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  • It was pretty easy to find on smokingpipes.com, but here's my first smooth, Dolomiti 311KS, short Savinelli poker.  I'm breaking it in this very day:

  • motie2motie2 Master
    edited September 2018
    Essay on the origin of pipes from our friend Al Pascia:


    <<An object does not magically appear out of nowhere. It takes years, centuries and even thousands of years of fine tuning before an object assumes its final form, whether invented or the result of chance, and there is always room for future improvement. The idea itself of the object may change in unpredictable ways over time as contexts, purpose, materials, production and channels for its circulation vary. The object’s evolution, together with that of so many others, becomes an important aspect of History.

    Canarian islands - recent manifacture We are familiar with the history of the briar pipe, but what is interesting is its forerunner in clay, which was fashioned in a continent that had just been discovered and which was brought back to Europe by merchants and adventurers. However, the concept of the pipe itself reaches much further back in time, when groups of people gathered round a fire of sacred herbs and inhaled the intoxicating smoke,  when they first started to use small pipes to draw in the smoke more easily, and later, but still long before the arrival of Christopher Columbus, when they realized that the leaves of certain wild plants had some rather interesting properties.

    These plants were originally from the Americas, today classified as Nicotiana belonging to the Solanaceae family, specifically from Central America and Southern Mexico. But they were also to be found in the Caribbean, Cuba and the Bahamas, where the Genoese explorer first landed in 1492 convinced he had found India.

    The members of the expedition came across so many strange sights, in particular “certain large dried leaves” offered by the natives as precious gifts. Two sailors that were sent to investigate for a few days observed “ many people, men and women, who were going to their villages, with a firebrand in their hand, and herbs to drink the smoke thereof, as they are accustomed”. This is recorded by Columbus in his journal, who was baffled by this curious local custom. Then one of the sailors decided to try this “firebrand”.

    C. Columbus on 1 Dollar Banknote from Bahamas From what is later reported we get a better idea of the phenomenon: “They wrapped dried herbs in a dried leaf, which formed a kind of tube…they lit it at one end, sucking in and inhaling the smoke at the other end… These tubes … they called tabaccos”.

    So the “tabaccos" referred to the tubes, not the plant, which was already called “petun” by the natives. The term may have been onomatopoeic, mimicking the sound of lips when smoking and then taken up by Europeans in scientific discourse. In any case, the word “tobacco” stuck and became synonymous of the plant itself. On the other hand, although the petunia is related to the tobacco plant and has wonderful flowers, its leaves have no particular properties.

    The use of “tubes”, and pipes that Europeans came across in other parts of the Americas suggests that it was similar to the more familiar modern concept of tobacco smoking, but there is no certainty here. The phenomenon of “smoking” has always existed in various forms, especially in the past, and attempting to explore this further has led to contradictory theories based on archaeological excavations, ancient texts, and the customs of populations that in modern times lived or still live in remote parts of the world.

    blossom of a tobacco plant In the beginning there was fire, of course. Prometheus’ gift was at the heart of the community and its rituals. The smoke that rose up and faded away held sacred properties, and if certain herbs or vegetable substances were burned so much the better for communication with another world, the people, priests or shaman achieving a state of total abandonment more easily.  As for the myth of Prometheus, the story goes that his brother, Epimetheus, attracted by the smoke rising up from the fire that Prometheus was about to steal from the gods took a straw stalk and started to inhale it.  In the 5th century BCE Herodotus described the Scythians inhaling cannabis smoke, most likely during funerary rites. They would throw cannabis seeds onto heated stones and inhale the smoke “so delighted that they shout for joy”. Ancient populations, such as the Mayans, were familiar with smoking (probably tobacco) and at Palenque (Mexico) there is a bas-relief in a 6th century BCE temple depicting a priest in ceremonial attire smoking through a tube with smoke billowing out through the end.

    In ancient times such customs were recorded throughout the world and above all played a social, magical, religious and also therapeutic role. In Europe, as well as in Africa and Asia, various plants were burnt and then inhaled, such as hemp, coltsfoot, lavender, henbane, oregano, thyme, mint, verbena and incense. Moreover, Roman “pipes” have been discovered in various parts of Europe (although there is some debate about dating here) and a fresco at Herculaneum depicts women smoking “pipes” . Here we should ask what purpose these objects really served, in what context, and what types of herbs were used. It is highly unlikely that tobacco was used, as it has never been found on archaeological sites, nor in written records. Moreover, it seems rather strange that such an important and widespread custom seems to have been forgotten in Europe until the 16th century and that the tobacco plant, if it really did exist before Columbus’ discovery, became extinct. On the other hand, evidence of pollen from the tobacco plant has been found on sites in Yucatan, suggesting that it existed as early as 15,000 years ago in the Americas.

