Welcome to my world of pipes. On these pages you will see some of what goes on in my workshop. A bit of work-in-progress, mess-ups (they do happen!) and also some other pipe-related posts.
I love talking about and discussing pipes, so feel free to contact me at charl.chillfactor@gmail.com.
Should you wish to have a look at my pipes, please drop in at my website (http://goussardpipes.com/).

March 13, 2012

Stemwork Part 2 - Rough shaping

Last time we finished with the drilling done and the airway polished. This time the post is about rough shaping the stem. Again, I do not propose this to be the "right" way, I'm merely showing what works for me!
In the first step, I take the stem to a sanding disc, where I'll start with 60 grit and get the taper (i.e. on a tapered stem) and rough shape going. This will be followed by a 220 grit disc.
How do you like that button?
That was the easy bit. Now the elbow grease starts. First I use a very rough file to get the shape more defined. I'll also do a rough-over of the stem/shank joint, to get it smoothed. And I'll also work up the shank towards the bowl a bit.

Then I move onto the bit side, thinning the bite down, while also keeping in mind that the top and bottom of the taper have to form a straight line.

File work, lots of file work and then filing, filing and some more filing!

Next the button will be thinned down. In this step it is important to use an edge-safe file, of course. It's happened quite often that I have the file the wrong way around! So take care and double-check yourself.

When everything is more or less roughly the way I would like the end product to be, I'll have a look at the thickness of the bit. Sanding and final finishing will still remove a couple of microns. I normally at this stage like to have the bit thickness by at least 4mm, but preferably a tad less.

I know these couple of photos and bit of text only gives you the rough idea, so please feel free to contact me should there be any questions.

Next we will be looking at final sanding and finishing.

March 5, 2012

Stemwork Part 1 - drilling

I realise that there are a lot of "how-to" regarding pipe making on the web, but nevertheless thought that some people might find it interesting to see how I make a stem. Let me first off say that I do not propose that this is the "right" way. As in most cases regarding pipe making, this is merely the way that works for me and the way that worked with this specific pipe.
Right, that off my chest, let's start.
I cut a piece of ebonite to the specific length that I want. As I make integral tenons, this will be the eventual stem length plus tenon. Normally I would first round one half, flip the ebonite around and then round the other half, but as the diameter was very close to the eventual diameter needed, I left this step aside.
Its normally quite an important step actually, as most pipemakers would know that a round rod is most often not round at all!
First off, the blank is faced. I then take a brad point 4mm bit that is pushed as deep as possible into the jacobs chuck, to start the hole. This is done to assure that the flex of the bit is minimized as much as possible so that the hole will be centered.
This "starter" hole is then followed by a tapered bit. The depth of this cut will finish 10-15mm before where the bit eventually will be.

Next is the turning of the tenon. The mortise depth on the stummel is measured and transferred onto the rod. The tenon is turned to within a hair width of the required diameter. From here on the fit is tried after every pass, as little by little is taken off. When the fit is satisfactory, the tenon is bevelled and the air hole countersunk. Last of all the tenon is polished.

One last step to be done on the lathe: the rod is flipped over and the last remaining bit of the tapered airway drilled through with an 1.5mm bit.

The cutting of the slot is next. This I do with a dremel cutting bit (the specific number I unfortunately can't remember!) in a drill press. The ebonite is held flat in a drillpress vice.

Now the bit is widened into a funnel shape. This is done by using the 1.5mm bit and basically "smearing" it, working it back and forth, using the cut to widen the slot.

Next up the slot is cleaned up with needle files, with the final step to this part of the process, polishing the inside of the airway with a pipecleaner.

Keep an eye open for Part 2, which will be about the shaping of the stem.