Handcrafted Tobacco Pipes, Wood and Leather

Welcome to SederCraft.com located in the central Sierra Nevada mountain range in the town of Sonora, CA just outside of Yosemite National Park.  My passions are creating quality tobacco pipes with quality briar and hand cut stems, box making, and leather work.  I will be posting tips and tutorials on pipe making, leather craft, growing tobacco, soap making and a few recipes. 

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Articles & News

Hand Carved Dog Tobacco Pipe

Posted by on Nov 14, 2016 in How to Articles, News |

Hand carved dog pipe with hand cut cumberland stemHere are some photos from my Briar pipe build. When I say “Briar” pipe I am talking about my dog Briar. With my last dog I decided to making a carving of all future dogs as a tribute to them. When my Great Dane Dozer died I got a Boston Terrier Pugg mix and named her Briar.

This was the first time I had made a realistic carving that had to match something in real life. I started this project and glued the template to the block almost a year ago. It took me that long to build up the nerve to attempt the carving. During this time I justified putting off the build by making several other pipes but I finally decided to start on it. The worst thing that could happen is that I screw it up. It took me three weeks to finish the pipe once I started on it.

With this pipe I started out by taking side photos, a front photo and a top down photo. I then brought these photos into Adobe Photoshop and traced the major lines on a separate layer. I had a large block of plateau briar I was going to use. I measured the block and took a side photo of it to bring into Adobe Photoshop. Once I had the template lines of Briar I then brought them into the sized briar block in the Adobe Photoshop template and sized them down to fit within the lines of the block. In the photos below you will see the template of Briar that I glued to the briar block. I made additional copies of the template so that once the paper I glued on was carved away I could use carbon paper to transfer lines back on.

Hand carving a dog tobacco pipeThe first step in starting on the briar block was to drill the tobacco chamber, the air hole and the hole for the tenon. Once the holes were drilled I then cut out the profile with a band saw. This gave me the exact outline of Briar. Next would be to start shaping the pipe.

I took the majority of the wood off slowly with a Dremel tool (Dremel 4000) and a Dremel 177 high speed cutter. I worked slow and would take breaks so that I could relax and look at the carving I was doing with fresh eyes. The worst thing to do when working on a carving like this is to work too fast and take off more material than you need to. When ever I took off material I would work slow and take very little wood off with each pass.

Once I had the shape close I then started using Flexcut carving knives and gouges to shape the briar.  As I would carve I would mark with a pencil where I needed to remove wood next. When carving I use a desk light off to the side of my carving so that I can better see the shape with the shadows on my carving.

Final stages of a dog carved in briar woodThe final stage of shaping was done with sandpaper. I started with 150 grit paper for actual shaping and then when through the higher grits as I finished the shaping. I finished with 1500 grit.

I dyed the pipe with brown and black leather dye for the contrast coat. I then used 1500 grit sandpaper to highlight areas that were not going to be black. To blend the black areas I would use a Q-Tip to add black dye and then quickly blend the dye with the surrounding area using a clean Q-Tip dipped in denatured alcohol. For the final dye coat I went over the briar with light brown dye with a little red dye added. To seal the dye I used a very thin coat of shellac.

The stem I used was a hand cut cumberland stem with a Delrin rod tenon.

Work in Progress Pics of my Dog Tobacco Pipe

Homemade Navy Flake Using a Simple C-Clamp Tobacco Press

Posted by on Sep 12, 2016 in How to Articles, News |

Homemade Navy Flake with dark rum and Perique

Homemade Navy Flake made from my 2015 bright leaf Virginias grown in my garden, about 5% St. James Perique and cased with spiced dark rum. The plug was pressed in my simple C-Clamp Press.

Last year was the first time I grew tobacco in my home garden which yielded a little over 1.25 pounds of finished bright leaf Virginia tobacco. After aging the tobacco for 11 months I then started wondering how to prepare it. That got me quickly thinking about pressing the tobacco so that I could add just a bit of Perique and have the flavors marry. I saw some very nice metal C Clamp presses online but I was looking for something simple that I could make without investing too much time or money.

After searching around and seeing how others were pressing tobacco I ran across C Clamp presses that used plastic plumbing pipes.  I went to the local hardware store and purchased an inexpensive C Clamp, 4" ABS black plastic pipe, one flat end cap for the 4" pipe (don't glue it on) a piece of oak and a simple metal saddle.  The flat end cap isn't glued on so that you can take it off to remove your tobacco after pressing. You will cut the oak into 4 round blocks that just fit into the 4" plastic pipe. 

