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== Design Work ==
 
== Design Work ==
 
[[Image:mortacreation-design2.jpg|thumb|left|250px|Morta pipe design]]
 
[[Image:mortacreation-design2.jpg|thumb|left|250px|Morta pipe design]]
Design work for morta pipes is really little different from briar design, except that often the blocks are so much smaller that the range of available shapes is very limited.  One unique challenge of morta is the length of the blocks - often they are quite short and square rather than longer than they are wide, as with briar blocks. This can produce a very "shankless" look if one isn't careful, and can also put the tenon tip too near to the tobacco chamber without very precise drilling and fitting. I expect to produce a large number of morta pipes with bamboo shanks or other types of shank extension for the higher grades, to help overcome this visual stylistic limitation. Below I am holding various stem styles to the block to help visualize the look of the finished pipe, and thereby finding a shape that I think will look good and smoke well.
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Design work for morta pipes is really little different from briar design, except that often the blocks are so much smaller that the range of available shapes is very limited.  One unique challenge of morta is the length of the blocks - often they are quite short and square rather than longer than they are wide, as with briar blocks. This can produce a very "shankless" look if one isn't careful, and can also put the tenon tip too near to the tobacco chamber without very precise drilling and fitting. [[Image:mortacreation-design.jpg|thumb|250|Morta design]] I expect to produce a large number of morta pipes with bamboo shanks or other types of shank extension for the higher grades, to help overcome this visual stylistic limitation. Below I am holding various stem styles to the block to help visualize the look of the finished pipe, and thereby finding a shape that I think will look good and smoke well.
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[[Image:mortacreation-design.jpg|thumb|250|Morta design]]
   
Finally I have a simple design that I think will look graceful, and I mark the drilling lines on the block and return to the bandsaw to make some pre-drilling cuts.
 
Finally I have a simple design that I think will look graceful, and I mark the drilling lines on the block and return to the bandsaw to make some pre-drilling cuts.
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== Sawing ==
 
== Sawing ==
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Once the block has been cut closer to shape, I inspect it again with a magnifying lens to see if there are any flaws visible, especially any splits which might run deeper into the wood and make the pipe unsmokable.
 
Once the block has been cut closer to shape, I inspect it again with a magnifying lens to see if there are any flaws visible, especially any splits which might run deeper into the wood and make the pipe unsmokable.
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== Drilling ==
 
== Drilling ==
[[Image:mortacreation-drilling1.jpg|thumb|left|250px|The stummel chucked in the lathe]]The example below will show the lathe used for drilling, but we actually have several different drilling methods that we can use depending on the requirements of a specific design. In this example, the stummel is chucked into the lathe using a heavy-duty two-jawed self-centering chuck designed for pipemaking, and a forstner bit is mounted in the tailstock to flatten the end of the shank off. We can turn the shank or the bowl round if we want to, or leave this shaping to be done by hand later. Morta is much more difficult to turn smoothly than briar is, and it wants to chip quite badly. Thus far I have found it easier to simply do the bowl shaping later by hand, using sanding discs, though that method also has some unusual challenges with morta.
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[[Image:mortacreation-drilling1.jpg|thumb|left|250px|The stummel chucked in the lathe]]The example below will show the lathe used for drilling, but we actually have several different drilling methods that we can use depending on the requirements of a specific design. In this example, the stummel is chucked into the lathe using a heavy-duty two-jawed self-centering chuck designed for pipemaking, and a forstner bit is mounted in the tailstock to flatten the end of the shank off. We can turn the shank or the bowl round if we want to, or leave this shaping to be done by hand later. Morta is much more difficult to turn smoothly than briar is, and it wants to chip quite badly. Thus far I have found it easier to simply do the bowl shaping later by hand, using sanding discs, though that method also has some unusual challenges with morta.[[Image:mortacreation-drilling2.jpg|thumb|250px|Ready for chamber drilling]]
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[[Image:mortacreation-drilling2.jpg|thumb|250px|Ready for chamber drilling]]Next you see the pipe ready for the drilling of the tobacco chamber. I always drill the airhole first and drill down to it with the chamber bit in order to get it perfectly level with the bowl bottom - I've never been satisfied with the inaccuracy of "aiming" to try and get the airhole bit to hit the bottom properly. In the picture below, the bowl and shank have been turned on the lathe and tweaked with files, to no great result as the surface is too chipped to use without serious sanding by hand on the wheel.
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Next you see the pipe ready for the drilling of the tobacco chamber. I always drill the airhole first and drill down to it with the chamber bit in order to get it perfectly level with the bowl bottom - I've never been satisfied with the inaccuracy of "aiming" to try and get the airhole bit to hit the bottom properly. In the picture below, the bowl and shank have been turned on the lathe and tweaked with files, to no great result as the surface is too chipped to use without serious sanding by hand on the wheel.
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[[Image:mortacreation-drilling3.jpg|thumb|left|250px|Drilled and Ready]]
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[[Image:mortacreation-drilling3.jpg|thumb|left|250px|Drilled and Ready]]Now, the chamber has now been drilled and checked for a good relationship with the airhole, and the pipe is ready for its detail shaping. The interior of the chamber is inspected with a magnifying lens once again to ensure that there are no hidden flaws which might compromise the durability of the material during smoking.
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Now, the chamber has now been drilled and checked for a good relationship with the airhole, and the pipe is ready for its detail shaping. The interior of the chamber is inspected with a magnifying lens once again to ensure that there are no hidden flaws which might compromise the durability of the material during smoking.
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== Detail Shaping ==
 
== Detail Shaping ==
 
[[Image:cpdetail.jpg|thumb|250px|The detailing area]]Detail shaping for morta is done much like it is with briar, though there are some differences. The big one is that metal cutting bits work much better with morta, and small reamers of various shapes are the primary tools I use with the rotary carver. Below is a picture of our detailing station where we keep all our hand files, rotary tools, and sanding wheels:
 
[[Image:cpdetail.jpg|thumb|250px|The detailing area]]Detail shaping for morta is done much like it is with briar, though there are some differences. The big one is that metal cutting bits work much better with morta, and small reamers of various shapes are the primary tools I use with the rotary carver. Below is a picture of our detailing station where we keep all our hand files, rotary tools, and sanding wheels:
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From here, the stummel is shaped almost entirely by hand and eye using the sanding wheels, drums, files, and the rotary carvers. One interesting point about morta is that it must be sanded with care, as it heats up strikingly (and painfully) with friction on a sanding disc. Anyone accustomed to the sudden burn from working a piece of metal held in the fingers will know what I speak of - the sanding goes normally when suddenly your fingers are on fire! The morta will become extremely hot but cool back down quickly, so the process of sanding and shaping requires more care in avoiding too much sustained pressure against the wheel. Morta is also much harder on sanding wheels and discs than briar is, and it will very quickly turn a new disc into a piece of smooth fabric.
 
From here, the stummel is shaped almost entirely by hand and eye using the sanding wheels, drums, files, and the rotary carvers. One interesting point about morta is that it must be sanded with care, as it heats up strikingly (and painfully) with friction on a sanding disc. Anyone accustomed to the sudden burn from working a piece of metal held in the fingers will know what I speak of - the sanding goes normally when suddenly your fingers are on fire! The morta will become extremely hot but cool back down quickly, so the process of sanding and shaping requires more care in avoiding too much sustained pressure against the wheel. Morta is also much harder on sanding wheels and discs than briar is, and it will very quickly turn a new disc into a piece of smooth fabric.
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