Bless my girlfriend's heart she wanted to get me a fancy pipe this year for Yule and, of course, found the Kirsten website. Since we're local, and I hadn't seen a Kirsten in person, we decided to take a drive down there and check 'em out. Much to my irritation they had nothing on hand, except the employee's personal pipe and bowls. This is what we were told:
(TL;DR- They don't know when they can start production. Costs are high and the machining of the stems is really complicated.)
As others have said above they simply didn't have to order parts for ages, apparently the guys who made them back in the day cranked them out by the ton. When Kirsten realized they needed more stock they also found out that all those guys who'd been machining them had either died or long since retired. We were told that it takes something like 57 different cuts to make a stem tube, and that it is too complicated to have CNC machines do this. [Side note, I know CNC machinists and I have trouble believing this aspect of the story. But I don't know since I don't know the limitations of the machine or the complexities in programming them to do anything.] They can apparently get the caps, bits and bowl adapters at reasonable prices.
What I -don't- have trouble believing is that production costs, based on quotes they've received, might force them to raise the prices of the straights and quarter bents to over $250 each. The "problem" is that they are trying to keep the production inside Washington State, as opposed to offshoring it to China which would merely double the prices seen on the website. They tracked down one old timer who used to machine them, but he is reportedly not responding. They are hopeful that he will be able to train some younger guys how to make the pipes, but it's all up in the air right now.
They have seed money for a run or two of pipes, and a backorder list that -IF- they were able to start production in January it would take them until August or September to fill. After that they could go back to producing parts to sell pipes off the shelf.