This is a Briar tobacco pipe with a black and red contrast stain that accents the peaks and valleys on the surface.
For this pipe, a wire wheel was used to create the surface texture, and then several different layers of dye stain were added to get the final effect.
The look is a form of contrast staining, where two different parts of the same piece of wood are stained differently.
It doesn’t take much longer than a single stain color to make this contrast stain look pop, and it’s well worth the small amount of extra time invested.
Briar in the natural state without a finish can be fairly dull looking when compared to other species of wood. With a good polish and a clear finish it can look nice, but when stained Briar takes on a completely different look.
On a standard contrast stain, the grain itself is dyed black by dying the entire piece black and then sanding most of it off. The grain allows the dye to penetrate deeper, so sanding the piece removes the color elsewhere first.
After repeating this process a couple times to get the grain very dark, the piece is then dyed a lighter color, like red, orange, or yellow to color the rest of the wood. The dark grain and lighter flake contrast each other, which is why it is called contrast staining.
On this piece, I did the contrast a little differently. I dyed the entire pipe dark walnut, and then lightly sanded the textured surface to pull out the color on the highest spots and the rim. The whole pipe was then dyed red, which only showed in those two places. This game me the contrast I was looking for, and made the texture look even deeper than it actually was.
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