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  • KA9FFJKA9FFJ Master
    Overjoyed to start reading your input once again @motie2 Boy have you been missed...
  • motie2motie2 Master
    I'm still quite infirm and in a lot of pain, but somethings just have to be shared. Thanks for the kind words @KA9FFJ

  • KA9FFJKA9FFJ Master
    Just did a touch of cleaning on the shank of the OP and can barely make out Yellow Bole Imperial imported briar. Almost unreadable, but it's there...
  • That's a mighty nice haul, @KA9FFJ. Congrats!
  • Great find @KA9FFJ.  Middleton pipes are great smokers. 
  • KA9FFJKA9FFJ Master
    They'll need a lot of work @Charles I'll try to post their progress on the appropriate discussion. Sort of a before, during and after pics...
  • motie2motie2 Master
    Mind, blown by this stuff:

    http://www.pipesart.com

    NEWSLETTER 119

    Saturday - 16 June 2018 

    The main aim of the Pipesart group is to present the most challenging shapes and forms of smoking pipes, yet very elegant and practical. We do our best to fulfill the special requests of our pipe smokers all around the world. Base on the huge interest we mostly offer the very artistic and high quality briar pipes designed and carved by some of the best carvers in the world. Here, you will find the latest arrival on the Pipesart online shop.
    Sweet Smoke!

    Click here for Latest Arrival
  • KA9FFJKA9FFJ Master
    Tnx @pipeman83 appreciate it... 
  • KA9FFJKA9FFJ Master
    Very interesting @motie2 ...

  • motie2motie2 Master
    From our friends at Smokingpipes.com
    (And how does one pronounce LATAKIA?)

    Words Of Wisdom

    Thursday, June 21, 2018 by Truett Smith

    Chuck greeted me at the door. With silver hair and a scruffy beard, he was clad in an oversized cardigan and not-so-white sneakers, welcoming me with a pleasant demeanor and a radiating smile that beamed only after he had removed the robust Lovat from between his teeth. "What tobacco are you smoking there?" I asked, attempting to start conversation. He responded resolutely, "There is only one tobacco. Beacon." (I would later come to find that Chuck has a large cache of McClelland's Beacon, buried deep in the wilds and surrounded by land mines). "Welcome to Smokingpipes.”

    My first day at work was as wondrous as it was daunting. I was anxious about all that comes with starting a new job, and my new office also contained more pipes than I had ever seen in one place. As Chuck gave me a brief tour of my new workplace, I spotted a table covered in Italian Billiards, and a certain Radice caught my eye. It was classically shaped, displaying firm lines and endowed with vivid pools of birdseye I hadn't before known possible. However, seeing it wasn’t enough; I had to hold it in my hands. Not knowing the proper protocol, though, I hesitantly asked, "Is it alright if I pick up this RA-dis?" (Hear radish but with "s" instead of "sh"). After a brief pause and puzzled cock of the head, Chuck politely replied, “The Italians have a different pronunciation. Are you referring to that 'Rah-DEE-chay?'" I winced sheepishly at my mistake, but we both chuckled and relaxed. He assured me that such mispronunciations are quite common, ("Especially by me," he said) and our conversation naturally turned to other difficult-to-pronounce pipemakers and pipe terms, running the gamut from Chacom to Claudio Cavicchi.

    The experience resonated with me. I was awestruck by the exquisitely carved pipes that surrounded me, but what truly made an impact was Chuck's helpfulness and his sincere desire to teach me about the hobby. Since that first day, I've found that everyone here is just as eager to pass on their knowledge. They've always been gentle to correct and eager to teach, and I've learned much from them already. Coming to Smokingpipes was my first introduction to the pipe smoking community as a fellowship of people rather than just an individual's interaction with pipes. We’re certainly united by our love for leaf and briar, but it's the welcoming nature and willingness to pass along pipe wisdom that makes this community so special.

    Which is especially helpful, since apparently I had been saying Latakia all wrong as well.

  • motie2motie2 Master
    From our friends at Smokingpipes.com
    Suhr Pipes: From the Cradle of Modern (Pipe) Civilization
    Thursday, June 28, 2018 by Daniel Bumgardner

    It is said that the past doesn't repeat, but it rhymes.

