Manuel Shaabi was an apprentice wood sculptor and cabinet maker when in 1979 he left his native Lebanon, emigrating to Bavaria where he continued his wood-crafting trade by creating custom furniture and doing restoration work for churches and cathedrals. He eventually returned to school, perfecting his work to such a degree that his final project, a finely-crafted trunk, earned him an offer as an instructor. He came into pipemaking as many others with similar backgrounds in woodworking have - to find greater freedom for his creative urges. It's something that is reflected in his choice of shaping, with a few classics here and there, but a whole lot more freehands, hybrids, and novel variants.
- Eric N. Squires