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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:45 am 
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I thought it might be interesting to some if I posted this - at the top is the sketch I'd done for my 'next pipe' before you all convinced me to learn and do a billiard instead. After completing that billiard, I took a more studied approach and redesigned what I'd wanted to do, which is the next sketch. Below that is the pipe in progress, the design of which has continued to evolve as I'm building it alongside my second billiard:
Image

Though I fully recognize that this still isn't necessarily objectively good, I think each iteration is a step closer to the right direction. As a direct result of what I'm learning from the billiards, I'm examining things completely differently as I plan and work, and am considering flow and lines in three dimensions to a much greater extent than I ever had.

I know the 'carve a (hundred) billiard(s)' advice can be a tough pill to swallow for new carvers, but I'm blown away by how much it's helped me already. As someone who smoked a pipe for over half his life and never liked billiards, by studying them and learning to carve them, I've fallen completely in love with their elegance when they're executed well.

HUGE THANKS to you guys for steering me in the right direction. I hope you jackals are happy :lol:

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:08 pm 
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I have experienced the same epiphany but have not stated it as humorously or as well.
I really like your pipe and can see where you have applied your knowledge.
DocAitch

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:18 am 
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The pipe is looking nice so far. And I'm happy to see the work you've done paying off.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:34 pm 
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Excellent, Mr. Rickbee :thumbsup:

Since you seem to appreciate how accelerated skills development works---that the path of MOST resistance in the short term has the biggest payoff long term---here's another challenge.

It's tough. VERY tough. But I absolutely, positively guarantee you will be able to make truly excellent stems in record time (meaning both calendar-sooner, and elapsed-shop-time faster) after completing this one "exercise."

"Exercise" is in quotes because it's actually a full-on, comprehensive, self-contained course in stem shaping.

Cut off a 6" or so length of 1"-1.25" diameter vulcanite rod. Then, using whatever pipemaking tools and techniques that come to mind---meaning experiment your ass off until you find what works---shape the rod until it's perfectly, evenly octagonal in cross section over its entire length, and finish until it's as shiny as glass. Each facet the same width as the others, and all plane breaks laser-straight and razor sharp.

Like so:

Image

It will exercise and test everything imaginable. Everything you've got. Ingenuity, tool adaptation, clamping methods, measurement methods, hand-eye coordination, sanding techniques, polishing techniques, making guidelines, following guidelines, and on and on. In short, do this, and stem shaping will forever be your bitch. You will understand everything you need to ever know about how to handle the material. Know what tool to reach for to achieve a certain result, and how to use it.

The "course" is inexpensive. Six inches of 1" diameter stock costs only $10 or so, and if you shrink it with restarts to where an octagon is no longer reasonable/possible, shift to a hexagon.

BONU$: Besides being able to make top-shelf stems in record time, you'll save the not-inconsiderable money that OJT pipe makers lose from unrecoverable errors (wasted time and scrapped material) their first few years.

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"Not once has a customer looked at one of my pipes and said, 'I like this pipe, but wish you had made the stem an hour faster'... I want every stem to be perfect" --- Adam Davidson


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:59 pm 
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Thank you, gentlemen. I know I've still got more road in front of me than behind me in the journey to becoming a high grade pipe maker, but I can't help but feel like I'm turning a corner and things are really starting to click. I'm honestly just so grateful for the time investment and tutelage from you folks. I'll put some 30 or 32mm rod stock in my next order and give the octagonal death prism a shot, it looks like the best kind of masochism.

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Chronicling my general ineptitude and misadventures in learning pipe making here: https://www.instagram.com/rustynailbriars/


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 8:10 pm 
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"Octagonal Death Prism" has just the right ring to it. :mrgreen:

Image

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"Not once has a customer looked at one of my pipes and said, 'I like this pipe, but wish you had made the stem an hour faster'... I want every stem to be perfect" --- Adam Davidson


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:14 am 
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Here a thought. How about an "Octagon Death Prism In The Hat"?
Everyone who completes the exercise sends the prism to LL for a pass/ fail.
He gets the rod, we get the benefit of the exercise. We can throw in a little extra if he can tell if we are right or left handed from the prism.
DocAitch

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"Hettinger, if you stamp 'hand made' on a dog turd, some one will buy it."
-Charles Hollyday, pipe maker, reluctant mentor, and curmudgeon
" Never show an idiot an unfinished pipe!"- same guy


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:36 am 
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Ha - I was assuming I had to send it to LL once I complete it so he can tear me a new one, but I figured I'd include return postage so I could keep it on my desk or something. Maybe he'll want to keep them?
Not sure what he'd want with a bunch of lumpy 6" rods though :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:03 pm 
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Turn them into stems. Free raw material.
DocAitch

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"Hettinger, if you stamp 'hand made' on a dog turd, some one will buy it."
-Charles Hollyday, pipe maker, reluctant mentor, and curmudgeon
" Never show an idiot an unfinished pipe!"- same guy


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:08 pm 
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DocAitch wrote:
Turn them into stems. Free raw material.
DocAitch

That was actually my assumption, I just wanted to use the term 'lumpy 6" rods' because I have a sometimes juvenile sense of humor (sort of amazed it took 40 posts). :lol:
Mine will likely be Japanese ebonite though, and I don't know if he's still lukewarm on it (or worse).

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:58 pm 
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LatakiaLover wrote:
"Octagonal Death Prism" has just the right ring to it. :mrgreen:

You down wit O.D.P. ?

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:33 pm 
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I'd love to see someone's octagonal deathstick. Especially georges. Boy that sounds dirty.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:14 am 
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So I finished up that pipe - full gallery post is here: viewtopic.php?f=18&t=11579
Have not mustered the fortitude for a ODP yet. :lol:

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