    Modern artisanal pipemaking traces its lineage back to a single shop. Originally a pipe repair shop, it was within the confines of Suhr's Pibemageri of Copenhagen that the progenitors of the modern Danish pipe toiled daily, perfecting their craft and learning from one another, going on to become some of the most well-known household names in the world of pipemaking. Sixten Ivarsson served as Suhr's foreman prior to leaving to start his own career, and collaborate with Stanwell in the late 1940s, leaving the reigns to be taken up by another influential carver: Poul Rasmussen.

    Poul would serve as Suhr's foreman for the next twenty years, making pipes under the Suhr name until his death in 1967. His widow Anne Julie, 27 at the time, had initially decided to liquidate his pipemaking machinery to provide for their two-year-old son, and it was only after a chance encounter with one of her husband's former apprentices (namely, Hans "Former" Nielsen) that she decided to try her own hand at making pipes. Though she had never handled a pipe before, she quickly developed a keen understanding of the balance between aesthetics and functionalism, along with the characteristics of briar itself, and her unique work soon made Anne a heralded carver in her own right, attracting attention from pipesmokers and potential apprentices alike. Seven years after her husband's death, she met a promising boy with aspirations to become a pipemaker. After seeing some pipes he had already fashioned, she agreed to take the teenager on as an apprentice. That boy was Tom Eltang.

    Decades later, when Poul Rasmussen and Anne Julie's grandson, Johannes Rasmussen, was seeking to take up a pipemaking career of his own, he looked to Tom for mentorship. Like Eltang in his youth, Johannes wasn't exactly a stranger to the lathe, having fashioned his first pipe at quite a young age (a result of his lifelong saturation in the world of pipes). Still, tradition demanded a true Danish apprenticeship, and Eltang was the ideal Master— Tom apprenticed under Anne, and has mentored and trained countless young pipemakers since then, so it was equally fitting that he would return to his roots by working with a Rasmussen. At Eltang's workshop, Johannes cut his teeth making and polishing stems, mixing contrast stains, and learning the ins and outs of shaping from the famous carver. He continued this regimen for a few years, all the while studying his grandfather's shapes, finding his own creative voice as he began to fashion his own pieces. When that time came, however, the charismatic young carver knew exactly the name he would stamp them with: Suhr.

    Indeed, as Johannes Rasmussen cites the work of his grandfather as one of his greatest sources of inspiration, along with that of his grandmother and Tom, it seemed only fitting that he would resurrect the legendary Danish brand to carry on his family's legacy— a great responsibility, being the blood of two pipemaking legends. Like that of Poul Rasmussen, Johannes' lively, elegant approach to shaping is grounded in the world of Danish design, or as he says, "classic pipes with a twist," with clear Scandinavian and Modern Industrial influence. Aesthetics and historical reverence aside though, the younger Rasmussen shows immense concern for function, stating the most important aspect of his craft is when one of his pieces "ends up in the mouth of a happy pipe smoker." Well, judging by the attractive array of Suhr pipes gracing today's update, there's plenty of happiness to go around.
  • motie2motie2 Master
    From our friends at Smokingpipes.com
    Shared Experiences
    Monday, July 2, 2018 by Joe Lucas

    Last Friday I did something rather routine; I met some friends at a favorite watering hole to celebrate the weekend's arrival. As normal, I brought along a pipe and some tobacco to help ease into the weekend. The bar is an inviting one, complete with a panoramic view of the ocean, a deck that opens out onto the beach, and a rocking chair-lined fire pit. My favorite feature — smoking is allowed and sometimes encouraged. A cool sea breeze mixing with the aroma of hops and tobacco puts my mind at ease and keeps me coming back.

    That night was a little different, though. As I found my friends and took a seat on the deck, I glanced to my left and saw a welcoming site — a fellow pipesmoker enjoying a bowl and the view. I was on my feet immediately and joined my fellow piper for a smoke and a beer. We talked and smoked and the conversation flowed as smoothly as did our beers. We had never met before, but after a few puffs we started talking as if we'd known each other for years. By the end of our bowls we had gone through each other's life story, discussed future plans, and were confident that we had a solution for world peace.

    This wasn't the first time that I've run into another citizen of pipedom while out and about. It seems like whenever I do, conversation ensues. It's usually not just idle chit-chat, either, but rather something more substantive. This hobby lends itself to reflection and deep conversations. Strangers have become fast friends over the course of a bowl of tobacco.

