I’m not a smoker, but my wife Kay is, and recently when the COVID lockdown struck in South Africa, the government went mad in an authoritarian fashion, and banned cigarettes and alcohol for no apparent justifiable reason.

Kay ran out of cigarettes about five weeks later, and began to look for smoking alternatives (as did I due to the elevated stress levels) so I resolved to make her a pipe! I used some bits of off-cut wood for this project, and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out!

It’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds, and the most complex part was determining the run of the stem tube and the bowl, and hollowing those out in the two halves so that they matched up. Drilling out the bowl was the most labor intensive part, and I accomplished it by clamping the two halves together in a vice and boring it out first, using the largest gauge drill bits I had, and then made the hole progressively larger with a Dremmel and grind stones, sanding rolls, in fact anything that would do the job!

Then I used the Dremmel to cut the stem tube along both halves of the wood. THen, I cemented the two halves together with wood glue, and clamped it overnight in a bench vice, and most of the work was really just shaping and rounding it off! The nice thing about making it yourself is being able to choose the shape or design, and being able to decorate it how you want it.

For the shaping, I used a belt sander and a bench grinder, and for finishing, I just used strips of fine sandpaper by hand. I even made a little tamping rod and a stand for the whole thing!

Kay loved it, but smoking just isn’t for me 😉

Pictures below! Enjoy!


If you’d like to send Christina Engela a question about anything on this site, or her life as a writer or transactivist, please send an email to christinaengela@gmail.com or use the Contact form on her author website.

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