    If it is true that tobacco and the devices for smoking it are closely related, the origins of the pipe should be sought in the Americas, without forgetting, however, that the development of the pipe as we know it today also occurred in other parts of the world.>>
  • From our friends at Smokingpipes.com

    Verse and Virtue
    Monday, September 17, 2018 by Truett Smith

    Before I was allowed to get my driver's license at 16, my father decreed that I must first memorize and recite Rudyard Kipling's poem "If—." For those unfamiliar, its three stanzas are written from the perspective of a father to his son, encouraging him towards self-differentiation, humility, and all the virtues that make one an upstanding, honorable person. I did as instructed, albeit a bit grudgingly, and while I may no longer have every line perfectly memorized, I still carry the poem's theme and message with me daily, symbolized by the slender plastic card currently in my back pocket.

    It wasn't until years later, after I had started smoking a pipe, that I reflected upon Kipling's verse in the context of pipesmoking. While the hobby is not a virtue in and of itself, the standard to which the poem's father calls his son is one that pipesmokers can appreciate. Smoking a pipe takes a level of commitment and dedication, cultivating personal discipline as one learns the idiosyncrasies of packing, lighting, and cadence.

    Reflection and self-care are also major aspects. Lighting up a bowl often results in taking time to pause and consider one's life — trials overcome, joys experienced, and character traits tended, such as the ones promoted by Kipling. Since he was an avid pipesmoker himself, I can't help but imagine the idea for "If—" coming to Kipling during a particularly contemplative smoke, with him later penning the lines as he puffed away. It's in this vein and from a similar pipe-clenching posture that I offer this fourth stanza in response to the Englishman's unrivaled three, written specifically with pipesmokers in mind...

    If you can pack a briar and keep it lit,
     Without concern of onlookers' gazes
    If you can talk with candor yet keep your wit,
     Allowing for others' piping phases;
    If life's hard lessons spur you toward virtue,
     As smoke tendrils rise with humility,
    Then yours is the pipe, with peace sure to ensue,
     And—which is more—this bless'd community!
  • From our friends at Smokingpipes.com

    Making Sense of Scents
    Thursday, September 20, 2018 by Daniel Bumgardner
    "Hey — smell this."

    The phrase is an all-too-familiar refrain around here, a product of my colleague Adam Davidson's proclivity toward olfactory investigation. Often, it's tobacco, be it a pipe mixture, snuff, or a cigar, but it could also be smoked brisket, collards, or even a Japanese candy — really anything in which he was able to discern some theretofore subtle aromatic characteristic. Once allowing for a cursory whiff, Adam solicits an analysis. Typically, when one fails to identify the note in question, Adam says something like "braised lamb sprinkled with thyme, followed by a glass of top shelf cognac" and lo and behold — the smell of a lightly smoked 1960s Tanshell will be transfigured into the tantalizing fragrance of a gourmet meal.

    Whether or not Davidson is performing some sort of phantosmic hypnosis on us, this exercise certainly seemed to ignite my interest in aroma as something of a recorded history etched into the ether. Encountering old pipes at yard sales, I've been able to pretty easily determine what types of blends the original owners preferred, as the smokey spice of an English mixture or the sweetness of an aromatic can pervade the briar even after decades have passed. This has made for something of an additional dimension to my perception of the past — a scent-powered time machine, if you will.

    It is said that aroma is the most powerful catalyst for stimulating the memory. Years from now, I imagine my progeny may eagerly inquire about some blend unfortunately long since lost to time. I'll peer over the edge of my spectacles before turning my gaze to the most wizened smokers on my pipe rack. Selecting the appropriate briar, I'll gesture with the bowl, and utter the only explanation necessary: "Smell this."
  • Additives in Pipe Tobacco

    Just as the actions of a few bad apples in a large group can taint the public conception of all its members, due to the revelations about some of the substances used in the manufacture of cigarettes, people seem to believe that the additives used in pipe tobaccos are similarly harmful. The truth is, beside the fact that, in general, pipe smokers don’t inhale the smoke, the additives used are very different. I’ll use this blog post to explain about what’s in many pipe tobaccos other than tobacco.

    Flavorings- There are two types of flavorings used in tobaccos. The first type is called a casing. Pretty much any blend that contains Virginia or Burley tobaccos have been cased. These flavorings aren’t used as much to add taste or aroma as to mitigate any negative properties of the raw leaf. Burley, for example, has a bit of a sour note, so sweeteners may be added, such as molasses or licorice, mixed with water and steamed into the tobacco. The sweetener won’t be noticed very much, but it keeps the tobacco from becoming unpalatable. Once the casing is applied, the tobacco then needs to be dried out a bit.

    The other kind of flavoring is called a top dressing and is used for aroma and flavor purposes. These are flavors much like those used in making food, but when producing top dressings, the fluid that carries the flavor is usually alcohol. This is so the flavor can be applied without having to run the tobacco through the drying chamber again. The alcohol simply evaporates off.

    Humectants- Humectants are agents that help keep moisture levels consistent in tobacco, but they’re also used in food products that can dry out and go stale. There are a number of substances that can do the job. Some sugar alcohols, primarily sorbitol and xylitol, do the job, but caution has to be used as these are quite sweet and can throw off the flavor. Others that don’t impact flavors include glycerin and the one that is most commonly used: propylene glycol. They work by absorbing moisture from the ambient atmosphere.  These are all food-grade additives and are considered safe. Without them, it would be virtually impossible for the tobacco to remain moist in anything other than a vacuum sealed container for more than a week or two.

    Antifungals- These additives exist to keep moist tobacco from becoming moldy. There are a number of safe products that are use to stem the growth, and this is important as there are mold spores virtually everywhere.

    There are no additives being used to keep the tobacco burning or to raise the nicotine levels. In this regard, pipe tobacco and cigarette tobacco are very dissimilar.

    Please understand that I’m not saying that there are no risks involved in smoking any form of tobacco. What I am saying is that pipe tobacco is nowhere near as treated and manipulated as cigarettes, and as such shouldn’t be lumped together, but the anti-tobacco zealots want to do so because it would be easier to completely eliminate the industry than it would be to differentiate between cigarettes, premium cigars, machine-made cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, moist snuff, snus, nasal snuff, etc.

    Regardless, there are fewer additives in pipe tobacco, and they’re generally safer than those used in the mass-manufactured products.

    If you want to make sure that the tobacco you smoke is at its optimum, some things outside of tobacco need to be present, but they may well be safer than some of the chemicals added to the processed foods we eat. Go figure.

  • Interesting stuff at Rebornpipes.com

    Restoring my Grandfather’s………what the..….. A Kaywoodie?????

    by rebornpipes

    Blog by Paresh Deshpande Yes!! That is what exactly my thought was, when I looked closely at the small pipe in my hand that I had selected as my next project for restoration. Those who have read my previous write ups on pipe restoration would know that I have inherited a large number of pipes […]

    Read more of this post

    Restoring My Grandfather’s Kaywoodie “Super Grain” Bent Billiard

    by rebornpipes

    Blog by Paresh Deshpande I had just finished restoring a Kaywoodie Handmade ¾ bent Apple pocket pipe that I had found in the pile of pipes inherited from my Grandfather. The next pipe that I have selected for restoration is again a Kaywoodie, but a Bent Billiard with a 4 holed stinger, also from my […]

    Read more of this post

    Giving New Life to a Duncan Mini Bent Foreign Made Pocket Pipe

    by rebornpipes

    Blog by Steve Laug Not too long ago I received an email from through the rebornpipes site. I am actually getting quite a few emails each week which I find a pleasure to read and answer. They range from questions on restoration to those regarding estate pipes. This one was interesting to me in that […]

    Read more of this post


    He may have been inspired by a picture in a museum or a book. The painting depicted a Renaissance nobleman with a proud, aristocratic bearing, a certain Ser Jacopone. The name ‘Jacopone’ was too serious, and it was better to shorten it to Jacopo – “Ser Jacopo: that’s what we’ll call our company”. This was back in 1981 or 1982 and at 38 Giancarlo Guidi was at a major turning point in his life.

    Born in Pesaro (central Italy) at the end of the war, Guidi cultivated two great passions: pipes, which he had discovered at 16, and all forms of creative expression. He studied at the Ferruccio Mengaroni Art Institute, pursuing in particular training in Applied Arts, which was the pride of his city’s artistic tradition. He then acquired further skills in majolica and glazes,  a centuries-old craft tradition in Pesaro. However, he soon realised that his greatest creativity lay in pipes, which he loved to smoke while relaxing.

    In 1970, when he was 26, he worked for two pipe manufacturers in the Marches. One that had been founded in 1968 in Recanati by Igino Moretti arising from the ashes of a company that dated back to the 1800s; the other a company that had also been established in the 19th century in Castelfidardo,  but had then transferred to Loreto after 1945, with the intriguing brand name “Non canta la raganella” (“the tree frog doesn’t sing”). He spent some further time in the north of Italy near Varese, the other important centre for pipe makers. He also set up his own workshop with a few tools and simple, second-hand equipment – band saw, disc sander, and belt sander – with which he practiced making pipes.

    However, this was not a good period for pipes, as production was still based on traditional, obsolete standards and companies were wary of the innovations that arrived from Denmark.  Although eager for refreshing ideas, Guidi had encountered few during his work experience. Nevertheless, he had become sufficiently proficient in the skills involved and believed that industrial manufacture of the same traditional shapes prevented any enhancement of the infinite varieties of whimsical grain patterns to be found in briar.

    There were others in Pesaro who thought the same. Dissatisfied with what the market offered, and seeking innovation, several wealthy, resourceful pipe smokers began to consider a new type of quality Italian manufacture that would provide them and others with more exciting  pipes. They sought a specialist, and found Giancarlo Guidi. The result of this project was the  Mastro de Paja company, established in 1971.

    Entering as a partner and director of production, Guidi wasted no time and in 1972 the first new pipes left the workshop. Although he was initially an almost unknown, talented but inexperienced pipe maker, in a few years he managed to become highly skilled, through trial and error, eventually becoming an internationally recognised master. This was not only thanks to his creativity and technical expertise, but also to the fact that he was brilliant at finding new, promising, talented craftsmen.  The company’s quality of production was extremely high, and even inspired the “Scuola di Pesaro”, Pesaro School of pipe making. The most skilled craftsmen left to set up their own businesses, leading to more diverse products. Subsequently, after ten years the partners began to have different points of view concerning the future management of the company, and when he was 40 Guidi decided to go his own way.

    In 1981 he left Mastro de Paja, and had to start anew with his few, simple tools with which he had begun his pipe making career. However, this time he was highly experienced and internationally renowned, and was also assisted in this new adventure by Bruto Sordini who had been with him since 1974.  It was at that time that Guidi thought up the name Ser Jacopo, or Ser Jacopo dalla Gemma, which is the complete brand name for the company that was established in 1983. Sordini subsequently left the company in 1988 to launch his own independent brand. In this period Guidi wasted no time and soon his pipes enjoyed immense popularity. His inventions and intuitions that had been developed while at Mastro de Paja were developed and perfected, thanks to his never-ending source of creativity.   He succeeded in recreating an aura of artisanal aristocracy that very few pipe makers are able to accomplish. Other expert craftsmen who spent some time with Guidi then went on to the now renowned Pesaro School. However, at a certain point Giancarlo Guidi had to stop.

    When faced with certain diseases reactions can be very different. In this case Guidi threw all his remaining energy into ensuring that the future management of the company would continue smoothly after his death. Since he passed away in August 2012, Ser Jacopo dalla Gemma has continued to produce fine pipes, guided by Maurizio Fraternale, formerly supplier and then Guidi’s partner. The pipes “invented” by Giancarlo and continued by Maurizio never cease to amaze and are instantly recognisable.  But what is Ser Jacopo’s secret

    In order to understand Guidi’s work and legacy, his training as an artist needs to be taken into account, which means paying close attention to history, classical forms, connections between various artistic expressions that all combine to make up the features of his work. Another point is his artistic and technical mastery when working with different materials. Briar was the wood he preferred to use, insisting on the best Extra Extra quality briar plateau wood blocks, inventing exclusive treatments for curing and aging, adapting the shape to the grain and doing everything he could to highlight it in the best way possible. Then there were the gems, precious metals, horn, bone, and exotic wood used to add countless exquisite mounts,   all different and perfect that provide a unique style to classical shapes, which are all, needless to say, handmade.

