I’m a relatively simple guy with simple tastes. I like things with character. Predominately that’s because things with character have been used. Useful things, or even unlikely things, are my favorite kinds of things, in fact. The pipes I tend to smoke are pipes that, most often, I have made from unlikely, but useful materials. They had some kind of flaw or blemish but were perfectly fine for my needs.
One of the unexpected expenses in pipe making is the surprising number of flawed or blemished material components (namely, ebonite and briar). When combined with the human element (lots of screw ups), this can make for quite a pile in the “boneyard“.
For years, I’ve been asked if I would consider selling some of my “factory rejects” at a discount. I was initially reluctant to do that, as my goal has always been to put out the very best product I can, in exchange for someone else’s hard-earned dollars. The idea of selling something that’s not the “best“ seemed unpalatable to me. However, as the years have gone by and the requests have increased (as well as my “pipe boneyard”), I finally decided to acquiesce.
Thus, the “shop grade” pipes are born. These are each made 100% by hand, by me. They’re good smokers, for sure. They simply didn’t make the cut, for reason or another. For example, sometimes an ebonite rod will have minor aesthetic defects (air bubbles, strange discoloration, etc), or the briar may have an unsightly inclusion or perhaps I didn’t drill it as flawlessly as I would have liked. Again, these are the pipes I’ve been smoking for years. They’re great! They work. They’re useful, yet unlikely. The perfect Shop Pipe!
I don’t make a lot of these, nor do I take “commissions” for them. They come about when I feel like making them and with the finishes and styles that are what they are. If you’re in the market for one, first check my “Available Pipes” section. If nothing appears to be available, shoot me an email . I’ll add your name to the list. As they come available, I will let this list know first. These will each be priced below $300.
I’ve now expanded the Shop Grade class to include simple pipes, hand-made by me, with factory-made acrylic stems.
How to tell them apart (stamp markings):
Like my high grades, each shop grade pipe will be marked with my logo and the year, but in place of my hand-signed initials, there will be a differentiating marking. The 100% handmades with flaws will have “XX” marked on the pipe in place of my initials. Those with acrylic factory stems will have an “S”.