Daddy needs another pipe cabinet

June 16, 2009

During my recent layoff from work, the honey do list was quite daunting, with one of them being making an oak plywood cabinet for the wife.

Well, beings I had scrap pieces left over, I’ve decided to make myself a pipe cabinet of my own.

Not all of the pipes I own are resting comfortably on a stand, rather laying on their side on the shelves. They need a proper home.

I’m designing this to be a 24 pipe rack that will have a lift top storage at the top and acrylic view windows framed in oak plywood.

Here’s where I’m at so far…

Box frame front view for pipe cab.

Box frame front view for pipe cab.

rotated front view

rotated front view

Vintage Kaywoodie Display Case Conversion

June 15, 2009

Vintage Kaywoodie Display Cabinet with fixed front

Vintage Kaywoodie Display Cabinet with fixed front

I scored a Kaywoodie Vintage Display Case from eBay some time ago. It has a fixed front and a small light fixture in the top and the wires were cut.

I debated for some time whether to leave it as it for historical purposes, or turn the front into a hinged door and put some cove moulding in it to use as a pipe rack.

Well, the second option won over and this is what I ended up with. I put a new light fixture in the top and the picture does not accurately reflect the soft ambiance of the light as it shines down on the Kaywoodie Pipes in the rack, but I’m happy with it none the less.

Reworked Display Cabinet with hinged door

Reworked Display Cabinet with hinged door

What does it take to leave a forum?

June 11, 2009

I am proud to be a member of – a grand, if not folksy online pipe forum.

It was started a few years ago from some folks that wanted something more from traditional pipe sites. What we have become is an extremely tolerant, self moderating site with members from all over the globe consisting of both men and women and people of all denominations.

The site offers insight, knowledge sharing and more than it’s share of humor.

We have had some long time, upstanding members leave our site over posts on religion and politics, and to be quite frank, they are sorely missed.

So I thought to myself, what does it take personally to get me to leave a forum that I’ve contributed to regularly and am considered ‘one of the crew’?

Maybe I’m extremely tough skinned, but I see each member as unique, and as long as they don’t intentionally attack other members, or post hurtful content, then I go with the flow and respect their rights to their opinions whether I agree or not.

Some folks follow some untraditional beliefs and values, but who am I to even make that determination? It’s my opinion. These folks have joined the site to share their love of pipes, tobacco and sometimes the comraderie of the forum.

Am I too shallow? Should I give enough of a shit on certain things to walk away if I find a member to be abrasive or making statements that go against my moral fiber? To each his own I guess.

I may be looking at this from the wrong side of moral ethics or allegiance to what I believe in. I certainly respect those that make a stand and decide to walk away. I just find it a shame when folks that I see as good friends walk away.

There – I got that off my chest and thanks for stopping by.

Timberwolf pipes 9-001 and 9-002

June 11, 2009

I had taken a break for a while from making pipes as I was getting frustrated with not providing a ‘perfect’ pipe. With the rudimentary tools that I’m using, I struggle with getting a seamless transition from shank to stem and am really struggling making my own stems.

Last week I decided to just focus on doing the best I can and the rest will come to me.

Timberwolf pipe 9-001 is a briar pipe with a cherry stain. The lesson learned on this one was to be patient and apply the stain, let it set, then sand, shellac, etc… I rushed it and you will see some light spots on the one side. The grain on this pipe is fantastic and I was able to work a little burl into the top of the chamber.

DSC_0024-1 DSC_0025-1 DSC_0022-1

Timberwolf Pipe 9-002 is an Olivewood Billiard. I have seen, on other pipe sites, olivewood pipes and the grain just enamors me.

This pipe has a draft hole that is drilled just slightly off center, and a hairline crack on the top of the shank as I got a little too aggressive trying to get the stem tenon to fit, but it is glued back together and has an effortless draw.

The Olivewood pipes are stunning, but tend to smoke a little hotter than briar as they are not quite as dense.

DSC_0008-1 DSC_0009 DSC_0013-1 DSC_0014-1

Pipe refurb #3 of 7

February 2, 2009

Well, here is part 3 of my 7 part saga in which I took “The Nasty Seven” under my wing and am in the process of giving them some TLC and taking them from toads to princes.

I previously have not gone into how I refurb these pipes as much as I don’t have quality photo equipment as the wifes Nikon D50 (of which I dropped) is in the shop for a fix and I am providing grainy cell phone pictures at best.

I will attempt to describe my process the best I can and then, once the Nikon is fixed, I will document the process in pictures.

