been making them about 7 months. just bought a block on ebay and went to town on a cheep sander. also was able to talk to a couple pipe makers to learn the different finishes and how they did the rustic work. one pipe maker said nothing wrong with using a kit.t that`s the way he and many pipe makers started.just a fun hobby. there`s a bunch of places that sell kits and sell high grade briar. the 2 bigger pipes came from pimo. they sell some very nice blocks. i do no how to make pipes from scratch but do not have the tools or place to do it so the kits are the next best thing. since i do not use a lathe no 2 pipes are alike.