    Smoking a pipe isn't the only hobby I have, but the experience is altogether different when I run into someone else who loves to cook, for instance. Foodies don't gravitate toward one another like pipesmokers do. Smoking a pipe in the wild is like putting up a neon sign for other pipesmokers that says "I'm someone worth talking to." It's a signal that you are someone worthy of consideration and, most important, someone worth spending time with over a bowl of favored leaf.
  • motie2motie2 Master


    WAITING FOR A ROOT - PART X

    Henry Ford and Frederick Winslow Taylor had not yet been born, yet pipe production was already divided into various stages that were assigned their own specialist craftsmen, foreshadowing the Industrial Revolution in eighteenth century English and Dutch workshops where clay pipes were manufactured. The raw clay that arrived from the quarries, washed clean of sand and other impurities, was then mixed with the raw scraps from previous processes and roughly carved into blocks which would then be ready when needed. The clay was rolled by hand into a rough shape, a long, narrow tube ending in a lump at one end. A wire was then inserted into the tube to form the bore of the pipe. The shape was pressed into one side of a two-piece mould, with the lump placed at the wider end of the mould to form the head. After that the mould was clamped in a press, with an opening for the head where a cone was inserted to form the bowl. Once the pipe was moulded, the wire was removed from the long, slim stem, and the pipe underwent a series of techniques to refine and smooth out any imperfections, as well as being decorated and stamped with the maker’s mark. The pipe, together with many others, was subsequently placed in a vessel and fired in a kiln.

    It sounds simple enough, but in fact the process was more complex. For instance, the pipe had to be dried slowly, going from the initial pliable material that shaped the pipe to the harder, finished pipe before being fired in the kiln. Add to this special kiln types, different stages in the process, accessories, materials, fuel and many secrets. For example, the long, thin wire inserted in the future stem was not really pushed through the clay, but rather it was the clay tube that was slowly pulled over the pre-oiled wire, the maker being careful not to let the tip of the wire break through the side of the clay stem. Moreover, the tip of the wire only went right to the end of the tube once the mould had been clamped and the bowl hollowed out. The wire (whose handle remained external to the mould) was then pushed forward, breaking into the hollow of the bowl.  

    The English and Dutch followed different procedures to produce the cavity in the bowl. The former were more rapid, to a certain extent more “industrial”. Initially, an asymmetrical, finger-shaped steel stopper was inserted by hand into the mouth of the mould in one go to create the cavity, and the excess clay was forced out of the mould. Later, in the early eighteenth century in England a more streamlined vice with a lever attached to the workbench was introduced, called the “gin press”. The steel stopper was attached to the lower side of the lever so as to accurately pierce the mouth of the mould, and hence the clay when the lever was forced down. The Dutch were slower and more delicate in this process, as the acorn-shaped stopper was inserted into the mould mouth by hand and twisted round several times, the excess clay being trimmed until the bowl was perfectly formed. This was only one of a series of differences between English and Dutch techniques.  In general, the Dutch procedure, techniques, time involved, tools, how the pipes were placed in the kiln and firing stages suggests that the Dutch were more interested in perfecting production.

    The English were more practical, while the Dutch paid meticulous (almost obsessive) attention to quality. Never satisfied, they always sought new ideas to improve their product. Their thriving trade between the mid-seventeenth and mid-eighteenth centuries was largely thanks to this type of production, but not limited to it. Indeed, the authorities in the city of Gouda, which became the centre for Dutch pipe making, and the local pipe maker guilds supported and encouraged local craftsmen: they centralised the clay supply sources, monitored quality and the maker’s mark, and governed sales of the finished product by monitoring prices and relations with sellers. On the other hand, English pipe makers were spread out over numerous cities and worked less as a team, and the extensive world trade routes meant that British pipe products were delivered in many parts of the world. However, despite this the Dutch produced more and their pipes were often preferred to those manufactured by English, especially in Europe for their unique appeal.

