Give and Take
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30 July 2012

Give and Take
 Newsletter Introduction for Monday, July 27, 2012

Part of my job here at Smokingpipes is to inspect new pipes as they arrive at our offices. Given the huge numbers that come through, others help me with this process on factory pipes, but I still closely inspect all of our artisan pieces. Every once in a while we get a pipe that has a small defect the carver might have missed. When this happens, we let them know, and I've yet to have any maker get upset when a pipe needs to be returned. The artisan's name is stamped on the pipe, and therefore has as much vested interest as we at SPC do in making sure you, the customer, receive a product of the highest quality.

Occasionally during this process, I do offer praise and critique, pipe maker-to-pipe maker. Every single artist we carry has learned from someone else's options for color, construction, proportion, and craftsmanship, either directly or through visual understanding via the internet or pipe shows. Jeff Gracik (of J.Alan pipes) is a driving force in American pipe making not only because he makes great pipes, but he is also willing to help other makers perfect their craft. Jeff learned from other makers, and in turn is just as willing to share his own acquired knowledge of what makes a good pipe great. US pipe makers are very fortunate to have so many people in the business we can consider friends and mentors, who are not only willing to honestly critique, but tell us how to improve our craft. The result? We have a lot of pipes that are well-made, beautiful, and that a pipeman (or pipewoman) can purchase with confidence.

To this note, Artisan carvers Michael Parks and Chris Askwith each have lovely, finely constructed, charming pieces available tonight. You will definitely want to see what these guys have! Other wares, from Radice, Tsuge, Castello, Peterson, Savinelli, Butz-Choquin, and Vauen, round out the new briars, while thirty-six estates from Italy and England are waiting to be re-discovered. For cigar lovers, Romeo y Julieta have new sizes and blends. Least we forget, Peterson not only has two new aromatic tobacco offerings, but the pipe bags and pouches to fill them with!

Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector Adam Davidson: Quality Control & Pipe Inspector

Posted by adam at 4:00 PM | Link | 3 comments

Re: Give and Take
Hello, is think to sell those little defected pipes? I'm a student and would not give 200$ to a Claudio Cavicchi but, maybe 120$-150$?

Posted by Can Sarac on August 13, 2012 at 6:29 PM

Re: Give and Take
Well, not really. There are two things at work here: a) Pipe makers (and us) don't want pipes that aren't up to snuff out there. b) Most of the sorts of problems Adam is referring to are eminently fixable. We send the pipe back, problem is resolved and on life goes. Let me give an example (and this has happened a few times with a number of top pipe makers):

A few weeks ago, we received an amazing batch of pipes from Danish pipe maker X. They were excellent in every regard. We were oohing and ahhing; we were delighting over them. Then they went from me and Adam to Pam, at which point she noticed that a couple of them didn't have the maker's stamp. We packed 'em up and sent 'em back and the pipe maker, slightly embarrassed, stamped and returned them to us. It's an easy last step to miss on one of ten pipes if you're stamping them all at once. You've already done your final quality control.

Most of the problems that we catch are like this: very minor, fixable things, but not things you want on a finished pipe.

Posted by sykes on August 13, 2012 at 10:45 PM

Re: Give and Take
Actually, as an aside, I think Adam actually caught something like this (it was either stamping or something equally minor) on one of his own pipes after he'd brought them in to us. He promptly returned them to himself (and I, as a good friend and colleague is wont to do, mocked him mercilessly for not passing his own QC routine)...

Posted by sykes on August 13, 2012 at 10:48 PM

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