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 No more Ferndowns.

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tarheel7734

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Age : 38
Location : Asheville NC
Registration date : 2014-10-16

PostSubject: No more Ferndowns.   Sat May 14, 2016 8:42 pm

I have been sitting on this news for some time now, but Les announced it on facebook publicly today. He and dolly are retiring and without him having found someone worthy he could train to pass the line to, it will end. Les and Dolly have been making pipes for 53 years starting at Dunhill till 1978 when they started their own company L.j.s.(Les John silverworks). They kept the tradition of hand made English pipes through today including oil curing. It is a sad day for the pipe community, but a happy day for both him and Dolly. I wish my friends well and hope to get back over to England to spend a few days with them while they are still around. So if you want one now is the time to go out and find them while you still can.

Here is my small collection. Wish I had more time and didn't sell the ones he made me over the years.
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Eric Furgeson

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Age : 51
Location : Tacoma, WA. U.S.A. Planet Earth, Milky Way, Galxie
Registration date : 2016-04-21

PostSubject: Re: No more Ferndowns.   Sat May 14, 2016 9:21 pm

Though I had not heard of this maker I am sad to hear our community has lost them. Based on the pipes you show in the photo they look to be creations of both skill and beauty. It is truly sad that they could find no one worthy to pass thier bannor and knowledge to. The wealth of experiance they spent a lifetime gathering is something to be morned in it's passing unshared.
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tarheel7734

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Age : 38
Location : Asheville NC
Registration date : 2014-10-16

PostSubject: Re: No more Ferndowns.   Sat May 14, 2016 9:35 pm

Here are some more pics of Ferndowns.




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Ozark Wizard

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Age : 53
Location : Mark Twain National Forest, MO
Registration date : 2014-10-11

PostSubject: Re: No more Ferndowns.   Sat May 14, 2016 10:01 pm

Boy, I like that last one.....
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Richard Burley

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Location : North Coast NY
Registration date : 2011-04-09

PostSubject: Re: No more Ferndowns.   Sat May 14, 2016 10:48 pm

Yep, you've convinced me. It's a net loss to world pipedom.  Their pipes were better than Dunhills, I've heard it said. Better quality, better value. Sad, but tempus fugit, etc., and life goes on. But I find it particularly sad because they did classic British shapes so well. Who will take their place? There are plenty of new artisans coming into prominence now, but alas!...not everyone wants a pipe shaped like a stylized kidney, or whatever.
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huffelpuff

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Age : 47
Location : Laramie, WY
Registration date : 2011-12-10

PostSubject: Re: No more Ferndowns.   Sat May 14, 2016 11:31 pm

Truly a sad day indeed. The loss of a lifetimes knowledge is a definite blow. Perhaps if we're lucky he will choose to share his knowledge with someone he deems worthy.

Jim
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tarheel7734

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Age : 38
Location : Asheville NC
Registration date : 2014-10-16

PostSubject: Re: No more Ferndowns.   Sun May 15, 2016 1:37 am

huffelpuff wrote:
Truly a sad day indeed. The loss of a lifetimes knowledge is a definite blow. Perhaps if we're lucky he will choose to share his knowledge with someone he deems worthy.

Jim
We talked about that often. We knew this day was not too far off, but he just could never find anyone. He really wishes he could have to let the brand and techniques live on. He still loves it and will make pipes on his own schedule for friends for a while and maybe a couple places, but no where like he did. You might see a few pop up once and a while. He said after 53 years its hard to just stop something you love, but it will only be about the love of the art now and not the business. When you can do what you love for you when you want to, that is what really matters. I truly wish I had met him before 2005 and could have massed the collection I want. I also truly wish I lived closer to spend time with them. He loves to shoot and hunt and is remodeling his kitchen. I love shooting and would love to spend time with him in his workshop and other things.

We have lost a lot of great pipe makers over the years and although I am going, I can you t Les as a friend as well as Bill Taylor while he was alive.

I guess the only person truly following in the tradition of English pipe making would be Jimmy Craig. He still uses Bills technique. Chris Askwith, although young, shows great talent, but is less traditional in his techniques and shapes. Barry Jones seems to have vanished and I am not sure I trust Motty and Karen. Dunhills are just not what they once were, but still good pipes. Too bad they are overpriced now.

So the moral of the story. If you see something you like or love, don't wait. Buy it when you see it as you never know when they will be gone.
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huffelpuff

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Age : 47
Location : Laramie, WY
Registration date : 2011-12-10

PostSubject: Re: No more Ferndowns.   Sun May 15, 2016 3:18 am

Perhaps he would consider gracing the pipe world with his secrets as a memoir or something of the sort. Possibly something like an instruction manual perhaps. It's a damn shame to let that kind of knowledge go to waste.
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Ocelot55

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Location : Columbus, OH
Registration date : 2012-03-28

PostSubject: Re: No more Ferndowns.   Sun May 15, 2016 8:30 am

Richard Burley wrote:
But I find it particularly sad because they did classic British shapes so well. Who will take their place?


Just wait. I've got big plans!

Lord knows if I were living across the pond I'd have been over learning everything I possibly could from Les. I know a silversmith in PA that does some absolutely fantastic silver work for pipes. Hopefully I can coax him into doing some collaborative projects with me and maybe have the opportunity to pick up some of those skills myself.

Still, it is sad that Les has hung up his hat. I think Ferndowns are some of the most attractive English pipes on the market. I only have one, but it's a keeper.
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Cartaphilus

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Age : 63
Location : East Texas
Registration date : 2011-12-15

PostSubject: Re: No more Ferndowns.   Sun May 15, 2016 9:17 am

You certainly have your share of beautiful Ferndowns sir.

