Tools Needed For Making a Pipe From Predrilled Kit

DGErwin11

Head Hooligan Honcho
Staff Member
Spillproof and DGE thought we would collaborate on this to answer questions often asked about what is needed to carve a pre-drilled kit (stummel and stem) into a pipe. We concentrated on tools, not techniques. This list is for those of you who want to make a pipe just for the fun of it, but not mortgage the house to buy tools. You can do that later if the bug bites you hard.

Carving your own is basically 2 sets of operations. 1) removing non pipey material & 2) shaping smoothing and finishing.

GOTTA HAVES. Well maybe one or two items you don't gotta have, but you do want to finish this decade, right?
  • A way to hold the block. This can be a vice, c-clamps or a dowel the same diameter as the chamber.
  • A coping saw. Much quicker than files for removing excess briar.
  • Files. To fine tune the shape. Combo flat/half round double cut, single cut, round.
  • Sandpaper. Depending on your filing skills, start with either 80 or 120 grit. And then all the grits (do not skip any) up to 600. (One technique thingy. Cut your sandpaper into 3/4'' strips and back them with electrical tape or you get confetti. Another very helpful item is a sanding sponge. You can wrap any grade of sandpaper around a sanding sponge and you've created a "soft-backed" sanding pad. They're sweet.
  • A way to make the stem shiny. This could be as simple and cheap as a 7 way finger nail buffing stick from the dollar store, but you'd be better off with MicroMesh sanding pads and a buffing setup (like the PIMO setup).
  • Appropriate measuring devices like calipers and 6'' rules.
  • Computer, tablet or smart phone. Lots of good and informative video tutorials on YouTube.
NICE TO HAVES
  • DGE found a Black & Decker WorkMate bench close to indispensable. Spillproof built his own.
  • Electric drill. Can be used for shaping with a 5'' sanding pad and disks. Also as a buffer. Use a separate wheel for each compound. Use a plastic zip tie for speed control.
  • Chainsaw files in a couple of different diameters.
  • Needle files.
  • Dust mask.
  • Kemper Zig Zag Saw K-31
DAMNED NEAR USELESS
  • Dremel (In DGE's opinion).
  • Any kind of handheld power saw. And dangerous.
  • Conventional wood carving chisels. Briar is much too hard.
WHERE TO GET THIS STUFF
You will notice we have not mentioned staining, shellac, rustication etc. Those topics are not essential to carving a pipe. This list is for what you need to turn a lump of wood with 2 holes into a vaguely pipe shaped object. Finishing can be as simple as applying a coat of carnuba wax with a buffer or Paragon or Halycon with a rag. Or as complex as eleventy coats of various stains and then coated with diluted shellac.
 

slowroll

Well-known member
Thought I'd add a couple things that really help finishing IMO. as an alternative to nail buffing sticks, glue wet or dry sandpaper to small thin wood sticks, like tongue depressors using spray fabrc glue. It peels off easily for replacement, and wet paper cuts better. Another good item to remove heavy file marks is a triangular scraper, such as machinists use to deburr edges. A heavy straight knife blade works well too. A scraper helps avoid ridges from sanding too long in one spot. Also great for removing the mold flashing on the edges of pre-molded stems quickly.
 

Sir Saartan

The Tan Saarlander
Sandpaper. Depending on your filing skills, start with either 80 or 120 grit. And then all the grits (do not skip any) up to 600. (One technique thingy. Cut your sandpaper into 3/4'' strips and back them with electrical tape or you get confetti.
danged day after day I keep coming back to this thread and I think: why couldn't I remember... ?
 

MakDragon

Optimistic Curmudgeon
Sales
Old Ted Award
Spillproof and DGE thought we would collaborate on this to answer questions often asked about what is needed to carve a pre-drilled kit (stummel and stem) into a pipe. We concentrated on tools, not techniques. This list is for those of you who want to make a pipe just for the fun of it, but not mortgage the house to buy tools. You can do that later if the bug bites you hard.

Carving your own is basically 2 sets of operations. 1) removing non pipey material & 2) shaping smoothing and finishing.

GOTTA HAVES. Well maybe one or two items you don't gotta have, but you do want to finish this decade, right?
  • A way to hold the block. This can be a vice, c-clamps or a dowel the same diameter as the chamber.
  • A coping saw. Much quicker than files for removing excess briar.
  • Files. To fine tune the shape. Combo flat/half round double cut, single cut, round.
  • Sandpaper. Depending on your filing skills, start with either 80 or 120 grit. And then all the grits (do not skip any) up to 600. (One technique thingy. Cut your sandpaper into 3/4'' strips and back them with electrical tape or you get confetti. Another very helpful item is a sanding sponge. You can wrap any grade of sandpaper around a sanding sponge and you've created a "soft-backed" sanding pad. They're sweet.
  • A way to make the stem shiny. This could be as simple and cheap as a 7 way finger nail buffing stick from the dollar store, but you'd be better off with MicroMesh sanding pads and a buffing setup (like the PIMO setup).
  • Appropriate measuring devices like calipers and 6'' rules.
  • Computer, tablet or smart phone. Lots of good and informative video tutorials on YouTube.
NICE TO HAVES
  • DGE found a Black & Decker WorkMate bench close to indispensable. Spillproof built his own.
  • Electric drill. Can be used for shaping with a 5'' sanding pad and disks. Also as a buffer. Use a separate wheel for each compound. Use a plastic zip tie for speed control.
  • Chainsaw files in a couple of different diameters.
  • Needle files.
  • Dust mask.
  • Kemper Zig Zag Saw K-31
DAMNED NEAR USELESS
  • Dremel (In DGE's opinion).
  • Any kind of handheld power saw. And dangerous.
  • Conventional wood carving chisels. Briar is much too hard.
WHERE TO GET THIS STUFF
You will notice we have not mentioned staining, shellac, rustication etc. Those topics are not essential to carving a pipe. This list is for what you need to turn a lump of wood with 2 holes into a vaguely pipe shaped object. Finishing can be as simple as applying a coat of carnuba wax with a buffer or Paragon or Halycon with a rag. Or as complex as eleventy coats of various stains and then coated with diluted shellac.
Much appreciated! I have one of these from Tinsky I bought a few years ago. It sits as it came. Now to get busy!
 
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