Clay Pipe

Clay pipes these days are somewhat of a rarity, with glass being the material of choice for many. However, once upon a time clay was one of the more popular materials for pipes, so I thought in the spirit of tradition I’d make a couple, besides, I had some leftover clay and used my glassmaking kiln.

Before firing.

The above is the formed pipe before firing. I used a combination of white and black clays, although the colors are much sharper after firing. I used a bamboo skewer in a plastic straw to build the pipe around to make the hole through the stem. The skewer adds stability as an armature, but in and the straw can be slid out before firing (although if the straw gets stuck, there won’t be much trace of it after firing).

After forming, the clay must be allowed to completely dry or escaping steam may fracture the piece. It must be dried slowly or the difference in the outer and inner shrinkage can also create cracking.

After firing the colors are more obvious. This was fired at slightly over 2,000 F.

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