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 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.