory/great/dust, wood/rare
  • Spruce: sensitizer/respiratory/small/dust, wood/rare
  • Teak: sensitizer/eye & skin/extreme/dust/common
  • Walnut, black: sensitizer/eye & skin/great/leaves & bark/unknown
    • Willow: sensitizer/nasal cancer/great/dust/unknown
    • W. redcedar: sensitizer/respiratory, nasal cancer/great/dust/common
    • Yew, Europe: irritant/eye & skin/great/dust/common
    • Zebrawood: sensitizer/eye & skin/great/dust/rare

Among the many woods used for making pipes, besides the ever popular Briar wood (Erica arborea), are various tree woods, such as:
1. Maple (Acer) - Maple has been used for many years here in the States and both Sugar and Red Maples. Some of these get pretty hard for hand tools but still makes a nice pipe.
2. Cherry (Prunus) - Well everyone is familiar with Cherrywood pipes, Cherry allows one to carve some great figurals.
3. Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) - Other than briar, this is the wood to work with for its workability and excellent finishes one can achieve. Black Walnut does have rather large pores that allows tobacco juices to reach the exterior fairly rapid.
4. Oak (Quercus) - Most American oaks are brittle, they split to easily when making a cut and like Black Walnut, but only more so, it has large pores.
5. Olive (Olea) - Great wood for pipes. Back in the early seventies, pipe making businessES looked around for an unusual wood to catch peoples interest they build up a stock of briars. Considering Olive wood, checked many tobacconists but none who was familiar with Olive wood pipes. wrote several countries for suppliers of Olive wood, Greece, Israel, etc and never received an answer. Two years later all of the tobacconists, whom check with before, were carrying Olive wood pipes from both Greece and Israel.
6. Hickory (Carya) - It is okay
7.Never used bog oak simply because never tried obtaining any. I do like Trevors Morta (bog oak) pipes.

what about cedar? i live on the east coast, and cedar is kinda rare in my [artucular area, but i founf an old tree thazt somebody chopped down and left in salt water. would it be ok to use that (onceit's dry)?

tony.lent.7 (author)mcaliber.502014-07-29

Cedar is a nice shelf piece but not good if the wood burns at all due to mildly toxic fumes during combustion.

I haven't checked into this, perhaps your local state agriculture folks can tell you about cedar. If it is safe let us know, might like to try that on my next pipe project.

Do you know about Pecan? We have a lot on the property and it seems like it would have decent qualities, but obviously I don't want to find anything out the hard way.

tony.lent.7 (author)candirabbit2014-07-29

I know this is an old post but I just made a pipe out of Pecan and it looks very nice but seems to burn a little hot and wet. It does however add a lovely natural flavor to the tobaccos I have smoked from it in the same way my cob seem to add a hint of nuttyness.

Pecan is used for smoking meat in the south, and is essentially a milder version of hickory. It works well with poultry, pork and red meats. If you can smoke meat with it, the oils are not harmful if used in a pipe bowl. Hope this helps.

Come to think of it, a pipe bowl of pecan might be great to finish, it would have a soft glow from a good clear finish. You harvest any of that pecan, a few here besides me might like to get a chunk to carve a pipe from for ourselves!

nniebuhr (author)trike road poet2011-07-25

I just finished making a pipe and put some "Naturoil" inside the bowl to keep it from drying out... first of all is it necessary to put some sort of oil or finish inside the bowl/smoke tunnel? and second do you have any info on what types of oil/finish are safe to burn inside the bowl?

trike road poet (author)nniebuhr2011-07-27

Don't oil the interior, the stuff will burn and flavor the smoke and not a great thing to inhale burning oil fumes!
To care for the interior us a bowl scraper that adjusts to fit the bowl interior and scrap off the excess carbon build up (leaving a little to protect the lining.)
You can use regular pipe 'sweetener' from a pipe shop to refresh the bowl and reduce the acid build up that can sour the bowl over time.

ageth-thymepipes (author)2008-11-24

when I build my Ageth-thyme pipes. I have been known to use woods such as purple heart, oak, and mohagany, i have never burnt through a bowl.

