Introduction: How to Make a Wooden Pipe, With a Carb, From a Tree Branch.

First off i will say this. My purpose for this instructable is to show resourceful, patient people how to cheaply, and effectively solve the problem of having nothing to smoke out of with a bit of creativity and elegance. You all know the drill, i am not responsible for what you choose to do with this information, intended for tobacco use only, blah blah blah. In all honesty though; have fun, be creative, use your head and don't be stupid.

Please post pictures of the pipes you make in the comments section! I'd love to see them and perhaps draw some inspiration from them. :)

Step 1: What You Will Need! (You Don't Need Everything in These Pictures, I Put Poor Man's Solutions to Not Having Some of These Things Down Below.)


- A hand drill. (or drill press, or anything to make a hole really, just depends how patient you are)

- A large drill bit ( for drilling main hole/carb. about pencil sized i find works best but you can tweak this as you see fit.)

- A small drill bit (for drilling the hole in the bottom of the bowl, you can tweak this as you see fit but i recommend a bit the size of a pencil lead. Keep in mind this will burn out a bit being a wooden pipe so the hole will get bigger. eventually the ash and resin build up will protect it)

- A SHARP knife (your main wood removal tool. This choice is for the patient ones among you. You will put a lot of thought and energy into the pipe itself this way and you can bet it will return the favor. I often find these are much more sentimental pieces.)


What i used for this particular project (and for the less patient ones among you), A pneumatic dremmel tool. (or whatever you have really, long as it gets the job done.) If you have one of those teeny tiny hobby dremmels, please don't use these, they will break. (unless it's for carving intricate patterns) just use a knife. ;)

- A pruning saw for harvesting a branch from a tree.

- Lastly and most importantly, you will need a branch from a tree.

-Up to you!

When it comes time to make your bowl there's several ways to do it. Which i will describe in more depth momentarily. You can either use drillbits, a step bit, a pocket knife, or in my case again, a dremmel tool.

Step 2: Harvesting Your Branch.

When selecting your branch, i'd say it's a good idea to find one atleast 2" thick, and preferably from a hard wood tree. I used a branch from an Osage Orange tree (Hedgeapple tree), because it is a very dense hard wood that takes a lot of heat to burn. It doesn't really matter what kind of tree you get your branch from, but make sure it's a branch. (don't use a chunk of 2x4 i can guarantee you the pipe will suck) But the denser the wood is the longer it will last (eventually in every wooden pipes life the bowl will burn through into the main hole and you will loose your smokeables down said hole, i do have some tips for preventing this though i will share with you at the end of this instructable!) Ideally it is a nice straight chunk of branch with as little smaller branches coming off of it as possible.

Stare at your chunk of branch and visualize your pipe within it! Let your spirit guide you to the correct branch for your pipe.

Step 3: Trimming Up Your Branch

Alright, now we have a chunk of branch. You will want to transform this into a usable piece of lumber. So take a knife or your pruning saw or in my case, a band saw, and trim off all the little branches. if you place your knife at the base of the branch and whack the back of your blade with another branch chunk it'll do nicely. Then square up the ends and cut your hunk of branch into your desired pipe length (your maximum pipe size is slightly less than double the length your large drill bit protrudes from your drill but it's far easier to make it slightly shorter than your drill bit, you'll see what i mean in a minute.) I used a mitor saw for this, but i am very fortunate to have a decked out wood shop. but if you want some funky angled ends on your pipe then go for it. (i mean it is your pipe, this is where you start to get creative and make it your own!)

Then using your knife, remove the bark unless your pipe design is going to incorporate it. (again i used the dremmel)

Now you have a nice hunk of wood from which to make a pipe.

Step 4: Drilling Your Main Hole/carb

This is a very simple pipe design, you have a big hole going through the center, one end is the mouthpiece, the other the carb (if you wanna get fancy and are good at lining holes up you can drill from the side of your "bowl" (remember, envision the pipe within!) if you want your carb there.) For this i simply clamped the hunk of wood down, and lined up my drill, and drilled through the center from one side, then the other side. If you're lucky on your first try it'll line up nice and purdy like this one here. If not it's no biggy, the pipe will still work as long as the holes meet at some point (just wont be as easy to clean). Or you can make a shorter pipe and drill once through and you're done. (see what i meant earlier?)

You have now transformed your hunk of wood into a pipe blank

Step 5: Carving the Body of Your Pipe

Here's where it really gets fun. you can do whatever you feel like! you can make one like mine, carve patterns into it, whittle an animal, make it shaped however you want. Envision the pipe in your hand, envision smoking out of it. Right here is where you can truly make it a custom pipe for yourself!

