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Artisan Showcase #9 –– Alexander Hasty

“My first pipes were awful,” Alexander Hasty, 27, said when remembering how he began his journey into the world of pipes. Though he is one of the country's most accomplished and talented pipe makers, his first attempts at crafting his own pipes didn’t come out as well as he’d planned. “I was always pretty creative and interested in building things. Having basically zero woodworking training, I quickly learned that making pipes was quite difficult.” 

Hasty bought his first pipe at a flea market in Mexico –– as a gift for a friend. And while he immediately enjoyed smoking a pipe, he found creating his own high-quality piece much more challenging. Yet, he used this as motivation to sharpen his skills and become the expert artisan he is today. 

Hasty says he became “somewhat obsessed” with learning about pipes and used YouTube videos and digital forums to pick up tips and learn lessons about the craft. J Alan videos were a particular inspiration for him. 

Now, Hasty enjoys spending time with his wife, watching sports, and walking his dogs. He lives in Ottawa, Kansas, and operates a successful pipe-making business. 

He describes his pipe-making style as a mix between Danish and American. “I enjoy the overall flow of the Danish style with some American twists. I like to get creative with my pipes but still maintain a grounded and classic look. It’s pretty rare that I make a really funky shape. A blowfish is about as far as I go nowadays.” Hasty says he also has an affinity for the Jess Chonowitsch brandy with an ox-horn shape. 

Hasty likes to utilize the freehand drilling method in terms of his practical process. “It allows for a bit more shaping freedom and helps to avoid natural flaws within the briar.” He prefers to start with an idea for the shape and then find a suitable block with a grain structure that matches his vision. “Grain structure is very important, so not every block works for every shape.”

He says that it may take him around 12 hours –– or more –– to create a single pipe. He singles out the staining process and the act of creating the stem and mouthpiece as particularly time-consuming aspects of the project. 

Over the past ten or so years, Hasty has not only taught himself the basics of woodworking, but he has come to master the art of crafting quality pipes time and again. You can find examples of his work here: https://www.instagram.com/alexander.pipes/


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