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Favorite American Carvers and Why

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CPT/VSG

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Wet Dottle's comment at the end of the Tinsky, Davis, Purdy thread made me reconsider the underlying purpose of that thread. What I was really asking about was what fine American carvers to buy from and I unnecessarily limited the topic to three. Being new to artisan carvers, I'd be interested in the preferences of the Brethern for any American carvers you think worthy of consideration.

As I've started buying pipes, I've focused initially on two markets: estate GBDs pre-merger with Comoy and local carvers. In Columbus where I live, we have Tim West, S & R Pipes (Steve & Roswitha Anderson of Pipes & Pleasures), and Chheda Pipes (Premal Chheda of Smokers' Haven). As I started to think about buying a new handcarved pipe, it made sense to me to look locally first in order to support two local pipe stores and, also, so I can examine personally the pipe I am buying rather than look at a photo on the Internet. I haven't bought a Tim West or S & R yet but I have taken a chance on Premal Chheda although he doesn't have a reputation yet.

There was a favorable mention of the Chhedas in the NASPC's latest newsletter (I'll pull it out and quote it at a later date) and Premal has taken a lot of time to explain to me what he is doing with his pipes. I'll take pictures of the two I have so far and post them for comment. One is a nice poker sandblast (the blasting was done by Rad Davis) and the other is an interesting (at least to me) smooth chimney. I liked the look and feel of them and they are fine smokers. At this point in my pipe education, they seemed to be very good pipes but I intend to keep expanding my horizons with other carvers, hence the initial interest in Davis, et al.

Specifically, I'm interested in hearing thoughts about others to consider. I'm not particularly price sensitive (after collecting HTF cigars, pipes seem like a real bargain) nor am I especially "elitist" about necessarily collecting a "name." I guess that would be obvious if I am willing to buy Chhedas at this point in his career.

Your thoughts guys?
 
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CPT/VSG:
I would recommend narrowing your question somewhat. Personal opinions about the best American carvers will likely vary significantly from one pipesmoker to another. If you're trying to gather some feedback prior to purchasing a pipe, I suggest starting with the source, condition and price range that you prefer (e.g. new pipe in a$____ range from a web-based tobacconist).
 

Puff Daddy

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Again, it all depends on what you're looking for.

Best bang for you buck? Mark Tinsky, hands down!! Excellent work and damned good prices.
Finest work insofar as elegance and grace goes? Alexey Florov or Jeff Gracik or Brad Pohlman.
Excellent sandblast impressions of classic shapes? Rad Davis and Brian Ruthenberg.
Pure artistic creativity with briar? Rolando Negoita.

There are a lot of American carvers who offer a lot of differing types of work :D
 

Ol'Dawg

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That's almost like asking who is your favorite kid. Have you checked out the list of pipe makers in the "link section"? The majority listed are American pipe makers and were included because someone on the board either has one or wants one. Personally, I think Mike Brissett makes the best pipe for the money, but then I don't have a Tinsky and some others YET.

Jim
 

CPT/VSG

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O.K., the first thread was too narrow (or compared apples and oranges) but now I see that this one is too broad. I'll ask a different question: who is your single favorite North American carver with pipe prices between $200-$500 and why?

What I'm looking for is feedback on carvers from those with knowledge of their product. You can only learn so much by looking at web sites.
 

Ol'Dawg

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The following are pipes I have from makers that fall within your price range--Ruthenberg, Rad Davis, Learned, Von-Erck. The reason I bought them was for excellent craftsmanship inside and out, comfortable bits/stems, small to medium size and bent (except for the Von-Erck), unique style, and reputation for smokability. Others I am considering or would have bought that fit my preferred style of pipe include Tyler Lane (no longer makes pipes), Crosby, Howell, and J.Alan. If your considering Canadian as in North American I can include Rocheleau in my "have" and recommended list though he had to quit making pipes due to wrist problems.

Does that help?

Jim
 

Ol'Dawg

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What I was trying to say but didn't is that each person has their own distinct preferences and gravitates toward those makers that make pipes that suit their perferences. I also didn't mention that it's a real pleasure for me to purchase a pipe directly from the maker. Though it doesn't make the pipe smoke any better, it adds to my overall experience of smoking a pipe.

If you're not in a big hurry to purchase some pipes, the NASPC is having a show in Columbus on August 23. There should be a good selection of North American pipe makers there along with some examples of pipes by those that don't attend. Later on there's a good show in Richmond, VA on October 3-5 that should have a good selection of pipes and pipe makers.

