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 The Price of Artisan Pipes

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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Tue Mar 26, 2013 2:27 pm

This chair is too comfy to leave, now.

Keep going guys, good reading. Very Happy
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Ocelot55

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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:31 pm

Sasquatch wrote:
Classic shapes are very, very easy to make ugly.

It's far harder to cut a really good billiard than a mediocre "Danish inspired" lump of an acorn. Put a Mammoth-Ivory ring on the lump and it's a high-grade?


There's some nice stuff being cut right now in both "schools" but there's also a lot of pretty poor shaping going on and being shined up and sold as high-grade stuff. Or rather, offered as high grade stuff. Rolling Eyes

If you miss a single aspect of the cut on a billiard (or any of the Dunhill-type English shapes - tight, rigid, spare) you get a totally amateur looking pipe. Can't hide it where you can on a more.... abstract shape.


This is not to say that the best of the more abstract shapes aren't just as difficult (or more difficult), but there are only a few guys cutting such pipes right now. The real "high grades" whatever that term is worth.



My sentiments exactly. That's one reason why most of my pipes are as classic as I can make them. There really aren't too many artisans turning out archetypal English shapes that are well cut and beautifully proportioned. Several every now and then. But it also seems to me that the market, or at least the high grade market, is craving exotic shapes and exotic materials. I could be wrong, but that is my perception.
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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:53 pm

AHA ! cheers
Marty Pulvers wrote:
Having temporarily run out of things to say about the world and its various moving parts, I will take the advice of one of my occasional correspondents and write about pipes. What the hell...the worst that can happen is that I'm wrong...again.

One of the themes he would like me to discuss is pipe values, relative and comparative prices and reasons people use for making their choices.

These are issues I have addressed in the past and are they are worth looking at again, and again, I suppose.

First of all, why is one pipe 'better' than another? Maybe not a good question. Maybe there is no such thing as better...only better for you, or for me.

Let me use an analogy. The highway closest to my house is 101, which runs the length of Calif., and in the ultra-congested corridor between San Jose and San Francisco (and extending north to Santa Rosa, actually) provides little room in which to let the car 'air it out.' In this environment, what is the better car, a Ferrari or a Mini Cooper? One has a tremendously powerful engine plus a fancy and expensive interior and uncommon design elements while the other is small, particularly maneuverable, is good on gas, and can be parked in the small spaces that might be spotted in a city. To me, the qualities that are most desirable are in the Mini, making it about $100,000 less expensive and also 'better.'

So, getting back to our favorite topic, if the pipe you most enjoy is a traditionally shaped, nicely textured sandblast in a medium size, with a thin & narrow vulcanite stem, how is an ultra-expensive Lars Ivarsson with non-traditional shaping a better pipe for you?

Wouldn't you prefer to smoke, say, a used, but well maintained older Dunhill Shell for about $150 over a $7,000 Ivarsson? Even if you could easily afford that Ivarsson? Wouldn't you feel a lot better trying to park your Mini on the mean streets of San Francisco than you would leaving your Ferrari unparked and unattended?

Now, if you have trained yourself to need that illusion of exclusivity, without which you will feel bereft of meaning, that expensive car and/or pipe should be yours.

Nor am I saying that the Ivarsson, or other expensive pipesare not better. If you derive satisfaction from knowing that a lot of hand sanding went into the making of your pipe, and that the carving is very difficult to accomplish, and the little details attended to in the making are something you would notice and miss if they were not there, then that pipe is truly better for you. It has what you want, and you do not mind paying for them and should not apologize for wanting them.

But, it is silly to not care about those cost-adding extras and yet feel you must have, and pay, for them just because you have read that this brand is 'better.' Again, what is better is what is better for you. Having the characteristics you want in a pipe (a thin vulcanite stem, an uncoated bowl, a straight shank, a light weight...whatever it is that satisfies you) is what makes it better...not a high price and a lot of meaningless, to you, workmanship.

Try to pay for what you want, and avoid paying for what you don't want.