Step #1: I start with the stem. These stems have heavy oxidation and residue at the end of the stem. I used a sharp knife to lightly scrape the residue off of the stem. I would then take a 120 grit sand paper and scrub the stem lengthwise up and down the stem taking special care to take out any bite marks and clean up the detail on the button. Once I am satisfied that the scuzz and the stem is smooth and bite mark free, I then use finer and finer sandpaper 300, 400, 600, 800 and finally 1200 grit sandpaper making sure that each successive grit of sandpaper has done it’s job in eliminating scratches from the rougher sand paper. Now, before I buff the stem, I clean the inside draft hole of the stem by soaking pipe cleaners in denatured alcohol and scrubbing the draft hole until the gunk is gone and the pipe cleaner comes out clean. Sometimes, with very dirty stems, you will need to either boil the stem, or plug one end of the stem with a pipe cleaner and fill the stem with a medicine dropper with denatured alcohol and let it sit for a few days and then scrub it with a pipe cleaner. You’d be surprised the gunk that comes out. Nothing worse than tasting some other dudes ghosting…

Step #2: Reaming the bowl. Nows the time to make a big mess and I urge you to purchase a paper mask to cover your mouth and nose. As you will see with many of thse refurbs, the bowls are extremely well caked. If you have a pipe reaming tool, give the bowl the business and scrape out as much of the carbon as you can without gouging the wood. If you don’t have a pipe reamer, use great care with a stout, short jack-knife and remove the carbon but again, I caution you to not gouge the wood of the tobacco chamber. Ream it within a 1/16″ to 1/32″ thick carbon. If you can find a small diameter drum sanding bit that fits into a power drill, use that to sand the inner walls of the smoke chamber. You need to find a way to get the carbon off the bottom of the chamber at the draft hole. I simply Gorilla taped sandpaper to the end of the mini drum sanding bit and sanded it down as far as I could. Once I was satisfied that most of the carbon was removed from the bowl, I used a drill bit that was slightly oversized than the original draft hole in the shank and re-drilled the draft hole which, in turn, removed the carbon from the shank.

Step #3: Denastying the bowl and shank. There are many ideas on how best to removed the rest of the carbon and the ghosting of smokers past from the pipe. What has worked the best for me is to get some sea salt (not table salt), plug the end of the shank with cotton, fill the bowl and draft hole with sea salt and then saturate the salt by filling the bowl with denatured alcohol (most folks use vodka or Everclear). Prop the pipe up so that the end of the shank is at about a 45 degree angle and is higher than the bowl so the mixture does not leak out. Now patience, grasshopper, patience. Let it sit for about 5 days, periodically adding more alcohol to the bowl as it evaporates. After 5-days, dump out the nasty remains and swab the inside of the bowl again with alcohol soak and wear out a dozen or 3 pipe cleaners in the shank. You need to let this dry a couple of days as you will be getting the bowl pretty darn moist.

Step #4: Turning the exterior from ugly duckling to a swan… Many times I am given a pipe that looks like it has been drug behind a truck going down a gravel road for the last 100 miles or so. Chunks of briar missing, gouges, nicks, and a less than appealing visage. I look at the pipe and see if there are things that can be done to clean up the appearance. I find the most opportunities are at the rim of the bowl. They are normally charred and caked from years of use. If I can lightly sand the rim to smooth it out, and then apply carnuba wax, then great! In the case of “The Nasty Seven”, each of the first (3) had rims in such tough shape, it took sanding down the height of the bowl to certain dimensions until the glaring flaws were gone were in order. I try to avoid it at all costs, and I think it’s important to leave some of the flaws as if you think you will take these and make them look fresh out of the box, then you are kidding yourself. In any case, see what you can do without totally reshaping the pipe. For me, sanding the rim smooth, then applying carbuba wax from a buffing wheel to the assembled pipe bowl, shank and stem, will 9 times out of 10 make the pipe look like darn near brand new.

Whew, I think I have typers cramp…

Below are pictures of a meer-lined Whitehall large apple with a thick shank as it looked when gifted to me. Warning: These pictures are not for the faint of heart…

And some “after” pictures. This pipe is one of my favorites as it turned out to be a large “pot” of sorts and is a pleasure to smoke as I almost feel a bond with the individual who last owned and smoked this pipe. You can tell by the before pics, this pipe has been there and done that. I would hope to get a fraction of the serenity and wisdom this pipe has witnessed.

Thanks for stopping by.

Kentucky Club Mixture review

January 31, 2009

Five choice Imported and domestic tobaccos – Turkish, Perique, White Burley, Carolina and Virginia Brights. Slowly – aged pipe mixture. Cool burning, very mild and refreshing, pleasing aromatic. Women love the aroma.

I have been absorbed lately in all that is burley and Prince Albert has been a mainstay as I have mowed through (2) 14oz tubs since mid November.