  • PART 2

    (continued from previous post)

    Any self-respecting pipe maker expresses his artistry in the creation of special series, and Ser Jacopo is no exception, offering an astonishing range of original products:

    From the older series we can mention Renaissance, 1984, which was designed exclusively for the American market and is an excellent reinterpretation of ultra-classical shapes; Calabash was first produced in 1996, whose special goose neck shape meant having to use a special drill to bore a hole in the shank;  La Pipaccia, 1996, which was inspired by the pipes that seamen from diverse provenances  smoked in the port of Pesaro; Domina, introduced in 1996, which  each year has a new, perfectly crafted shape; Compta, introduced in 1997, perfect classical models that Giancarlo Guidi said were the most difficult to produce.

    Distinctive and famous, the Picta series is a collection of pipes inspired by paintings by famous artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, René Magritte, Pablo Picasso, and Joan Miró. The Calumet series offers four different models in very limited numbers that recreate the shape and traditions of the Native American pipes. There are two different models in the Luciano series that interpret the Kalabash style. Millennium owes its name to the year 2000 and as its name suggests you will have to wait 1,000 years to see another masterpiece.

    Iucunda has been treated with a top secret  oil formula, which provides a particularly smooth, sweet smoke. Delecta, Pulchra, Flatus, Imago, Melolontha, Cymatium are all names that describe the special mounts. For example, Cymatium recalls the shape of a capital. The Leonardo da Vinci pipes provide a cool smoke, based on a pipe designed by the great artist and technician.  Albus et Niger are distinctive owing to the contrast between the dark bowl and white methacrylate stem with a double sterling silver mount. The Historica series reinterprets an old design by Guidi in a modern style.

    The Gem series has a limited production and is still the ultimate perfection in pipes in terms of craftsmanship and high-grade quality briar. What makes these pipes so refined is the precious gem set in the stem enclosed by an 18-karat gold band. The type of gem (emerald, garnet, sapphire, ruby and diamond, the latter the king of this series) indicates the quality grade.

    Ser Jacopo pipes are generally produced in three finishes (rusticated, sandblast, smooth) and various colours. Apart from the Gem series that have date codes, the other pipe series are difficult to date. The only helpful indication is that prior to 1997 the mouthpiece featured a red coral dot, sometimes enclosed in a silver band. In more recent productions the red coral dot has been substituted by a silver letter “J”, the exception being the Gem series which is identified by a precious gem enclosed in a gold band, and the entry level La Fuma series which features a red dot, but no longer made of coral.

    Ser Jacopo pipes are all inscribed with the following: Fatta a mano (Handmade) and the motto Per aspera ad astra (Success comes through hard work). The larger pipes are stamped Maxima, or even Maxima Maxima for the extremely large pipes.
  • From our friends at Smokingpipes.com

    The Wreck of the H. L. Hunley
    Monday, October 1, 2018 by Rachel DuBose
    The H. L. Hunley, an early submarine serving in the American Civil War, sunk three times, though only one of those sinkings is of interest to us.

    On February 17, 1864, the Hunley launched an attack on the USS Housatonic outside of Charleston, South Carolina, detonating a spar torpedo against the hull of the sloop-of-war, and sinking it in only five minutes. The Hunley sank in the attack as well, lost to the bottom of the ocean until its discovery. On August 8, 2000, it was raised for the first time in over a century.

    The items pulled from the wreck painted a picture of the eight volunteer crew members who lost their lives in the attack. Amongst those items was a $20 gold coin belonging to Lieutenant George E. Dixon, which supported a long-held legend that the coin had saved him from death during the Battle of Shiloh — and indeed, the coin bore an inscription to that effect. More interesting, perhaps, to us as pipesmokers, were two pipes found in the wreckage — one clay, the other of wood.

    The most likely owner of these pipes, as determined by researchers, is a seaman named C. Lumpkin. Although his history is unclear, he was European-born and middle-aged, and his love of smoking is obvious. Notches had been worn in his teeth through the act of clenching his pipe, the deeply-bent, wooden Billiard artifact seemingly perfect for such a purpose.

