Introduction: Make a Wood "tobacco" Pipe the Easy Way

Picture of Make a Wood "tobacco" Pipe the Easy Way

This Instructable will go the through the process of making a tobacco pipe ;-). Making a pipe is a simple process that takes an average time of 2 to 3 hours (assuming no major mistakes).

Materials you will need :

A good hardwood stick 1" in diameter - I used peach wood because of availability
A drill and selection of bits - I used a 1/8th inch bit and the largest bit (maybe 1/2 inch)
Propane torch or other source of high temp fire - for fire hardening / charring
Sand Paper in varying grades
Knife - Preferably a good carving knife
Wood Saw - (guess what this is for)
Mineral Oil or similar - For waterproofing and making it shiny :-)

Optional but suggested

Grinding block or similar - Rough shape adjustments
Dremel tool - Bowl shape adjustments
Thin steel rod - 3 mm square on the end
Steel wool - For making it even more shiny
Honey - For coating inside of bowl
Ashes - Used with honey bowl to fireproof

Step 1: Get a Good Stick

Picture of Get a Good Stick

For my pipe I chose peach wood because it is easy to work with and already lying in my back yard.

Look for a reasonably fresh stick just over an inch in diameter and without any knots. Your pipe's length is limited by your drill bit's length however while wood can be trimmed down it can't be trimmed up. As such I suggest you cut your stick around an inch longer than you plan for it to be.

Step 2: Remove the Bark

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This step is fairly self explanatory . Carve the bark off of your wood using your knife and start to create the beginning of an oval shape (more narrow on top and bottom of the bowl to be).

Step 3: Get the Shape

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The finished pipe is a piece of art and this is the stage at which yours will start to take it's shape. You should decide which side of your pipe will be the mouth piece and make it more narrow. The final product should be around a centimeter tall and two centimeters wide in the mouth. On the bowl end the pipe should be just slightly more wide than tall.

Step 4: Measure the Future Bowl's Location

Picture of Measure the Future Bowl's Location

You will measure out your bowl's location as 1/8th inch farther than your drill bit reaches lengthwise from the mouth piece if you have a steel rod. If not then the bowl should be just under the distance the drill bit reaches (this method has the limitation of drill bit creating too large a hole).

Pencil in where you plan for the bowl to be and later where the excess wood should be sawed off.

Step 5: Drilling the Bowl

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This is the 2nd most difficult step of the process. . You must carefully drill the bowl. Remember - too little drilling can be fixed while too much means you get to start over. The bottom of the bowl should be about 9 mm from the bottom of the pipe.

Step 6: Drilling the Pipe

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The pipe should be drilled so that it begins at the mouth and ends just before the bottom right corner of the bowl. (note that sawdust should be removed often during drilling to avoid inaccuracy.)

This is the hardest step because of the required precision. Slow and steady wins here. If you mess up this instructable it will be on this step.

Once you have drilled so that there is about 4 mm left before the bowl take your steel rod and put it into the pipe small end first. Once this is done turn the pipe steel rod down and ram it. If you drilled correctly and the metal emerged in the right spot then you are home free. If not then use your creativity to try to salvage what you have. Good luck.

You can also take a very small drill bit and try to drill from the bowl to the end of the pipe but this requires knowing where your drill bit ended up. All in all a better option if you can pull it off.

Step 7: Dremel Out Your Bowl Details

Picture of Dremel Out Your Bowl Details

You want the front end of the bowl sloping at around a 125 degree angle from horizontal while the back should be nearly vertical : \_|----. The bowl itself should be fairly large but I leave the choice to you.

Nothing to it but to do it.
Don't go to fast or your wood will start to burn a bit (But it doesn't matter).

Step 8: Cut Off the Extra Wood

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I suggest using a saw...

Step 9: Grind and Sand It Into Shape

Picture of Grind and Sand It Into Shape

I used the grinding block. You can use rough sand paper if that is all that's available. Grind off the imperfections and give the bowl a slightly sloping shape that is just a bit lower in the middle.

After this is done use around 150 grit sandpaper , then 300 grit. Your pipe is almost finished now.

Step 10: Drill the Carb Holes

Picture of Drill the Carb Holes

Do it at the right angle , look at how you plan on holding the pipe and where a carb hole would be most convenient. One hole will suffice but I chose two for supreme airflow control.

Step 11: Torch It.

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Go outside with your torch and blacken the entire surface on a very low flame using a slow sweeping motion. Don't actually start to burn the wood. This step should be done very lightly.

Step 12: More Sanding

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Use 200 grit sand paper to sand off the charred outer layer then when most of the black has been removed trade up to 400 grit sand paper. Put your pipe under running water , after that pat it dry and sand it again for a while longer. Your pipe should be quite smooth now. After this is done you could find some steel wool to make it even more smooth and later shiny.

Step 13: Oil Your Pipe

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I used mineral oil but you can use vegetable oil or similar if you prefer. Pour some onto a folded paper towel and rub it into the wood (except for bowl). Your pipe is now quite shiny. Alternate a dry paper towel and a oily one until satisfied.

Step 14: Fireproof Your Bowl.

Picture of Fireproof Your Bowl.

Fireproofing is quite easy. Take a tiny piece of paper towel and dip it in honey. It should then fit snugly into the bowl where the honey will rub off.

Take the honey'd bowl and push it into some ashes tightly. Knock the ashes out of it and wipe the ashes on the surrounding surface but not in the bowl.

Step 15: Smoke Your "tobacco"

Picture of Smoke Your "tobacco"

You're done! Now go break it in.


teslafan100 (author)2013-01-28

Although this is a good instructable, you are missing many details that go into pipe making. Lets start off with the wood, now typically smoking pipes are made of either briar wood or cherry wood because of there unique ability to to hold flavor. Now peach wood is a not so common material that pipes are made of but it is smokeable but lacks the durability of briar or cherry wood. Now typically the woods that pipes are made from are boiled in a mixture of water and salt about 10-15 times to get the sap out of the wood, than soon after the wood is cured for a certain amount of time typically ranging 1-12 months. Also tobacco pipes are normally coated and polished with a substance called carnauba wax, which protects the outside of the pipe and gives it a nice shine. All in all its a great little project for a beginner pipe maker but I really wouldn't try smoking from it.
Hope this help!


vandalex (author)2012-09-28

And I wanted to help answer rmcgowens question about the quarter. I believe it's for size comparison. If that is incorrect then it may be a symbol for "I just smoked a Quarter bag of tobacco through this pipe and it works great!"

vandalex (author)2012-09-28

Cool pipe, definitely not the easy way, but I guess that depends on what tools you have access to. Also carb holes are really unnecessary if your smoke is only flowing from the bowl, through a small tube, to your mouth. Carbs are more necessary for a smoking piece that has somewhat of a chamber or reservoir that collects smoke from the bowl, thus needing a quick way to clear the chamber, pop your finger off the carb and rip a large amount of 100% legal tobacco smoke at once. But still, nice piece.

rmcgowen (author)2012-09-25

ok I'm sorry but i have got to say i have made several hand carved pipes myself this seems like an interesting way to do it but not the easiest way. i don't see the point in the "fireproofing" other than to add the honey flavor i have never had one of mine burn up on me. and if you were to have the bowl just 1 cm closer to the mouth piece you dont need the steel rod at all and further more if you were to get a stick 2 inches thick instead of 1 you can make it where the hole is actually under your "tobacco" instead of behind it where it is going to ash in your mouth every time and i don't understand what the quarter is for.

rmcgowen (author)rmcgowen2012-09-25

and pretty much after step 9 or 10 if you actually want a carb the pipe is done the rest is just looks except the honey thing if you want that flavor in your "tobacco" me personally i like the flavor of my "tobacco"

Questioneer420 (author)2012-08-05

Okay so what size drill bit did you use for the stem hole and did you use varying sizes throughout the stem? How does this pipe keep ashes fromgetting to you?please please please answer these questions! I have the good stick carved into shape but im lacking confidence in the drilling:( i have multiple hand drills but no drill preess in suggestions? It would be great if you or someone could answer all my questions:) please and thank you!

jlyvers743 (author)2012-07-31

You made a great instructable. I understand all your steps. I was watching another instructable, hobit pipes, and he used olive oil in place of your mineral oil. I like this idea because well, olive oil and herbs go together nicely. Thank you for making this so clear and understandable! I think I will be making one thats a little longer and no carb as my herb days have past me by. Very cool!

Traxis55 (author)2012-02-07

Do i put the ashes inside the bowl? i got that you put the honey in the bowl, but then do you put the ashes in the bowl so they stick to the honey? and then do i knock out the ashes?

dscore (author)2011-10-19

Have you tried this pipe with herbal mixes like mullein or rosemary? Would a carb be used in such a situation?

DWordDtour (author)2011-03-20

is this step necessary or can we leave it plain color?

tsvoboda (author)DWordDtour2011-09-11

I really don't think this is necessary. I'm fairly sure it's just to help make the pipe harder/ more fire resistant.

Hex1408 (author)2011-08-13

could you please answer that question because i am also wondering if it is necessary

Hobo_Thoreau (author)2011-07-20

Thank you so much for this instructable! I now have the perfect anniversary gift for my girlfriend. She's going to love it!

brandman5678 (author)2010-11-29

do you need to keep adding honey in the bowl after useing it alot

Flash Gordon (author)2010-06-27

This is very interesting. I made a "tobacco" pipe too. Mine was made out of an old chair leg haha and i didnt really take time to shape it at all as i am very lazy.

