Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Great Blog!

I can't imagine that there is anyone who reads this blog that doesn't already know about Neill Archer Roan's fantastic A Passion for Pipes blog, but just in case (and for your sake gentle reader) I want every pipe enthusiast to know that it is a must read. Every entry is well worth your time and effort. Neill currently has a great post on the differences between various tools for pipe lighting, matches, zippos, butane lighters. It's really fascinating. And another very cool part of this particular entry is the fact that the photo he has as a header in this one includes a Two Cousins Pipe Rack! Thanks Neill.  -T

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Horse of a Different Color

Thanks to our pal Kurt out in Colorado, I had the chance to make a San Francisco '35 pipe rack in a different color. It's a nice dark green w/ an off white storage area. I think it turned out pretty well and Kurt seems pleased. -T

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Just for me

I just built a new rack in my studio and I'm pretty pleased w/ it. It's a work in progress, as is everything in my studio. If it's there, whether it be paintings, furniture or whatever, it's subject to me tinkering w/ it. The really great thing about this rack , besides plenty of storage room (those black rectangles at the bottom are drawers- sorry for the poor photo), is the fact that I now have room for about 35 more pipes! :~) So feel free to buy a new pipe rack from us and I'll pass the money on to a worthy pipe maker! -T

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

David Enrique

I bought my first David Enrique pipe less than a year ago. Someone on Smokers Forums had posted a link to David's website and I was blown away by his work. I took some of the money I had squirreled away for the Chicago Pipe Show and contacted David and commissioned a sandblasted Pencil Shacked Liverpool. When I received the pipe a couple of months later, again I was blown away. It was beautiful! And incredibly light weight. But ... It seemed too thin. The bottom of the bowl seemed thin. I wondered if the draft hole was centered through the long, oh so thin shank. I emailed David and told him of my doubts. He emailed back and said "It's fine. Smoke it". I wasn't convinced, but I figured I was covered if something proved defective. I smoked it. I smoked it again, and again. It was great. Everything worked great. No problem. The bottom of the bowl didn't get hot or threaten to burn through. The draft hole did it's job to perfection. I was pleased - more than pleased! I was happy with my new pipe! And that's a wonderful feeling.
I continued to watch David's website (daily). He hardly ever puts new pipes on his site. Commissions seem to keep him busy. But then late in the summer he put several pipes online. I resisted (as best I could) but to no avail. He had a black Belge that was too cool. It wasn't the kind of pipe I am normally attracted to, but something about it  ...was too cool. My one concern was that it was a sort of "stack". A long deep bowl. I've never had good luck w/ this type of bowl. They smoke great for the 1st 1/2 of the bowl and then I can't keep them lit after that. But this pipe looked cool and I wanted it. When it arrived I was still a little more than concerned that it might not smoke as well as another shape. I was wrong to worry. It smoked fine from the get-go. So 2 pipes from David and 2 home runs.
The 3rd pipe ( yes, 3 pipes from one maker in less than a year!) is the Prince Silex ( I'm told silex is french for flint). This one is from David's Gamma de line. These pipes are made from very old pre-drilled stummels from pipe factories in St. Claude (where David lives). David then finishes the bowl and hand cuts a stem to fit. They are not a truly hand made pipe, but a hand finished one. The prince Silex has a lucite stem and once again I had a concern. I must be turning into a real curmudgeon. I emailed David and asked if the bit would be as good as his hand made pipes. He said it would be good, but that the Gamma de was not meant to be the same as his Accord (hand mades) and the pricing reflected that. Long story made short- it arrived and again it's great. The bit on the Gamma is as good or better than many on higher priced pipes I've owned.
So what I'm driving at here is- I will never question David Enrique again. This old curmudgeon is  firmly convinced that if David makes it, it will be a superior pipe and I will be very happy with it. -T

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Lives of a Bengal Lancer

I came to this book by way of the 1935 Gary Cooper movie of the same name. I thought the book would be an exciting bit of adventurous fiction. It's not. It's a more subtle adventure. Francis Yeats-Brown actually lived the life he wrote about. At the beginning of the book he writes," I was nineteen and a half. A year before I had become the trusty and well-beloved servant of His Majesty King Edward VII. Two months after receiving my commission I had sailed for India." At a tender age he came into contact with a world of horror, danger, ennui, human degradation, wonder, religion and magic. This is a memoir well worth the read. Yeats-Brown lived a full life and it's a wonderful privilege to be able to tag along. Great with a pipe and a whiskey and soda. -T
p.s. The movie is good too!