Wood House Pipes
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It is difficult to describe exactly how much I enjoy making my pipes. They are definitely a labor of love. Each pipe is as unique as the fingerprints on your hand. It excites me that every nondescript, dirty looking block of briar that each pipe begins their life as, holds within it the potential something truly special. While a pipe is just a tool for smoking in some people’s minds, those that get it, realize they are much more. A functional tool, yes, but also a treasured possession and even, displayable piece of art that if cared for properly, can be handed down generations.
When introducing my passion to others, the conversation inevitably begins with a confused, but fascinated response,
“You make what?”
“Pipes, like wood, grandpa pipes?” Their hand motioning toward their mouth as if smoking a big, extravagant calabash or something along those lines.
And so the story goes…
I guess it’s only appropriate that “grandpa pipes” is how a lot of people envision traditional briar pipes in this day and age. And honestly, that’s kind of how it began with me too, in a very roundabout way.
To tell the truth, I actually take it as a compliment that many people consider traditional briar pipes, grandpa pipes. Some of the wisest, most sophisticated, honest, classiest, and greatest individuals I know or have been told stories of are grandpas. Grandpas, fathers, uncles, great-grandfathers, or simply older, either in age or in character, mentors… Real men who have had a truly positive, lasting impact on peoples’ lives.
The roundabout part comes into play a couple Christmas’s ago when a group of friends I have the pleasure of knowing and spending time with here in Chicago held our annual Secret Santa gift exchange.
And I suppose I should also come clean about the small fact that I have the less than desirable luck of being the most mature… ok, ok, oldest person in our merry band. Hence, my friend’s loving (I can only believe) decision to dub me, Grandpa. And as a proper Grandpa, she must have felt that I needed an equally proper pipe. Low and behold, I was gifted a magnificent, pocket sized, handmade, briar gem. What a wonderful gift! My very own, very first pipe.
Being an inherent tinkerer who always looks for an excuse to keep my hands busy, the old, rusty gears began turning in my mind and I somehow concluded that it would be fun to try and make something like this beautiful thing I held in my hands. The sweet, rich aroma of the tobacco attracted me, but the complex birdseye and striking grain of the briar intoxicated me.
After a bit of Google’ing and a bunch of research, I made the acquaintance of a wonderful gentleman and professional pipe maker who also sells high quality ebauchon and plateaux Grecian Briar blocks and other raw materials. At that point, the ball just kind of started rolling, Wood House Pipes (a word play off of my last name) was conceived, and here I stand today.
My pipes are truly handmade, using only a drill press, coping saw, a few hand files, a Dremel, six-inch stationary sanding disk, a buffing wheel, and a wide assortment of sandpaper. They are all created in a dusty corner of a small, shared loft space here in Chicago that has finally afforded me the space and proper environment to create a usable, albeit quaint, pipe shop.
Every Wood House Pipe also has the option of including a handmade linen pouch I designed in collaboration with and that is made by FoxTail Art. They are the perfect companion to your pipe and offer a safe way to store and transport your pipe, as well as organize your accessories, all without the clumsiness and bulk of a hard case. And of course, they look spectacular too.
I appreciate you taking a few moments out of your busy day to stop by, peruse my pipes, and get to know a little about Wood House Pipes. And be sure and check back every now and then to see what new additions I’ve added too.
Kind Regards, Peter