Since a number of the new Ligne Bretagne pipes shipping to Pipe & Pint have shank inlays of liquid metal in various tints, I thought it might be interesting to show the machine this is done with. This custom-made device allows a shank inlay to be added to any pipe. The motor drives the spinning saw blade, which creates a perfect square cut in the shank. Mounted under the sawblade is a moving carriage similar to a lathe tool carriage, except at the top of the “tool post” – There, rather than a point for a cutting tool, one finds a round hole lined with ball bearings which accepts various mortise inserts of different sizes. I choose the faux tenon needed based on the size of the mortise, fit the faux tenon into the ball bearing socket, and push the pipe shank onto it. Then, the shank is rotated by hand as the carriage is moved inwards onto the spinning blade, cutting a recess of precise depth and size. Once cut, the recess is filled with the liquid metal mixture and allowed to dry. When sanded and finished, the shank has, in effect, a solid metal ring imbedded in the wood, to strengthen it (especially useful for thin shanks) over years of use.
On reflection, this sounds so confusing in print that perhaps I should make a video of this process in future, to better explain it!

Categories: Pipe Blog


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