The car analogy is good here, too; ever notice how hard it is to get just the package you want from a car dealer? You want manual transmission, but that's only available if you get the sunroof, which you don't want. Maddening. But it's also good. It may not only keep you from collecting cars, but it will force you to focus on just a few pipes and help you quickly eliminate those many, many good looking pipes you ultimately don't really want.

That is lesson one of an unspecified number. We will continue with "better" on our next posting.
http://www.pulversbriar.com/

What a Face


Last edited by Yak on Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:07 pm

THANK YOU, Marty ! Cool

What a Face
AND THE GANG
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Harlock999

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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:32 am

Yak is on to something interesting here...
I'd like to hear more about the relationship between shapely female posteriors and pipes.
And I'm not joking around either.
Something in his earlier post reminded me of a conversation my girlfriend and I recently had on the topic of why men like looking at women's butts, especially nice round ones. I said that while I fully understand that I have little in common with 90% of the women whose rears I've admired, I still like looking.
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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:29 am

It is not without significance that a heart I love you looks like a bum.

Or that the return line of a many bent pipes replicates one half of one.

It's an archetype that's at the root of the appeal.

It's not a simple, stupid correlation that can be applied mechanically.

It's more like, when you're fascinated by the play of curves in a pipe, the way they interact with each other and add up to a whole greater than the sum of the individual parts, that's the model (principle) that's animating it. And you.

What a Face
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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:28 am

Effective Public Relations certainly factors into it.
RD wrote:
You made other comments about the importance of the relationship between the pipemaker and customer. As a buyer I couldn't agree more. Getting to know the pipemaker and learning something more about the maker of your pipe or the inspiration behind it is a huge value-add. It makes the pipe more personal and prized when there is some story or personal connection behind it. This is something many pipemakers do very well and I can't think of another industry where you can build this kind of relationship with someone you consider to be among the very best in the world at what they do. And, perhaps because nobody makes millions in this industry, pipemakers tend to be really approachable, generous people.
Quote :
Picture this. You meet someone new. "What do you do?" she asks.

"I'm an architect," you say.

"Oh, really?" she answers. "Have you designed any buildings I've seen?"

"Possibly," you reply. "We did the new student center at the university..."

"Oh wow," she says. "That's a beautiful building..."

Without trying -- without blowing your own horn -- you've made a great impression.

Now picture this. You meet someone new. "What do you do?" he asks.

"I'm a passionate, innovative, dynamic provider of architectural services with a collaborative approach to creating and delivering outstanding world-class client and user experiences."

All righty then.
http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130117141235-20017018-stop-using-these-16-terms-to-describe-yourself

What a Face
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Wed Mar 27, 2013 2:20 pm

Yak wrote:
It is not without significance that a heart I love you looks like a bum.

Or that the return line of a many bent pipes replicates one half of one.

It's an archetype that's at the root of the appeal.

It's not a simple, stupid correlation that can be applied mechanically.

It's more like, when you're fascinated by the play of curves in a pipe, the way they interact with each other and add up to a whole greater than the sum of the individual parts, that's the model (principle) that's animating it. And you.

What a Face


I'd never thought of it that way...charming, actually. So, is there a correlation between guys that like full-bent, straight pipes or even giant pipes? Laughing

Me? I'll stick with my skinny/smaller subtle curves 1/8 bends. Why this makes sense on that scale, I have no idea. Or, maybe I do. Embarassed

Cool
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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:08 pm

I think that guys who start out figuring bigger is better tend to learn the error involved from experience and end up with historically normal sized pipes. Especially of they're (broken-)flake smokers.

Enough of a good thing is . . . enough.

re. the other, FWIW, I see it as a women thing.

Men look at women. Obsessively.

Women look at other women. Compulsively.

Whether it's keeping track of the competition, or the femme-group thing (do they ever go shopping alone ?), it always boils down to women. Put female faces / voices in anything (like "News" broadcasts) and women will watch it.

It's one of those things in life where ideology swings at reality and misses.

