How to Make a Native American Peace Pipe

by Contributing Writer

The history of the Native American peace pipe is rich with religious and ceremonial meaning. It is believed that the peace pipe was used during deep meditation periods and that smoking the pipe will give the keeper great powers provided that he continues to lead an honorable life. In the Native American belief, one does not own a pipe, but one is a keeper of the pipe. Many believe that the smoke wisps are the prayers rising up to the creator.

Measure the piece of wood that you have chosen for your pipe. You will need to determine the exact middle.

Mark the exact center of our wood.

Heat the skewer or coat hanger until it is red hot.

Place the glowing hot skewer on the marked center, and slowly apply pressure downward and the skewer will burn the ash as it enters. Keep the skewer as straight as possible. Each time the skewer cool, reapply heat until it is glowing red. Burn from one end to the center of the wood.

Turn the wood to the other side, and begin repeating the above steps until you reach the center of the wood and you have one completed hole all the way through.

Take the heavy piece of heavy gauge wire and run in continually through the pipe and work it around to remove any excess burnt wood in the center.

Next will be the carving of your pipe. Be sure to choose a design and draw it on to the pipe before you begin carving. A basic tool set is all that is needed. This will include a carving knife for paring, cutting and smoothing the wood, a gouge to carve your hollows, a chisel used for lines, a v-tool for emphasizing any lines you may use and a veiner used for deep gouges. If you have never used wood carving tools before, it is a good idea to practice on a separate piece of wood.

Begin working on you soapstone now that the pipe is complete. You will need a basic stone carving set that includes a regular chisel, a point, two flat chisels and one roundel. You will need some instruction in this area before beginning. A great website to check out can be found in Resources below. Once you have practiced and learned the art of using the stone carving tools, choose the shape you would like the soapstone, and mark the circumference of the top of the bowl. Be extra careful to make sure your bowl will be deep enough to insert the pipe and hold your smoking product.

If you are planning on placing designs on your bowl, now is the time to carve them in. Soapstone is soft so be careful in any areas you may have weakened while molding the bowl area.

Join the stem with the bowl by gently pushing through the bowl.

Place a screen inside of the bowl, and you have completed the project of making your own peace pipe.

Items you will need

  • 1 by 1 by 16 inch piece of white ash.
  • Piece of soap stone. (determine the size of the soapstone you would like to choose depending on how large and how elaborate you will want the bowl portion of your pipe to be)
  • 18-inch skewer that is small in diameter and nice and round.
  • Piece of heavy gauge wire at least 20 inches long.
  • Set of carving tools

Photo Credits

  • ny-image2.etsy.com