Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blue Riband Commission

Several months ago I received a phone call from friend and pipe collector Neill Roan. He was looking for a pipe rack for his growing collection of Comoy Blue Riband pipes. He felt it might be a project that I would find fun and interesting, and he was right. I spent way too long thinking about the project- to the point of Neill having doubts about my interest. Finally, I decided to jump in and do it. This seems to be my best way of operating. I finished the rack in time to bring it to Neill at the Richmond pipe show. He was kind enough to write about the rack on his Passion for Pipes site. I don't get this kind of press often- I figured I'd better milk it for all it's worth. Thanks Neill. -T

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I started smoking pipes years ago. I bought my first pipes as many of you did, from a Tinder Box in the local mall. For years I smoked cheap pipes and was happy. Then I discovered Ebay and the thrill of Olde England got the better of me. I was entranced by Dunhill, Sasieni and Barling. Unfortunately I couldn't afford the good stuff. I was only able to win the pipes that no one wanted. They were beat up or from the wrong time period. As my finances increased, or I suppose the truth of it is, that my schemes for diverting money towards pipe purchases got better, I became enamored of of the Danes and then the German pipe makers. But I have always clung to a fondness for England. Sherlock Holmes, smoking jackets and wood paneled libraries- what's not to like? And then along comes Neill Roan and his passion for Comoy Blue Ribands. Once again I felt the lure. But I didn't want to become a pipe historian. I didn't want the thrill of the chase. I'm an American. I want what I want ...NOW. At the Richmond show, I was fortunate to stumble across Jim Craig and his son. Jim has taken over the Ashton name. I had of course heard of Ashton and had even had a lovely conversation w/ Bill Taylor at the bar during the Chicago show some years ago. But Bill's pipes were just too large for me. but now, here in Richmond, was a table full of English pipes that seemed just right for me. I had a hard time deciding which to get. In the end I picked up the small bent billiard w/ silver band shown above. It's a fine little pipe and a really wonderful smoker. I think my problem has been solved. I think I am now an Ashton collector - on a small scale anyway. -T

Monday, October 11, 2010

Smokin' Holsters

I've been looking at Neil Flancbaum's pipe bags on his website - Smokin' Holsters - and every year at the Chicago Pipe Show and while I loved the bags, none of them seemed quite right for me... until a month or so ago. Neil made a bag that looked almost identical to one I had drawn and I thought it was the perfect pipe bag... but now I had decided I needed one 1/2 the size of my original ideal, so I contacted Neil to see if a 1/2 bag was possible. He said "sure", and proceeded to make me exactly what I wanted. The bag is great! It easily holds 4 pipes, 2 or 3 tobacco pouches, a couple of cigars and my small notebook I carry every where. It really is "The Perfect Bag". I can't praise it or Neil's workmanship enough. -T

Friday, October 8, 2010

What was I thinking?

OK- it's not like I don't have other things to be doing, but somehow I became just a little obsessed with making a stonewall pipe rack. My wife says it looks like a storybook rack. Maybe I could sell it with bubble pipes for kids ... sort of get them in the pipe habit. Probably not a socially acceptable idea. -T

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Back from Richmond

Mark and I made it back from Richmond a couple of days ago. We had a great time. We camped at Warriors Path State Park on the way up and at The Cedars of Lebanon on the way back. Between camping and the pipe show, it was sort of like going on two separate trips. Needless to say we did a lot of pipe (and cigar) smoking. We saw several old friends in Richmond and made several new ones. I especially enjoyed our evening with noted pipeman, author & publisher, Gary Schrier. What a warm, friendly and funny guy! It was a wonderful trip. The CORPS group puts on a great show. I recommend it to any pipester. -T