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The following is a photographic tour of the making of a Catterall pipe, which may be of some interest to those who have purchased one of my pipes, or those who are interested in trying their own hand at pipe making. For the time being, only the initial layout and drilling is depicted, although these are arguably the most critical steps in the process. The pipe displayed below, by the way, became pipe number 27, which can by seen via the Pipes page...

After selecting a piece of briar, I use the disk sander to square the sides and to get a better look at the grain.

After deciding on a plan for the pipe, the bandsaw followed by a quick clean-up with the disk sander gives me a top surface...

For bent pipes, like this one, the drilling can be tricky. So I have designed a number of airhole/mortise configurations with a CAD program, and print about a dozen of these on a sheet of transparency film. They can then be cut out and spray-adhesived to the reference side of the briar for lining up the drilling, while leaving the grain visable when I paste them on.

Next, another bandsaw cut for the face of the mortise, again cleaned up with the disk sander.

The remaining layout lines are then drawn, making certain that the center of the mortise and the center of the tobacco chamber are both marked at the same distance from the reference edge. Masking tape marks the various depths on the drill bits.

A stable drill-press vise, and careful alignment with the layout lines, is a must at this stage. Here the mortise is about to be drilled. The 3/8" diameter mortise matches the size of the delrin tenons I use on my pipes.

Then, a larger forstner bit squares the face of the briar to the mortise...

...and a chamfer bit relieves the edge of the mortise.

Finally, the briar is re-oriented in the vise and the airhole is drilled to depth.

I use the lathe to drill my tobacco chambers, so I chuck the briar after fiddling a bit to get the alignment right, and waste out the chamber with a spade bit....

...and then drill the finished chamber with a shaped bit, checking the depth visually frequently until the airhole and the chamber meet at the bottom. While the briar is still on the lathe, I'll clean up the chamber with sandpaper and may do some shaping of the top with gouges and other turning tools.


Coming soon, I'll add a walk-though of the process of hand-cutting an acrylic stem, and fitting it to the pipe.

Catterall Pipes © Copyright 2006