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1. The Calabash Project
703TM -NFS
704TM: -NFS
706TM - NFS
708 -NFS
C 07270
C 14262
C 54611
C 63230
Folding your Pocketmod
Other News
Pipe 10: NOV06 -SOLD-
Pipe 11: DEC06 -NFS
Pipe 12: DEC06
Pipe 4: OCT06 -SOLD-
Pipe 5: NOV06 -SOLD-
Pipe 6: NOV06 -NFS
Pipe 7: NOV06 -SOLD-
Pipe 8: NOV06 -NFS
Pipe 9: NOV06 -SOLD-
Buy TM Pipes etc.
TM Pipes, The Shop
Thos. Martin
Shaping The Stummels
Monday, 20 November 2006
Pimp My Pipe
Topic: Other News

This pipe was in a box of stummels. I busted out the meerschaum lining, engraved my son's initial in each of the three "panels," and quick-fitted a stem. It now holds about a bushel of tobacco!

Posted by thos.martin at 8:39 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, 25 November 2006 4:39 PM EST
Sunday, 19 November 2006
Diamond Volcano
Topic: Pipe 7: NOV06 -SOLD-

So far: It seems like "Vulcanite" is a good stem material for a "a" but I am tending toward acrylic having experimented them recently in what I like to call "Pimp my Pip.e" More on that later.. . Anyway, as a smoker I prefer the vulcanite because Im a biter, but as an artist I am moving towards Cumberland stems and Acrylic.

Posted by thos.martin at 11:51 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 19 November 2006 12:01 PM EST
Saturday, 18 November 2006
Transition to Completion
Topic: Pipe 5: NOV06 -SOLD-

Sold to Jessup, Maryland 

This pipe, started out with an architectural influenced freehand, and became a taper an 1/8 Bent Tapered Brandy, or as the prince of Whales called them; "Cognac."

Pipe five is a more organic, in process and in result. It is more of a gourd shape and I am surprised how much of a an influence the bottle gourd ended up being... Organic even in its rim as it is slightly "depressed" in front to rear center. Neither is it entirely round at the rim.

 The life of pipe 5: Freehand>> six sided billiard>> four sided flat paneled square billiard>> Brandy. I learned that making a freehand pipe, you must not overplan it, to force a shape on to the wood is what making classic pipes is all about; not neccesarily a bad thing.

In fact, I believe that the reduction of mass produced pipes to freehands has taken away from all of our appreciation of the classics. Similarly, it has driven the price of Plateau up, and Ebuchon down. The best article to understanding what makes for good briar was published in 1985 by Pipe Smoker Magazine and written by R.D Field. If you take the time to read it you might noticed that the author places several variable even before whether or not the briar is Ebuchon or Plateau. Age of briar, contributing to tightness of grain is more imortant than whether or not the briar is Ebuchon or Plateau. He doesn't speak to which country yields the best wood, but he does place the gender of the plant as being more important than from what part of the root ball the piece was cut.

He even states that if you consider the weight of the wood to be important, with lightness being better, than you might want to consider the rootball from a male plant. Pipe 5 is a long but light pipe. Pipe 5 Lite if you will. But I can't imagine specifying female briar when placing an order. Do the harvesters or mills even know the gender of the plant. Fact is Female briar is tighter grained, denser and therefore heavier. If you smoke hot, you might want a heavier pipe more resistent to burnout. Anyway.. 

 In my opinion, that to make a freehand is like righting a story. the classic shapes are the grammar, the language of pipemaking and I need to better learn that language. In a way freehands a bit to easy.

With so many classic shapes: round bowls, cylindrical bowls, bulldog shaped bowls, Conical Bowls, and Brandy glass shaed bowls like this pipe , the possibilities are endless. If the shapes are the grammar, than the other variables are the vocabulary. Those variables are length of shank & stem:

Shape (oval, round, square, diamond). Height of bowl, Rusticated or smoothe, wall thickness, Stem material, Stained or natural, Carbonized bowl or not, height of bowl, typ of bit, mounts or not, bent or not. How much? 1/8, 1/4 , full...Who made the pipe, from where the wood was obtained, age of wood...