    Pipes were produced that measured from six centimetres long (for dolls’ houses) to one metre, from pipes that were quite simple with no frills to sumptuously decorated artworks. Some models had already appeared in the seventeenth century, but from 1710 the Dutch produced their best examples. They were capable of producing extremely narrow stems, bowls that had ultra-thin walls, and highly detailed relief decorations, which reveals the painstaking, meticulous workmanship involved. But the question is why were pipes decorated in the first place? The answer seems to be that the Dutch were following a fashion that was to be found in many other manufactured objects at that time, a growing trend for applied art. The use of moulds allowed pipe makers to increase the number of attractive models and make them available to a relatively large number of citizens. Pipe makers were not satisfied with familiar patterns and decorations, but wished to create new, original designs. Themes could be contemporary or classical, or symbols that would please the client, designs to suit every taste.  Skilled craftsmen, perhaps artists and often silversmiths were hired to create the moulds, and they would also engrave the matrices used to stamp the packaging with the maker’s mark and name.

    The Dutch were superior craftsmen, indeed. They were so good that other countries far and wide emulated their style. Apart from imitations, a more threatening phenomenon emerged: pipes began to be different, astonishing and alternative. For example, the material was still clay, but now pipes were no longer just white but came in different colours, from red to black, they were made in one piece or the stem was added in another material. Then pipes began to be created in wood, meerschaum and porcelain, and output escalated by the late eighteenth century. Rival manufacturers focused on the material used for the pipes, on techniques and features. For example, in the German states and neighbouring areas the smoker could depend on a wide choice of models when purchasing their pipes. There were smokers’ pipes, but also purely decorative models, such as those made of brightly-coloured ceramic manufactured in Staffordshire, England, with stems several metres long that were coiled like snakes, which were original and certainly not lacking in aesthetic value. Owing to all this fierce competition, the demand for Dutch one-piece pipes fell, and in fact by the mid-eighteenth century their fortune began to wane, when the following century’s golden age of pipe making was being heralded.



  • motie2motie2 Master
    (continued)

    Porcelain was a great achievement for Western alchemists and potters. Once they had discovered the technique to produce it, soon the material was also being used for pipes, or rather the heads of pipes. The material was pliable and its white surface was just waiting to be covered in multi-coloured decorations. Indeed, soon the heads of pipes came in all sorts of colours, patterns and were often shaped into figurines. However, in the mid-eighteenth century the typical bowls of the Gestekpfeifen (combined with a separate sump) began to appear, which were cylindrical and ended in a small tube. On the one hand, this type of pipe restricted the pipe maker’s creativity, but on the other the bowls lent themselves to an endless series of decorations. It was this type of porcelain pipe head that prevailed in the nineteenth century, becoming a truly social phenomenon. On the cylindrical-like surface of the pipe head anything could be displayed. Craftsmen, who were often true artists armed with paintbrushes, could paint the same image on several models, or else produce a unique illustration for a special client. The themes were endless, but they were often characterized by categories: students, soldiers, and various professions. For many German smokers, it was important to show their status in public through the illustrations on their pipes, which were proudly displayed and which aimed to transmit affiliation, an idea, a sensitivity, a tendency and taste. These particular pipes were not only illustrated, but were also often large, striking, and great attention was paid to details in wood, metal, horn and other materials.

    In the early decades of the nineteenth century sea-foam pipes appeared, at first slowly in restricted circles of enthusiasts who represented the market, but then becoming highly fashionable.  The sea-foam, or “meerschaum”, was not only an ideal material for pipes given its high porosity, but also its essential characteristics facilitated elaborate carving. While the beauty of a clay pipe depended on the creativity of the person that had carved the mould, and the attractiveness of a porcelain bowl relied on artistry and colour, the meerschaum pipe owed its appeal to craftsmen who were also artists and carvers, often true sculptors. The golden age of meerschaum pipes ran from 1820 to 1850 in Vienna. The heads were often so richly carved (but also relatively fragile) that they could only be admired, masterpieces in which the function of smoking became secondary, featuring complete groups of subjects in a scene, highly intricate decorative detail and lively bas-relief work. Naturally, there were also functional smoking pipes, which were simpler, but which nonetheless retained their elegance. This class of objects featured fine silver mounts and unique amber mouthpieces. In addition to the original meerschaums, cheaper, fake mmerschaum models were produced whose material consisted of various paste mixtures including scraps of real meerschaum pressed together. A number of these were manufactured in Ruhla in Thuringia, and were called “Viennese” to make them sound more convincing. This mining community situated in the mountains, however, did not restrict its activities to imitations, but in fact became an authentic pipe manufacturing centre, almost a German version of Gouda, also producing original meerschaums, Gestekpfeifen with porcelain heads, models in terracotta and also in wood.