After assembling the press and testing it I quickly learned not to get the cheapest C Clamp the hardware store carried.  The cheap C Clamp bent and bowed when I started really cranking down on the tobacco.  I returned the cheap clamp and bought a Wilton C Clamp that did not bend no matter how hard I tightened it.

I am still experimenting with the recipe but the general principal is to let your aged tobacco dry quite a bit so that it is almost brittle but not completely dry. You will then add your topping to the dry tobacco with a spray bottle. Add the casing so that your tobacco is very moist. After adding the topping, if you choose to add anything, you will let the tobacco dry again to a level that will not mold. If you are using different tobaccos layer them. I added a spiced rum that contained sugar to help bind the cake/plug so that it would hold its compressed form after removing it from the press. I also added a few table spoons of vinegar to the rum mixture in the spray bottle. The acid in the vinegar helps break down the tobacco cells, mellows the harsh taste of tobacco and helps lessen any potential tongue bite.

When prepping the tube and blocks I wrap the blocks in plastic wrap so that the tobacco moisture doesn't wick into the wood. I first put two of my round blocks in the tube with the grain on one block at 90 degrees to the grain on the second block. I then layer the tobacco in trying to get it as flat and even as possible. Once your tobacco is added place the other two round blocks with grains at 90 degrees.  Last is the block with a metal saddle that the C Clamp will push against to prevent denting and cracking of the oak blocks. Click on the far left photo to see a better picture of this block in the metal strap.

Pressing the tobacco. Once everything is in place I center both end of the C Clamp in so that they are as close to the center of the pipe as I can get it.  I then start cranking it down and get it as tight as I can.  I will then try and crank it tighter each day for a week. After the first week is up I then let the tobacco sit in the press for one more week. 

C Clamp tobacco press using ABS

Parts of the C-Clamp Plumbing Pipe Press

Removing the stems from the tobacco leaf that has aged for 11 months. Note that the stems is what they make snuff out of if that intrests you. Just dry the stems completely and then put into a coffee grinder. You can add scents to the ground snuff.

Removing the stems from the tobacco leaf that has aged for 11 months. Note that the stems is what they make snuff out of if that intrests you. Just dry the stems completely and then put into a coffee grinder. You can add scents to the ground snuff.

Pressing tobacco in the C Clamp tobacco press using ABS

Pressing tobacco in the C Clamp Tobacco Press

Virginia & Perique Tobacco that has been cased with Dark Spiced rum

Virginia & Perique Tobacco that has been cased with Dark Spiced rum. Once the casing dries so that it is not moist to the touch I'll put it in the press.

Pressed tobacco after a week in the C Clamp tobacco press

Pressed tobacco after a week in the C Clamp tobacco press. This was a Virginia Perique blend.

Navy Flake type tobacco plug. Pressed with bright leave Virginia tobacco, dark spiced rum and Perique

Finished plug of rum cased Virginias & Perique ready to be sliced into flakes and aged.

Growing Virginia Tobacco in Central California – 2nd Season

Posted by on Sep 6, 2016 in News, Pipe Tobacco |

Growing tobacco at home - Homegrown Virginia Tobacco in the California Sierra mountains

My 2016 bright Virginia tobaccos. This year I started too late but they are still going to produce some nice tobacco.

This is my second year growing bright Virginia tobacco in the central California Sierra mountains. This year’s tobacco plants are turning out great even though I planted them 6 weeks late in the season. In just 10 weeks my Virginia plants have grown to about 4′ and should grow another 12″ to 18″ over the next month.

Tobacco is a hearty crop and can grow in many different climates. To give you a better idea of my growing conditions, and to show that you don’t have to live in the South with high humidity to grow,  I live in the California Sierra mountains (near Yosemite) at 3,000 foot elevation where it can get up to 95 degrees (35 degrees Celsius) in the summer with very little humidity.

In the past two seasons my bright Virginia tobacco plants have grown great in the heat but I did have to keep them well watered on very hot days. If it was going to be a hot day (93 degrees +) I water them in the morning and again when I get home from work if the soil is dry a few inches down or if the leaves are wilting.  On days where the temp got to 95 degrees I would see some wilting but it goes away once they have been watered and it cools down.

