Like fine guitars, saddles or hats, high-grade pipes are both functional and art. Each of my pipes is unique, as it has been made individually and by my own hands. These pipes are sometimes planned, but often the decisions I make regarding their aesthetic appearance are made “on the fly”, as I go.
While prices can vary, greatly, I must say that ALL of my pipes are guaranteed to have proper mechanics and provide the ultimate in “high grade” smokability. Prices and “grade” markings are simply measurements of the pipe’s aesthetics and/or design.
A general price guide:
Artistic and Adorned Pipes
Artful Sandblasted Shapes
Simple Smooth Shapes (modest grain)
Some Adornments: Bamboo, Horn, Brass, Cumberland Stems,
Tormenting, Shank Rings, Reverse Calabash
Uniquely exquisite and/or interesting pipes, both Smooth and Sandblasted
“Pirate Grade” *
(see “My Grading System” below)
“Anchor Grade” **
(see “My Grading System” below)
My Grading System:
I’ve been asked frequently about the “grading system” I use for distinguishing my “best” pipes from the ones that, well… aren’t the best. For a while I was reluctant to have a grading system because my goal with each pipe was to make it better than its predecessor. However, this isn’t realistic. Some pipes just turn out “better” or “worse”, despite your meticulous attention or honed processes.
** “Anchor Grade”: Early in my pipe-making endeavor, I created my high grade stamp, which I dubbed the “Anchor Grade”. I had made a pipe that was, hands down, the best pipe I’d ever completed. I decided it was worthy of a distinct mark. As my quality and trained eye have continued to grow, my standards have continued to rise, as well. What I’m looking for in a pipe that would bear the Anchor mark is near perfection. I’ve now made hundreds of pipes and, to date, have only made a few Anchor Grades. These are rare and special pipes.
* “Pirate Grade”: In constant pursuit of the elusive Anchor mark, I recently became frustrated with pipe after pipe that was so nearly worthy of the it, but for one reason or another just didn’t cut mustard. These were excellent pipes, just not as “perfect” as I had hoped. But, these pipes were so nice that I felt they needed a “consolation prize,” of sorts. Thus, the “Pirate Grade” was born. Like an unruly, thieving Pirate, a tiny sand pit, weird grain or uneven soaking of stain, etc, had robbed these great pipes of their near-perfect status. The Pirate Grade is a special pipe and also rare, but not as rare as the Anchor.
Returns and Guarantee
Commissioning a custom piece (whether a pipe, tool, cabinet, leather good, etc) is a very personal thing. Aesthetics and taste are all over the map. If you commission a certain design, I will do my best interpretation of that shape or design, but please be aware that no two are identical and I often add my own artistic flair to a piece. In rare cases, one may not be satisfied with my work. For these instances, I offer a return policy on all pipes and other products. The policy is broken down into two categories: Aesthetic Appeal and Function.
Function: If your pipe (or other product) has a malfunction of any sort, you may return it (unsmoked) for a full refund (minus shipping/insurance) within 7 days of delivery. If it has been smoked or is beyond the initial 7-day period, you may return it for repair or replacement within one year of purchase.
Aesthetic Appeal: Before making payment of any kind, you will receive photographs of your completed pipe for your approval. This is done to help eliminate this “return” category. On occasion, however, one may approve the photos, but upon receipt, there may be some sort of dissatisfaction with the pipe’s appearance. If you should find an item does not meet your aesthetic needs, you may return it within 7 days of delivery (unsmoked) for a 70% refund. You will be responsible for the shipping cost of the return. Beyond the initial 7-days of receipt, the pipe belongs to you.
* Commissioned custom projects: A commissioned project can be incredibly special, both for the client and maker. For me, there are often elements that go far beyond the “crafting”. The hours spent trying to uniquely design the right piece can sometimes go way overboard, and even the sourcing of materials can take me late into many nights. Because there can be so much dedicated time and expense in the creation of a commissioned project, deposits are often required along the way and full payment is absolutely due upon completion. Should payment be delayed more than 30 days after completion, 50% of the total project price (paid in deposit) is forfeited. Additionally, a 10% monthly interest will be applied to the total, until fully paid.