    Heads of wooden pipes hand-carved into figurative designs often complete with inscriptions and dates given by clients were the specialty of various forest regions, especially in central Germany where the Rhine flowed through or in Alpine towns. Again, a custom-made hand-carved pipe with figurative head became an object to be exhibited that reflected the client’s personality. However, it was not always necessary to apply decorations in order to maintain a “dialogue” with a pipe. Ultimately, a fine pipe was enough. A pipe that was magnificent and much sought after until the middle of the nineteenth century was the unique Maserholz pipe, from Ulm, which was often imitated in other regions in different types of wood and also in other materials. Three types of interesting wooden pipe-heads were also manufactured in Hungary: the Kalmasch, shaped like an inverted bell, stylistically similar to a classic terracotta Chibouk; the Debrecen, named after the town, having a tall cylindrical bowl and the Ragoczy, probably named after a Transylvanian prince, whose upper part of the cylindrical bowl was slightly conical.

    As regards the use of clay or more generally terracotta, the nineteenth century was unrivalled in its production of an endless variety of shapes and materials. The English and Dutch white clay pipe remained, but in many markets this was only one option, as the basic material and bright glazes provided colourful alternatives.  Red terracotta pipes were typical of Debrecen and also of Marseille, but colourful, more or less figuratively designed pipes were to be found almost everywhere. Even the traditional Dutch types sometimes displayed hints of colour and typical pipes manufactured in Banská Štiavnica, a town in central Slovakia, whose more common German name is Schemnitz, were highly colourful. The heads, made from a mixture of white and red clay (the former provided strength and the latter its sheen), had a high octagonal-shaped burnished bowl (there were also other variations) whose surface seemed translucent. The Schemnitz pipe, much admired and imitated, eventually became a clearly distinct model (like the Ulm pipe) that was produced in many regions, one of these being the Veneto region, where it was produced in the town of Bassano del Grappa.


  • motie2motie2 Master
    (CONTINUED)

    Meanwhile, the French had always been fervent snuff users. Those who preferred to smoke tobacco used pipes made in Holland or products made locally by small manufacturers. It was only during the Napoleonic era that the new emphasis placed on industry also boosted pipe production on a national scale. Although the white-ivory material available was excellent for pipe smoking thanks to its porous property, its strength caused problems, as the stems broke too easily. The one-piece format was soon cast aside in favour of the more familiar pipe with a clay head and wooden stem. Since figuratively decorated and colourful pipes were in vogue, the French pipe makers who were newcomers to the pipe scene wholeheartedly adopted this fashion following techniques that were similar (but with many variations) to those used by their colleagues who worked porcelain and sea-foam. Pipe heads were miniature sculptures and the subjects were endless. They began with classical themes, going on to craft contemporary politicians, portraits or caricatures of well-known or little-known figures, or recognizable, conventional types. The catalogues produced by the largest factories displayed hundreds of different models, almost as if they were a collection of trading cards. Other figuratively crafted models bearing different features came from the Belgian region of Meuse and from the Westerwald region in Germany.

    Eighteenth-century pipe manufacture offered almost a complete range of hundreds of models, a versatile output that is quite impossible to describe fully, a triumph of technical solutions combined with creativity. Yet, such a complex and geographically diverse and mutually influenced scene was being threatened by two powerful factors. The first, plain for all to see, gave pipe makers cause for serious concern and stimulated those who smoked less: the fashion for cigars was booming. The second factor, which had been brewing for some time but only began to reveal itself in the second half of the nineteenth century, seriously jeopardised the world of pipes which had developed so surprisingly. Not so much as visible for all to see, but invisible, underground: the strange, round root of a Mediterranean shrub.

  • motie2motie2 Master
    From our friends at Smokingpipes.com

    Pipe Yarn
    Thursday, July 5, 2018 by Rachel DuBose

    I'm not normally a craft person. I like to build things, sure, or repair things that are broken, but my projects lean more toward steel-and-grease, rather than needle-and-thread. I don't usually have a problem smoking while I work on something, therefore — there's always a safe place to stash a pipe when I need both hands, and a tool can be set aside when it's time to tamp. (Or not — I'll admit that the handle of a small screwdriver has made use as a tamper more than once.)

