Pipe stem dating
Yes, I hand carved both the mouth region (relatively flat, with a lip at the tip) and the tenon from a stick. Still though, what was otherwise a relatively (it was too big) pretty stummel became something of a monstrosity in light of the crude stem I made.
The takeaway lesson here is this: The stummel is only half the pipe.
Louis Binford later devised a mathematical formula to refine Harrington's method (Deetz 19).
This dating technique only applies to pipe stems manufactured in England between approximately 15.
After all, pen turners use lucite rods, which until now I didn't know were widely available: How anyone was patient and skilled enough to shape amber into a pipe stem with archaic technology is beyond me.And if you are going to make your own stem, take your time to do it well.The stem will either add to the beauty of a stummel or detract from it, as I learned firsthand.In all likelihood, you will want to sand around the mortise opening of your stummel to get the stem fitting just the way you want it.On top of that, you will probably also want to sand the stummel shank and the stem to achieve an aesthetically pleasing transition from shank to stem.
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Of course, you can always go back and sand away from the tung oil if you've already finished your stummel, then re-finish when you're ready; but it's a lot harder if there's a layer of carnauba wax between your sandpaper and the wood.