Tobacco Pipe "big Bore" Mod





Introduction: Tobacco Pipe "big Bore" Mod

Apparantly, many tobacco pipes come with an undersized draft hole, and this means hot smoke, burnt mouth and, most of all, trouble keeping it lit. This is especially a problem for new pipe smokers (like myself).

When last smoked this pipe I had to relight 10 times at least to get through a bowl - after this mod, I smoked a bowl today with just 1 relight!

This is by no means my idea. The concept is from this article:

The draft hole should be bored out to a minimum of 5/32" all the way. The hole in this pipe was only 1/8" diameter in the bowl and a puny 3/32" in the stem. It whistled while smoking - not anymore!

Note: A disclaimer to those opposed to smoking. I too am opposed to smoking - but I reserve my opposition to cigarettes. A disgusting habit, and guaranteed deadly. Nevermind the awful smell!

So please do not rant here about how much you dislike smoking. Pipe smoking has been proven to carry a very low risk compared to cigarette smoking. Some studies have found pipe smokers to live longer than non-smokers.

Note 2: A pipe smoker should never inhale! Doing so is a serious health risk!

Step 1: Tools

These are the drill sizes you will need. I wouldn't drill much larger than 11/64" unless you have a huge pipe!

Note how there is no drill motor here. That's because you're doing this by hand. This is fine work and doesn't require much power.

In all I probably took 45 minutes to do this mod, but it was the first time and I was being very cautious.

Step 2: Drilling Out the Bowl

I took the bowl hole up to 11/64" in 2 steps (9/64" and 11/64")

Just twist the bit in gently by hand. There's no need to use big muscles here.

Be careful that the bit follows the draft hole exactly or you could mess up your bowl pretty bad!

Step 3: Drilling Out the Stem

This is the hard and slow part, drilling the vulcanite stem. I only went to 5/32" for fear of cracking, though I wanted 11/64". Step up very slowly using the smallest bit that will remove any material. I had to use all these bits.

Remove the bit regularly and clear the swarf, which somehow comes out in copious quantities.

I would recommend working from both ends instead of fighting all the way through. Before each new bit, make sure there is enough clearance that the bit won't go through the side.

I was very careful and still almost cracked the stem as in the second pic. Fortunately that is just a bulge with external splitting, not a crack - it is still airtight. Whew!

Wash the stem out well afterwards with running water. It will be full of vulcanite dust, which you probably don't want to eat.

Step 4: Enjoy a Better Smoke

Yes I know I'm not actually smoking in this pic. That's because I had just smoked a test bowl and it worked great! Only one relight and way cooler smoke, much better flavor.

You probably shouldn't try this on a prize pipe due to the risk of damage (at least not before some practice). But if you have a crummy pipe that smokes poorly, why not try it?

Note: this crummy pipe is also my only pipe. However, the risk was worth it to me, since the thing didn't smoke worth a damn!



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    19 Discussions

    Got a so called 2nd pipe which is as tight as a carton straw. Probaly why its a 2nd as it failed the draw test. But unless you can hook up with a pipe maker. Most shop bought pipes have over restricted shanks and stem. Even after years of pipe smokers who've bored out their pipes and nade them 100% better. Main big name manufacturers still make pipes with restrictive bore sizes. Going to re bore the pipe tomorrow. If it works well may pay a uk based pipe maker to do the same for my Ratty. Great pipe let down by a crap bore size.

    It's because the wood absorbs moisture from the tobacco. It's what gives you that "tounge bite" if you smoke to fast or if you "drool" while you smoke. That sour fluid is usually called "pipe oil". It's a mixture of tar and saliva. After about 6-9 days it builds up enough to ruin the taste. You should clean the pipe and then let it rest for a few days.

    "Nevermind the awful smell!"

    Does pipe smoke smell that much better than cigarette smoke? I admit my main encounters with pipe smokers have been old men who probably smoke cigarettes as well (and might well smell bad even if they didn't smoke a thing), but I was under the impression that what you were actually smoking was similar so would give a similar smell.

    9 replies

    My Grandfather smoked pipes for years, and even as a child and later as a teen (I did not smoke at the time) I loved how his house smelled. I don't know what type of pipe tobacco he used, but it was a very rich, sweet aroma. Not at all like a cigarette smokers home smells (which even I say is not a pleasant smell, and I smoke them). Also, cigars smell nice when being smoked, but the "after smell" of a cigar smokers home isn't all that nice either.

    Do you know where your grandfather purchased his Fireside? I smoked this brand (it came in a large tin) many years ago, and would like to find it again.

    It can be a love or hate it thing. I've always liked the smell of cigar and pipe smoke but thought cigarettes smelled exceedingly acrid. For some reason, cigar/pipe smoke is white while cigarette smoke is blue - does anyone know why? Additives maybe? Pipe tobacco has been cured in a different way and is burnt in a different way from cigarette tobacco. The actual tobacco burnt is much less - a bowl will burn for an hour but looks to contain about a cigarette worth of tobacco - good luck smoking a cig for an hour! However, it will leave a cigarette-ish smell in your car if you smoke in it a lot and don't air it out. But it depends on the blend. One of my friends' dads smoked pipe/cigars in his truck, and I always remember the great smell of that truck when we borrowed it to go skiing!

    I've heard that the menthol and binder in cigarettes is what causes them to burn with a bluish smoke. And yes, the smell of a fresh aged cigar is much better than a cigarette.

    I am no authority, but I'm pretty sure that  cigarette smoke is bluish because of the lots of extra tar added to it (and the tobacco is basically just factory floor sweepings so far as I know, so it is needed to make the rougher, less tasty tobacco relatively palatable), and while the tobacco leaf does indeed contain nicotine naturally, more is added to cigarettes, along with a lot more things.

    To PKM: yes it does, as do most good cigars. There is an element of personal taste, of course (not everyone likes the same wine), but there are also many many varieties of tobacco

    pipe smoke and cigar smoke taste so much better and smells so much better than cigerettes

    A friend of mine smokes vanilla flavored tobacco, it smells really good.

    my grandpa uses something called fireside tobacco that smells really good. like burning pine or something

    Nice instructable! I did this to my pipe and it works very well! I glad I found this here.

    I've been smoking a pipe for around 45 years. I still have the original that I bought when I was 15 - A big Peterson full bent. I also have around 40 other pipes but that original pipe is still the best smoke of the lot ! - I've enlarged several of my pipes, including that old Peterson. I also enlarged the internal diameter of the bowls and they all smoke much better now. The big Peterson's bowl is so large now, I can insert over half of my thumb into it so it takes a fair baccy load. A beautiful smoke.

    I suggest that you invest in at least one more pipe. Since after you've smoked a pipe for may 6-9 days it's good to let the wood "rest" for maybe two or three days. This prevents it from "going sour" on you. I myself have just recently started to smoke pipe instead of cigarettes and I'm really enjoying it! This tip I got from my father who has smoked pipe for at least 30 years.

    shisha smoke smells the best of all. i used to smoke hookahs and ive smoked pipes, cigars, and cigarettes too. i hated it all except the hookah.

    Nice job, There are 'ibles I've seen on making pipes, maybe makes yourself a nice one to replace the cheapy eventually..