    I recently resumed crochet, however, for the first time in about fifteen years. Crochet, I've learned, is not a hobby that lends itself to smoking. Yarn wrapped around one hand as it balances the half-finished product, the other maneuvering the hook with the awkward skill of someone who remembers what they're doing, but is out of practice — I had to carefully find the right moment to tamp or re-light, lest I lose track of the loops I was counting.

    I had it under control, if only barely.

    It wasn't the pipe that made me lose my focus. Had I kept things simple, I may have been all right, but I got confident and decided to add a cup of coffee to my activity, a cup of coffee that I quickly swept off the table with a misplaced elbow. I swore loudly as the pipe fell into my lap, ashes spilling over the crochet project even as I tangled my hook, trying to catch the cup. I failed. As the coffee sunk into the carpet, evolving into an impressionistic stain that would take ridiculous effort to clean, the heat of the tobacco began to singe the edges of the yarn, filling the room with the stench of melting acrylic. Melted yarn is not a medium I'm comfortable with.

    I put it all away, and went to bed, defeated. The lesson? No matter how nimble you may be, or how well suited your mind is to performing simultaneous activities, some things just aren't suited to multi-tasking. I may have to give up coffee.
  • @motie2 - Those are just not my style of pipes. I wouldn't even buy them for the "art" value.
  • motie2motie2 Master
    Actually, I posted the pic to ridicule the pipes shown. I guess I should have incuded some snarky commentary.
  • motie2motie2 Master
    Strange post from our friends at Smokingpipes.com

    Close Encounters
    Monday, July 9, 2018 by Truett Smith

    I was especially deep in thought during my stroll down the dirt road alongside my neighbor's tobacco field. The warm air of a summer's evening and the sound of cicadas, combined with the smoke rising from my pipe, had lulled me into reflection. I didn't notice until too late that I had abandoned the road and wandered into the field. With night upon me, I was left no choice but to fumble through the darkened rows in hopes of finding my way back.

    I blindly stumbled into an unusually large section of flattened tobacco plants. A family of deer must have bedded down there the night before. I began to walk across the spherical area, careful not to trip over the bent stalks, when a blinding, concentrated beam of light suddenly enveloped me from above. An otherworldly craft soundlessly landed in front of me, readily disproving the deer theory. I could've run, but if I had learned anything from Mr. H. G. Wells, it was that you couldn't flee the War of the Worlds.

    Three figures materialized outside of the ship, obscured by the swirling dust. Dark and ominous, the shadows quickly surrounded me. I widened my stance and raised my fists, feigning all the confidence I could muster, only to be met with a passively outstretched tentacle.

    "Hi there," the alien initiated in perfect English. "My name's Xorng."

    A neanderthalic "Huh?" was all I could manage in reply, gingerly accepting the creature's gesture in a welcoming hand-tentacle-shake, leaving my hand with a cool and damp, having-just-used-hand-sanitizer sensation.

    "I assure you we're a peaceful species, but... well, we've been quietly commandeering tobacco from your world for the better half of a century," Xorng explained sheepishly. "You see, other planets produce some fine synthetic substitutes, but Earth's genuine supply simply can't be matched for quality and flavor. To be honest, though, we're more pipemakers than we are tobacco blenders. The air on other planets isn't as conducive to aging and drying raw leaf."

    It was then that I noticed the pipes hanging from each alien's jaw: a bent Billiard rendered from Plutonian ice, a comet tail Bulldog, and a Hawkbill-esque beauty of galvanized nebula dust. With my nerves beginning to settle, I produced my tobacco pouch and doled out three bowls' worth of pressed flake. "Could I interest you in a bowl?"

    They were ecstatic.

    "This is unlike anything we've ever smoked before," declared one of Xorng's compatriots. "It would be ideal if someone on Earth could provide us with humanity's expert blends."

    Catching the hint, I responded with a sly smirk, "That can certainly be arranged... for a price."

    We discussed the details and sealed the deal with another hand-tentacle-shake. I would supply Xorng with the finest Virginia flakes and English mixtures in the universe, and he would distribute them out across the universe, paying me in return with pipes that are literally out-of-this-world. It hasn't been easy becoming an intergalactic boutique pipe tobacconist, but we've grown at an alarming rate, with customers reaching from the Andromeda Galaxy to Messier 83.

