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I use a variety of methods for drilling the block, depending on the needs of the specific shape and other factors, some as random as what mood I'm in on a given day! Pictured are a few of the options - spoon bits for hand-drilling the shapes while they are held in hand, and a custom-ground flat saddle bit for use in drilling on the lathe or the chucked drill.

Sometimes there are opinions about one drilling method or another being superior, or a higher type of pipemaking, but in my opinion every method is equally valid - It just depends on the needs of the specific job as to which one I will choose. I probably drill most often via a combination of handheld drilling of the mortise and airhole, and bowl drilling with spade bits on the large drill with "grip chuck" that can hold shaped stummels. I like that method because spade bits can be easily ground to multiple sizes and profiles, unlike spoon bits, and are much less expensive to buy and replace.