It just only works the way it works. And pipe proportions, similar curves &c. &c. &c. mirroring female archetypes, IMO, is one example.

What a Face

What a Face
A LITTLE SCHIZY TODAY
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Slide



Age : 55
Location : Benton, Louisiana
Registration date : 2011-11-23

PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:30 pm

Yak wrote:
I think that guys who start out figuring bigger is better tend to learn the error involved from experience and end up with historically normal sized pipes. Especially of they're (broken-)flake smokers.

Enough of a good thing is . . . enough.


What a Face

What a Face
A LITTLE SCHIZY TODAY

^ This - my larger danish pipes see virtually no use. Not because I don't like them, but because they don't fit my tobacco choices.
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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:48 pm

Quote :
There really aren't too many artisans turning out archetypal English shapes that are well cut and beautifully proportioned. Several every now and then. But it also seems to me that the market, or at least the high grade market, is craving exotic shapes and exotic materials.

I think (to the extent that anybody cares) that it's like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

One guy I had really high hopes for (from a distance) was Will Purdey. He came so close to perfection with many of his earlier ones that you could see (or at least I imagined I could see) that his deviations from the beaux ideal shapes he started out from were done in a spirit of playfulness.

But it seems (and I wasn't there, so I don't know) that the guys with the plentiful long green were used to flying snails and reverse volcanic pigs feet . . .

What a Face
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beetlejazz

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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:48 pm

Actually, there's a lot of beautiful, balanced curved shapes in male bodies too, and not only the young and fit ones. You learn this if you take figure drawing classes. Cool Actually I've had my best drawing moments drawing a slightly plump man in his late 60's. Sadly it's apparently really hard for teachers to find older men who would be willing to pose in a class.

I would totally agree that shapes and lines similar to those in human bodies are attractive. They look balanced. Every time there's a direction, a curve, a line, there's something responding to it. Heck, perhaps drawing/sculpting nudes would be great exercise for aspiring pipe makers.

(sorry for a slight threadjack)
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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:55 pm

Men don't look at men. And women only look at them when they're either sizing them up or up to something.

Women are where everyone's attention converges.

What a Face
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Harlock999

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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:54 am

Yak wrote:
Men don't look at men. And women only look at them when they're either sizing them up or up to something.

Women are where everyone's attention converges.

What a Face

True!
Non photogenic musicians realized many years ago that putting a pretty girl on a record cover sold many more units than if they had put their own mugs on the cover...


The Ramonetures was my friend's idea. The music of the Ramones, as if played by The Ventures. Davey Allen of 60's biker movie soundtrack fame plays on it!
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beetlejazz

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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:35 pm

Harlock999 wrote:
Yak wrote:
Men don't look at men. And women only look at them when they're either sizing them up or up to something.

Women are where everyone's attention converges.

What a Face

True!
Non photogenic musicians realized many years ago that putting a pretty girl on a record cover sold many more units than if they had put their own mugs on the cover...

Empahis mine.

Pretty people sell. Although here in West we're way behind in appreciating a beautiful male, compared to Japan at least. There's a whole hugely popular genre of rock-bands that's centered around the image of a beautiful, richly decorated, androgynous man. It's became a huge export, and quickly - obviously something has been lacking here. And at the same time both young girls and their mothers go crazy over Twilight, that apparently repeats over and over again how the male protagonist is "so beautiful". We're living interesting times, there's a whole huge soup of female desire for men boling on the internet (= practically all fan-fiction), and it will be incredibly interesting to see what sort so things we didn't know will rise to the surface. Cool
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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:53 pm

Quote :
Me? I'll stick with my skinny/smaller subtle curves 1/8 bends. Why this makes sense on that scale, I have no idea. Or, maybe I do. Embarassed

With the exception of bent bulldogs (that have to be bent), the maximum bend in any Yak pipe is 1/16. And it's an anomaly in an otherwise (pardon the expression) "straight world."
lol!

