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Davis vs. Purdy vs. Tinsky

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CPT/VSG

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I've been enjoying reading the long "elitism" thread. It seems that the trajectory of any hobby is learning the basics then moving on to more esoteric pursuits. When I started smoking cigars several years ago, I started with trying nearly everything and progressively narrowed it down to "high end" cigars that I enjoyed the most. With pipes, I'm still in the learning stage but I see the same trajectory.

I started with a small collection of GBDs from the 1970s. My first thought was that I didn't need any more pipes--I had a grand total of 13 which was a two week supply of fresh pipes! Then I started reading more and spending more time at pipe stores and--surprise--I'm adding pipes regularly. Initially, I started looking at English estates but now my imagination has been grabbed by some of the American carvers.

The cover of the latest Pipes & Tobaccos really got my attention with Will Purdy's beautiful pipe. So, I started looking at his web site. Then I started looking at Rad Davis' wonderful pipes, and then Mark Tinsky's. Well, I can see where this is heading.

To go to the purpose of this post: while I'm aware there are many other wonderful American carvers out there, these three all look very interesting and are similarly priced; what is the view of these three among the Brethern? A secondary question: which other American carvers do the Brethern recommend considering?
 

frankluke

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i have pipes by all three, tinsky, davis and purdy .. no clear cut winner IMO. i know that doesn't help ya, lol.


keeping in that price range, look at bruce weaver, kirk bosi and brian ruthenberg's stuff.
 

Buddy Springman

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I've only owned Tinsky's, so I can't comment except to note that if you buy a Tinsky blast you get a Rad blast (he does Mark's blasting and he does nice work). They also share the same briar source.

Buddy
 

Tennessee Dave

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I am a huge Rad Davis fan. His workmanship is outstanding and getting better with each pipe. There are some amazing carvers out there including all the ones mentioned in this post as well as many more not mentioned yet with some newcomers rapidly coming along. We are blessed right now with a plethora of talented guys. I think it just gets down to finding the guy you like to deal with or finding the pipe that you like and then contacting the carver. Really is a great time to be a pipe smoker and with all these great American carvers it stays right here in the good ole' USA.
 

ftrplt

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They're just three more levels of temptation that I have been totally unable to overcome!!! FTRPLT
 

Bulldog Bruce

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Am also fairly new to pipes myself, and really just getting collection started. SHMBO is under the misinformed opinion that the 13 pipe rotation I now have is sufficient. I informed her she is sadly mis-informed. (fortunatly, she doesn't have my password for this board) Anyway's back to the thread. I currenly own two Mark Tinskey's, both of which are extremely good smokers. Don't have a Rad Davis _yet_, but I saw several he had done the blasts on when I was @ MT's shop a few months ago, and hope to in future. As mentioned above, there are many American carvers, and asking and viewing is the best way to become familiar. Sounds like the "hook' is set. Enjoy, thats what it's all about.

Bd

Never Forget!
 

CPT/VSG

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Being still new to the board I hadn't seen the BoB 2008 Tinsky bulldog until now. As far was which of the three carvers to start with--that's decided. I've got to have the BoB 2008 in Black and Tan!
 

Tennessee Dave

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CPT/VSG":2p9cenbq said:
Being still new to the board I hadn't seen the BoB 2008 Tinsky bulldog until now. As far was which of the three carvers to start with--that's decided. I've got to have the BoB 2008 in Black and Tan!

Can't go wrong there CPT. What a way to start! :cheers:
 

ZuluCollector

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I don't have any Tinsky pipes yet. I hear good things about them, though, and I certainly have enjoyed looking at his work.

I have a number of Will Purdy pipes and I love every one of them. They are all superb smokers and they are well-crafted. He is among my favorite artisans. I think so much of Will's work that I have considered just making him the focus of what I buy for a year or two so I can boost the numbers of pieces I have from him. I find some of his pipes too big for me or I would have bought more. His production is not that great and you have to be prepared to jump if you want a piece of his. Otherwise someone else will snap it up.

I also have quite a few of Rad Davis' pipes and I enjoy them all. I've never had a Rad Davis that wasn't a superb smoker. Rad's design vocabulary has really grown and continues to expand. He is incredibly good at getting a classic pipe out of a block that has beautiful graining. He does it over and over. I have four zulus by him and I'm positive I will end up buying more of them. They are all beautiful and all different.

Rad's pipes used to be incredibly values (priced lower than most). As his prices have increased, they are not such a deal as they were. But his quality has also increased - though frankly it has been pretty great for awhile.

It sounds like a back-handed compliment - and I don't mean it that way - but Rad's pipes are much better than most people realize, IMHO. It's not going to be too long from now when people will look back on his work and realize that he was one of the great pipe makers long before people realized it - mainly because he's a down-to-earth, unpretentious, and hard-working pipe maker whose production is pretty high, especially compared to the quality. I think Rad is making great pipes because he makes a LOT of pipes and with each one he's learning.

There are several shapes I want to get from Rad in the future. I love his newer small Rhodesians and these long-shanked wispy pipes.
 

Ol'Dawg

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ZuluCollector":3869i4i9 said:
It sounds like a back-handed compliment - and I don't mean it that way - but Rad's pipes are much better than most people realize, IMHO. It's not going to be too long from now when people will look back on his work and realize that he was one of the great pipe makers long before people realized it - mainly because he's a down-to-earth, unpretentious, and hard-working pipe maker whose production is pretty high, especially compared to the quality. I think Rad is making great pipes because he makes a LOT of pipes and with each one he's learning.
Ditto...Not only on Rad's pipes but your summation of him as a person! I was fortunate to get two of his pipes early in his career for less than $200, but I wouldn't hesitate to buy more at his current rate.

Jim
 
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I have pipes made by Mark Tinsky and Rad Davis. I'd say they both smoke well. If I had to to compare; Rad's attention to and vision of the pipe shape is more appealing to me than Mark's (Mark's shapes are more traditional, although I really do like his pipes). I was fortunate to buy a couple of Rad's pipes four years ago in Chicago and paid a small fraction of what they're selling for now. His "tomatoes" are my personal favourites. I agree with Neill though that Rad's pipes have become more elaborately carved over time. Here's Rad's pipe I saw in Chicago last month. Isn't it something? I didn't buy because it was the end of the show and I spent every penny I had by the time I've seen it, but nevertheless, a beauty...



As for Will Purdy, although I do not own any of his pipes yet, I'm waiting for the shape that I like and hope to buy one for sure. As a general observation, I noticed a very clear trend of new generation young (and not so young :) ) American carvers toward perfectionism - a very high level of attention to every detail of a pipe... That would be different topic, of course... :pipe:
 

Wet Dottle

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With all due respect and without trying to start a flame war, I do not think that it is fair to put MTinsky and WPurdy in the same category. Will's pipes have a substantially higher degree of perfection. They are also more expensive. I don't have any of Rad's pipes, so I can't comment on them. That is not to say that Mark doesn't make great pipes: he does. But the two are not in the same league. IMHO.
 
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