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Pipe Makers- Ever Meet Any?

Discussion in 'The Smoking Lounge' started by ArmedOctopus, Apr 3, 2013.

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  1. ArmedOctopus

    ArmedOctopus Active Member

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    Wanted to ask and see if you guys have ever met any well-known pipe makers, what you learned from them, and what your observations were. (Besides the awesome ones around here. :D)

    (Be forewarned. When I meet someone that I admire for their craft, I can be a bit of a fanboy.)

    A little while back, I had the privilege of going to the Briary in Birmingham for a pipe show. Peder Jepsen was there with his Neerup pipes and Erik Stokkybe was there as well. (Probably just butchered their names).

    Peder was a super great guy. Really humble and down to earth. He said he does everything, but has his son help occasionally and one other guy. He had a whole spread of pipes to select from. I snagged the one I have in my profile pic. But the one I REALLY wanted was the one he was smoking. Wow. It was short and a little stubby. He made it for a company in Germany who had him make only 300 of that model before he broke the mold. It was gorgeous. I couldnt decide between two pipes so I asked him which one he'd choose. Naturally I picked the one he went with.

    Erik wasn't quite as talkative. He was nice though. I watched him smoke his pipe and he definitely inhaled a lot. I also learned that he is a 4th generation tobacconist (thus the name of his latest tobacco) but he sold his actual name to some other company (I think Villiger). So nothing with his name on it actually comes from him anymore other than the 4th generation stuff. It was pretty funny. He had all 4 4th generation tobaccos out and I asked him which were his favorites. He pointed them out and I bought the only one he didnt mention. ("You like these? Okay, well, I'll take that one"). It was an aromatic that was named after his great-great granddaddy who I dont think even smoked a pipe. He actually had a special line of pipes that went with each tobacco that were handmade by Peder. They were the first 4 to be offered....probably should have bought one. But I did have Erik sign the tin I bought...yeah, the tin was $20. $10 of that was how much I liked it and the other 10 was a souvenir.

    You guys ever meet anyone and have similar stories?
     
  2. NeverKnowsBest

    NeverKnowsBest Member

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    I spoke with Erik on the phone about a month ago and he sent me his blends to try. I think they're being made by Mac Baren. I liked two of them a lot - the non-aromatic ones - but I didn't try (and probably wouldn't like) the aromatic ones. I steal flakes from the 1931 tin we have open rather often.

    Otherwise, I've met many pipe makers and tobacco blenders. I work with two pipe makers. Probably the guys I'm most familiar/friendly with are Joe Nelson, Thomas James, Michael Parks, Nate King, Abe Herbaugh, Tim West, and Chuck Sands for pipe makers (and of course, Premal & Bill at Smokers' Haven) and Russ Ouelette has been very influential in my professional growth as a tobacconist.
     
  3. ArmedOctopus

    ArmedOctopus Active Member

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    I have never felt so one-upped in all my life. :bow:
     
  4. NeverKnowsBest

    NeverKnowsBest Member

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    Unless you also play bass guitar, that's like the only ace I have.
     
  5. DeusExMachina

    DeusExMachina Member

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    I had the privilege of meeting J.M. Boswell over the weekend at his shop. Tall guy, with clear, honest, eyes. No matter how busy it is, he'll take the time out to talk directly to you. He's a man that takes obvious pride in his work. While packing a sample of some Virginia slice, he said "don't roll it up! Just let her sit in there real easy" I smiled, because he took such great care in blending these tobaccos, he genuinely wanted to see them smoked the best way possible. He knows people love his pipes, but he's not big headed about it. To quote J.M. directly, "if you've been making them (pipes) as long as I have, and people don't love them, then you're in the wrong business."
     
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  6. Stonewall

    Stonewall Active Member

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    I'm rather impressed myself.
     
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  7. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

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    Ismet Bekler, back in the 1980's. He was doing a tour of U.S pipeshops and he came to the one I worked at. Carved a pipe for me with both our names and the date. Sadly, it's smoking characteristics pale in comparison to what's available today. Shoot, the pipe cost $200 in 1986 money and for $140, I could today buy an Altinok that would toast the CAO.

    But it was still cool. The only English Ismet knew was "Whiskey, No Coke" and "Women!". Every time he said either, he'd grin like a cheshire cat. And it was a wonderful experience to watch him carve.
     
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  8. Texhealer

    Texhealer Active Member

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    I was fortunate enough to attend the Retail Tobacco Dealers Association trade show ( the year they changed the name 2007?) I meet Erick Stokkebye, Eric Nording, Bjarne Neilson, and some pretty big names in the cigar business, just met mind you, Hi and a handshake kind of deal.

