I have just finished a new batch of pipes. They have some very nice light colored ones... almost white. They are made from hazel wood. These hazel wood pieces come from a hedge I cut down on my section. The stems have been leaning against my backe fence weathering. I find standing stems weather best, so they were leaning against the fence. The sound is excellent and no other wood has such a light color. Even though hazel is not considered a strong wood, these hazel pieces have become very hard in the weathering process, and so are perfect for pipe making. The tone they produce is excellent.
A fiddle student of mine gave me some black maire. The log was cut the right size for burning and was just long enough for turning. The log itself looked as though it had been cut before the Titanic was made and had been outside in the rain all that time. When I turned the few pieces I could rescue from it, the color was excellent,with beautiful marbling fit for a piece of Angus beef. The tone from maire is so good I tell people that "Maire is to wood what gold is to metal". I find these pieces have upheld that opinion.
I have another set of pipes on the lathe. The wood is mostly from demolition... cedar, totara, rimu, matai [flooring] and some odd bits of wattle from a log lying behind Taruna Homestead.
The rimu and matai are perfect woods for pipe making and some of my earlier pipes were mostly matai and rimu. [The rimu is unforgettabel to turn as it makes you want to sneseze all the time, even with a face mask.] The wattle has a yellowish look, and has had to have repairs made as some bugs have bored holes through it in one or two places. Mostly, holey timeber is chucked, but these had only minor damage so I repaired them with sawdust and glue. Only one has been "fippled" and the sound it made was quite good. I expected better so I am hoping that the next few will turn out really well.
If you have a piece of timber you are going to burn and it come from a decorative tree from your garden, spare a thought for us woodturners. Often the most beautiful timber is from decorative trees out of peoples gardens. Lophomyrtus [coppersheen], sycamore, apple, plum, apricot, lawsoniana, totara, hazel, are some of the woods I have turned from friends properties.
your cheerful pipemaker Chris