If you haven’t grown tobacco before I’m sure you’re wondering about how much tobacco your potential tobacco garden can produce. Last year I had 4 bright Virginia plants in 17″ wide pots and 2 plants in 14″ pots.  With all 6 plants I ended with 1.4 lbs of tobacco at it’s final dried weight.

Below are some basic tips for growing tobacco at home

Bright Virginia tobacco plants. Fun growing tobaccoBelow are some basic growing tips from my brief experience of growing tobacco the past 2 years.  Though I’m not an expert at growing tobacco the tips below have worked for me and have had a lot of fun.

  • Start early in the season. For example in California the hottest months are June, July and August. This coming year I will start my seeds indoors at the end of February so that I can put them in pots by the end of March as I did the previous year.
    Germinate your seeds indoors preferably with a light or grow light above to keep them warm and give them adequate light. I used natural peat starter trays with a clear plastic lid to germinated seeds in. Once the young tobacco plants were a few inches tall I would place them where they would get indirect sun during the day. You don’t want to shock your young plants by putting them in direct sun too soon. Plan on having your young plants indoors for 4 to 6 weeks before moving them outdoors.
  • Fertilizing. Since the tobacco plant is related to tomatoes they do great with tomato plant fertilizer & nutrients. Fertilize using the same fertilizing instructions on the tomato fertilizer.
  • Tobacco & Tomatoes.  Do not keep tobacco plants near tomatoes in your garden! Tobacco can give tomatoes the disease Tobacco Mosaic Virus.
  • Insects. Your young tobacco plants are more prone to insects when they are very small, or at least in my area. I use an organic insecticide made from a soap solution that I buy at a local gardening store to keep the insects off the plants. Don’t use poisons since you will be smoking the tobacco.
  • Deer. I have A LOT of deer where I live so I need to protect my young plants from them. Deer don’t like to eat tobacco plants once they are over about a foot tall but they will eat very young tobacco plants. Note that I have had hungry deer take rip leaves in half and take bites out of full grown plants so I now keep them behind a wire fence.
  • Trimming Suckers. As your plants grow be sure to check them for “suckers”. Suckers are little shoots that start near larger branches. Be sure to trim these off since the plant will divert energy to these new shoots instead of making your leaves larger.
  • Topping your tobacco plants. You will also want to cut off the buds that start at the top of the tobacco plant unless you want one of your plants to flower for seeds. The tobacco plant produces pink flowers which then turn to seed pods. The buds take up energy so you want to cut them off as soon as you spot them. More will return so keep cutting them as they develop. I will usually let my healthiest plant go to flower so that I can get the seeds for next season.
  • Harvesting. You will pick the tobacco leaves as they ripen. This is true for Virginia tobacco but I’m not sure its true for all tobacco plants. The Virginia leaves will ripen from the bottom up. They will turn a yellow or a yellow with light green spots when they are ready to pick and hang. Virginia tobacco turns yellow when the sugar content is at it’s peak.
  • Handling leaves. When handling the curing/drying tobacco leaf always wash your hands with soap and water so that you don’t get bacteria on the leaf that may turn to mold later in drying or aging.

Color Curing Home Grown Virginia Tobacco

Bright Virginia tobacco color curing

In this picture I have newly hung tobacco to the left and tobacco that’s been hanging for a week on the right.

In the Southern tobacco growing states where tobacco thrives the humidity runs high and rains often in the summer time. The tobacco is hung in barns where the tobacco dries very slow because of the very high humidity. Where I live it’s low humidity and the leaves dry too fast hanging them outdoors. The tobacco leaves need to slowly dry over a period of 2 to 4 weeks. You’ll have to adjust your drying area to try and maintain a humidity level of 70 to 80%. I first tried drying my tobacco outside and they dried too fast leaving green areas. You want the leaves to turn a golden to a golden brown brown with NO green. The green portions of a dried leaf are not smokable. If I feel my leaves are drying too fast I mist them with water to help slow the drying process.

Aging the tobacco

Before aging the tobacco you have to get the tobacco leaves to the right moisture level. You do not want the tobacco to be too dry that it cracks or crumbles. If your color cured leaves will crack if folded you will need to mist it with water and let it sit for a bit. The tobacco leaves need to feel almost like soft leather without feeling damp. You should be able to take a leaf and wad it in your hand into a ball then be able to stretch it back out. The other extreme is if your tobacco is too moist. Tobacco that is too moist will mold. The right amount of moisture is key in getting your tobacco to age properly.

Aging Virginia tobacco from my home garden

One of the sealed jars of Virginia tobacco aging from my 2015 garden.