What a Face
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:10 pm

Heh. Smile 1/16th bends are cool. Just trying to be straight? scratch Laughing

-------------------------

Here it is spring, and everyone's talking about doin' it again.

By "it," of course I was strictly referring to going out and spending time with your favorite pipe however you see fit.

Not sure what the rest of you were thinking. Embarassed

Very Happy

Cool
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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:23 pm

Quote :
Hooray ! Hooray !
The first of May !
Outdoor _____ing
Begins today !

What a Face
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:26 pm

lol! lol! lol! lol! lol!
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beetlejazz

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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:18 pm

You must mean Lunt...ing? lol!
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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:23 pm

Yep. That's the word I was looking for.

Lunting Cool

What a Face
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Rad Davis

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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:50 pm

Quote :
And at the same time both young girls and their mothers go crazy over Twilight

And Justin Bieber. Twisted Evil

Rad
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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:07 pm

When Mrs. Yak was 13, it was Donnie Osmond.

She grew out of it.

I wonder if people just stopped growing up since then ?

Or at least slowed way down. scratch

What a Face
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:09 pm

Yak wrote:
When Mrs. Yak was 13, it was Donnie Osmond.

She grew out of it.

Probably just as well, I think Marie knew she wasn't going to do much better, anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: The Price of Artisan Pipes   Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:14 pm

Quote :
Value is purely subjective. One man's fair is another man's greedy and the other's cheap. What greed is depends entirely on your point of view.

FULL DISCLOSURE : CURMUDGEON RAP AHEAD.

Meh . . .

The curse of the XX Century : Everybody's an "authority' because "everything's relative." And the further out on the "art" limb, the more "true" that is supposed to be.

Well, no it isn't. The Soccer Mom watching her kid play entertains a much higher opinion of him than the coach probably does.

There are bars that need to be surmounted in any handcraft, and always have been. The machine age has only enforced them more universally by making accurate productions more readily available to more people at cheaper prices.

Round shanks want to be uniformly round along their lengths. Tapered or parallel, you want to be able to hold the pipe with the stem facing the light source and see a uniformly straight reflection of it as you rotate the stem. Lathes do that. Which means, if you don't have one, you've got to be able to do it by hand and eye. It's not some great accomplishment, either.

It gets stickier with oval shanks. Much stickier. And when you go to diamond shanks (bulldogs for example), on any pipe that claims to even have even a passable level of workmanship (let alone quality as "art"), the base-line standard is four dead-flat surfaces of uniform width, meeting in four dead straight lines. No dips, no wobbles, no fudging. Then there's Master-level stuff, like the way the shank meets (or doesn't) the bowl without compromising the integrity of either beyond a necessary minimum.

IOW, the same set of standards that Ben Wade, Charatan and the rest of them owed their positions to consistently meeting and transcending.

It can be stickier yet with stems (and with some bowl shapes), but you get my drift.

Meet that set of minimal standards, every time, and you can begin to figure you're at least in contention as an Artist-level craftsman. Substitute creative ways of evading it (and a lot of later XX Century commercially-successful production-shop pipe shapes were probably designed with this in mind), rusticate or sandblast pretty much everything you turn out to hide the evidence, and, except for drilling, mortising & stemming, you're one of the cast of hundreds competing with machine work without meeting machine standards.

Can you still carve out a niche doing that ? Sure. Look around. Pipes have become the new Cigars, and a rising tide lifts all boats. It's a great time to be getting your chops honed.

But I wouldn't be resting easy if I were, no matter how many . . . Nah. That would just annoy more people than just pipemakers. Suffice it that "in the judgment of history" (if we luck out and there is one), some of the names in the current consensus rankings will be replaced by others not currently held in universal, over-arching esteem.

(As a first-time NEW pipe customer, I'm voting with my $$. Stay tuned for that).

Ever hear of Spohr, Hummel, Cherubini, Weber or Meyerbeer ? In the 1830s, they were bigger deals than Beethoven.

Hot air balloons are no new phenomenon in the arts.

What a Face


Last edited by Yak on Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:50 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : the usual :)
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