    The Hunley was not a ship that could allow smoking, especially when submerged. The inclusion of such items in the ship, therefore, leads one to assume that they were important to their owner — whether as some of the few items he owned, or as a source of comfort, or both. It's a discovery to which I think many of us can relate, in fact — that, no matter what happens, we should never be without our favorite pipes.
  • Tobacco: An Origin Story

    Monday, October 8, 2018 by Daniel Bumgardner


    Around this time of year, as the weather gets slightly less abusive in South Carolina, a pensive mood takes hold over my senses. Some might attribute this to the upcoming celebration of Halloween, but nonetheless, there is something of a magical allure to the liminal season. Traditionally, those October celebrations commemorate the results of spring and summer's hard work, and mark an opportunity to reap the benefits of the annual bounty. As pragmatic as I claim to be, I'm charmed by the idea of otherworldly attribution to the Earth's natural gifts. Especially tobacco, of course. 

    The Wabanaki tribe of Northeastern North America have an interesting story for the origin of our favorite leaf. According to legend, tobacco is a gift from God, known as Tabaldak, but for some time, the stuff was guarded on an island by a selfish magician named Grasshopper. Gluskabe, a common hero in Wabanaki tradition, sought to retrieve Grasshopper's cache, believing tobacco should be enjoyed by all. Arriving at the island, Gluskabe gathered all the bundled leaf and seeds, along with Grasshopper's pipe, still smoldering by the fire.

    The hero returned home, but not before the evil magician, from the bow of his flying canoe, furiously demanded the return of his leaf and seeds. Gluskabe, however, was steadfast. Grasshopper implored, but the magician could not be trusted. Gluskabe rubbed Grasshopper between his hands, and the villain became very small. Still, he begged for seeds so that he could replenish his smoking supply. Gluskabe relented, if only slightly, deciding to give Grasshopper enough to enjoy in his lifetime, so he stuffed some into his mouth. The wizard pleaded to be returned to his floating vessel, but the hero instead split the back of Grasshopper's coat, giving him wings to fly, but in a less threatening fashion. To this day, the magician still flies around, chewing his mouthful of tobacco, but if you happen to pick him up, he will spit the stuff into your hand, seemingly out of respect for Gluskabe's lesson.

    I considered this legend as I raised a flame to my pipe the other night, the flicking of my lighter intermingling with steady, muted chirping in the distance. Curls of ribbon folded in something of a sacramental salutation, and as several light wisps dissipated into the air, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. I reached toward the visitor, beckoning to join me for a smoke. Immediately, however, the old magician decided to share his own stash with me, whether I wanted it or not.

  • From our friends at Smokingpipes.com

    First Pipe
    Thursday, October 11, 2018
    by Truett Smith

    I received my first pipe during Spring Break of my senior year of high school. My father, brother, and I spent the week-long hiatus in the Ozark mountains, backpacking the Buffalo River Trail. It was a farewell trip — a last hurrah, of sorts — as I was soon moving to college in Massachusetts, far away from my Indiana home. After days of hiking, fishing, camping, we concluded the adventure with a celebratory bowl of Captain Black, and my dad passed on to me one of his three pipes: an unstamped, Tanblasted, bent Egg that he had bought from a tobacconist in Cambridge, England.

    Weeks later, that bent Egg hung often from my jaw. With graduation coming soon, I spent many a night lost in thought on the front porch, the only light coming from the embers as I drew in smoke. It was a dance, of sorts, as the briar kept me rooted in the present even though my thoughts were far from it.

    Years after that adventure in the Ozarks, the bent Egg still accompanied me, illuminated by the single street lamp under which my roommate and I would share a smoke. Me with a pipe, him a cigarette, we updated each other on the latest news in our lives, the latest heartache or arresting thought, the latest book or glimpse of beauty we'd experienced, all while the smoke intermingled and pirouetted above.

    The pipe was there, again, when I graduated college and once more found myself awake till morning, contemplating careers, friendships, and adulthood. Though life was moving rapidly and changing faster than I could keep up, that bent Egg remained constant, unchanged and unmoved (except by perhaps a more darkened rim).

    In one sense, my first pipe was an anchor to which I could secure myself and ground my mind as the rest of life's unknowns swirled around. Like the mast of Odysseus's ship, that briar was a solid foundation to which I could tie my thoughts, keeping them from Sirens' calls lest I throw myself overboard in panic. In another sense, though, it was a simple yet heartwarming reminder of my familial roots. Such symbolism prompted me to hold fast to who I was when I felt battered and lost in life's overwhelming uncertainty.

