Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pipemakers I really like part 3

Well this guy has such a whimsical way with briar that I hope to meet him someday soon.  Nobody who calls his company blue lobster pipes, and makes these crazy creations could possibly be a grumpy old codger like myself :)  The man is Wallenstein, and the pipes he makes... are out of this world.

Here are some pictures of his work, I will let it speak for itself:

these two are called jezebel and lucille

and they showcase Walle's playfulness 

These are some of my favorites:

And here is Walle just getting his weird out

Hope you enjoy this brief segment of Welle's world


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Another pipe maker I admire

Okay, I know I said I would post a few each day, that was stupid.  I will post one every few days is what I should have said.  This post is for a pipe maker that I admire in many ways, and least of those is his ability to make a stunning, perfectly smoking pipe.

Tyler Lane Beard is a pastor, a father, a teacher, and a pipe maker.  Its amazing how well he keeps all of those in balance.  Whether he is being paid for caring for people, and investing in their spiritual health or not, he does it with courage, conviction and love.  When he felt like too much of his time was being taken from more important things he stopped making pipes.

 When I had some questions about my pipes, Tyler told me to call him up.  He spent an hour with me, not only explaining how to improve, but also on how to grow as a pipe maker.  Another phone call we just preached to each other for an hour or so.  It was like the old time gospel hour, only we aren't old timers, maybe the middle aged gospel hour

This guy is quality, and he is probably mad for me saying so... publicly.

It is no wonder that a man of this strength of character would make great pipes.  You could guess he won't let one out of his studio unless its as good as he is capable of making.  This year I received one of his pipes as a Christmas gift, and I can tell you, it made me giddy.  In fact, my wife got a little annoyed because she wanted to get me something that would make me squeal with joy like Tyler's pipe did.  I was going to tell her victoria's secret, but I thought that might not end well.

Any ways, Tyler makes beautiful pipes, and is a beautiful person, I am a better man and pipemaker for knowing him.  Here are a few of his beauties:

Go check out his website and tell him rev sent you


Monday, December 17, 2012

the first pipe I ever carved

I began smoking a pipe because it was cheaper than smoking a cigar, and to be honest, I thought pipes were cool.  They looked cool, and they smelled good, and they were cheaper than cigars.  Whats not to love. 

I bought some used pipes, cleaned a few and started smoking, but as I was looking for pipes on Ebay I kept running into this shape that I just loved.  I call it the Danish Fan.  I think I have heard others refer to it as that, but maybe not.  I love it.  It is big, and bold, and is made to be grabbed in the hands of a constructions worker.  I wanted one, but... they were a bit expensive.  I paid 17 dollars for six pipes and a pipe holder, and these were selling for 100-300 dollars.  That wasn't happening.

But then I heard you could make your own pipes by ordering a kit.  I bugged my wife about it and she emailed Mark Tinsky from American tobacco pipe company and bought me a premade  kit for Christmas.  It already had the holes drilled and the stem in it, all I had to do was turn it into my Danish fan pipe.

and I did

This is the first pipe I carved. 

others saw this pipe and asked me to make them a pipe... I made six pipes from kits without having any teaching, any input from any pipemakers.  But by then I was bitten, I started to really learn at that point, and now... I will not stop til I am among those that are called professionals


Friday, December 14, 2012

The way of the pipe

Pipe smoking is different that smoking a cigarette or cigar.  I don't smoke cigarettes, I used to long long ago, but I do smoke a cigar occasionally.  I love smoking a cigar.  They are especially wonderful with a nice espresso or maybe a Scotch.  But there is something that is unique about a pipe... I call it the way of the pipe.

With a pipe you cannot rush.  The tobacco needs to be laid out and dried just the right amount.  Maybe ten minutes in the warm sun, maybe a couple of hours on a table in the smoking room, or maybe overnight if its really moist.  You can't just throw it in the bowl, but it must be packed carefully, in stages.  You don't just puff and puff away, (unless you want to burn the crap out of your tongue), but you sip, and tamp, and relight.  There is this tactile, sensual enjoyment that requires the rest of the world to drift away for a little while.  And then, when you are done... you aren't done.  You must clean the pipe, and put it away carefully.  It is a wonderful ritual that cannot be concluded by smashing something into an ashtray.

Pipes also, smell wonderful.  Even the smelliest pipe tobacco is a bit more pleasant to most people that a cigar or that chemical smelling cigarette.  But if you get a nice aromatic, with hints of vanilla, or chocolate, or even gingerbread... well compliments abound.

They are conversation starters.  How many times do I have people come up to me and say... you know my dad, uncle, grandpa used to smoke a pipe. Off we go talking about fond memories, which is a wonderful way to start an acquaintance.

And lastly... a cigar is a cigar.  Granted some men like big cigars, others smaller, some like darker maduros and others lighter, but from an aesthetic point of view, a cigar is a cigar.  But a pipe gives its owner a chance at self expression.  Your pipe announces to the world something about you. 
The way of the pipe, its slow in a fast paced world.  It gives room for creative expression.  It is reminiscent of old, warm memories.  The way of the pipe is perhaps coming back, I sure hope so...

and not just for sales sake. 

“A pipe is the fountain of contemplation, the source of pleasure, the companion of the wise; and the man who smokes, thinks like a philosopher and acts like a Samaritan.”
-Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Why I love pipes

Unlike many people I didn't have a kind uncle, or grandparent that smoked a pipe.  In fact the only pipe smoker I remember was a mean Catholic priest named fr. Leo, who cussed and yelled at everyone.  I have to admit though when the shit hit the fan he was there for people.  A curmudgeon with a conscience. 

I do however love the smell of pipes.  I also love the slow, relaxing way of the pipe.  You cannot rush when smoking a pipe, it some how makes things calmer.  There is a ritual to pipe smoking as well, you don't just light up, puff and puff and then throw out whats left.  You pick the pipe, you pick the tobacco, you set it out to dry, pack it carefully, light it a number of times, (especially if you still haven't learned the magic of slow smoking like I haven't)  And then you sit, or walk, or in my case... make a pipe.  It is wonderful.  In a world of rapid fire it is a slow down and pay attention hobby.

But the reason I love pipes the most, is they are the in my mind the pinnacle of the combination of fashion, craft, art and practical engineering.  The way many people feel about cars... I feel about pipes.  And I can't make you a car, but I can make you a pipe.

So here are some of my favorite pipes from some of my favorite pipemakers.  I will post a few each day.

Today is the strange and wonderful world of Christian Wolfsteiner at Tarock Briar his website

Christian uses his unusual finishing textures and colors to create the most amazing organic pipes.  This one is called tortilla flats, and I desperately wanted to own it, but... I am buying pipe materials and tools rather than pipes right now

This pipe is perhaps my favorite of his.  With the treatment of the long shank, and a fairly traditional shape with a remarkable finish, I suspect this will smoke like a dream as well.

I hope you appreciate the artistry, craft and beauty of this unique master, working outside the box.