Chicago Pipe Making Seminar Outline

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Chicagoland Show Pipe Finishing Seminar, Outline

Received from J. Rex Poggenpohl, Show Officer in Charge


Lee Erck, Negaunee, MI (upper), Seminar Founder Michael Butera, Houston, TX, Lead Instructor Jeff Alan Burt-Gracik, San Diego Andy Peterson, Seminar Graduate Ernie Markle, Seminar Graduate Rex Poggenpohl, Show Officer in Charge Hans Hansen, Show Officer, Equipment, Set-up Allan Boyd, Show Officer, Equipment, Set-up, Medic Mike Gaffney, Medic Steve Leaders, Medic


Finishing a pre drilled briar block with fitted vulcanite stem (donated by Mimmo Domenico, Italy)

Topics for a more comprehensive course

  • Purpose: provide appreciation for the process of making pipes by hand and teach some basic skills for pipe making.
  • Introductions: instructors, students.
  • Safety, general ( specific safety will also be mentioned with each demo).
  • Theory vs. Demos
  • History

Function vs. Aesthetics

  • Pipe mechanics, dimensions: Tobacco burning, tobacco chamber.
    • Air hole, steam, condensation.
    • Stem/shank mortise, tenon.
  • Pipe materials:
    • Briar
    • Vulcanite, acrylic.
    • Shank extensions.
  • Pipe design:
    • Practicalities
    • Classic: French, English.
    • Freehand, following grain.


  • Drill press vs. lathe
  • Before shaping.
  • After shaping.
  • Tobacco chamber
    • Drill bits: spade bits, spoon bits.
  • Air hole, mortise.
  • Stems
  • Tenons


  • Disc sander, belt sander, knife carving, filing.
  • Sanding: belt sander, hand sanding.
  • Sandblasting
  • Buffing


  • Staining: stains, one color, two tone contrast.
  • Finishes
  • Bowl coating.
  • Nomenclature, stamping.
  • Polishing


Sleeve, box

See the show flyer on the website: