Making a wooden pipe

How to make a length of wood pipe using a drill press when a lathe is not available. These can be made any diameter suitable for the project and the length is only limited by the height of the drill press available.

An article by Ron Walters

Cut two blanks to size, allowing 2 or 3 inches extra length. Use a core box or bull nose router bit to form a half-circle trough centered the length of the blank. Allow for a 1/4" flat either side of the trough for glue.

After the blanks have been glued and clamped together, use a slotted dowel to run dry and wet paper towels inside to clean up any glue squeeze out.

Cut the blank square and cut the corners off with the table saw to bring the blank closer to being round

Install a center-drilled dowel in one end to allow installation of a wood screw or lag screw (with the head cut off). This will go into the drill press chuck.

Use a disc/belt sander to remove excess material and round the blank.

Make a sound, rigid jig to suit your drill press to serve as a bearing block for the lower end of the pipe.

Run your drill press at a moderate speed while using a belt sander, sandpaper and/or orbital sander to bring the pipe to an even diameter the entire length.

Be patient, this will take a while. Use of a Go / No-Go gauge is handy for determining the places which are still too large. Use caution when making the longer pipes. Support the center of the pipe using another bearing block or your hand with a piece of leather.

One way to inspect these is to occasionally hold them up to the light. You can tell by the glow through the pipe if you are getting to a thin spot.

A piece of sandpaper in a slotted dowel can be used (with a drill) to sand the inside surface of the pipe.

Another method: Wood Pipe On The Metal Lathe

Here's another method for making a wooden pipe. I started by making a blank the same way as earlier, then I turned a pair of wood dowels, which were center drilled and turned to fit inside the 3/4" hole (inside diameter) of the pipe blank. The wood dowels were glued into the ends of the pipe blank.

When installed in the metal lathe, between the chuck and the live center, I would be assured the outside diameter would be turned concentric to the inside diameter of the pipe.

The Go/No-Go gauge enables a fast check of the entire length of pipe for consistent diameter.

After the outside diameter is turned and sanded, the ends are cut off and the usable section of wood pipe remains.

See also:

Marble machines

Various clock wheel
building experiments

Making conic dowels and spindles

Homemade drum sander

Planetary gear drive

More projects by Ron Walters