How can you make a wooden pipe

What material are pipes made of?

A tobacco pipe is made of wood? Clear. But did you also know that in addition to the popular wood variant, there are other materials from which pipes are made and some of which have an even longer tradition? And even with the wooden pipes there are significant differences. We will introduce you to the most important materials and their respective properties.

Not all whistles are created equal. There are numerous characteristics of pipes that distinguish them from one another. There is the shape, for example, because there are straight and curved pipes. Or different mouthpieces that greatly influence the smoking experience. Another characteristic that is often forgotten is the material the pipe is made of. Anyone who thinks: "A pipe is made of wood, isn't it?" Is only partially right. In reality, in addition to different types of wood, there are other materials from which tobacco pipes can be made. We present the most important of them:

Briar wood

We start with the most popular type of pipe: briar wood. The name comes from French and means the tree heather. The special feature: The normal wood of the tree heather is not used for the pipe, but the tubers that form between the rootstock and the trunk. These tubers are usually over 30 years old and grow, for example, in the coastal regions of Italy or Greece.

The greatest advantage of the briar pipe is the heat resistance of the wood. Because the wood is so hard, the pipe can also be easily polished to a high gloss. This shows the individual grains particularly well. A real classic, this pipe!

Olive wood

Another common material is olive wood, which is particularly popular with Italian manufacturers. Similar to briar wood, it is very solid, which is why it is also ideal for making pipes. Before that, however, the wood must be de-oiled. An olive pipe tastes a bit like olive oil at first, but then develops a pleasant, slightly sweet taste.

Bog oak

The bog oak or "Morta" should be particularly familiar to connoisseurs. This rare type of pipe is made from oak, which has been hermetically sealed in a bog for several millennia. Over the centuries, the wood absorbs minerals under great pressure and usually turns black due to the peat mud. Morta pipes are often only found with small heads, as the material is also very brittle, large heads are rather rare. This material is a little more sensitive to heat.

Meerschaum pipe

Another kind of specialty is the meerschaum pipe. It is made almost exclusively in Turkey. Natural meerschaum (technical term sepiolite) is a mineral that is mined underground. Because the foam has innumerable small pores, the later pipe excellently removes the condensates of the tobacco. A brand new meerschaum pipe shines in shiny white, but changes color in the course of its use in a typical way. By the way: There are also special briar pipes with a meerschaum insert. A real one-of-a-kind.


Although they are no longer common today, they have the longest history of all pipes in Europe: the clay pipes. In the 17th and 18th centuries they were still made by hand and individually. There is even the historic craft of pipe baker, which was practiced until the middle of the 18th century. Remaining and well-preserved pipes from this period are now considered true antiques.


Finally, there is another specialty: the Calabash pipes from Africa. Calabash or calabash are a special type of bottle gourd. Among other things, they are also used as drinking bottles, but in some cases they are also processed into pipes. To do this, they are laboriously dried and shaped. The inside insert consists mostly of meerschaum and is traditionally rather large, which is why the smoke is cooled extremely well.