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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
Thursday, 23 November 2006
Happy Thanksgiving!
Topic: Other News


Posted by thos.martin at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 3 December 2006 8:03 PM EST
Wednesday, 22 November 2006
The Inspiration
Topic: Pipe 8: NOV06 -NFS

I read an article on by By Corneel Vermeulen about a pipe called the "Belge."  I was amzded and inspired that after so much "research" on pipe shapes, I had never heard of the Belge! Seems it is a carry over shape from the days when clay pipes roamed the earth. The shapes were readily transferable to briar except without the spur. When I get the right piece of wood, I will make one with a spur.

I hate setting a pipe down on its side and having ash spill out. I do this a lot as I dont really leave them in my mouth if Im not puffing. Its a 'me" thing. Anyway, I loved his article and especially the examples of modern Belges he presents. The thought of creating one for myself was overwhelming. So I made the following plan by which I can "kind of" work off of. You see, I basically need to move the shape of the pipe up on the block about 1/8" so that I can leave enough wood to round the stem. Also mine will be more of a "Borraine" than a Belge. I have to also mention that the works of: Larry Roush, Michael Parks, Rad Davis as cited in the article are truely inspiring!

Heather Coleman reports that "Gambier was the largest and most famous of pipe makers and flourished in the 1850-1920 period. They were winning gold medals for pipes in the mid 19th century and producing over 26 million pipes a year, many using steam powered presses." Her collection, reserch, and committment to the clay pipe is extensive, perhaps she would know how it made its transition to briar.

Remember I have a laxley Zulu which is of intrest because it was made on the Isle of Mann. Laxley being a onetime manufacturer of the meerschaum, but when materials became scarce they switch to briar. Perhaps Gambier "marketing department" decided when fashions changed to briar that they would "'ave a go a it." I'll ask her if she knows the answer to Corneel's question

Here (left) are some early 19th century Clay pipes from Heathers collection. Impressive and  for me, inspiring. Months ago I had thought of mimicking the shapes of clays. Reading Corneels article whelp to reinforce that desire. Seeing Heather's collection has opened my eyes as well, and reminded me of when I was a teen snorkeling by the coast by my house in Beverly, Mass. I found a stem from a clay pipe. I assumed it was from the 1700's when half-way between my house and the beach stood the Woodbury Tavern. I was hooked and did a bit research myself and remember learning that tavern pipes were community property, and after they were smoke, the stem would be broken off for the next person. I have since/recently learned that the tavern pipes were pretty much the "estate pipe" of today. Taverns were effectively the secondary market for clay pipes.



Posted by thos.martin at 4:02 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 22 November 2006 4:02 PM EST
Sold & Shipped,Tokyo Japan
Topic: Pipe 7: NOV06 -SOLD-

After re-sanding and buffing and waxing the stem 3 times, its still not perfect but it was worth the extra work. Remembr the smoke hole is slightly off center and the stem is not perfect. the bowl is BEAUTIFUL.









This might make a good gift for "the man who has everything," even if he doesn't smoke. I think anyone who appreciates art over craftsmanship will recognize the value in the pipe. It'd make a nice gift to yourself, maybe for Christmas. I'd buy this pipe if I enjoyed conversation and a good smoke. Its a "Conversationalist" in that it can be a conversation starter or enjoyed while discussing your favorite topics with your frinds. Most of all, remember this is a "student pipe"Mad by me the student in an effort to learn the craft. Think of it not as one of Van Goghs paintings, nut as a sketch of one of his paintings. Thanks for bearing with me throuhg the process of Pipe 7.

Dont forget to check out Pipe 8

Posted by thos.martin at 2:40 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 3 December 2006 8:04 PM EST
Tuesday, 21 November 2006
Lucky 7
Topic: Pipe 7: NOV06 -SOLD-

Lucky Pipe 7 did rise from the ashes. (pictured is a jacket I embroidered (Monday night Football in reflection)) I ended up filing it, and the shaping it with 80 grit (or "grind" as the Dutch say), then sanding it all the way down to 1000 grit. Really. I stained it to expose the grain. It is perfectly in tune with the layout of design. If it were a guitar it would be called blame grained, or burst. In pipe parlance it is a straight grain I think.

 After about every 2-3 stages of sanding, I would stain it, which would raise the grain, and then sand it down. I did it the first time so that I could see the "depressions" in the wod. It worked, so basically, as in the 5th pipe when I rusticated, unrusticated, and re-rusticated. This pipe I sained, unstained, and re-stained. 

 It was impressed upon me by David Field, that the stem is half the pipe so therefore you should spend half your time on it. Who would have thought. I did devote a lot off time on the stem but noticed I need to spend even more because of scratches. About the stem: It is very thin. At the peg, it is not much wider than the mortise. and, it is oddly shaped; rounded like the belly of a guppy onthe bottom. The top rocks. I maintained the diamond shape and merged it well with the pipe.

The stummel is like a worry stone. You can't help but pick it up. It has an energy about it that will make you not want to put it down, like a worry stone gone warm, or a beautiful chesnut. Beacuseof the thin stem and the sort of pod-like, thistle shaped volcano, it lokos very botanical. The grain is burled or Birdseye as my friend Nelson from the Pipe Club calls it. The face is also birdseye. the sides of course are striped.

 If you do in fact put this pipe down, it rests beautifully on the tabe. There is an oh so slight up-ward cant to the stem, which works well for this pipe. If you look at the bottom of the pipe you might be reminded of a golf club; a wood to be exact. you might not though.

What makes this pipe special is that if your a small guy like myself, you might not like big 'ole freehhand. My pipes are becoming slight as they tend toward the classic shapes, but maintain the freehand creativity and respect for the wood. Here are som pics. The final picture will be posted tommorow.


Posted by thos.martin at 10:13 PM EST
Monday, 20 November 2006
Bonfire of the Vanities
Topic: Pipe 7: NOV06 -SOLD-

Today I got laid off. Probablly wasn't in the right frame of mind  to be carving, or to change methods for that matter. I took away a bit much wood, This one might be headed for the fire. We'll see what tommorow brings:





Not to mention that the drought hole is a bit off center. AFTER these pics were taken was when the "damage was done."  If you've been watching this pipe, don't give up on it yet. Like the Phoenix it might rise from the ashes!

Posted by thos.martin at 8:42 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006 7:55 AM EST
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

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