    I still have that pipe and hope one day to continue the tradition of passing it along, prolonging the briar's life of prompting reflection and offering peaceful respite. To be fair, that bent Egg isn't the best smoker in my collection, nor does it always find a place in my rotation, but it can never be replaced and will never be an estate on someone else's rack. There are many rites of passage within this hobby: trying a new tobacco blend, adding a new marque to your collection, letting go of a pipe for the first time. But receiving your first pipe is like none other.
  • mapletopmapletop Master
    edited October 2018
    Interesting shape and size for a Dunhill, reminds me of a piece of obsidian. can't say I find it attractive.

  • From our friends at Smokingpipes.com

    Dog Days

    Monday, October 15, 2018 by Rachel DuBose

    I haven't had a dog of my own for a while, so I was excited to spend the weekend pet-sitting my friend's. An eight-month-old mixed breed with fluffy ears, she has more energy than the North American power grid, and uses it mainly for chewing. Within a day, both of my flip-flops had been destroyed, along with an ethernet cable, a chair leg, and some linoleum (it was ugly anyway). This dog needed to burn some energy. I put in a call to another friend, and we set off for the dog park the same afternoon.

    We hovered along the edges of the park, shivering in the unseasonably cool South Carolina weather, while our dogs chased each other through the grass. My pipes were safely hidden in a box at home — a safety measure after the carnage of my shoes — but Mitch had his hanging from his jaw while he watched. There were several large gouges in the side of it, and I frowned at the sight of what had once been a lovely, smooth-polished briar.

    "Did you fall in a wood chipper with that thing?" I asked.

    He took it from his teeth, studying the side for a moment. "Bombie got ahold of it," he sighed.

    I nodded in sympathy. "I'm surprised you're still smoking it."

    He shrugged and looked up. Bombie and Sadie were wrestling under a tree. They broke apart, sitting still for a moment despite their hard panting, before shooting off for a corner of the park. "I can't blame her for doing dog things. I've got a pipe with some character, and learned a lesson."

    I nodded again. I'd had to replace several of my tobacco jars over the past year, after all, with ones that wouldn't break when a spiteful cat knocked them off of the shelf. Living with a dog was not dissimilar — a different set of requirements, but the same theory. And after all, I had been only a touch angry the first time my well-aged flake had been ruined by broken glass. It's hard to stay angry in the face of an animal's wide-eyed gaze.

    I watched the innocent joy of happy dogs playing. "Just got to keep an eye on the tins next," I said.

  • @motie2


    So glad you posted that here so we don't have to actually go to smokingpipes.com to find it....

  • @pappyjoe
    I don't get it. Maybe the meds are making me stupider than usual?
  • From our friends at Smokingpipes.com

    Rain and Tobacco

    Thursday, October 18, 2018 by Chuck Stanion

    Recent hurricanes have reminded me of a particularly tenacious rainy season I experienced in my distant youth. I was employed as a hod carrier at the time, hauling bricks, stones, cement and other supplies for masons. We stopped work as the deluge started flooding everything. I didn't keep track of time, and it was difficult to tell night from day, but it rained nonstop for about a month and a half.

    As the waters quickly rose and people fled, I found an abandoned boat and took refuge. It was only 15 cubits long, so there wasn't much room, but it had a small enclosure and was better than treading water.

    I don't mind doing without food, mental diversion, comfort or companionship, but there are rare deprivations no human should endure — among them, unsmokable tobacco. I tried building a fire on board, but the waves and wind and blinding torrent of rain conspired against me. There was no way to dry my soaked tobacco.

    After a few days of boisterous muttering and complaining, I thought I heard waves crashing. Paddling blindly for most of the night, I eventually bumped into a solid wall of gopher wood rising into the dark clouds. Maybe it was the perimeter of a mountaintop city that hadn't flooded. I searched until I found a rope dangling from above and began climbing.

    Reaching the top, I discovered it was some kind of boat, about 150 cubits long and filled with supplies, including every kind of animal I could imagine. Whoever was running this thing must have some exotic tastes in meat.

    More important, I found barrels of dry tobacco. There was plenty, and I admit I helped myself to a handful. Desperate times.

    I tied my little boat to the ship so I wouldn't float far from it, and revisited several times for tobacco resupply — until I was discovered. I had decided to reduce the number of trips by securing an entire barrel of tobacco. I had rolled it across the deck and hoisted it up onto the railing when an occupant of the boat discovered me. He appeared to be about 600 years old, but he was a tough old guy and grabbed me by the scruff of the neck. "You aren't on the passenger manifest," he said.

