The Subtle Joy Of Tampers

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mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,724
1,108
I have always worshipped the pipe nail, for its simplicity, multi-purpose design, and low-low cost. Since they are so inexpensive, you almost can't lose them, except in among the change and keys in your own pocket. The Czech tools and the pocket-knife folding tools run a close second. But wait. Years ago when my wife was in rehab after hip surgery (don't ask, it's a long story) she managed to order me a gift certificate for a pipe rack from Two Cousins. We had fun designing our commission, red barn wood with a storage compartment for tins, and we celebrated by my bringing the rack, loaded with pipes and tins, to her rehab hospital bed and having a birthday take-out meal delivered. Okay. Along with the rack, Two Cousins included a tin of Mac Baren blend and a handmade willow tamper with a special tamping end of non-flammable material. For years it lived on the top of the rack, and I'd admire it from time to time. Only lately have I discovered it and grown to seek it out for tamping. It's wider, thicker, and perhaps lighter weight even than a pipe nail, and gives a somewhat more commanding tamping than my pipe nails and horseshoe nails, which I still use and dearly love. But it is a whole new day in the tamping department. I don't want to have too many pipe tools on hand, for clutter, but this is a resource I didn't appreciate nearly enough. Do you have a pretty tamper you haven't used much? Give it a try. It might become a habit like this lovely Two Cousins willow branch of mine.

 

pappymac

Preferred Member
Feb 26, 2015
1,842
31
My current favorite tamper is a deer antler tine that has a nice flat tip perfect for scooping out the dottle. The one I use is third from the top. The two top pieces I sent to a pipe carver so he could make use of them as accents.



 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,724
1,108
Nice array of antler. I haven't tried the angled cut in my willow tamper yet, intended as a scoop. The pipe nail and horseshoe nail scoops are so efficient, since I scoop then wipe with a paper towel, and don't have to ream, don't own a reamer. The wider thicker tamper is a whole new pleasure to me, silly as that sounds. I think the wider handle gives more control, though that sounds like such a finicky detail to me even now.

 

didimauw

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 28, 2013
3,706
1,172
30
WI
MSO, you know the rules.
Pics or it didn't happen.
On second thought, that SHOULD be an actual rule...

 

lawdawg

Preferred Member
Aug 25, 2016
842
379
I would definitely appreciate a good hand-made tamper. Most of the time, I just use a Czech tool. I like the heftier ones that are actually built in the Czech republic. However, when I'm in the woods with my cobs and codger burley, I usually just carve a tamper out of wood and use it for the day. Dry stick, flat end for tamping, and pointy end for scraping ashes and dottle. I'd like to have a fancier version of my improvised wood tampers, especially an antler tamper like pappy posted ^^^

 

the85boro

Junior Member
Feb 17, 2019
95
6
It will be had to pry me away from the simpicity of the INDIA stamped, weightless and too good design of the nail. I have a mound of Czechs that collect dust. But, I would like a hefty tamp with a wider diameter to carry every day as well. Just have to find one. Hopefully I will find one at the Muletown Pipe Show in Columbia TN the end of this month

 

husky

Member
Jul 1, 2019
137
3
I bought this fancier version of the multitool but it has a design flaw.

When trying to tamp, half of the time the pick gets hung up on the pipe rim.

Looking forward to "find" a better one here.



 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,724
1,108
didi', I'll make my annual apology without re-telling my long sad story about my dismal mid-life introduction to computers, to say that after attempting all of the excellent instructions provided, several sets of them, I'm simply not techie enough or patient enough, nor have time enough, to do the photo bit. I'm a very visual guy, almost a gallery rat with museums large and small. But as I often joke, in the tech department, I'm basically a quill pen and parchment guy. That I'm online often, or at all, is amazing. Back to tampers, I've wondered if a wooden tamper could be designed to wear around your neck as a pendant to keep it readily at hand; it would require some good design to not poke or snag the chest, and to look cool rather than dorky, not like a bottle opener worn around the neck. I guess it might look like the strings that hold mittens on your toddler, so that wouldn't be appealing. Just an inventive thought, make of it what you will.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
14,406
2,122
Monterey Peninsula
Not really a tamper guy. I have several Pipe Tools and Czech tools, and several dozen wooden ones I've made, and over a hundred wooden golf tees. So, never without. Just something I've not wished to get fancy with.
Husky- Of the ones I have similar, the pick runs the other way, but they are all metal. They also have a scraper.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,724
1,108
I've seen some totally gorgeous tampers bejeweled or with metal work, etc., that I felt sure I could lose in fifteen minutes if I took them out of the house, or sure I could misplace them for years in the house. I am flirting with those overpriced Savinelli tampers and others, but this willow branch has me well entranced for the present. The thickness of the willow gives better control for my slightly arthritic fingers, and actually remind me to take a lighter touch, which makes for better tamping. I think it is part of pipe smoking that is both useful and not much discussed. I should play around with making a few; that's about the level of my crafting aptitude. jpm', I too use a few golf tees, though I'm not a golfer. They're pretty good for both tamping and picking/scooping -- not quite a pipe nail, but not bad. I may do an OP on tamping, for newbies mostly; there's a little more to be gained than you think at first.

 

pepesdad1

Preferred Member
Feb 28, 2013
833
26
I like to make tampers out of pieces of branch that I've found on road trips and my own backyard. I usually cut a silver pipe nail in half and glue them into a hole I've drilled into the hardened end of the wood. I harden the wood with liquid super glue which makes the end hard enough to drill without problems...each is unique and brings back memories of where I found it.















Some I simply trim the edge to make a natural scoop on the end.

Something to keep an old man busy.

I always glaze them and buff the tamper ends to make them glossy and the scoop end gets buffed also...keeps the ash from sticking to the ends.

 

lawdawg

Preferred Member
Aug 25, 2016
842
379
Dang you guys, I just bought a cool antler tamper on etsy. I googled "antler pipe tools" and "antler pipe tampers" then came across one that is pretty much exactly what I imagined, so of course I bought it right away :puffy:


 

lawdawg

Preferred Member
Aug 25, 2016
842
379
^^^ really cool tamper, didimauw. If any forum members are making anything like that, I'd definitely be interested.

 
Reactions: SpookedPiper

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,724
1,108
All of the tampers in photos are pipe show worthy. I like the adaptations of the pipe nails, and those carved tampers with gnome faces.

 

phxrock

Senior Member
Aug 18, 2014
343
15
There are some real nice tampers here. I like the bone and the hand carved ones. Good work hope the last a long time and serve you well.
Now what is the scoop on the sticks with a nail in it. They appear to be created by a 10 year old, please dont tell me an adult did them if so they should be embarrassed. WOW oh WOW I hope they are a joke.