Saturday, September 20, 2008

Table top pipes, and staining techniques

What you see here is a new addition to my regular models. I was recently contacted by a customer interested in a tabletop pipe, and even though I wasn't sure how to accomplish the design, I accepted the challenge anyway. It took me a while to figure out all the details, get stuff sorted out, and craft it such that it looked like an organized unit. The end result is a great harmony of the sinister, realistic, and stylized.

I was so pleased with the initial pipe that I decided to work on a second, and with the blessings of the customer, a new line is born. Check out the Mount Doom line of pipes here. This pipe was so fun to make that you can expect more to be available soon.

In other news, I've recently been experimenting with new contrast staining techniques. Two pipes that use the technique can be found here and here. It's a recipe that's been around for as long as people have been trying to get wood to change colors. I had actually used a variation on some knife handles a while back, but it didn't occur to me to try it on pipes until just a couple months ago. The idea actually came up on the Pipe Makers' Forum and Trever Talbert and I discussed it a little. While we did discuss it, they're actually rather dissimilar. For instance, I know that Trever's has one more ingredient than mine, and my reactive solution is prettier. :) Expect more pipes with this staining, and some very contrasty grain in the future.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The pull of The Dark Side

As the photo on the photo on the left shows, I've managed to be sucked into The Dark Side, and have equipped my shop with a metal lathe. For years I held out, and kept my distance from metal lathes, but resistance, it seems, is futile. Eventually even *I* had to buy one if I was going to get at all serious about pipe making.

Ever since I started this adventure several years ago, I've only ever owned a small wood lathe, and it's been the true workhorse of my shop. I even cut stem tenons on it, as well as drill and shape anything that needs lathe shaped. But some styles of stem are simply too difficult to pull off on a wood lathe, and doing them on a metal lathe takes less time to boot. So when Jack Howell offered up this South Bend 9" Model C at a price I could afford, I jumped on it. Luckily (for me) Jack was planning on being at the NASPC show, so we worked out an arrangement and Jack brought it to me in Columbus. From there I took it back to Rhode Island with me in the back of the Jeep.

It's been setup for about a week now, and already has been put to work making stems, and even tools for other operations I do, like a motor mandrel for mounting DA disc holders that I use for shaping and sanding pipes.