    "Under the unusual circumstances, maybe it could be amended?"

    "Oh no," he said, "it comes from the highest authority. And what is this? You're stealing my tobacco?"

    I took that opportunity to give the barrel a push and it dropped from the rail into the sea. The old guy blinked, and then he pitched me overboard.

    I found my boat and tobacco barrel and paddled away from the inhospitable boat. I now had enough tobacco to last, so it didn't matter. Besides, a couple of weeks later, the sun came out and the waters receded.

    The occupants of the mysterious boat were also there, and I spied on them because they had tobacco and I meant to get more. Over several months, they built a compound and planted crops. All the animals had been released, so I had to dodge tigers and wildebeests and the like (kangaroos, for some reason, loathed me) but I maintained the surveillance until I struck upon a plan.

    When the strangers' grapes ripened, I stole enough to apply some of my own skills to make wine, which I left for the strangers as a diversion or token of friendship, whichever worked best. But the old guy found it and drank it all himself, eventually passing out, so while he slept I grabbed a year's supply of tobacco and some tobacco seeds.

    There was some kind of ruckus as I was departing. Something about the old guy's son walking in on him sleeping. I didn't want to get involved and bolted.

    I planted my tobacco seeds and raised a fine crop. It took a few years, but things returned to normal, and my tobacco supply never again disappeared.

    When I saw the recent hurricane-generated rainfall, I was afraid I might have to do it all again, so I had a 15-cubit boat ready, with plenty of tobacco on board, but the precaution was unnecessary.

  • Russ at P&C has a new blend out, or it sounds like an old blend that has been brought back. Eau de Vie is the name.
  • I found this out on another forum, and thought others would enjoy reading this. Pipedia has posted PDF scans of Pipe Lovers, A Magazine for Men Who Enjoy A Pipe. This is an old magazine that was published in the late 1940's. Someone gifted the site the entire run, and they're currently uploading scans of each magazine when they can. I'm looking through the first issue right now, and it's an incredible look into the past. There are letters to the editor, cartoons, art, articles, and even custom pipe tobacco recipes. If you're a nostalgia nerd like me, you'll love reading through the issues.

  • motie2motie2 Master
    edited October 2018
    I should have bid on this unique combo, instead of the (stupid) adjustable Carey I won.....
    Vintage Chacom Silverway 816 & (unique) Carey Magic Inch Link and Hard Nylon Stem Cross Grain Briar Billiard Pipe France Silver Band made in France. 

  • MangoandyMangoandy Master
    edited October 2018
    Enjoyed reading the Jan 1946 issue of Pipe Lovers Magazine in the link you provided. Loved reading about this new wick they created in 1946. @motie2 was mentioning his love for wicks in the Scorched Thumb thread. No petro taste from the butane lighter, but I'd stay away from these wicks! :)

  • The thing to look for is "hemp wicking"
  • From our friends at Smokingpipes.com

    A Change Of Seasons

    Monday, October 22, 2018 by Joe Lucas

    Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year. I waffle back and forth between summer and fall, my opinion usually based on whatever season I'm in. While in the middle of summer, I'll usually accept that season as my favorite. After years of this repeated pattern, I've come to a conclusion. I'm really a fan of the change in seasons, regardless of what those seasons are.

    Seasonal change ushers in new experiences, new wardrobes, types of food, and for some of us pipesmokers, a change in tobacco. This is the time of year that I typically start to rotate in more Burley and English blends. This year has been no different. The other day I packed my bowl with an old favorite, a Burley forward blend that I haven't smoked since February. It was fantastic. I sat, sipped on coffee, and puffed away on a blend that I decided I smoked far too infrequently.

    This isn't all that unusual, though. English blends tend to go through the same seasonal rotation for me. While it's not unheard of for me to load up a bowl of Blairgowrie in the summer, this is a tobacco that usually ends up front and center in my rotation starting in October.

    I think this is what I really like about the seasons changing. It's not just the weather. It's everything. Long forgotten favorites that haven't been enjoyed for too long. My shorts and flops have been traded in for a comfy pair of jeans and a worn out hoodie. Burleys and English blends replacing my Virginias, if only temporarily. These are the times of the year when we all rediscover favorites and break through the routine of the last few months. Yes, I think this is my favorite time of the year.

  • @Mangoandy Oh no, I hope no one seriously used that. Talk about a terrible product in hindsight.
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