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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:20 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:56 pm
Posts: 124
Location: NC
Hey Everyone-
Realized I never did this when I joined, but probably should have. Been lurking on and off since maybe 2010(?) as life/time/other hobbies allowed, joined in 2012 and never posted until now. Despite having zero interest in other tobacco products, I picked up the pipe at 16 - my dad smoked, his grandpa smoked, and I had a buddy who was a few years older who had worked at the Tinder Box and let me start on one of his - and I was in love. I grew up in Durham NC a few blocks from the Tobacco District - back when it still produced tobacco (you could smell it intensely on humid mornings). My dad had made a few kit pipes in the early 80s, and I was inspired to make my first kit pipe at 19 - it was exactly the entire-block-with-the-edges-rounded 'freehand' that I think a lot of people make at first, though I had done a fair bit of sculpting at that point (and do graphic design as part of my job now), so I maintain that even though it's huge and ugly, there's a little bit of elegance to the flow of it :lol: (incidentally, that pipe has a 15/16" chamber that's over 2 1/2" deep - first full bowl I ever smoked out of it was Royal Yacht... and that was my first time getting real good and nic sick).

Anyway, through my late teens and early 20s I built one more very ugly kit pipe for a friend, but was mostly working on guitars - I was a luthier's apprentice for a few years building and repairing electric guitars. I'd mentioned this elsewhere, but the skills translate less than I'd expected they would (at least for me) - it's sort of a different kind of precision and processes (tolerances for hole placement and that sort of thing are marginally looser than with pipes, but if you crown your frets wrong it will never be in tune). Anyway, about 10 years later, I got hitched and got the genius idea of making pipes as gifts for my groomsmen - ended up making 8 for them, plus 1 for my dad, and 1 for myself (I had to match with my wife's bridesmaids, which is garbage because there aren't even 8 people I like that much :lol: ). Anyway, that was too many to try to do at once, because they all got rushed a little bit and I didn't learn much in the process, lots of turds and lollypops.

Picked up another 3 kits (my wife's uncle wanted a turd of his own), and through those I decided to stop carving scared and to make an effort to better maintain fidelity to the lines and geometry in my head and not leave as much heavy weight and under baked design (still working on that one). Decided to finally take the plunge and do my first one from scratch (posted that one in the gallery), and that brings us here. Anyway, wish I'd taken more time to get good earlier once the bug had bitten initially, but I'm dedicated to doing what I can to learn better now and sincerely appreciate everyone here for making this such a great resource. Currently biting the bullet and working on my requisite learnin' billiard and saving up for a metal lathe.

Real name: Rick
Age: 35 :shock:
Location: NC
Years a pipe smoker: 17
How you got into pipe making: See above
Other interesting facts: I guess also see above

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Chronicling my general ineptitude and misadventures in learning pipe making here: https://www.instagram.com/rustynailbriars/


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:27 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:49 pm
Posts: 1840
Location: Zimmerman, MN
Thanks for the introduction and welcome to the forum!

My brother wants to come visit this summer and we're planning to build guitars together. I have no experience building musical instruments, so I'll probably be in the same place with guitars as you are with pipes. Or maybe worse. And, by the way, my first pipes were definitely worse than yours.

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Jeremiah Sandahl
http://sandahlpipe.com


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:09 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:56 pm
Posts: 124
Location: NC
Very much appreciated, Jeremiah. I've been breathing and sleeping billiards the past few days and I'm actually starting to love the shape and am doing my best to build with patience, but I'm admittedly getting pretty excited about this one.

Honestly, I think going pipes > guitars might be a smoother transition, in some ways (everything's bigger!) - it's just funny how you end up using very different processes to come up with similar effects (especially in regards to finishing, although a contrast stain on some nice quilted maple is done about the same) - just lots of little different skills, but same deal in terms of attention to detail, making things look 'right', and inevitably seeing 1000 things you could have done better the second it's done.
Case in point, I really wish I'd done the carve on this top differently:
Image

With guitars, you just end up with a lot of sort of disparate skills (fretwork, electronics, and woodworking), plus some other one-off stuff like winding your own pickups if you go down that road. Still though, much like making a pipe you're going to hold and smoke and enjoy for hundreds of hours, there's something immensely satisfying to playing one you made yourself.

And just for shits and giggles (and to prove you wrong about your first pipes :lol: ), here's #1, #4, and #13, top-left to bottom-right:
Image

Thanks!

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Chronicling my general ineptitude and misadventures in learning pipe making here: https://www.instagram.com/rustynailbriars/


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 11:53 am 
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Location: Zimmerman, MN
Yeah, my eyes don't see anything at all wrong with that guitar. Although I've done a bit of dabbling with electronics, I'm going to make my life difficult by building a classical guitar for the first one...then hurry back to the realm of pipes where I know what I'm doing.

I've tried my best to scrub the internet of my earliest work because it's so shameful. I never actually made a pipe from a kit, and I didn't even know you were supposed to turn a proper tenon on the stem blanks, so I spent hours trying to get the stem to fit, and it won't stay in. I carved the mortise until it went in. My only tools were a cordless power drill, a coping saw, files (and not really good ones, either) and sandpaper. I used candle wax rubbed on by hand for a finish. Trust me, mine is worse. Fortunately, I've learned a lot in 6 years. Actually, I've learned a lot more since I met makers and got critique at the Chicago show in 2013. Critique, I'm sure, took years off my learning curve.

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Fail early, fail often. Your success depends on it.

Jeremiah Sandahl
http://sandahlpipe.com


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 6:02 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:56 pm
Posts: 124
Location: NC
sandahlpipe wrote:
Yeah, my eyes don't see anything at all wrong with that guitar. Although I've done a bit of dabbling with electronics, I'm going to make my life difficult by building a classical guitar for the first one...then hurry back to the realm of pipes where I know what I'm doing.

I appreciate it. Honestly doing a classical will probably be closer to pipe making - just different engineering. Self critique on this guitar is a lot like the pipes. I should have rounded the horns more and cut the scoop around the top deeper, but a guitar finish is a whole lot harder to go back through and revisit. The back would have looked nicer rounded as well, but it's chambered, so I didn't want to get too aggressive with it. Maybe the next one, if I ever finish it (it's been sitting in my dad's basement in progress for ~10 years).

sandahlpipe wrote:
I've tried my best to scrub the internet of my earliest work because it's so shameful. I never actually made a pipe from a kit, and I didn't even know you were supposed to turn a proper tenon on the stem blanks, so I spent hours trying to get the stem to fit, and it won't stay in. I carved the mortise until it went in. My only tools were a cordless power drill, a coping saw, files (and not really good ones, either) and sandpaper. I used candle wax rubbed on by hand for a finish. Trust me, mine is worse. Fortunately, I've learned a lot in 6 years. Actually, I've learned a lot more since I met makers and got critique at the Chicago show in 2013. Critique, I'm sure, took years off my learning curve.

Touché. Just a testament to the work you've put in (and instruction you've received), because your pipes are damn inspiring these days. That Teardrop Blowfish in your portfolio is one of my favorite examples of the style that I've seen.

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Chronicling my general ineptitude and misadventures in learning pipe making here: https://www.instagram.com/rustynailbriars/


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 1:19 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:49 pm
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Location: Zimmerman, MN
Well thank you. And keep up the good work. Patience is key when you're learning. Some things just take time to do right. But being willing to look critically especially at your early work is great.

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Fail early, fail often. Your success depends on it.

Jeremiah Sandahl
http://sandahlpipe.com


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