You get my point, the opportunies are endless, even with the classics. Even a freehand shape is becoming a classic. The volcano is becomng a classic freehand shape. Wow! That said, Pipe 7 will be a volcano.Read about in Topic "Pipe 7." There will be surprise and I promise you it will be most original, at least I have never seen anything like what I have planned!


Posted by thos.martin at 10:14 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006 9:43 PM EST
Friday, 17 November 2006
Its nothing like what I had in mind...
Topic: Pipe 5: NOV06 -SOLD-

After three hours of shaping, Pipe 5 has taken on a new life. Its tending toward a classic shape, and away from a dutch-like Freehand. But I think you'll like it. I'm loving it.  Pictures Saturday, you'll ee what I mean.

This man thinks it a good idea.


Posted by thos.martin at 11:01 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006 11:13 PM EST
Thos.Martin Spokesduck
Topic: Other News


Posted by thos.martin at 10:58 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006 11:01 PM EST
On Briar
Topic: Other News


There's Comfort in the Classics 

Pipe six is becoming more traditional and less freehand. It is inspired me to "tend toward the classics."  I have ordered a 7 blocksampling of Vintage briar milled in the 40's. That's old wood!

'06 will bring But one more freehand. of the volcanoe variety. But...


Good news for members of the Growth Ring. If you've purchased a pipe in '06, you could be eligable to trade up for one of these...

Concerning the Freehands

In 2007, I will be buying 1st grade plateaux blocks from Corsica, Tuscany, or Sardinia via the purveyors to :

  • Dunhill, Stanwell
  • Nording
  • Bang
  • Peterson
  • Radford's and,
  • Brebbia

These pipes will be high end and will need to be priced accordingly. They will feature primarily Cumberland Stems and banded with either:

  • Snake Wood- Looks Like Snake skin
  • Olive Wood- Seems Biblical, and is often used in pipecrafting
  • Rose wood- Beautiful, reminds me of the wid beach rose...
  • Cebrano- As seen on the Dash of my Mercedes!
  • Palm wood- (Not so much)
  • Boxwood- I await a 19th Century pipe from China for Research, used to make entire pipes; stem and stummel.
  • Possibly also Banded with: Silver, or synthetic Amber


Posted by thos.martin at 10:15 PM EST
Thursday, 16 November 2006
The Trouble With Rustication
Topic: Pipe 5: NOV06 -SOLD-

 The trouble with rusticatation is that the pipe looks like sh!t before it looks good. this pipe No. 5 is looking less and less than what I had in mind. That's not neccesarily a bad thing. It is what it is.

The grain at the top of the bowl is in a twirl sort of pattern. as I went with that, my plans started going up in smoke, literally. I am relying a bit too heavly on "removal by rustication," but I was affraid I would have enough wood. At least this will end up a study in texture. Three different textures: Smoothe. burnt umbra (you'll know what i mean when you get the pipe,) and the Castlerock Teture I love so much. Itsa color and a texture.

So today was a tough day. Got some done on the pipe. I was able to work on it at lunch, and before supper. I cleaned the work bench, tinkered with another pipe I'm working on for myself, yadd yadd yadda This piep will be  halfway beween a freehand and a classic, kind of like a billiard on steroids. The handle sticking out of the tobacco chamber is primarily for handling purposes (what else,) but it also helps prevent the bowl from splitting when in the vise or while working on it. In this case its not much of an issue because it is my intention to keep the walls thick. 

Posted by thos.martin at 8:59 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 16 November 2006 9:16 PM EST
Wednesday, 15 November 2006
Cindy Crawford
Topic: Pipe 5: NOV06 -SOLD-

So, I spent time fitting a new stem to the pipe, then shaping the shank to match the stem. So far the sand pit/blemish has not gone away and I started to think... Cindy Crawford has a "blemish" on her face but she's smokin'.  I wouldn't throw her out of bed, and likewise I won't throw the pipe in the wastebasket either. That's just crazy!