Jim
 

Nick

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Some great bets are:
J. Alan
Adam Davison
Alex Florev
Trever Talbert is still technically American, but living in France.
Tonni Neilsen is Danish living in Kentucky
Larry Roush makes gorgeous pipes, and lives in Toledo! (I just moved from Columbus - Hilliard - to Connecticut and I kick myself all the time for never going to visit Larry)
Premal makes world class pipes. I have two myself.
Scott Anderson
Jack Howell
Brad Pohlman
Gabrielli pipes (Dan Chebov or somthing. Can't remember)
Brian Ruthenburg

There's no particular order to these guys here. They're all top notch and very collectable. If you want to get in on a couple up-and-comers, I'd stick with Premal and Scott Anderson. The prices are good and the pipes are awesome.
 

CPT/VSG

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Great comments from everyone. I have the NASPC show on my calendar.
 

scottyb

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My favorites, in no particular order, these run the gamut from affordable to uber-expensive.

Brian Ruthenberg
Jody Davis
Michael Lindner
Alex Florov
John Crosby
Kirk Bosi
 

CPT/VSG

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This information is very helpful as I'm checking out all carvers listed.

I noticed photos on the Smokers' Haven site of the 2005 Richmond show. Not having been to a pipe show before, I had better put my assets in trust before entering the NASPC show this summer. Just having all those pipes and carvers present in one spot looks like Heaven and could prove very expensive.
 
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scottyb":rj0v4spa said:
Brian Ruthenberg
Jody Davis
Michael Lindner
Alex Florov
John Crosby
Kirk Bosi
J. Davis, Lindner, Florov are all selling their pipes for much higher then $200-500 range specified. Lindner's pipes are around $1000 mark. Florov is up ther too. Davis is practically unavailable...

One can buy a fairly inexpensive good quality smoking pipe made by Jim Boswell or Tim West (under $100). Mark Tinsky pipes are in the range specified - all good smokers. Pipes by Ruthenberg, Rad Davis, Lee von Erck John Corsby are all on the higher end of that range (closer to $500 and then going up)...
 

Wet Dottle

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I wouldn't say I have a favorite, but lately I've been buying Purdy and Ruthenberg's pipes exclusively. One day I would like to get a few from Rad's...
 

Smoke_House

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For an American carver and bang-4-buck, I think you should look into Brian Ruthenberg pipes. I have two and they are the first pipes I reach for usually. Exceptionally dry smokers and wide-open airway. Most of his are around $300 with the engineering & attention to detail blowing away some of the over-coveted English names (Ashton, Ferndown, Upshall, etc). Tied for my favorite is Larry Roush, but you are paying a fair bit more (worth it though).
 
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Smoke_House":lwbvb0lr said:
...my favorite is Larry Roush, but you are paying a fair bit more (worth it though).
True for me. I never had a bad smoking pipe by Larry Roush. :pipe:
 

docwatson

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In my honest opinion there are so many great American Carvers that it would take a long time to just collect one specimen from each. Now that is a collection that I'd like to start.
Some of my fav''s in no particular order are:

Paul Bonacquisti
Bill Feuerbach (Kaywoodie Handmades)
Joe Skoda
Rolando Negoita
Steve Johnson
Andrew Marks
Perry White Pipes
Mark Tinsky
Joe Learned
John Eells
Dr. Bob Kiess
Elliot Nachwalter

and the list goes on. I think I'll start my search for the next one.
:D :D :D :D :D :D :D
 

CPT/VSG

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The replies to my thread have been really helpful to me. I've been making a master list of all the names listed and running those down on the Internet. Plus, I've been going through The Pipe Collector (NASPC newletter) and Pipes & Tobaccos (buying past issues) as additional sources to add to the list.

Hopefully, by the time the NASPC show rolls around in August, I'll have a decent familiarity with the carvers so I'll know what I'm looking at.

I'm off again today to Smokers' Haven to look at the Rad Davis and Michael Lindner pipes they have. And to pick up another Chheda.

Thanks again, guys.
 

frankluke

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bruce weaver makes a fine fine pipe.. have you guys seen his blast work as of late? excellent IMO.
 

Winslow

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I just received my BoB Forum pipe from Mark Tinsky.My first Tinsky and I'm
pleased with the craftmanship,fit and finish are first rate.I'll smoke it later tonight
after dinner. :D :D :D

Winslow
 

Wet Dottle

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Smoke_House":naf3ypqr said:
For an American carver and bang-4-buck, I think you should look into Brian Ruthenberg pipes. [snip] Tied for my favorite is Larry Roush, but you are paying a fair bit more (worth it though).
Agreed!
 
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