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    I've never noticed the blog section before! What the hell!

    I will use this to post things I've done or made, be it crafts or food or whatever, until I forget or let it go too long.

    Let's start with a project I finished last weekend: a pipe.

    This is what I started with. The holes were predrilled by the wood supplier to standard fit. I sketched out an idea of what I wanted the pipe to look like, then drew on the block itself to make sure I wouldn't be cutting into the internal airway of the pipe.

    Using a hand mitersaw (I'm po folks) I lopped off the bottom to make a flat surface, then cut in straight down and at an angle to begin the curvature of the pipe. I used a belt sander at grit 60 to do some initial rough shaping and take off a lot of material, and I used a series of wood files to shape the notch where I had sawn into the top of the pipe. Then came sanding, and sanding, and sanding, and more sanding--100 grit, 150, 220, and then finally 400.

    This is what I ended up with:

    I wanted to get an idea of the grain for staining, so I wet one side with some water:

    After all the sanding was complete, I washed the pipe in warm soapy water and scrubbed it with a nail brush, to make sure I got all the sandy pockets out. Then came staining. I used a Minwax water-based stain, which let me tell you is runny as hell. Had to go slow and fix a couple of mistakes. I used an ebony for the top and an English walnut for the rest. After it dried for about 15 minutes I burnished it with 0000 steel wool to even out the stain and remove excess, and prepared for waxing. I used a block of solid carnauba wax against my dad's floor-standing buffer to polish the pipe.

    The stem is cheap vulcanite, which means it's also very workable. It sands just like wood, and it can be bent. I put it into a glass pan on a bed of salt, sprinkled a thin layer of salt on top, and baked it in the oven at 275F for about ten minutes. I had stuck a pipe cleaner through the stem so that when it was pliable from the heat, I could bend it without accidentally pinching closed the hole. I bent it the way I wanted and ran it through cold water to set the bend in place.

    Soon I will upload a pic of the finished pipe. It looks good and smokes real good, surprisingly!