    Only once has my neighbor asked me about the unusual, flattened patches in his field and why I carry large boxes out there every night. I told him that I feed the herd of deer that sleep there to keep them away from his crop. He's ever so grateful.
  • @motie2, I truly admire that Smokingpipes encourages creative writing....makes me want to hang out with them. But every once in awhile, the hammer seems to miss the nail.
  • CharlesCharles Master
    edited July 2018
  • motie2motie2 Master
    From our friends at Smokingpipes.com

    A Mindful Smoke
    Thursday, July 12, 2018 by Rachel DuBose

    Early in my pipesmoking days, I knew little about the tobacco itself. I suspect that's a fact common to a lot of us, in fact — those initial weeks are so busy searching for information, about finding the right pipe, and about the myriad blends available, that we may not stop to consider what goes into those blends. For the new smoker, there are the challenges of testing aromatics against VaPers, fighting off tongue bite, and keeping a light, all of which seem far more pressing.

    Once I had some of those initial challenges out of the way — though tongue bite, it seems, may be a continuing struggle — I wondered what it was that drew me to some blends over others. It was all tobacco, after all. Aromatics, of course, were easy to distinguish. But why, I wondered, was one navy flake so different from another?

    Pipe tobaccos are nuanced — most blends are carefully put together to bring out specific attributes of the leaf contained within. The first step to understanding these nuances was to understand the tobacco itself. I started with an overview of blending components, then took a deep dive into Cavendish, and finally, explored how tobacco ages to become more mellow with time.

    The rabbit-hole was deep. From Cavendish, with its sweet, fragrant components, to the citrusy tang of bright Virginias, there was a lot more than I expected. It can be overwhelming, but I began to change the way I bought tobacco — I looked for complexities in blends with more patience, and my new-found knowledge motivated me to age tobacco before passing judgement. The result was a much better smoking experience because it was a more mindful one.

    That mindfulness, it turns out, is another essential ingredient. Thinking about what we smoke, learning more about what we smoke, and passing that knowledge on to others, is perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of pipesmoking, and why our smoking community thrives.
  • motie2motie2 Master
    edited July 2018
    From our friends at Smokingpipes.com

    Pipe Friendship
    Monday, July 16, 2018 by Truett Smith

    We sat in silence on the patio, watching the fading light make one final show of color before it eased into night. It was this silence or, rather, the comfort within the silence that proved the depth of our 17 year old friendship. Free from the obligating pressure to interrupt the lack of noise, we were simply able to exist in each other's company. That's the sign of true friendship, and it's similar to how we relate to a pipe.

    Adding a new pipe to our collections is like making a new friend, and the process of developing a relationship with the briar is similar to building a friendship. It takes patience and intentionality to get to know a new pipe. Each briar behaves differently and has its own unique characteristics and idiosyncrasies. The process of learning how to pack a specific pipe, the best cadence to use when smoking it, and how to most comfortably hold or clench it, is like forming a friendship with someone, understanding their interests and discerning their personality, sense of humor, and individual mannerisms.

    This process takes time and commitment and doesn't happen overnight, and sometimes it never works out. Sometimes a pipe just isn't right for a certain person in the same way that some friendships don't last or ever fully develop. When all the stars align, though, and a level of mutual understanding is reached, it's a beautiful thing.

    But how do you know that you've attained that level of understanding? There's no code that determines when a pipesmoker reaches a zenith in knowing a pipe, and there's no formula to guarantee it. Every relationship between a person and their pipe is unique, and the time frame of cultivating it differs.

    There's at least one indicator, however. A point is reached when smoking the pipe becomes unconscious — when packing it, lighting it, keeping it lit, and enjoying it become one seamless, natural action. Such a process becomes intuitive only as a result of knowing the pipe. After taking the time to learn how it behaves and what best suits it, time spent with the pipe is savored in a truly unfettered and uninhibited manner.

    It's a subtle, ethereal moment but one that makes pipesmoking all the more enjoyable. The investment of time and deliberate intent reaps the benefit of appreciating each other's company, even in silence. It's at this merging of understanding and comfortable silence that a pipe ceases to be just a piece of briar and becomes a friend.
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