Posted by thos.martin at 7:01 PM EST
Tuesday, 14 November 2006
Topic: Pipe 5: NOV06 -SOLD-

Here you see Pipe 5 taken shape after the coping saw. The top will be round, and then there is a hip where it squares off a bit. see prior castle pics posted.

The shank will be sanded and the bowl will be rusticated per the method peculiar to me. I need to work a new stem as this one's tenonn is too small in diameter for the mortise.

The shank does have a sand pit which may or may not go away during further sanding and shaping. May not. There remains a lot of wood giving it a bulky appearance. This is needed to accomodate rustication. Also note no post yesterday as I take Monday nights off!

Posted by thos.martin at 7:28 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 14 November 2006 8:36 PM EST
Sunday, 12 November 2006
Now for the Fun Part . . .
Now Playing: Shop Pipe // Rum tobacco
Topic: Pipe 5: NOV06 -SOLD-

...I'm still loving the shop pipe (Pipe 3) but the rum tobacco is so wet I added coke and a couple ice cubes, removed the stem, inserted straw and enjoyed it that way...

(left) To drill the holes, I make sure I have some straight edges to work off of trying to keep the smoke hole at a right angle to the tobacco hole (unless a little tilt is part of the design as in this pipe.) Since I drill by hand I need to keep the hand drill level (the drill has a level built in.) I keep the bits parrallel with the attached square, and I make sure the Briar is level in the vise.

(right) The bits are shown in oreder used. The long bit is for the smokehole. The paddle bits are are for the tobacco hole. They increase from size from left to right; 5/8" - 1". The last three are round at the bottom. Lastly is the bit for the mortise; where the pipe accepts the stem's tenon. That bit is a PIMO tool which squares the shank as well as drilling the hole.

Once the stem is fit to the stummel, I need to countersink the mortise too, a crucial step for a snug fit. I also use a special PIMO bit for this to be pictured later.

I am looking forward to shaping the Stummel,




Posted by thos.martin at 1:16 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 12 November 2006 7:52 PM EST
Saturday, 11 November 2006
Roughin' It
Topic: Pipe 5: NOV06 -SOLD-

Here's your pipe and my dog. She HATES the workshop. 


Posted by thos.martin at 8:02 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 12 November 2006 1:04 PM EST
Thursday, 9 November 2006
Pyrography on Gourd (not calabash)
Topic: Pipe 6: NOV06 -NFS

I mentioned the influence of my pyrographic experience on Pipe 6: Here is an example of my previous work:

Its called "Find the River," and is in a private collection. The gourd is filled with Barley.

Posted by thos.martin at 9:06 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 14 November 2006 7:42 AM EST
Pipe Five Materials Have Arrived
Topic: Pipe 5: NOV06 -SOLD-

Your briar has arrived. I have sketched out the rough cuts but I have also erased the markings. I need to sleep on it. But.. The stem has begun to take life; the tenon is cut! I am going to re-mark it tommorow. I feared taken away too much briar.

Meanwhile have a look at a couple of Native Flutes I carved before taking up pipes:

Posted by thos.martin at 9:05 PM EST
Tuesday, 7 November 2006
Shelock Holmes Pipe Club
Now Playing: Ardor Fantasy// miscellaney
Topic: Other News

Posted by thos.martin at 1:33 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 3 December 2006 8:06 PM EST
Monday, 6 November 2006
Prelude to Pipe 5
Now Playing: cb laxely-isle of man//black and tan
Topic: Pipe 5: NOV06 -SOLD-

today's pipe is an interesting dublin from CB Laxey, Isle of man. They used to make Meers but switch over to Briar when they had difficulty getting supplies. The shift was ill-fated and the company closed its doors in '02. What makes the pipe interesting is that the tobacco chamber is conical. I wonder if this is why its "whistled" or if I just could' pack it right.

The tobacco is a Black and Tan mix with the bottom of the bowl, that part which I wouldn't smkoe: Borkum Riff. The BR will be cellared anyway so I figured what the heck wince I didn't have enough B&T to fill a bowl.