I have been very happy with what some would call OTC Codger burleys and I wanted to try something new. The local B&M had various tubs of the old school OTC tobacco and once I picked up a tub of Kentucky Club Mixture and read the tobacco’s that made up this perennial mixture, I must say I was intrigued.

I double checked the reviews on and due to the favorable reviews, I added a tub to my collection.

I opened the tub and the note was quite fresh and pleasant with an almost rum overtone. The tobacco was a combination or cube, ribbon and shag cuts mixed nicely into a not too moist blend.

I loaded a bowl into a handmade cherrywood bent dublin and applied flame. It lit quite easily and the first impression was that it was a cool smoke, great room note, stayed lit (I didn’t have to relight once the whole bowl!) and it created a fine whitish gray ash at the bottom of the bowl with very little dottle and no goopy residue as I expected as it is listed as an aromatic.

This tobacco is blended so well together that none of the tobaccos take center stage, rather a very nice ‘mixture’ that leaves the slightest perique sting in your mouth.

A very nice smoke that will give me a nice option should Prince Albert or Rum and Maple ever need a break.

March 2009 Tobacco of the Month (TOTM)

January 30, 2009

The website community that I belong to ( has developed, through hard work by Rick Piatt, a Tobacco of the Month selection and the criteria this year was “tobacco’s you want to try, but haven’t yet”.

March’s selection is Cornell and Diehl “Captain Bob’s Blend” blended by our very own Captain Bob.

Captain Bob's Blend

Captain Bob’s Blend
A blend of Virginias and Burleys with just a dash of Latakia and Perique and finished with a refreshing flavor.

Now Captain Bob has suffered through some good natured ribbing as he has a “grape” flavoring lightly added to this mixture, but by the reviews as of late, it is sure to be a mainstay of many a pipe smoker.

I will be providing my own reviews of each TOTM.
Thanks for looking.

Pipe refurb #2

January 30, 2009

I have recently completed refurbishing pipe #2 of  The Nasty Seven.  This pipe is an Olde London with a carved bowl.  My first opinion of this pipe is “that bugger is so ugly, I’m not sure I want to salvage it”.

It goes to show that anything you put work into earns a spot in your heart as it is one of my favorite smokers as it’s draw is effortless and it has a relatively deceiving large bowl.

A few ‘before’ pics:

Now the ‘after’ pics:

As you can see, I had to ream the bowl just a little bit bigger and had to take approximately 1/8th inch off the top of the bowl.

I like the looks of the top rim of the bowl as I sanded it down and just added carnuba wax with a buffing wheel.

This pipe has earned a spot in my daily lineup.

I learned a lot from this exercise. I learned not to judge any pipe by just it’s looks. Clean it up, fire up a smoke, and then make your decision. These pipes were in such tough shape as they were VERY well used – and for a reason – they are exceptional smokers!

My next entry will be my recovery of a meer-lined Whitehall straight apple that too has become a favorite smoker.

Thanks for stopping by.

Refurbishing some Estate Pipes (1 of 7)

January 2, 2009

The “Nasty Seven” as I call them were gifted to me from a friend from Being new to pipe crafting, I thought it a good idea to try my hand at refurbishing.

This gentleman obviously loved his pipes, but I’m quite sure a pipe cleaner or reamer was never sold within a hundred miles of his residence. I had my hands full as these pipes are heavily caked, the bowl rims are either coated in gunk, or severely cracked or chipped. The stems were very dirty and oxidized. Basically, “The Nasty Seven”…

Below are some of the pipes with “before” and “after” pics.
The first being a Dr. Grabow Westbrook pickaxe. The biggest flaw on this pipe was the large chunk missing from the upper bowl.

Well, after a lot of scraping, reaming, sanding, cleaning and some cussing, I present to you the new Grabow!

This is post (1) in a series of (7). I’m having fun with this trying to see I can do with these pipes.

Timberwolf Pipe 8-003

November 17, 2008

This is my third pipe. It is made of Osage Orange with a purpleheart shank extension. The stem is vulcanite hand made with a delrin tenon.

My goal as an established pipe crafter is to make classic shapes and make them flawlessly.

Right now I am experimenting with the wood medium and just going wherever the block or grain takes me.

This started out as a volcano of sorts, then morphed into a bent brandy – of sorts. This block was gifted to me by Chris Reynolds of RI. a.k.a “ckr” on and “ckr” as well on Chris has become a good friend and mentor who is helping me get off my feet by gifting me supplies and sending advice and encouragement. Many thanks Chris!

Anyhow, I’m hooked and there is no going back! Your burden now on this site is to incessantly follow my path from a rank amateur pipe crafter to an establish artist of the briar.

Below are pics of Timberwolf Pipe 8-003. Thanks for looking.

8-00a 8-003c 8-003d 8-003b

The last picture is just to compare it in size to pipe 8-002.