If you continue to make pipes you'll probably find that you gravitate toward particular shapes that (a) you like and (b) are within your reach as a maker. Sometimes A and B don't go together, and some people (rare I think) can jump relatively quickly to a blowfish and pull off something pleasing to the hands and the eyes. I think that's the exception rather than the norm.
One concrete thing you can do, if you continue, is to get some transparent plastic and cut out some profile templates of shapes. Take your time making them and pay attention to the proportions (shank diameter to bowl diameter, shank length to bowl height are two key ones). Then cut them out and plop em' down on as many pieces of briar as you can, rotating them around until you start to see how different grain patterns works with different shapes. When you find a shape and a grain pattern that gel, that's a kind of "aha!!"
I realize you're on your first block here and I'm talking a few steps down the road - also posting for those who might be wondering about similar questions.
Great, now you're got me thinking hey, I've got a workbench, a vise, some saws and rasps, too. I'm going to have to keep an eye on this.
I'd love to make a specific type of bulldog I don't see for sale very often.
Damn, it's really coming along nicely. God Bless ya!
I was just looking at Kit Ebauchons on 4noggins. I have an untouched Dremel 4000 from last Xmas with myriad attachments I'm dying to use. Also some hand files, rasps, and misc. wood tools laying around. I would love to try my hand like Dogman and Joe Case did...
Seeking clarity I read a blog by Stephen Downie on pipe carving, which left me with more questions.
This is a really killer project to take on with spare time. Anyone know of any good books out there with design/technical/tool guidance?
The Pimo.com people offer a book on pipe making; which I don't even own a copy of. They may exist, but I have never seen a book other than the one from Pimo that is pipe making specific.
There are tons of locations for pipe making advice, instruction, and U-Tube video on line and on sites like this one and several others where other pipe makers can guide you through the basics of pipe making.
The rest is practice, practice, practice and read everything you can find on line regarding pipe making, and there is tons of reading material out there covering every aspect to pipe making.
And if you run into a snag....just ask questions like you just did here and you will get your answers toot-sweet!
I never had any books or manuals...just got a pre-drilled block and started in....HOOKED! A good friend has a lathe & drill press, so started experimenting in his shop. Next thing I knew, *I* had a lathe & drill press! Then I was buying blocks and stems by the dozen. It's fun, but very addictive....proceed with caution! LOL
So I thought it would be fun to carve my own pipe so I bought on of those kits from P&C.. It came in and looks exactly like its supposed to. Drill looks nearly perfect. Now I can't decide what I want to make? How do you guys decide what shape to make? Should I just start on it and see what comes out? Should I plan it out? I guess I should have given that a little more more thought. If it sits there looking at me too much longer, I might just start smoking a big block of wood... I guess I'm just needing some inspiration. What say the masters?
I'm no master crafter, but I'd definitely recommend you plan it first so you can pencil your outlines and make your first attempt at cuts. Then, if you do an accidental deep cut somewhere, you can assess and re-plan. Poker is probably the easiest 'first' shape, but you might be motivated to take your time and carve a shape you enjoy. Here's my first attempt:
Like T-Bear stated. It is a lot of fun and very addictive. You will find yourself hardly done with one pipe and already thinking about design aspects for your next. And if you already possess a knowledge of basic woodworking, like working with fine details, and have some patience, you will be amazed at how fast your pipe making skills and quality of your work proceeds. You will begin to notice this in your work yourself.
Also, don't think you initially need a shop full of tools to make a decent pipe. I understand that some of the Russian pipe makers have little or no power tools at all and produce fantastic work. I believe I read of one Russian maker who only posesses an electric hand drill that he uses to drill the bores on the pipe, everything else is done by laborious hand work.
I have only a benchtop drill press and an old electric motor that I scavaged from a treadmill exercise machine that someone threw away. I attached a sanding disc to it and use it to shape pipes on. When doing the shaping of the pipe on the sanding disc I attach the end of my shop vac hose near the spinning sanding disc to collect the wood dust as it comes off the sand paper disc.
The drill press I use for everything from drilling chamber and draft holes, as a vertical lathe for turning stem material, and use it with a series of buffing wheels for polishing. By being creative with tool set up and changing the belt speeds at the pully's I can achieve fantastic results with just this one single tool. It's not as fast as having a shop full of tools, but it's a place to start and if I decide I want to become more serious about making and possibly selling pipes I can always add more tools as I go. But for now....being as tight as the bark on a tree...I do with what I have.