Although it's sad for the consumer that he won't be making anymore pipes, I'm sure they see it differently.
Retiring to many is god sent and time to relax and take in the world around you and enjoy.
I say congrats to them. Wink
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Hiram-2011

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Age : 39
Location : Illinois
Registration date : 2012-03-23

PostSubject: Re: No more Ferndowns.   Sun May 15, 2016 3:07 pm

That's sad to hear. I own one Ferndown and its a beauty and great smoker.

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daveinlax

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Location : Wisconsin
Registration date : 2007-12-28

PostSubject: Re: No more Ferndowns.   Sun May 15, 2016 4:20 pm

tarheel7734 wrote:

Here is my small collection. Wish I had more time and didn't sell the ones he made me over the years.
You have a great looking collection! It's always difficult to part with pipes. Shocked
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ftrplt

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Age : 70
Location : Split between Raleigh, NC and OKC, OK
Registration date : 2007-12-15

PostSubject: Re: No more Ferndowns.   Sun May 15, 2016 4:43 pm

Wow!!! I feel like I've lost an old friend, but all good things must end one way or another. I guess this means the last of the old Dunhill apprentice-trained pipe makers is gone. I believe Les and Bill were the last two in the program. May Les and Dolly enjoy their retirement. 'Tis sad they couldn't find anyone to carry on the line. Does this make Ian Walker the last of the "traditional" English pipe makers? cheers FTRPLT
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Brewdude

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Age : 64
Location : Near the Emerald city
Registration date : 2011-05-04

PostSubject: Re: No more Ferndowns.   Sun May 15, 2016 9:12 pm

'tis a great pity that Les will not be making more pipes on regular basis. I've only witnessed his creations here on BOB but certainly did want to pick up one at some point in the future. Love his classical take on the 'dog as an example.

Looks like I'll just have to wait until one of these comes up on the estate market, if they ever do.

Equally, I wish him all the best in his retirement. He's certainly deserved it.

sunny



Cheers,

RR
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tarheel7734

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Age : 38
Location : Asheville NC
Registration date : 2014-10-16

PostSubject: Re: No more Ferndowns.   Sun May 15, 2016 10:04 pm

ftrplt wrote:
Wow!!! I feel like I've lost an old friend, but all good things must end one way or another. I guess this means the last of the old Dunhill apprentice-trained pipe makers is gone. I believe Les and Bill were the last two in the program. May Les and Dolly enjoy their retirement. 'Tis sad they couldn't find anyone to carry on the line. Does this make Ian Walker the last of the "traditional" English pipe makers? cheers FTRPLT

No Jimmy Craig picked up where Bill left it off and from what I hear and saw does a great job.
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riff raff

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Location : Western Maryland
Registration date : 2011-05-24

PostSubject: Re: No more Ferndowns.   Mon May 16, 2016 10:02 am

That is sad, but not unexpected, these fellows have to turn off the tap at some point. I'd love to find a smaller, Ferndown bulldog (around 40 grams). Les made largish pipes, as it appears that most folks wanted those sizes. I have 3 Star that would get more use if it were a 2 star, but one day I'll retire have more time myself.

I love my Askwith pipes, hopefully Chris continues his craft.

I'm not a big fan of Craig Ashtons, I sold all of mine to focus on Taylor era pipes.

My new White Dot (nee Dunhill) is the equal of or better than my Ashtons, etc. It is actually a better pipe than my older Dunhills, I like the modern stem material. Occasionally Al Pascia has them priced right. (less than $300).
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Zeno Marx

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Registration date : 2010-06-26

PostSubject: Re: No more Ferndowns.   Tue May 17, 2016 2:15 pm

Hopefully, he doesn't fall prey to someone like what happened to Upshall and Astley. If he does sell the name, it continues with integrity. Not that anyone is saying he is, or will, sell the name. I would guess he will get approached now that they made the announcement. I'd hate to see such a great, respected name get turned to sh1t.
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ftrplt

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Age : 70
Location : Split between Raleigh, NC and OKC, OK
Registration date : 2007-12-15

PostSubject: Re: No more Ferndowns.   Tue May 17, 2016 7:31 pm

tarheel7734 wrote:
ftrplt wrote:
Wow!!! I feel like I've lost an old friend, but all good things must end one way or another. I guess this means the last of the old Dunhill apprentice-trained pipe makers is gone. I believe Les and Bill were the last two in the program. May Les and Dolly enjoy their retirement. 'Tis sad they couldn't find anyone to carry on the line. Does this make Ian Walker the last of the "traditional" English pipe makers? cheers FTRPLT

No Jimmy Craig picked up where Bill left it off and from what I hear and saw does a great job.

My goof!!! Didn't mean to forget Jimmy C.

BTW...Another thing we will miss is Les' absolutely wonderful silver work. His talent is hard to replace.
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tarheel7734

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Age : 38
Location : Asheville NC
Registration date : 2014-10-16

PostSubject: Re: No more Ferndowns.   Tue May 17, 2016 7:34 pm

ftrplt wrote:
tarheel7734 wrote:
ftrplt wrote:
Wow!!! I feel like I've lost an old friend, but all good things must end one way or another. I guess this means the last of the old Dunhill apprentice-trained pipe makers is gone. I believe Les and Bill were the last two in the program. May Les and Dolly enjoy their retirement. 'Tis sad they couldn't find anyone to carry on the line. Does this make Ian Walker the last of the "traditional" English pipe makers? cheers FTRPLT

No Jimmy Craig picked up where Bill left it off and from what I hear and saw does a great job.

My goof!!! Didn't mean to forget Jimmy C.

BTW...Another thing we will miss is Les' absolutely wonderful silver work. His talent is hard to replace.

So true. Some of the best silver work I have ever seen.
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