Rustication

"How do you do your rustication?" That is probably the question I am asked the most.  I was the same way when I started making pipes. How should I do it? Am I rusticating the right way? It took a while but I eventually realized that anything goes. There aren't really any classes in pipe making or many books on the subject. There is no governing body in the pipe world that will come in and inspect your rustication and tell you it isn't done right. The most important thing in rusticating is to remember that anything you do will be ok. That said lets get to the good stuff.

Rustication with some sort of specialized tool is probably the easiest method. Many makers use a tool made from a group of screws or nails held tightly together somehow and with a handle attached. The first picture shows such a tool used in the making of Cavicchi pipes.  You simply use it to chew up the surface of your pipe. Fast and easy. Very similar to using the homemade tool is using a hole saw blade and the smaller the better. I use a 3/4 inch blade that can be found at just about any hardware store. The second picture shows the hole saw blade and the pair of vise grips I use for a handle.

   

 Again, you just use it to tear up the surface of the wood.  After using any of these tools its a good idea to brush the surface with a wire bristle or stiff nylon brush in order to remove any small pieces of wood that might still be somewhat attached. It you don't you could have a little piece come off at some point down the road and leave a glaring spot of bare wood in your otherwise black rustication. On many pipes you will have some areas where the tool could not be used. For these areas you will have to use something else whether its a Dremel bit or some type of small tool to get in and rusticate. I use a philips screwdriver and a 1/4 inch nut driver that I have modified. 

   

  I always stain the stummel before rusticating. It helps you see where you have been and it lets you see how much you have done in a certain area. You can use the stain as a gauge by rusticating until all the color is gone or half the color or whatever your goal is. This helps you maintain a uniform looking rustication over the entire pipe, which can be the hardest part.

These two pictures show a pipe after the initial shaping has been completed and then with a coat of aniline dye.

   

Here I have begun the rustication using the hole saw.

The bowl is mostly done.

Completed rustication and then after being dyed black.

   

Here is the completed pipe, waxed and ready to go

You can compare the finished pipe to the before rustication pictures and see that the final shape is slightly different. This type of rustication can remove a lot of wood so you have to keep that in mind when doing the initial shaping.

next