How to Make a Corncob Pipe

Even if you don't suffer from nicotine cravings a pipe can be a personality-enhancing prop, especially if you make it yourself. This guide will show you how to make a corncob pipe.

| January/February 1973

True, nobody ought to smoke . . . but if you haven't kicked the habit yet, you could try doing it in a way that's safer than cigarettes. Cheaper, too. In fact, the equipment's free for the making, so... would you like to know how to make a corncob pipe?   

Everybody knows the "farmer's meerschaum". At least, we've all seen factory-made corncob pipes in the stores — for 50¢ or a buck each — complete with plastic stem and, sometimes, a metal filter that filters nothing, but does heat up the smoke so that it burns your tongue.

It's pretty certain, however, that the kind of old-timer who made the corncob pipe famous didn't go to the store when he needed a new one. In the first place, there was probably nowhere to shop within a day's ride of his place . . . and besides, the thrifty farmer thought, why buy what you can make? If a return to that kind of self-sufficiency makes sense to you — as it does to many folks these days — you may want to try your hand at a homemade smoking tool.

To begin, you have to get hold of a good corncob. I'm serious! Just any old cob won't do. For one thing, the best pipe material is a recently grown ear that's still firm and not soft with age. Moreover, I'm told that the new hybrid corns are no dern good for pipe making because they're bred to produce as much kernel and as little cob as possible. In other words, the pith — the soft core of the ear — is too small to hollow out properly. Corn of the old Yellow Dent variety is probably best, if you can find it.

At any rate, select some likely looking cobs and pick them over to find one that has [1] an end that will fit your hand comfortably and [2] plenty of pith. Needless to say, you'll have to break a few ears to find out what their structure is like.

When you've found your cob, snap off one end to a good length for a pipe bowl . . . about two and a half inches suits me, and I like the pointed end because it seems to fit my hand better. You can trim the break nice and even all the way 'round if you want to, though doing so won't make your pipe smoke any better.

8/4/2010 6:24:11 PM

The claim that pipe smoking is safer than cigarettes requires one caveate to be accurate. As long as pipe smoke is not inhaled it is safer than inhaled smoke from any instrument of tobacco consumption. According to the research done by Sir Richard Doll and Sir Richard Peto from 1950 through the 1970's, people who never smoked cigarettes, but who smoked 2-5 bowls of pipe tobacco or 2-5 cigars a day, but did not inhale, had an average life span that was 3.8 years longer than a never smoked person. No kidding. Chuck

5/11/2009 8:28:54 PM

when boring the hole in he cob to fit you stem in if first youuse a small philips scredriver to start the hole and then finish with a penknife you can make your pipe fit perfectly

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