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Opening up an airway

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dwaugh

Moderator
Staff member
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#1
I was very interested in the article that Sasquatch mentions on his webpage regarding the importance of an open draw and the mechanics of the airflow. I realized that many of my pipes do have various restrictions and obstacles impeding airflow and creating turbulence. I've begun trying to open the airway somewhat on one of my Guildhall pipes. I wanted to open the draft hole to 11/64th, of course that was the one drill bit I was missing in my regular set... (Luckily had a 11/64 bit for my Yankee Drill that I could use in a pine vice). I started using some small files to open the airway in the stem although I didn't have all the shapes I need to finish. I'll have to look for some tapered drill bit to smooth the step within the stem. As you can see, there is a large gap between the air hole in the bowl and the beginning of tenon, not much I can do about that. Am I doing a bad thing here? Any suggestions? -David

I happened to have some dental casting compound on hand so I made a mold of the much of the airway..... (yea I know, strange thing to have around the house...)





You can't see it in this photo, but the on the right part of the mold the airway is flattened where it approaches the button, but it does not get wider, I think I'll need to get in there with some files and make it wider.
 

shadow

Active Member
Member
#2
Hi David!
Opening the airway is a fantastic idea!
I've done it on all my Briars with a 3/16" bit, and every single pipe has improved!!!!! So far I haven't bothered with the stems because things have become better just by drilling the shank.
One other thing: When you compare the airway of a cob with a Briar, the cob always has the larger airway! I'm sure that's one of the reasons why cobs smoke so well!:)
 

Sasquatch

Wizzard
Patron
#3
David, short of having a tapered bit (available at Lee Valley or McMaster Carr), you've gone about as far as you want to (we don't want the bit to see daylight!!!). Your best bet now is to go in from the slot end with a needle file - I use one that is sort of oval on the edges, about 2mm high and maybe 5 wide. If you can get that slot wide, flat, and about an inch deep into the stem, it will work really well.
 

dwaugh

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
#4
David, short of having a tapered bit (available at Lee Valley or McMaster Carr), you've gone about as far as you want to (we don't want the bit to see daylight!!!). Your best bet now is to go in from the slot end with a needle file - I use one that is sort of oval on the edges, about 2mm high and maybe 5 wide. If you can get that slot wide, flat, and about an inch deep into the stem, it will work really well.
Thanks, I will get some more files and try that, maybe even a taped drill bit. In my small selection of small files, my needle file was too big and and the flat ones didn't have teeth on the sides; I'll try and pick up some new ones (can't ever have too many). -David
 

Christrom

Member
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#8
I have a little 3/4 Orlik thimble - it whistled when I breathed in and smoked badly. I drilled it out to about 4mm and now it has become one of my favourites. You can get needle files from model shops quite easily if that helps? They do a good job of widening the letterbox shape in the mouthpiece.
 
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