Give and Take
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