    One thing pretty cool tho was that one morning before the show I was having coffee at a little kiosk waiting for the show to open and I decided to smoke my falcon I'd brought along, so I'm puffing away and this guy walks up to me and asks with a real thick British accent, " do you like your falcon pipe?" I told him I did and that I had 3 or 4 and some extra bowls and that I liked them quite a bit. He smiled real big reached out and shook my hand and said " I love to hear that, I manufacture the Falcon pipe in England." And walked off. It was pretty cool and I really hope to attend another show one day.
     
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  9. ArmedOctopus

    ArmedOctopus Active Member

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    Good thing you werent like "nah, they're crap. I just didnt want to ghost any of my good ones so I brought this instead". Super cool story though.
     
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  10. Texhealer

    Texhealer Active Member

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    That would have been more like me....trying to talk around a size 11 moccasin ;)

    I forgot to mention that I know Colin Rigsby, a quite talented pipe maker he frequents the shop I used to work at.
     
  11. CarlBC

    CarlBC Member

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    There are always some well-known makers at regional shows like CPCC and PCCA.
    Some I've met:
    Chris Askwith
    Russ Cook
    Mark Tinsky
    Bob Hayes
    Tim West
    JM Boswell

    :toast:
    -- Carl
     
  12. daveinlax

    daveinlax Member

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    Eric is a very nice guy but he's is so different from his father Peter who was outgoing, fun and very talkative. I miss visiting with him at his shop meet and greets!

    I've met countless pipe makers over the years but the only shop time I've had is with my good friend Ed Jurkiewicz of E Andrew and Julius Vesz.
    Vesz' inner shop is an amazing place. It's a shop, museum and formal living room. I spent few hours hanging out sitting on a thrown like chair smoking a large Vesz Canadian while he reworked the stem/button of my magnum size bulldog. I asked if I could commission a matching tamper and he made it on the spot. I was a fun afternoon. :confused:

    http://www.juliusvesz.ca/pages/article02.html?page=article02
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. SteveH

    SteveH Active Member

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    Chris Askwith, in Sep. 2011, in London. Had a very interesting chat for an hour or so, during which I learned:
    That strawberry wood is the root of another kind of heather, and thus closely related to briar;
    That Chris gets his morta from Norfolk, where it's been buried in bogs for 10,000 years or so;
    That morta can be a bugger to work with, because it can reveal a crack late in the process;
    That morta is an excellent conducter of heat, which means that the bowl rapidly gets too hot to hold, but also that it smokes coolly;
    That Chris is a very nice chap, as well as a brilliant pipe-maker.
     
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  14. SteveH

    SteveH Active Member

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    Nice story. Just one thing, though: there's no such thing as a British accent. It's you chaps that have got the accent!:ohyh:
     
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  15. Wicker Man

    Wicker Man Active Member

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  16. buistd

    buistd Active Member

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    I have met, and enjoyed the company of, Mike Billington of Blakemar Briars, Ian Walker of Northern Briars and will be meeting Chris Askwith at the British Pipe Smoking Championships later this year. There's a member of the Pipe Club of London who makes very nice pipes, but he is pretty much unknown outside the club - Laurence Kothari - can't even find a picture online of his work.
     
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  17. jdto

    jdto Well-Known Member

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    I really should go by there. My office is next to the Royal York.
     
  18. Texhealer

    Texhealer Active Member

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    Oh that's right...I always get that mixed up.....at least I didn't have to try to tell him what it was made of...;)
     
  19. ruffinogold

    ruffinogold Ruffinogold-Mayor, I.R.G.E.--At Large. Mayor

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    Over the years I've met a lot of pipe makers , mostly at shows[ Trade /Pipe ] . Many of them are good people and a few were either morons or jerks . I'm good Friends with Randy Wiley . Any of the guys in the last ten or twelve years that have popped up , I haven't met . Wiley , Cooke and Clarence Mickles [ whom has since passed ] , Alberto Bonfiglioli and Stephen Anderson from S&R pipes[ whom has since passed also ] were probably the nicest ones I've meet . Others were nice too but those guys have special personalities
     
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  20. LifeOfRiley

    LifeOfRiley Active Member

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    I've been to Minneapolis on business a few times and stopped into Rich Lewis' shop downtown and talked to him for a while. Really skilled pipemaker, nice shop (though the 70% state taxes are a bit hard to swallow), and nice guy.
     
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