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Workshop moments - Contrast stain finish and grain catch

Updated: Jan 23, 2018

Recently I am working to make my finishing methods better. It is easy to have very good final result when you have a perfect piece of briar in your hands but how many are these blocks – not so many. These are the happy moments when making pipes when you have the perfect block corresponding to the shape I have in mind and everything is so good….very rare moments.

After cutting off all defects, cleaning the surface removing the small black dots and all small imperfections finally in many occasions we have a pipe with no perfect grain. Therefore, we have to experiment with different finishing methods. Some are very good in terms of final result others are average not good. Major part of the making pipes process is make decisions, sometimes very fast and solving problems.

The reason I am writing this is to describe as much as possible why I am producing pipes in so many different finishes, colors etc.

First, I am “one man workshop”. All my pipes, all their parts and elements are made by me, mostly by hand and for each particular pipe.

Second, I prefer to make smooth pipes, because I like them most. Because of this I must extract the best of each piece of briar in a way so to make clearly visible the best parts of it. Therefore, there are many curves, axial or not, cants and variety of shapes I make.

One way or another, finally I have to make the grain visible. Sometimes, it is not visible very well despite of the purity of the wood, but the grain is not visible. At this moment comes so called “contrast stain”.

The below 5 pipes are experimentally pieces. I am using 3 different finish methods on them having in mind that the wood also differs and is not “perfect”. The pipes are not finished yet. These workshop pictures are taken before the final stage of polishing, buffing and finalization in order to have examples for my work.

Dark contrast on flame grain

Light brown contrast on a piece with mostly birds eyes and cross cut grain.

Dark brown contrast with different color shade.

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