When your tobacco is at the right moisture level you will need to age it. To age your tobacco I recommend Mason/jam jars with new lids. You can buy these jars in all different sizes up to 1 gallon. You need to seal it in these air tight containers for at least 6 months but more is always better.  When packaging the tobacco into the jars be sure to wash your hands and any table surface the tobacco is going to be in contact with to prevent mold.

While aging for your 6 months or more you never want to break the seal on your container. It must not get any fresh air during this aging process. Only break the seal on the container if you see mold. I’ve never had any of my tobacco mold. If you want to sample as it ages pack some tobacco in small 1/2 pint jam jars but leave the bulk in your larger jars.

Resources on growing tobacco in your home garden

I think the fair trade tobacco forums have some of the best info for growing .


Very good answers to common questions

Where to buy tobacco seeds online

Sustainable Seed Company – http://sustainableseedco.com/tobacco-seeds/

Whatcom Seed Company – http://seedrack.com/

If you would like to give me feedback please email me by using my contact form.

Adding new pipes 4-27-2016

Posted by on Apr 26, 2016 in News |

Wednesday April 26th I’ll be adding 6 new pipes and some estate pipes to SederCraft.com. Subscribe to the newsletter to be notified as soon as the pipes are added to the website.

SederCraft Tobacco Pipes and Estate Pipes

Introducing The Pipe Valet

Posted by on Dec 2, 2015 in News |

The Pipe Valet by SederCraft - pipe smoking accessoryIntroducing the Pipe Valet by SederCraft. I came up with the idea for the Pipe Valet out of my need to keep my leather chair clean and not make a mess every time I rubbed out my flake tobacco and packed my pipe. I was constantly rubbing flakes in my chair with my pipe hovering over a jar or tin of tobacco. Trying not make a mess I’d sometimes grab a plate or a magazine but that seemed like a temporary fix. I wanted something that I could keep by my chair, that looked nice and most importantly was functional for my evening pipe ritual.

Just packing a pipe can get messy with bits of tobacco falling in your lap or on the floor. The Pipe Valet gives you a place to rest your pipe while you prep your tobacco. When you’re done rubbing out your flakes or just packing your pipe the Pipe Valet features a spout on the bottom edge to pour your excess tobacco back into the tin or jar.

The Pipe Valet will be sold on SederCraft.com. Quantities will be limited at first but I am ramping up to get a larger batch of them made. To get notified when it’s released signup for the newsletter on my site. The Pipe Valet will be available in different wood finishes and some with a texture.

Click here to view the Pipe Valet.

Patent Pending

Textured & Smooth Pipe Valets by Kraig SederquistThe Pipe Valet by Kraig SederquistThe Pipe Valet by SederCraft. Patent PendingThe Pipe Valet by SederCraft. Patent PendingThe Pipe Valet by SederCraft. Patent Pending

Growing Your Own Pipe Tobacco

Posted by on Sep 3, 2015 in News, Pipe Tobacco |

In this short article I’ll briefly talk about growing tobacco at home but I plan on elaborating on it in the near future.

I was surprised how well the Virginia tobacco grew given my location in the Central California mountains. This tobacco was grown at 3,000 elevation where humidity is very low and summer daytime temperatures can reach the upper 90s. The tobacco plants grew fast and in just over 3 months grew to just below 6 feet and the larger tobacco leafs were nearly 2 feet long.

I harvested the leaves in batches as they turned a yellow color and did my final harvest in October. The leaves are now in large jars and have been aging for 7 months so far. Once they are at a year old I will then processes them and add a touch of perique tobacco and reseal them for another year.

I have smoked some of the Virginia tobacco from my garden. It wasn’t bad but had a taste that needed a little age to mellow out.

If you are interested in Virginia tobacco seeds I let my healthiest plant come to full flower and I collected all of the seed pods. These seeds are now for sale if you’d like to try your hand at growing Virginia tobacco. My daughter will be handing these sales to earn a little money.

A few recources for growing tobacco

Below are a few resources to look into until I can share my growing experience in-depth. Note that my experience is limited and I am still learning but I can share how I got such good results. Most of what I learned I got from these two sites as well as some YouTube videos on growing tobacco. Click here to buy a few hundred seeds for $4.50 (shipping included).

Growing Heirloom Tobacco – http://heirloomtobacco.com/Garden_Coop.html

Fair Trade Tobacco forums – http://fairtradetobacco.com/

A few images from my tobacco garden below.