GibStud (author)2009-11-12

what kind of ashes? How tiny a piece of paper towel? Does this step have to "cure" at all or do you want to fireproof   periodically? Thanks!

mistahmaxi (author)GibStud2010-05-27

It doesn't really matter what kind of ashes you use. There is really no other type of ash than ashes. And you should probaply measure the piece of paper using your bowl. The one this guy made would probaply need about a 1,5 squareinch piece. You dont have to do it several times to complete the fireproof. Allthough you should do the fireproofing more than one time, since its "shield" will not stay on forever.

cartman (author)2009-12-29

 Very nice!! I have been searching for how to make a pipe for a while. This is great!!

Nyastorm (author)2009-10-04

Hi, You say to drill the holes at the right angle but what is the angle? And what size drillbit did you use?

greenengineer (author)Nyastorm2009-10-04

Look at how you plan to hold the pipe and use that to see where a carb hole would be most convenient to use. I suggest closer to the bowl for supreme shotgun use. You can probably get away with either a single larger hole or a couple smaller ones. Probably a 1/16th drill bit. By the way , great timing.

Spint (author)greenengineer2009-10-12

Lol at timing.

biofueljunke (author)2009-07-23

thats not a tobacco pipe (but lets call it one) thats awsum and green its made of local materials but you could use veg rather than mineral oil because mineral oil is petrolium. but its great it will not get to hot and no energy is used to ship it from who knows where

Duly noted.

lil jon168 (author)2009-08-07

looks like a cigar

Chiana_Rei (author)2009-07-04

Another thing you can do is to just "Burn-In" the bowl. Basically you place a small amount of actual tobbacco in the bowl because this is cheaper just make sure to use a nice flavor you will enjoy. Then light it and puff the pipe getting lots of smoke and heat and stop when you have good carbon coverage. When the bowl is black you are done and you will never burn thru the bowl as long as you don't scrape the black off. During normal smoking of "any" type you will build up carbon over time. Just use a ferrule or pocket knife to scrape it down to a nice thin layer.

greenengineer (author)Chiana_Rei2009-07-05

I don't actually know if the fireproofing step is necessary but it seemed to help with this pipe. This was my 4th pipe and the 2nd one I fireproofed. The bowl of this pipe actually got burned in when I dremeled it at max speed and it started to smoke. Then more so when in an admittedly stupid course of action I used the propane torch on the bowl while putting a vacuum cleaner nozzle at the mouth piece. Luckily no unintentional fires were started but honestly I think it was overkill. I use this pipe all the time and it never seems to burn so I guess I did something right.

young_bucc (author)2009-06-27

also added to my comment below i would like to put my name on it like engraven/burnt is the best way i can explain it and i dont have fancy tools or nothin so how would i go about doing that?

greenengineer (author)young_bucc2009-06-27

Do you have a soldering iron? They are about 10 dollars and even one of the cheapest will get the job done.

ericlin81 (author)2009-06-24

Hi, i am searching for a pipe made from peachwood which is 40cm long. Can you make it for me?

greenengineer (author)ericlin812009-06-24

The length of the pipe is limited by the length of your drill bit. A 40 cm pipe would likely be quite unwieldy and would have to be made from more than one piece of wood. Issues aside it might be possible to make such a pipe by cutting a good stick in half long ways and then gluing it back together (heat and flame resistant glue , etc). That said the miniature design is far easier to make. In conclusion while I probably could make such a pipe I won't for various reasons. You probably can though , you should do it and write an instructable on it :-)

surtuo3 (author)2009-06-22

I have been using this pipe for a long while now. I love it. Great Instructable

lemonie (author)2009-06-08

Great build. (Tobacco pipes don't have carb-holes though.)


psychostick (author)lemonie2009-06-08

I think he knows that. That is why there are quotations around the word tobacco. By the way if this comes off as being harsh I do apologize.

lemonie (author)psychostick2009-06-08

I didn't notice that first time around, perhaps it's been amended? Still it's a good pipe. L

nachosyumm (author)lemonie2009-06-08

haha, nice pipe, the carb holes confused me for awhile though, then i noticed the quotes. did you torch it for asthetics or to dry the wood?

greenengineer (author)nachosyumm2009-06-09

Some of both. You end up being able to sand it smoother if the wood is dry.

Focker (author)2009-06-08

Rofl @ lemonie's comment I liked the ible, and what really blew me away was the fireproofing method using honey. How often do you need to "rehoney" the bowl? Is it a one time thing and presto?

greenengineer (author)Focker2009-06-08

The honey is just once. It is used to start the resin accumulation process which solves the bowl burning problem entirely.

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