About Your Pipe

I have it all up in my head and some of it scetched out. I'll sketch more later while I wait for Briar. I only hope the briar reconiles with the idea. . . .

Posted by thos.martin at 5:46 PM EST
Sunday, 5 November 2006
Pipe 5: The inspiration
Topic: Pipe 5: NOV06 -SOLD-

The famous White Cliffs of Dover stand guard at the Gateway to England where millions pass each year on their journey to or from the continent. In some places over 300 feet high, the White Cliffs are a symbol of the nation's strength against enemies and a reassuring sight to returning travellers, they have been immortalised in song, in literature and in art.

The history of Britain is intricately linked with the White Cliffs from the Roman invasion to the assault made by Germany in both World Wars. The first recorded description of Dover describes the scene that Julius Caesar saw in 55 BC when, with two legions of soldiers, he arrived off Dover looking for a suitable landing place and ' saw the enemy's forces, armed, in position on all the hills there. At that point steep cliffs came down close to the sea in such a way that it is possible to hurl weapons from them right down to the shore. It seemed to me that the place was altogether unsuitable for landing.' (Caesar's Commentaries, Book IV.)

But they did land just along the coast in Deal and a year later a full scale invasion followed. As an aid to navigation for the Roman ships, two lighthouses(Pharos) were built on top of the cliffs. One is on the east cliff and stands adjacent to the church of St. Mary, in Dover Castle and is today in an excellent state of preservation. A second Pharos was built on the Western Heights, its remains were called in the 17th century the Bredenstone and by some, the Devil's Drop of Mortar. During excavation work for further fortifications of the site in 1861 the foundations of the tower were discovered and left exposed in the wall of the Officers' Quarters.

The east cliff with its commanding view over the channel is a position of natural strength and has been the site of fortification since the Iron Age. The Castle dates back to the 11th century but additions and alterations have been made up to and including the twentieth century. Looking up at the cliffs from Townwall Street, on the approach to the Eastern Docks, you can see signs of massive tunnelling works at various levels in the cliff below the Castle. The upper level of excavation took place in Napoleonic times to provide cannon ports and were used during World War I as an hospital. In World War II this level was used to billet troops during the excavation of Dunkirk. The lower levels housed the operations room for Channel Command during the Battle of Britain and the rooms that Winston Churchill used as his personal war-time headquarters.

It was at Churchill's insistence that superior artillery positions were maintained along the White Cliffs, leading perhaps inevitably, to the first gun installed being called ' Winnie' . There were gun batteries along the cliffs at St. Margaret's Bay, Langdon Bay, St. Martin's Battery and the Citadel (the Western Heights) and at Capel near Folkestone. The counterbombardment and anti-aircraft gun fire was directed from a control room in the cliff complex.

On the west cliff, known as the Western heights, are two Napoleonic forts linked by miles of ditches. Construction of these began in 1804 and was not completed until the 1860s. The Drop Redoubt, the smaller detached fort, housed a team of Commandos in World War II. Their task would have been to sabotage the port in the event of Dover falling to German forces.

It was after the was that Castello (Castle) Pipes was born. It was 1947 and Carlo Scotti created the Castello pipe in a little artisan workshop in the village of Cantu, Italy which overlookled a castle. Certainly I do not share the same inspiration as my workshop overlooks but a fence. My inspiration comes actually from my dislike of Pipe 2 believing it looks too anotomical. My idea was to make it more architectural. As it has a tall bowl, I had the idea to make it look like a castle.

I looked at all my chess sets for inspiration and found no rook suitable. So, I searched the net and stumble upon what will most influence Pipe 5. the briar and stem materials are on order as of this morning, and i am currently "chomping at the bit," excited to make this dream a reality. . .

Posted by thos.martin at 1:20 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 15 November 2006 7:15 PM EST
Saturday, 4 November 2006
King of My Castle
Topic: Pipe 6: NOV06 -NFS

Don't ask how Pipe 6 is finished before Pipe 5. You don't have too.

Pipe six is mine; it is a prototype of my proposed castle pipe 5.

