Handcrafted Pipes by Victor Rimkus
My philosophy of pipe making is multi-fold.
Here is a portion of what I consider to be important when designing and handcrafting a fine tobacco pipe.
All cutting tools should be sharp!
The bowl chamber should be bored cleanly. I do not use bowl coatings. I do not stain the inside of the bowl.
The draft should be 5/32" in most cases. Special smaller or larger drafts can be used for specific pipe sizes or tobacco types. For example, a small pipe used for shag cut tobacco would work better with a 1/8" draft. A large 1" bowl used for aromatics would be better with an 11/64" draft.
The draft hole should meet the bowl at bottom center. The draft hole should be centered in the bottom of the mortise, (no ramps should be needed to pass a pipe cleaner). The draft should align with the center of the tenon. The drilling of an offset draft should not nick or cut into the outer rim of the mortise and should center in the bottom of the mortise.
Mortise Depth - Tenon Length:
The mortise should be just slightly deeper than the tenon length. There should be no large gap. My pipes are made with a 0.010 inch mortise to tenon gap. Yes, that is ten thousandths of one inch.
Stem Face - Shank Face
The stem face and shank face should make intimate contact all the way around (no daylight).
Stem Lip - Button:
The lip button should be reasonably small and have no sharp edges.
The slot should have sufficient height that a pipe cleaner can be inserted easily. The "Y" should be as wide as possible in relation to the lip width. The "Y" should extend deep enough and wide enough to present no neck down at the draft hole. The "Y" should not only be wide at the lip but should also become taller as it goes deeper to match the draft hole size.
Stem Thickness - Lip Region:
I try to maintain a maximum thickness of 0.160 inch and a minimum of 0.150 inch.
Pipe Cleaner Test:
A pipe cleaner should pass cleanly and easily from lip to bowl. A correctly aligned draft and well executed slot should pass two pipe cleaners.