Pipes and ornaments were first outlined into the piece of raw catlinite, using a stone tool, such as a chipped stone knife.
Once the pipe was outlined, a sharp flake or stone knife was used to cut the rough shape from the raw block. A groove was cut around the desired shape, then pressure was applied to snap the excess material off.
The corners of the block were shaved off and the desired shape and size was achieved by rubbing the pipe on an abrasive block of quartzite or sandstone.
Finishing touches such as fine shaping and design carving, were done with a sharp stone knife or engraving tool.
The hole in the pipe bowl was formed using a chipped stone drill hafted to a thin shaft. By holding the pipe between the feet or knees, and rotating the shaft of the hafted drill between the palms of the hands, a hole was slowly formed.
In the final step, the pipe maker polished the pipe. A wooden pipe stem, possibly decorated with beads, hair, porcupine quills and leather was then inserted into the bowl.