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| | |-+  Carving a pipe from Catlinite
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Author Topic: Carving a pipe from Catlinite  (Read 4778 times)
Dr. Tim-Boone
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« on: August 19, 2010, 09:42:19 AM »

OK so I have a big hunk that will likely make two bowls........Question is........What tools do you use to shape and drill this material?  Even to saw it into two or more blocks prior to carving??

Any secrets you can share??
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Chuck Burrows
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2010, 11:24:05 AM »

Hacksaw, files, drill, sandpaper, etc. - just about any tools used for working hardwoods or soft metals does the job - wear a mask........
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D. Taylor Sapergia
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2010, 11:29:34 AM »

Tim, I made this one around 1980 from a piece of stone from Minnesota.  I used ordinary hand saws, drill bits for steel (run slowly), files, chisels, pocket knives, and sandpaper.  The stuff carves easily, but slowly.

Chuck, you're quick.




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D. Taylor Sapergia
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« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2010, 11:30:29 AM »

And work outside.  The fine dust gets everywhere and is nearly impossible to clean up...
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Dr. Tim-Boone
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« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2010, 02:39:20 PM »

Now thats what I'm talkin about!!!  Taylor that one should be good for a BIG powwow!!..... Whatcha smoke in that thing up the Northwest woods

Thanks guys!!
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« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2010, 04:43:02 PM »

Taylor,

In Minnesota, that is called "pipestone", there's even a city named after it.
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Dr. Tim-Boone
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« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2010, 11:07:06 PM »

Yep, thats the catlinite...got it shipped from MN................Is it better to work it wet or dry??? or does it make any difference??
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D. Taylor Sapergia
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« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2010, 11:44:41 AM »

Makes no difference Tim. It's fun to work with.  It carves slowly...you actually scrape to carve it  rather than cut off a shaving.  You'll see once you get started.  I've read that Minnesota is where the sacred pipe stone was harvested.  But there is a vein of it near St. Marysville in the southern part of our province.  I have a pipe carved by a friend, of that stone.  Other similar stone was used by our aboriginal peoples to make these pipes...Steatite, Catlinite (pipe stone named by caucasians after George Catlin), Argillite, and Soap Stone, to name those that come to mind.
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« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2010, 02:18:50 PM »

I made some pipe bowls from it and I always worked it dry.  My suggestion is if you use a hand drill to drill the bowl and smoking hole, run it on slow speeds.  Better to use a non power hand drill.  Also, I think it's best to drill your holes first and then carve it on out.  That saves a lot of work in case you mess up when drilling. 

Gus
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snyder
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« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2010, 11:27:48 AM »

Tim,

The longer the piece has been out of the ground the harder it is to work.  Leaving it on the shelf in the closet for 10 years is not a good idea as I can testify.  I started with a new 4 in hand rasp and by the time I was done it was trash so don't use your pattern maker's rasp on it.  My piece was complicated by some small inclusions of quartzite.  That stuff just ruins tools.

Tom
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Dr. Tim-Boone
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« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2010, 11:36:13 AM »

 Shocked Shocked        Grin
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« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2010, 08:36:03 PM »

On the advise of a fellow that knew a bit about such things, I worked a wet  piece once...actually soaked it for a week or so, and it definately worked way easier than a previous pipe worked bone dry from the same old block...in fact it almost worked too easy as it wanted to crumble as I cut and drilled. So I think soaking really works, but a controlled soaking by wrapping it in wet towels might work better than sinking it in a bucket of water for a week or two like I did...
TCA
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« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2010, 09:26:05 PM »

Normal metal working tools, hacksaws and files, work fine.
I made an effigy pipe with a buffalo standing behind the bowl many years ago. Lived south of Pipestone MN at the time and got instructions from one of the pipe makers there on proper shape. If you can find photos of original pipes pay attenting the the shape of the pipes they are tapered though the pipe bowl is usually parallel sided in the inverted "T"  shaped types.
Work slow and don't over stress things with too much speed or heavy feeds when cutting shaping.
Dan
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Dr. Tim-Boone
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« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2010, 11:11:22 AM »

Thanks guys, I think this weekend I will cut it into two pieces and then draw out the pipes and just try a little work to see how it goes....... I have some good pictures and got to handle several originals at CLA......They will be simple.........hopefully well sculpted.
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« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2010, 03:47:12 PM »

 Cheesy

The quarry in Minnesota is interesting.  (Retired Mining Engineer)

For more info see the link below:

http://www.nps.gov/pipe/historyculture/quarrying.htm
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