Back Down South by Briarworks International

Posted by on Jun 18, 2015 in News, Pipe Tobacco |

Briarworks International Back Down South Pipe TobaccoThis week I had the opportunity to sample one of Briarworks International’s new pipe tobaccos. This was actually a pre-release sample of their new pipe tobacco Back Down South. It was given to me by a great guy on Instagram that doesn’t really care for VaPer (Virginia & Perique) tobaccos.

I smoked the five bowls that the sample pack contained within a few days. Upon finishing my supply I quickly went on a search to buy this pipe tobacco. After no luck finding it anywhere I went to Briarworks International’s website and emailed the CEO asking about this great tobacco and where I can buy it. He informed me that it would be released at the Nashville pipe show this year.

I’m not great at reviewing pipe tobaccos but I know VaPers and I know what I like. To let you know where my tobacco tastes are currently, my favorites are Escudo, McClellands St. James Woods, Peter Stokkebye Luxury Navy Flake, Orlik Golden Sliced and Peter Heinrick’s Dark Strong. Back Down South ranks up high with these other quality pipe tobacco blends. It has a sweet and rich Virginia notes with a generous portion of Perique. The mouth feel is thick and rich with that great VaPer taste.

This is quoted from the back of the sample pack describing Back Down South. “Here’s the robust side of Virginia. Red and bright flue-cured leaf is enriched by the addition of a judicious amount of Louisiana Perique. The blend is further fortified with a touch of dark-fired Kentucky for more depth and body.” I’d say that sums it up.

Keep a lookout for this great new tobacco from Briarworks International.

St. James Woods a great VaPer

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in News |

Excellent VaPer, St. James Woods Tobacco by McClellandLately I’ve been growing to appreciate and crave VaPer tobaccos. VaPer tobaccos are a blend of Virginia tobaccos with spicy Perique tobaccos grown in Louisiana. There are numerous VaPer tobaccos such as Orlik Golden Sliced, Escudo, Luxury Navy Flakes to name just a few.

A few weeks ago I purchased a 3.5oz tin of St. James Woods by McClelland on pipesandcigars.com for $14.70. The price wasn’t bad and was looking for a new VaPer to try. I made the purchase after hearing someone I consider knowledgable talk about it on Instagram and reading some reviews.

Upon receiving the tin I opened it to see a dark broken flake tobacco with the distinctive McClelland smell. Not a bad smell but that slight catsup smell their tobaccos often have. The moisture level was a bit moist so I let a bit dry for 20 minutes before smoking it.

My first bowl was ok, just ok. It really didn’t do much for me but I sensed my taste buds were off that night so I decided to try it again the next night. The second bowl was completely different. This time I truly appreciated this great tobacco. The sweet Virginias are balanced great with the Perique. The tobacco has nice early tones with a smoke that feels heavy and sweet. I’ve now smoked several bowls of this tobacco with no tongue bite at all.

I’ve cellared over half of my 3.5oz but it’s not enough. This is a classic VaPer and I will soon stock up on more of it to cellar a few years. I highly recommend this excellent tobacco.

3 New Pipes Added

Posted by on Apr 7, 2015 in News |

3 handmade pipes. A Poker, Rhodesian and a smooth Prince style tobacco pipe.Tonight I’ve added 3 new pipes to the site.

The first is a large poker style pipe with a little different rusticated finish. I’ve done a red to black fade around the top rim and on the shank of the pipe. The tobacco chamber of the pipe starts out at 15/16″ and tapers down to 3/4″ near the bottom of the bowl. The stem is a red swirl acrylic stem with a Delrin tenon.

The second pipe is a compact Rhodesian pipe with a bent vulcanite stem. This pipe will make a great smoker. I made a pipe like this one in the past and thoroughly enjoy the size and shape.

Last is a smooth prince style pipe with some beautiful grain. This will make a nice light weight pipe with a classic look.

More pipes to come in the near future. I will be making a few more pokers and some freehand pipes.

New pipes in the works

Posted by on Mar 30, 2015 in News |

Pipes started and ready to be shaped. A bent egg, 2 pokers, a prince and a compact Rhodesian.I started a few new pipes over the past weekend.  I’ll be starting a couple more in the next few days. In the picture below are pipes waiting to be shaped.  They include a bent egg, 2 pokers, a prince and a compact Rhodesian.  I’ll be adding a few more shapes to this batch such as a straight bulldog, a bent billiard and more.