I made this one for a friend of mine who broke all of his glass smoking utensils when he put them all into one box and tripped while moving them. (don't put all your bongs in one basket! haha) i know he likes smooth flowing designs, so i tried to mimic a common glass spoon pipe. i know he likes to rip it hard so i put a massive carb hole in there. and i know he always smokes through his supply in a day or two if he uses things with big bowls so i made a smaller herb conserving bowl.

You can get to work with your knife carving something out. just be sure to have an idea of where you're going and give yourself guidelines.

Be sure to leave yourself enough space in the bowl section over the main hole to actually create a bowl. Also be sure not to make the wood too thin near the big hole (leaks are bad).

From here what you do is up to you, just re-join me for the bowl making process in a while. :) Though i suggest reading through it first. :P

Here's how i made this spoon pipe using my pneumatic dremmel with a wood carving bit on it. (look at the pictures for this to make sense).

First i took the blank and divided it into thirds, i used my dremmel to carve the grooves you see in the first picture. i then proceeded to make a large ball shape on the end. This will be the bowl.

Then i went into shaping the mouthpiece, and just formed a smaller ball. in the second picture. I was still left with a large chunk in the middle. So i just removed the wood down to a slimmer profile than the two ends and boom! (third picture)

Now you have an interesting wooden bead! If you like your wooden bead you can leave it as such and perhaps add it to a necklace. But if you want to smoke out of it, i would first suggest picking which side you would like to be the top, and the bottom, flattening the bottom slightly so it will sit on a table without spilling over (noone likes spilled bowls), and then proceeding to the next step: the bowl creating process.

Step 6: The Bowl Creating Process

Alright, so let's turn that bead into a pipe! First, you will want to set your pipe down on a flat surface. (with the bottom side flattened slightly so it doesn't roll.) Look at your bowl space. figure out how big you want your bowl to be, what shape, what angle you want the bowl to slope in at. (i prefer cone shaped bowls. in the glassware world referred to as turbo bowls). figure a good place to put it where it will be easy to load.

(if you look closely to the left of my thumb you will see a couple pencil marks, i like to do approximate things like that then improvise slightly when i actually do it and go with my gut. i find things turn out better that way for me. but you can be precise with this or eyeball it. Take your small drill bit and drill a hole down into the main hole BUT DO NOT DRILL THROUGH THE BOTTOM OF THE PIPE. it'll be a pain to fix and honestly if you do this on accident i'd just start over, live and learn right? This will be both a functional smoke passageway, and a pilot hole. From here you can take your pocket knife and put the tip in the hole and begin rotating it to drill out a hole (it's a crude method but it will work and while it will look like crap at first the ash and resin will eventually cover all that up.) OR use different sized drill bits and step it up in a conical shape. OR use your step bit (i realize both of these will leave stair steps in your bowl but again, that will fill in with ash and resin). OR do what i did and use a dremmel. ;)

Just be sure to leave atleast an 1/8th inch of wood where it's just the unmolested small hole. (because it will burn out a bit before the ash and resin start protecting the wood from burning and you dont want it to open up into a giant hole.)

and finally...... ( make a drum roll noise while you hit the next step button).

Step 7: Admiring Your New Wooden Pipe!

TA DA! you now have a brand new pipe that will provide years of faithful service. Here are a couple pictures of the one i made for my friend, as well as a couple of my own pipe i made for myself 6 years ago (that's lasted 6 years of being used atleast 3 days per week, and yeah it still has a burned up bowl of tobacco in it ;] )

I named mine 'Ole Faithful because, simply put, it's my one pipe my clumbsy self can't break. :P

Happy smoking! Hope you enjoyed my first instructable.

For wooden pipe bowl maintenance go to the next step!

Step 8: Wooden Bowl Preservation Techniques

sorry, don't have any pictures for this but hopefully i can describe it well enough.

Wooden Bowl Preservation Techniques

-if you have a dense hard wood, the ash and resin buildup should be sufficient to protect the bowl for a very long pipe life (atleast 10-20 years).

-If your hole in the bottom of your bowl does get too big you can pack a bowl in there, smoke it down to straight ash (white ash, i know it doesnt taste the best but, what can ya do?) then press it in the bowl until it compacts to a solid, then take the small drill bit (just in your hand, no need to bust out some power tools) and re-make the small hole in the middle.

-If you can't find a hard wood and only have softer, less dense wood. save up some ash from your preferred smokables, then in a gatorade cap or something, take honey and mix it with ash until you have a very thick, black goop. almost like rubber cement. Then spread a layer around in your bowl, and then proceed to hold the pipe up-side-down and without letting the flame touch the bowl, hold a lighter underneath it and bake this coating on. this will be sufficient!