For some reason I had not yet posted a picture of this exquisite handmade pipe by Gio, a Canada-based artisan who has so far been selling his creations only within a relatively closed circle. It is a mixed design between a distinguishable acorn shape and a pickaxe, both of which having a pleasing Nordic appeal to them I found genuinely pleasing. Apart from being the very first one of a kind pipe I ever owned, it is a precious reminder of the kind soul who sent it to me as a token of his appreciation. It is therefore impossible to enjoy the pleasant smoking experience it continues to provide without being invaded by a powerful feeling of privilege and of gratitude.
My new pipe collection. Got a great deal on some estate pipes and a stand.
The bowl on the left is a Kaywoodie Ninety Fiver that the “drinkless” stem broke on. Not real sure what to do with it now.
From left to right:
Kaywoodie mentioned, Bjarne Rustic handmade in Denmark, Dr. Gabow Duke, Little Cherry Thang, Medico Ventilator.
Above is what I would consider a reasonably unusual pipe decoration. It was found among a few Peterson and Big Ben models at the Havaneza House in Lisbon. Upon asking to inspect the pipe I found nothing but a number - possibly related to its shape - although no brand logo or designer name that would enable me to understand its origin. As the picture reveals, it lacks elegance to the point of seeming almost unfinished. Carved on one of its sides is a distinctive Freemasonry symbol known as the Square and Compasses, the most elementary utensils of the architect. Additionally, the G letter at the center is usually said to represent the greatest of all architects.
The presence of this pipe in this particular store and location becomes even more baffling when bearing in mind that, in recent times, several Portuguese newspapers pushed front page stories exposing some of the most notable masonic lodges in the country; as well as how some of the most important statesmen are associated to this seemingly harmless brotherhood of men. Conspiracy theories aside, I wonder what would become of me if I chose to smoke such a pipe while strolling through the Pombaline Lower Town.
For many years, my father and I wondered about the origin of this pipe. He obtained it when I was a young child, much to my dismay, as a part of a trade involving a pair of daggers I was particularly fond of. The inscription read Elliot stowe, vt. which, to us, wasn’t necessarily helpful. Recently I decided to find out more about the designer of this pipe who, as it turns out and against our educated guesses, turned out not to be an amateur but rather an evolving pipe designer from the United States.
Elliot Nachwalter is a craftsman based in Vermont. In the beginning of his twenty five year old career, he and his friend Andrew Marks worked together in a store located in the town of Stowe before starting their own Briar Workshop. The pipes they created were sent to retailers throughout the United States which explains how this piece may have been purchased in the first place. At present, he continues to design and sell pipes, his technique more evolved than ever before. Some of his recent creations can be found on his website.
Because the pipe was heavily damaged, namely on the plateau rim, my father eventually tried to restore it - a creative approach of sorts which resulted in its current decoration. A smoking pipe is, after all, a living entity that is subject to changes with the passage of time.