Please be aware that purple heart is a poisonous wood, use it as a decorative outer form if you want but know that the burned sap is seriously bad for you. See the list above, some woods are not good for a pipe, unless it is never going to be used. this is about your safety, or that of friends you may give or sell the pipe to.

jmsiefer (author)trike road poet2014-05-16

Per my comment (above) what kind of glue would you use to adhere the layers of wood together?

trike road poet (author)jmsiefer2014-05-16

Any quality wood glue is fine as long as none is open to the ash in the bowl. If you must glue in the bowl area, use a gap filling super glue (used in model airplane construction and available at hobby stores), and clamps to make the joint as narrow as possible. Best suggestion is to keep the area of the bowl a single piece of wood.

jmsiefer (author)trike road poet2014-05-16

Thanks for the quick response. The reason I ask is because I have access to a lasercutter, and so I was thinking of making the profile in multiple layers of wood, and then laminating them in a stack. Not sure if you saw my previous image ( but it would be similar to this. I'm not interested in making a pot pipe, BTW. It's just that those seem to be the only style that laminated pipes are fashioned in. Maybe it's because tobacco pipes have sustained heat..? Anyway... so, wood glue then. I'll have to give it a try.

trike road poet (author)jmsiefer2014-05-16

The trick is to layer the glue evenly, and clamp it TIGHT, so the excess
is extruded, and the joint is as thin as possible. Once the glue sets,
(at least 48 hours!), then remove the clamps and sand to shape. I saw a
very singular pipe once where the maker cut each piece to fit together
like a puzzle block, with notches and angles that interlocked to create
this wonderfully weird but one of kind pipe made of three different
woods for color and grain. The effect was unique to say the least and
while of a simple design was eye catching. once glued together, it was
simple, elegant, and one I wanted! Laminating is a great idea, but glue
needs to be strong and heat resisting as much as possible. I'd suggest
gluing up a few slices and once dry, heat one side with a torch and see
how the glue bond holds up. And if you ever make a 'puzzle pipe, I'll be
a first customer

Ardian Djombalic (author)2010-11-18

Where can i get the plastic piece for the pipe

Check on line for pipe stems and bits, that is what they are called.
Use the stem dimensions to determine the size hole to drill, and while
fitting the stem, remember to clamp the area of the bowl where the stem
fits to prevent splitting the wood until the stem fits just right. To
tighten a stem in a pipe to fit right, I often drill a little larger and
epoxy in a small piece of small copper tube to act as a bushing and
then CAREFULLY drill the inside of the copper pipe to fit the stem.
This reinforces the area, and gives a neat copper ring to set off the
finish of the pipe as well. I've even drilled a hole in a nickle and
then beat it down over a smooth metal rod (through the hole) to make a
nickle tube for a nice silver ring. (Yes, you can use this same idea to
make a silver looking ring for your finger too.)

I like to care mine out of a single piece (or laminated block of wood). That way you don't have to worry about buying or attaching a mouthpiece. It's also very quick if you know your way around a bandsaw, drillpress, and sandpaper. I threw one together the other day in less than an hour in the shop and then another couple hours of sanding and staining. Plus, everyone has pipes with plastic tips. You're in this smoking business to look cool right? :)

jmsiefer (author)dlowther2014-05-16

If you are making your pipe out of laminated pieces of wood, what kind of glue holds the layers together?

Try googling pipe making supplies or pipe stem or something similar. You should be able to find plenty. You could even buy a really cheap pipe and take the pipe stem from that.

rgbarnes (author)2013-01-10

Get the pipe stem from your favorite rose bush. I made a graceful churchwarden pipe stem years ago with a rose bush stem. Remove the thorns. Use a heated coat hanger to burn out the pith. This works even if the stem is long and curved. Next remove the bark, sand the stem smooth. Finally shape the ends. Gently taper the pipe bowl end to fit the stem hole in your bowl. Shape the mouth end to comfortably fit your lips. I shape this end to be more flat than round. Be careful you do not take away too much wood and expose the hole to the top or bottom of the mouth piece. These work on any wooden, corncob, or stone pipe. Just make the fit to the bowl a press tight fit. Do not use glue or any other toxic substance to make the fit tight. If you must tighten it either cut it off and start over, or use a bit of natural clay to seal it.

elboon (author)2011-08-10

would basswood be ok

Nirgal38 (author)elboon2012-12-22

Basswood would probably ignite too easily. You want to do this with a harder wood like cherry or maple.

eyesee (author)2012-12-20

What wood

Lithium Rain (author)2008-05-21

Boo! Smoking kills! :(

Rectifier (author)Lithium Rain2008-05-22

Pipe smoking kills less. (Note - I don't smoke)

Smoking is still bad, but if all the cancer stick smokers were to switch to pipes, they would be better off, if only because pipe smoking is more work, and thus results in less total tobacco smoked. I don't see many people smoking a pipe while holding ladders, driving truck, etc...

