My leather dye came early! Well, arguably late, since it was an Amazon Prime item but took almost two weeks to get to me, but it was projected not to arrive until Monday. This let me finish one of the Christmas gifts that my wife got me – a carve your own pipe kit.
Pipe smoking is something that we tried for the first time at the Renaissance Festival several months ago, and while we don’t do it with any frequency, she knew that I would love this aspect of it. It also gave me something fun to use my tools on, not just house chores. It was definitely a learning experience.
It came as a pre-drilled cube of pear wood. The vast majority of the shaping was done using Dremel tip #191. It slipped a few times, and the overall shape ended up slightly smaller than I originally imagined from smoothing out many of these marks. You can still see a few nicks near where the shank meets the bowl in the picture above, but I decided to leave them instead of continuing to trim it down and risk exposing the draught hole. Once I had it the roughly desired shape (I think I got it pretty round for completely free handing it), I sanded using two different Dremel tips, and then with 240 grit by hand.
Then I was at the point where I had to wait for the black dye to arrive. Once I got it on, I sanded with 400 by hand until almost all of the black was gone, then added a thick coat of purple dye, followed by sanding with 1000 grit by hand. Then I used the following buffing pads, in this order – sisal wheel (bare), denim wheel (white rouge metal cleaning compound added), and then cushion sewn wheel (carnauba wax added).
Patience will make the next one better. I’m happy with this one, but was surprised to see how fine sanding marks become apparent after the polishing is done, so a few less slips of the Dremel during shaping, and much more care during sanding could have improved it. I could have hid the marks if I rusticated the pipe, but I wanted to see them. I wanted to know how the final product would turn out. It makes me appreciate the craftsmanship of others more, and it sets my standard higher for the next one.