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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:18 am 
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From time to time I've mentioned how reflections are your best friend when shaping stems. That they NEVER lie, and surface irregularities well below a thousandth of an inch are easily seen.

Capturing them in photos is difficult, though, for a variety of reasons. Usually, in hand, it's necessary to slowly move the stem around under point source bright lights to catch 'em all.

I semi-recently got a light box for taking pics of finished work that seems to do the trick in static shots. Takes a bit of angle-tweaking, but not much.

Anyway, since the concept has generated a fair number of questions in the past, and a picture is supposedly worth a thousand words, here you go. What a straight stem will look like after shaping it "according to the gleam," and ignoring everything else (sighting down it, using a straight edge, etc.)

Image

Image

Image

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Last edited by LatakiaLover on Thu Sep 03, 2015 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:46 am 
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I'm assuming that's a George Dibos replacement stem, cause I don't think I've ever seen a GBD with a stem that nice....ever.

Great example of using reflections as a shaping guide.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 7:54 am 
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Recognizing straight lines and creating them are two different things. Recognizing is the first part, but actually keeping the lines straight takes some practice and technique with the pillar file and sandpaper.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:07 am 
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Wow, that's a beautiful taper. Thanks for sharing.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:16 pm 
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Damn, you do pretty good work despite being such a geezer :lol:
See you tomorrow night. Save your appetite, I still owe you lunch.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:22 am 
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Impressive! Thanks for sharing.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:56 am 
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That's ridiculously good George, (but overbent just a hair :lol: ).

Talbert posted a Bing on Facebook the other night that looked like that, just totally perfect. Made me a little angry.

It's sooo hard to do those long tapers without a divots or bulges, or leaving it ducked or zeppelined just a little and calling it good enough.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:25 pm 
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So, how long does it take you to crank out a crappy looking stem like that?


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 5:18 am 
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buster wrote:
So, how long does it take you to crank out a crappy looking stem like that?


Not counting the emblem-thingie, about 2.5 hours.

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"Not once has a customer looked at one of my pipes and said, 'I like this pipe, but wish you had made the stem an hour faster'... I want every stem to be perfect" --- Adam Davidson


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 5:32 am 
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Sasquatch wrote:
That's ridiculously good George, (but overbent just a hair :lol: ).

Talbert posted a Bing on Facebook the other night that looked like that, just totally perfect. Made me a little angry.

It's sooo hard to do those long tapers without a divots or bulges, or leaving it ducked or zeppelined just a little and calling it good enough.


If you mean this one...

https://www.facebook.com/155670416067/p ... =3&theater

...there's actually a bit of "sag/pinch" in the middle. Looks like that dwell-time thing. (A number 5 or 6 narrow pillar file or flat x-fine needle file is a good way to avoid it. Better still---though more expensive---is the flatter-radius side of a 6-inch #6 crossing file.)

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"Not once has a customer looked at one of my pipes and said, 'I like this pipe, but wish you had made the stem an hour faster'... I want every stem to be perfect" --- Adam Davidson


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 10:59 am 
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So, how many stems have you made in your career?


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:00 am 
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https://www.facebook.com/155670416067/p ... =3&theater

it was this one but I can't find a pic of the whole thing

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 12:53 pm 
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This one?

Image

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 7:47 pm 
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Yeah... that's a nice pipe.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:40 pm 
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buster wrote:
So, how many stems have you made in your career?


I don't keep track, but "guesstimate math" works out to around 1500.

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"Not once has a customer looked at one of my pipes and said, 'I like this pipe, but wish you had made the stem an hour faster'... I want every stem to be perfect" --- Adam Davidson


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:16 pm 
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That's something else. Always enjoy checking out your work. Thanks for taking the time to post.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 7:51 pm 
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to get back on topic...
to make the gleam line your 'best friend while shaping' means, presumably, that you completely sand and polish the stem, find some flaw, go back and fix it, re-do the entire finish and polish, find another flaw, etc... etc...??

Is this how you use the gleam?
Or do you have another way of gauging perfection and then finish and polish to find that you were bang on?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 8:17 pm 
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calsbeek wrote:
to get back on topic...
to make the gleam line your 'best friend while shaping' means, presumably, that you completely sand and polish the stem, find some flaw, go back and fix it, re-do the entire finish and polish, find another flaw, etc... etc...??

Is this how you use the gleam?
Or do you have another way of gauging perfection and then finish and polish to find that you were bang on?


Both of those things. But not at the same time.

Do the first often enough, and after a while the second just follows---when you shine things up there's nothing (or very little) TO adjust. What tool to reach for, how to apply it angle & pressure-wise, and so forth become second nature. No thought required. It's like a guitarist or pianist playing scales while holding a conversation... not a big deal at all.

Unless you put in the work up front, though---complete, adjust, check, repeat until perfect---the second, thoughtless-flow "mastery" state will never arrive because you never repeatedly did the right things in the right way, and so never learned them.

The most important "general guidance" things I can offer a new carver are 1) think of, and work on, the stem in axial quarter sections (9 to 12, 12 to 3, 3 to 6, and 6 to 9); 2) count file and sand pad strokes and use the same count for every quadrant; and 3) learn what tool "dwell time" is, and how it affects the workpiece.

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"Not once has a customer looked at one of my pipes and said, 'I like this pipe, but wish you had made the stem an hour faster'... I want every stem to be perfect" --- Adam Davidson


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 7:16 pm 
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[quote="LatakiaLover"
The most important "general guidance" things I can offer a new carver are 1) think of, and work on, the stem in axial quarter sections (9 to 12, 12 to 3, 3 to 6, and 6 to 9); 2) count file and sand pad strokes and use the same count for every quadrant; and 3) learn what tool "dwell time" is, and how it affects the workpiece.]

That's a nice and very simple tip! Thanks!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 2:53 pm 
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George you are a motivator .Two and a half hours, You are something else!!! :notworthy:


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