Also, good pipe tobacco is a luxury item, and not as stuffed with nasty crap additives as cigarette tobacco.

Not to mention that pipes make you look much cooler than cigarettes (which tend to make you look like a dumb labourer), and I actually like the smell of second-hand pipe smoke.

dlowther (author)Rectifier2011-09-06

A dumb labourer? That's kinda harsh. People who do physical labor pretty much keep the entire world running.

flio191 (author)Rectifier2008-05-22

who says it has to be tobacco? ;D lol... i dont smoke, however.

mcaliber.50 (author)Lithium Rain2011-01-20

yes smoking kills, but only when done continiously, and with tobacco made by big companies (except american spirit) because of the additives they put in it top make it more addictive. american spirit uses no aditives, so it is as natural that you can buy.

and, you don't have to smoke to makle pipes. i make pipes, and sell them to friends, but i do not use them.

not when you do it sparingly

leebryuk (author)Lithium Rain2008-05-21

I have a t-shirt that has a no smoking sign on it. Underneath it says: There are cooler ways to die.

Lithium Rain (author)leebryuk2008-05-22


Everything kills, but a pipe makes you look erudite whilst doing so.

dlowther (author)2011-09-06

Didn't read all the comments but wanted to throw out there that I always use regular old cooking Olive Oil to stain my pipes when I'm done with them. It gives a very nice shine and I wouldn't want to smoke out of a pipe stained with any kind of synthetic. Even if it's just on the outside you never know when a little might get ignited or just slowly transferred to your mouth while smoking. Just treat it like any other stain, spread it on with a cloth/brush/sponge/paper towel, leave it sit for a few minutes, then wipe off the excess. Repeat until you're satisfied or it won't take any more of the oil. I put a good many coats on the last one I made out of Walnut and Oak and it is extremely shiny.

trike road poet (author)2011-01-24

Check here for the plastic (rubber) mouth pieces for your pipe projects

cachubiza (author)2010-06-20

The pipe's shape is simply beautiful. However, I am struck by the incapacity of making the mouthpiece... did you buy it, or were you able to build it? Thanx

SimonRuben (author)cachubiza2010-06-21

Hi i have build it by my own. I wanted to make a instructable on it but i have no time anymore. Its some plastic to build mouthpieces. I only have given the shape and i drilled the hole into.

BoondockSaint (author)2010-05-27

 This is a real old instructable, but I'm planning on making my own pipe in the next few weeks. I was curious if you stained the interior of the pipe (the bowl and the connecting smoke tunnel). I am worried that staining the area where the smoked substance is burned would release some harmful toxins from the stain. Is this a logical concern or am I being overly worried about nothing?

westfw (author)2008-05-21

I dunno. Waxed balsa does not seem like a suitable material for a pipe bowl to me, if you're actually going to burn anything in it.

SimonRuben (author)westfw2008-05-22

Hi westfw, why you are so shure that this wood is balsa ? You are wrong. It is not balsa. Just try it again :)

westfw (author)SimonRuben2008-05-22

Ah. I could swear that part one originally called for balsa. Either I misread it, or you fixed it. Either way, I appologize...

drummonkey92 (author)westfw2008-05-23

he said in the original that it was briar wood i think

dracus (author)drummonkey922008-07-28

briar is the only good wood for pipes... i rather but mine... I used to make them all the time but its just to much now... i just stick with my wessex...

masterochicken (author)dracus2010-03-14

I actually have a pipe I made from balsa.

James Haskin (author)2008-05-22

This is really cool. I wish I had seen it when I had my mustache. Could have looked so bad ass!! Good job.

Mr. Rig It (author)James Haskin2008-05-22

Uhhh... excuse me sir.. but uhh... there is something on your face. How long did you wear that thing for?

James Haskin (author)Mr. Rig It2008-05-22

Well I'd been growing a beard since the beginning of January and I shaved everything but the mustache the end of April (Florida is getting HOT!!). I think I had the mustache for a week or two. : { (mustache emoticon)

did you ever get a chance to twist it nefariously?

Indeed I did :{

Sgt.Waffles (author)James Haskin2008-06-14

You, good sir, are a Titan among men.

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