In The Workshop With Claudio Cavicchi

It's always a treat to be able to visit pipe makers in their workshops. Sykes and I make a lot of stops while traveling, and since most pipe makers have a workshop in or at least adjacent to their home, we're not only fortunate enough to be able to curate the best possible selection of pipes straight from their source, but also to spend time sharing meals and drinks with the craftsmen. This past month, while in Italy, I was able to pay my first visit to Claudio Cavicchi's home, which not only meant spending an afternoon looking at some incredible pipes, but also my first taste of his wife Daniela's legendary Lasagne, and it was incredible. The finest I have ever tasted (sorry, Mom). After lunch I had a chance to chat with Claudio about his work and what he's been up to:

Any new shapes that you're fascinated with lately?

I really like to make pipes with plateau; I probably make too many! But as long as people still want them, I'll continue to explore shapes featuring it.

You've been known to use a wide variety of accent materials. Are there any materials that you've started using more recently?

Spalted Beechwood. I was walking in the woods close to our home in the mountains looking for mushrooms when I found a lot of trees that were cut years ago, but left in the forest. My first thought was to take some of the wood back to the house for firewood. When I got home I stared to cut the larger pieces and found a very pleasing grain pattern, which reminded me of the Tamarind that I've used in the past. It's very difficult to get stabilized tamarind and it's likewise difficult to import, so I tried the Beechwood and thought the results were great! Since it was so old when I found it, it was very dry and very stable. Lightweight and easy to work. I'm only using the smaller and the most beautiful pieces. Even if the Tamarind was stabilized, it often had cracks inside or unattractive patterns. Since I found so much of the Spalted Beechwood I can be extremely picky and only use the most beautiful pieces.

The quality of the briar you use has also been talked about quite a bit. Can you tell us a little about your briar?

I personally visit and select briar from various briar cutters here in Italy, but most of my supply comes from Tuscany, Liguria, and Calabria. All of my briar is aged for a minimum of three years before entering production. The tricky thing is that I prefer to find the right block , at the right age, to produce a lighter-stained smooth, because briar will darken naturally over time. Of course, good quality briar tastes great at any point once it's been properly cured.

If you're interested in our trip, below you can find a gallery player with more photos from our visit to Claudio's workshop.


    • Joe Thornton on June 24, 2016
    • I really enjoyed this Cavicchi article as I have several of his pipes and love them, both for their beauty and economy!

    • Anthony Magarello on October 9, 2018
    • I was impressed by the great number of briars, smooth and blasted, with excellent grain.

Join the conversation:

This will not be shared with anyone

challenge image
Enter the circled word below: