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My Life In The Workshop!

A little (Lot actually) about myself!

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Name: Steve
Location: Mid-Eastern Missouri
Age: Soon to be The Big 5-0

I first got started into the hobby of pipes back around Christmas of 2004. As I had never been a smoker, it was a big surprise to my entire family and also to most of my friends. What peaked my interest is that I had always watched my buddy smoking a pipe as he casually floated down the rivers around here. He looked so relaxed and content and it got me interested.
I asked him about smoking a pipe and he told me a bit about it and got me even more interested. So I asked him what type pipe and tobacco I should try out. He gifted me a pipe, which I still have, and a small sample of tobacco. I'm not sure which one it was. I gave it a try. Not one to give up easily, although my first few tries weren't great, I kept trying.
My wife was helpful in her own way as well. She purchased a bag each of a cherry and vanilla blend from Wal-Mart. I puffed a bowl or two of each and still have what remains of those two original bags.
I did as many do when they start and gave aromatics a try and soon found that most aromatics aren't that good. But at this point I was working on my packing method and learned quickly. I attest this success to reading many good posts on other forums.
I soon made the move to other type blends and fell in love with English blends.
I began figuring out the packing method better and was really beginning to enjoy pipe smoking.
I read on a forum somewhere about a pipe show in St. Louis in Feb. following my start of pipe smoking. I called the friend that gave me my first pipe and told him that we just had to go. He had never attended a show before so was game. We went and both enjoyed it and I was hooked. I picked up a hand full of cheap pipes and this lead to my wanting more.
I then did as many do and started shopping for pipes on ebay. Again as many do, I had no real clue what I was doing and made my first purchase of a bag full of pipes. When they arrived, they were terrible. You could hardly put a pencil down in the bowl for all the cake, the mortises were gunked so badly that some of the stems were stuck tight and the stems had extreme oxidation and chew marks. In a nutshell, they were trashed and I thought I'd been taken badly.
I then started reading about cleaning up and refurbing pipes. So I thought, what do I have to loose? So I bought a few supplies and started cleaning up those pipes. After I was done, I had saved most of those first pipes and had some that were pretty good looking and smoking pipes.
I then learned about opening up a stem and airway to make a pipe smoke better. So I bought the drill bits needed and started playing with opening up pipes.
Following that, with the help of other pipesmokers gifting me pipes that were in bad need of cleaning up, I began to amass quite a few, so I started paying others kindness back by gifting some of my refurbs.
I then started seeing these nice tampers being made of deer antler and decided to give that a try, but then had to buy other tools and pieces to make those. I made quite a few, then moved on to making them from exotic woods as well.
Following my foray into pipe refurbing and tamper making I got my first hand made pipe and after reading about peoples interest in carving their own. It got me interested so I purchased a pre-drilled pipe kit and went to work on it. It didn't turn out too badly and could be smoked. Again I was hooked. But being the cheap kinda guy I am, I thought I could do my own drilling and so I purchased a couple blocks and drill bits and after practicing on pine blocks with my drill press drilled both those blocks and loved it.
I followed this with the purchase of a Delta Midi wood lathe and more tooling and was enjoying my meager attempts at pipe making. I followed this up with a trip to Phoenix to visit a couple pipe makers and pick up some tips.
That's been a few years ago and now I have a new home, a new shop and lots of new tools which I've pretty much dedicated to pipes and pipe making. I've made a few, sold a few and I continue to learn as time goes along.
And to think, when my buddy gifted me my first pipe, he and his son (A fellow pipe smoker) gave me 3 months before I'd give it up all together.

Here is my latest pipe and only the second from my new shop.