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A dead ordinary billiard.

Sasquatch

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#1
I posted this series of pictures elsewhere as an attempt to help newer carvers understand what a billiard needs to look like, some of the standard things to look for.

A billiard has some mathematical relations that make it look "right". You still need to make a nice looking pipe on top of this but understanding the basic proportions of the pipe helps.

Basically, relating only to itself, a billiard is a pipe with a fairly "tight" bowl, approximately 4 times as high as the shank is thick. The height of the bowl measured from the shank should be about the same as the length of the shank, measured from the bowl. The total length of the stummel, the bowl diameter + the shank should be equal to the stem length.

So.... we mark out a block. The drilling is going to be at about 3 degrees beyond 90 - if you build a pipe at 90 degrees it looks awful. So we cant the bowl forward a bit. In my case, I just literally cut the block so that the front and back ends are at 3 degrees - whenever I seat it in a vise or a chuck, the angle is there.



In the chuck, starting to have a shape:


Now I have bevelled the inside of the rim - this makes the pipe look lighter up front. Stem material is roughly shaped and the tenon is cut to fit.



At this stage, the new billiard-maker will stop, fearing he hits the chamber or something - keep going! This is not a billiard yet! It's a big ugly lumpy fist thing!

 

Sasquatch

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#3
Tons of material has come off the bottom "chin" - now it looks a bit like a billiard. Notice that the bowl does NOT dip below the line of the shank. This is what we big time famous pipe makers call a "nono".


Et Voila!



So at the end of the day, we want to see a nice tight joint between the bowl and the shank, we want the shank to taper just a little, the stem to taper more than that. The bowl is softly curved but not "fat".

Easy as pie after about.... #25 or so.
 

Sasquatch

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#4
Thanks for the pics and explanation!... I'd like to give pipe making a try one day but, I've got a lot to learn first.

Just wondering, I noticed different stems in the pics, do you make your own stems also?
Certainly do. That way a guy controls the shape, the length, the taper, the airflow.... everything. So what you see in the early picture still has a "roddish" look, and then you see it after it has been filed, sanded and basically beaten into submission.
 

dwaugh

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#6
Very cool, its fun to see the pipe in progress. I am going to try and not graph the numerical relationships you pointed out, but Moo likes them so much.

"A billiard has some mathematical relations that make it look "right""

It's funny, that seems all obvious, but I know when I turned a new stem for one of my pipes I got the proportions wrong, and it looked bad, something that seems so simple, is not so easy in practice. It's easy to look at something and make a call on its looks, its another to actually do it. -David
 

Sasquatch

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#7
Well, yeah. It's all easy once you've been shown about 30 times by people who know more than you, is what it amounts to. There's a hundred other little things about that pipe that I didn't mention because in this case, I'm shooting for the basics, and there's probably a hundred things about the pipe that a really sophisticated pipesmith would see as flaws. BUT - this thing is recognizeably a classic billiard because within ordinary bounds, it subscribes to a certain set of established relations.
 

Sasquatch

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#10
1x30" sanding belt and/or a French wheel which amounts to a sanding disc exposed and wrapped right over. The 1x30" belt allows all kinds of tight cuts (rough shape of the button, and the bowl/shank transition for example). Then it's files to straighten up the mess!
 
#12
Thanks for the break down Sas. I would see billiards that didn't look attractive to me and I think it's likely because they didn't capture that billiard proportion. Also, is this an old pipe or one that's for sale?
 

daveinlax

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#15
A billiard has some mathematical relations that make it look "right". You still need to make a nice looking pipe on top of this but understanding the basic proportions of the pipe helps.
Here's the formula P&T used for their billiard contest a few years ago.
Also, is this an old pipe or one that's for sale?
I see it listed in Smokers Forums Classifieds. :confused:

 

shadow

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#16
Excellent job, Sasquatch!:appl:
I don't think I'll ever carve a pipe...lack of tools, space, etc. but it's a great skill you have!
Enjoy your new Billiard!
P.S.: Do you use any kind of "curing" techniques, i.e. oil curing or similar for the ebauchons?
 

Sasquatch

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#17
Thanks for the break down Sas. I would see billiards that didn't look attractive to me and I think it's likely because they didn't capture that billiard proportion. Also, is this an old pipe or one that's for sale?
It is currently for sale - I haven't listed it here yet, but PM me if you wanna kick tires. :)

Shadow, I played with oil curing a bit a year or two ago. The results were really interesting. I got a couple of absolutely incredible pipes out of it, I got a couple of absolute DOGS out of it, and destroyed about 5. The differences in the technique between success and failure were so slight that I gave it up, more or less. Driving the oil back out of the block is tough, and unless you use an oil that hardens with heat (Dunhill used Linseed in their recipe according to the patent, for example) or an oil that evaporates on its own, you are left with a sticky mess. On top of that, I could detect NO change in the oil used - it was not picking anything up from the briar, but then I buy very well cured briar.
 

Sasquatch

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#19
Great on salads?

I had a pipe that arrived with olive oil applied to the chamber. Smoked it about 4 times, couldn't get the oily/veggie taste out of my mouth, sent the pipe on.

Flavor is pretty important, or maybe all important. From what I can tell, the oil I bathed my stummels in did not pick up ANYTHING from the wood. NO flavor or color change at all, whatsoever. So the idea that we are removing all sorts of harsh tastes from the briar is probably baloney. The idea that ALL the oil leaves the wood is also baloney. Oil cured stummels, if they are indeed lighter, are lighter because practically all the moisture has been driven out of them by the heat treatment necessary to force the oil out at all.

Another factor to consider is the smoke temperature of the oils in question - we will be subjecting them to heat, after all! So decent tasting oils with a high smoke temperature include but are not limited to: peanut, grapeseed, canola, safflower and a few others. Grapeseed and safflower makes a nice tasting pipe, but it's tough to drive them out.
 

Puff The Magic

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#20
Doesn't Randy Wiley use pine seed oil? Anyway, I have no interests in carving pipes. I'll see if there is anything I can do to make a less than optimal smoker smoke better but I have no interests other than that. Nice Billie Todd! You still drumming up some PSF 2011 Christmas pipes?

Ed
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