… And anyone who doesn’t immediately think of this line as said by the memorable Captain Sternn has probably never spent their entire teen years watching and rewatching the 1981 animation classic, Heavy Metal. (26 years later and STILL a nearly unbeatable soundtrack!)

But, today’s topic deals with the tricky issue of drilling angles, and I hope it will explain why various decisions get made during pipemaking. See, I like to be able to run a drillbit through my shanks, so that I can ream the airhole out (back to original size, that is) after the pipe has been smoked several years, because the inside of the airhole cakes too, down near the bottom, and it can alter the smoking experience.

BUT, the trick is in getting a drilling that is centered in the bottom of the mortise and still reamable, because there’s only so far that a bit can be angled, which restricts the degree that a pipe can be bent if you want a centered airhole (I do). One thing that tends to happen when you need a sharper angle while keeping the hole centered is that you need a small recess on the bottom edge of the mortise to allow the drill to angle farther. I mention this because I’ve occasionally heard collectors remark that this is a sign of bad craftsmanship, apparently not understanding that something has to give somewhere for the sharper angles, and I much prefer a notch in the bottom lip of the mortise than to have the airhole way off-center up in the top wall of the mortise, which is the alternative.

The pipe shown is (I hope) going to be a neat bamboo-shanked bulldog sitter. If the Briar Gods are willing.

Today is a two-pic day. I just finished this piece up, and thought I’d post a few quick shots of it. It’s destined for Pipe & Pint, as usual, unless somebody contacts me about it fairly soon. At 403 €, it’s a wee bit more affordable than the last several pieces I’ve had up, and I really like the contrast look of the olivewood ring with the all-black pipe. It’s a squat monster in size – I can very nearly get my entire little finger into the bowl, though it’s still compact enough to be practical.

Categories: Pipe Blog


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