DIY Tobacco Pipe

Updated February 21, 2017

You can purchase various types of tobacco pipes at most tobacco shops, but you can also make your own pipe with simple materials you find around your home. Many tobacco users in the past didn't rely on store-bought pipes when they wanted to smoke tobacco. Instead, they gathered their own materials and fashioned classic tobacco pipes. Corncob pipes and wooden pipes rank among the easiest and most rustic pipes you can make. Smoking tobacco from a homemade pipe increases the novelty of the act and will leave you with pride in knowing you made something by hand.

Cut a piece of seasoned cherry, maple or plum branch 1/2-inch longer than you want the depth of your pipe to be. Choose a section of limb that is the same diameter as you want your pipe; leave the bark on the branch.

Gouge out a little bit of the centre of the wood with a pen knife to start the bowl of the pipe. Set the bowl firmly in a vice grip so the bowl side faces up.

Drill out the centre section of the pipe with the smallest drill bit you have, stopping about 3/4-inch from the bottom of your section of wood. Repeat the process with larger drill bits until the bowl is as wide as you like. This will be the hole through which the smoke travels and meets the stem of your pipe.

Reposition the wood on the vice clamp so that the bark side faces up and you can drill a hole for the pipe stem.

Drill out the hole for the pipe stem using the smallest drill bit, then progress with larger drill bits until you have a hole large enough to snugly fit the pipe stem branch. The hole can be on any side of the bark you wish, but should be positioned about 3/4-inch from the bottom of the section of wood.

Saw off the bottom 1/2-inch of wood for the bowl using a small saw. Sand the surface smooth to prevent splintering.

Remove the pith (centre) of the wood you chose for your stem, whether it be elderberry or ash, by picking at the centre with the 5-inch piece of wire. The wood is very soft and should remove easily, although it may take a bit of time to get it removed through the end of the stick.

Carve the end of the wood for the stem to create a tapered end for your mouth. Sand this end smooth with sandpaper for comfort.

Slide the stem wood into the hole in the side of the bowl. This may take some time to get it on firmly because you need an airtight fit.


The wood you choose for your pipe should be well-seasoned for two to three months for smoother burning and a better taste. You can remove the bark and use a wood burner to make designs on the outside of the pipe if you prefer.


Never use glue or other chemicals to form an airtight pipestem seal. If you need an agent to seal the joint, use a small amount of clay.

Things You'll Need

  • Cherry, maple or plum tree limb
  • Pen knife
  • Vice grip
  • Electric drill
  • Drill bits, various sizes
  • Small saw
  • Sandpaper
  • 3- to 4-inch long section of elderberry or ash tree
  • 5-inch section of wire, such as clothes hanger wire
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About the Author

A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.