Trey Rice Pipes

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Since childhood, Trey Rice has always been interested in creating things, from designing LEGO worlds, building forts in the backyard, woodworking, and enjoying a career as an architect to handcrafting premium pipes. The same principles involved in architecture drew Trey to artisan pipe making: crafting a physical, usable object that's both functional and aesthetically profound. As he says, "Pipes have a lot in common with architecture; they both share dynamic of form and function."

Trey's foray into pipe smoking and pipe making began on a camping trip in college when a friend introduced him to the hobby. In seeking to purchase one for himself, though, he found that those that appealed to him most weren't attainable on a college student's budget. Thankfully, his extensive experience in woodworking motivated him to make his own pipe, and he purchased a box of briar blocks online, using hand tools, sandpaper, and his father's drill press to carve them into functional smokers.

In his own words, "That first pipe was pretty ugly," but it smoked well enough to encourage advancement, rather than halting his interest. Thanks to online pipe-maker forums, Trey's skills improved, and soon he was making pipes for friends and even receiving sales requests from friends of friends. Eventually, his pipes were selling in a local tobacconist.

Visiting fellow artisan Tyler Beard, though, catapulted Trey's craft to a higher level, coupled with his acquisition of a lathe and space for a fully equipped workshop. For years, he had crafted pipe more or less in a vacuum, and Beard's tutelage not only introduced Trey to new methods but also affirmed the foundational processes he had already acquired; there wasn't a need for unlearning any detrimental habits. Moreover, attending numerous pipe shows exposed Trey to the work of other makers, providing constructive feedback, growing his aesthetic eye, and motivating his crafting potential with new ideas and techniques.

Today, Trey crafts pipes in Burleson, Texas, just outside of Fort Worth, and his personal style merges his own creative outlook with the design staples of Danish, English, and other American makers. Rad Davis was an especially notable early influence for Trey, as well as the work of Todd Johnson and Jeff Gracik, and like many makers, he appreciates the aesthetic contributions made by Jess Chonowitsch, Bo Nordh, the Ivarssons, and Tom Eltang. He also professes a fondness for historic English marques, looking to old Dunhill, Sasieni, and Comoy's catalogs for further inspiration.

Trey's pipes are always fitted to hand-cut stems, and he most often uses black vulcanite but occasionally opts for brindled vulcanite or Bakelite. He fashions any silverwork adorning his pipes, with boxwood, masur birch, cocobolo, ox horn, musk ox horn, mammoth, and Ivorite also making appearances. An avid pipe smoker, Trey is an ardent VA/Per aficionado, with St. James Flake, Scottish Flake, and Temple Bar ranking among his favorites, and as a self-proclaimed "serial hobbyist," he also enjoys golfing, duck hunting, gardening, fishing, and other types of woodworking.