How to make a ceramic pipe by hand building

James Pagni

                             How to make a ceramic pipe by hand building
     It helps if you know some basic information about ceramics before starting here. Begin by wedging no more than one pound of clay.
Once wedging has been completed, pull apart one third of the pound to begin making the shaft.                 
Make the shaft by rolling this piece of clay on the into a three to five inch long cylinder by one to one and a half inches in diameter. You will then want to begin hollowing out the shaft with a carving tool.
Continue to remove excess clay from the inside but be sure to not make the walls of this cylinder to thin, maybe try for a 3/16 of an inch thick wall. Also make sure you don’t carve so far that your tool comes out the other end of the shaft. When finished with the carving, make sure you drill a hold where the mouth piece should be with a tool or a drill bit.
Next we will take another third of the pound of clay and begin making the bowl. Depending on the shape you want, you can begin rolling the clay into another cylinder or ball. Try for a two inch in diameter wide by 2 inches tall for your first time.
Carve or hand form the bowl to be one inch in diameter at the top by half an inch to one inch deep (adjust as needed depending on the cylinder size) and have it taper down into the bottom of the bowl. Smooth it out with a sponge once desired size.
Go to the bottom side of your bowl and cut off the base of the cylinder.
Once the base is removed, begin carving up towards the bowl. Be sure not to carve all the way through the bowl you just made. You are simply trying to hollow out a chamber for the smoke. Keep the walls of the cylinder at least 3/16 of an inch thick.
After hollowing you will need to see where to attach the shaft onto the cylinder of the bowl. Simply put the parts one against the other and gently carve an outline of where the shaft will connect with the cylinder of the bowl.
Remember how thick the walls of the shaft are, then gently carve another circle inside the one you drew on the cylinder, but draw it 3/16 of an inch smaller. This is to make sure the shaft can attach to the cylinder instead of slide into it.
Cut out the inner circle with a knife like tool.
Smooth it out, then slip and score the shaft and the bowl. Connect them together and smooth out the seems from the inside and out.
Slip and score
Before we finish, use a 1/8 inch drill bit to make a hole in the actual bowl.
Use a 1/4 inch bit to drill a carb hole on the left side of the bowl cylinder.
Clean the holes with a sponge so they look nice. To finish, grab the base piece you cut off at the beginning and reattach by slipping and scoring both parts and then press them together.
Once the pipe is complete
You will need to allow the pipe to dry in a bag that is not sealed (meaning it is open and air can get in) for about one to two weeks depending on room temperature and thickness of the pipe. You can take the pipe out of the bag to dry quicker after it is starting to look dry on the outside.
Once dry, place in the kiln and bisque fire your pipe
to the appropriate temperature for your clay.
Thanks for stopping by for this post on making a ceramic pipe.
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