 I am not blogging much about it save to tell you that the rustication is my process and is supposed to give a blockish texture as this is the tower of a castle. The crosses in Medieval times were actually cutouts in the castles curtain and were used  to shoot arrows through. The rustication process is, as far as I know, unique to me. More specifically the finish is not a stain but in fact pyrography. Well pyrography is too good a word. It is burnt briar and Carnuba wax. I call the overall finsish Castlerock, not to be confused with the tobacco. Thanks for checking out Pipe 6.



Posted by thos.martin at 9:15 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 15 November 2006 7:11 PM EST
Friday, 3 November 2006
Pipe 4 SOLD, Greenwood , South Carolina
Now Playing: Medico apollo ~ Borkum Riff
Topic: Pipe 4: OCT06 -SOLD-

I finished. The final "tweak" was countersinking the Mortise to accept the tenon on the stem ll the way such that it's a closer tighter fit. Had the tool from PIMO. Now I know what its for.

 Thanks for reading about the process of Pipe 4. Here are more pics:

Posted by thos.martin at 1:41 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 15 November 2006 7:10 PM EST
Thursday, 2 November 2006
Finished Finishing
Now Playing: unknown
Topic: Pipe 4: OCT06 -SOLD-

Today, after three days of finsihing, I finsihed. At lest i think I finished. Its rustic. lets leave it at that. The draw is awesome though. I need to sleep on it before I say its done and put it up for auction starting at $19.99. Basically, I'm selling it for less than the cost of materials. Its a pipe... Its one of a kind... Its odd in that from some angles it looks really nice but from others, not so much. From the top down, and If you were smoking it, are the worst two angles. So for the pipe smoking SPECTATOR, it looks great!

If you are considering buying this pipe, remember it is about enabling me to make another, and in one year, I'll give you a $19.99 trade in value and first refusal of a pipe made net year... think about it. I'd appreciate it. I'm exausted. I'll post a picture tommorow. I need to reference the PIMO Guide tonight.


Posted by thos.martin at 7:24 PM EST
Wednesday, 1 November 2006
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
Now Playing: Sm "Pocket Pipe" // Unkown Tobacco
Topic: Pipe 4: OCT06 -SOLD-

Today,I pcked up some new buffing wheels for your pipe at True Value. So... I go down to the basement and check 'em out with some whit matchless buffing compound... prematurely no doubt, but It did bring out the grain a bit better and I noticed:

  1. The grain fits perfectly the pipes design, or vice-a-versa to be eact. Sunburst radial type grains on either side, with completely straight grain on the far side of the bow, opposite the the stem side.
  2. More cut marks than acceptable... as if any are acceptable. they gotta go!
  3. The shank is a bit oval/oblongish as previously suggested by the expert.
  4. The top of the shank, is efectively end-grain. Not a problem per se' but unfortuneate. "Nature of the Beast" I'm told.

I decided to fix these issues and ended up taking two steps back in the process; not the proverbial "square one." but defineately square two. By doing so I learned, a few good tricks of the trade. One an invention of my son who is in middle school. He showed some invetive thinking or what once they would have called Yankee Ingenuity. He saw me working furiously the steel wool so I told him its literally steel and is like wool in that its sort of a fabric. As I was telling him, I was bemoaning the mess it made: all the little pieces that break off. He noted that they could be picked up with a magnet. I noted that those little steel wool pieces could be re-used, impregnated back into the steel wool pad once magnitixed. It works a little like sandpaper in that as it wears, it becomes finer... hmmmm

The other thing he showed me in an unrelated project- his project- is how to start a nail hole by nipping the nailhead off a nail, putting it in a hand drill and "drilling a starter hole with it. All the while I quized him in plate tectonics for a quiz he's having tomorrow.

 Also invented this week was what we dubbed "thumb armor!" Basically it's duct tape wrapped around my thumb that serves protects my tumb from getting cut as I draw the knife toward my thumb, and secondly it protects my thub from little teel wool slivers that stick into my thumb. Not comfortable.

Thanks for your patience.

Thanks for reading,



Posted by thos.martin at 8:41 PM EST

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