A Unique Handmade Single Piece Black Walnut Pipe

Blog by Steve Laug

My brother Jeff found this handmade Black Walnut pipe on one of his eBay shopping forays. He loves the hunt for pipes and has a habit of finding some unique pieces for me. One of the beauties of having him picking up pipes for me is that he always finds stuff that I would never even look at. This was one of those that I would not even have looked at. But I am glad that he did. It is actually a beautifully made pipe that is a single unit – the stem is integral to the body of the pipe. walnut1 Walnut2 Walnut3The delicate curves of the bowl and shank make maxim use of the grain pattern in the wood. The bowl is drilled lower than the entrance of the airway into the shank and obviously the carver used a regular wood drill bit as there is a pilot hole at the bottom of the bowl. The drilling of the airway follows the curve of the stem and shank into the bowl. It enters the bowl about 1/8 inch above the bowl bottom. Walnut4 Walnut5A pipe cleaner passes easily through the stem/shank to the bowl. The draw is very easy and it is quite open. There is not a button cut on the end of the stem, rather it comes to a sharp end and a round opening in the end. The top of the bowl is also really well done and for a hand shaped pipe it is quite round. The bowl walls are quite thin. The pipe remains unsmoked.Walnut6 Walnut7I sanded the natural finish with micromesh sanding pads from 1500-4000 grit. I cleaned up some of the sanding marks that remained on the finish.Walnut8 Walnut9I gave the bowl multiple coats of carnauba wax and buffed it with a clean buffing pad on the wheel. The grain began to pop even more with the shine and the curves of the pipe followed the grain in an amazing way. The anonymous pipe carver did an amazing job carving this one and using the best lay of the piece of wood. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. I did a bit of hunting on the web and I am pretty sure that the pipe is walnut. Do any of you have any other ideas what it is made of? Thanks for looking.Walnut10 Walnut11 Walnut12 Walnut13 Walnut14 Walnut15

5 thoughts on “A Unique Handmade Single Piece Black Walnut Pipe

  1. upshallfan

    A real pipe-making mystery. That is a beautiful piece of wood, it does look like walnut to my eye.

  2. Al Lanman

    IF it is Black Walnut suggest you consider the toxicity of the wood. This is a sensitizing allergen, which basically means the more exposure you have to it the more sensitive you get. Most uses of the wood, like in furniture, this is not a problem as the wood is sealed with a finish, and only those who deal with the raw wood have to worry about its toxicity. So in the lumber mills and in the construction sites they wear breathing barriers, eye protection, and skin protection… or at least they should. [Realize that use of wood for a pipe is a lot more intimate than the normal uses and exposures such as in furniture or the decorative arts.]
    But unlike that gorgeous desk or dinner table a pipe bowl does not have a sealant covering the part that is exposed to the heat and air. The oils that are prevalent in walnut get to bake out and the smoker takes them in with the smoke to the sensitive tissues of his mouth, thoat, nose, and possibly his lungs. This is not a good idea.

  3. Samuel

    I could see, if the stem was a small branch off from the part that made the bowl, how the stem could have been hollowed. I’ve done it myself. A heated wire, such as a coat hanger, can be forced through the soft core. But how did this maker run a drill through this curved stem?


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