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Question to Those Who Have Had Pipe Commissions Done

(31 posts)
  • Started 5 years ago by piperl12
  • Latest reply from easygoer
  1. piperl12

    piperl12

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    I have a question for those who have commissioned a few pipes in their pipe smoking career. I have a couple shapes of pipes that I like, would really like to have one in that shape in nearly that exact look. What has been your experience with custom carvers like Rad Davis doing commissions based on your exact needs? I don't want to stop the creative process but would love to be able to say I owned the shape and look I wanted AND its a commission for a respected carver. What is the typical time it takes to get one of these pipes done?

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    It can take 1-2 months depending on the carvers workload at the time. If you want a specific shape done, I would look around to see who does that shape regularly and is familiar with it. Rad is known for zulus, rhodesians, dublins and others. What shape are you looking for?

    Posted 5 years ago #
  3. piperl12

    piperl12

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    I was thinking about a reproduction of that Savinelli 120th Anniversary pipe but made by a master carver. Certainly the value would be greater down the road. I could also that way order three pipes in different finishes but the same shape. The shape is a panel 1/4 bent rodesion... at least that is what I would call it.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  4. daveinlax

    daveinlax

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    Certainly the value would be greater down the road.

    No! Not necessarily. Today's hot carver, style or shape might be old news in a year.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  5. piperl12

    piperl12

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    True but at least I would know it was very well made and would have a story to tell about how it was made.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Not sure if Rad is familiar with panels. That looks like a shape Mark Tinsky would be quite familiar with. I wouldn't do it based on the idea of value. There is no telling whose pipes will be valued more in 10, 20 or 50 years.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  7. pitchfork

    pitchfork

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    It's possible someone would be willing to do it, but that's a very particular, specific design. Why not just buy the Savinelli pipes? Still, plenty of makers would probably be able to do a bent paneled Rhodesian of some sort, if that's what you're wanting.

    EDIT: Agree with sam -- Mark Tinsky would be great with panels. And he's a very skillful craftsman/woodworker, so he might be willing to go the whole nine yards with the Savinelli idea.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  8. 7ach

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  9. lonestar

    lonestar

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    It depends on who the artist is. I wouldn't think Rad is the best pick for something like this. Not that he can't think outside the box, or make any shape he wanted, but he has spent years developing his own unique style. Rad is mostly known for doing Rad style pipes If it looks like a Rad, then Rad would be a good choice.
    I haven't seen the pipe myself, but Tinsky would be a good choice for Panels, he does a helluva job with them. Even then, he may not be willing to do an exact copy of another pipe, I really don't know.

    -Ryan Alden
    Posted 5 years ago #
  10. daveinlax

    daveinlax

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    If you're thinking of a possible future upside Poul Ilsted is known for his panel pipes. I don't know how he is to work with but in this time when the title of Master Pipe Maker is pretty cheap he's as close to a panel master as anyone.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  11. pitchfork

    pitchfork

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    but in this time when the title of Master Pipe Maker is pretty cheap he's as close to a panel master as anyone.

    The title might come cheap, but the pipes won't.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    dixie

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    I commissioned a pipe and sent a pic to the carver of the shape I liked best along with my price range. The price determined the level of grain quality in my case. I did not want to spend too much so I got a lower quality grain...but...the pipe was exactly what I wanted and is one of my best smokers. It took a little less than 3 months but the carver kept me in the loop all the way through. I suggest sending a pic to the carver of what you would like...but giving him/her the creative freedom to work with it...In the end you will walk away with a unique pipe by a great artist I am sure. Good Luck!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  13. shayde

    shayde

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    Sorry this is a little off topic, but where can I find pics of Rad's Zulu's??

    "I have some friends, some honest friends, and honest friends are few; My pipe of briar, my open fire, A book that's not too new." -Robert W. Service
    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    Shayde, if you want to see Rad's pipes go to his website.

    The gallery of 950 pipes is here:

    Gallery

    Posted 5 years ago #
  15. pruss

    pruss

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    Rob, have you considered Michael Parks for your commission pieces? He is a super friendly guy, and is certainly skilled and creative. Peck would be able to tell you how collaborative his pipe creation process is; and his work stands for itself. That all being said, I understand that his commissions do take a L O N G time... so that needs to be considered.

    Here is a link to Michael's Bulldog Gallery: http://www.parkspipes.com/bulldog/

    -- Pat

    EDIT - I realize I didn't answer your questions from the OP ... my bad. Here goes.

    I have had one commissioned pipe made, so far. I worked with Jeremiah Sandahl from http://sandahlpipe.com/ the pipe he made me is 2013 #54 in his pipe gallery; the two-stemmed cutty. Jeremiah was very collaborative on things like shape, size, materials, and finish, but I was also fairly hands-off once we got through the basics. I wanted him to make me a Sandahl pipe, after only framing up my initial needs and wants. I think when it comes to a more specific need/want it probably makes sense to ring up the makers you think will make a great version of the pipe you want, and then to ask them about their commission process. This will help you get a handle on who you like, and why, and you'll end up getting the result you're looking for.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  16. shayde

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    Cheers, I didn't know he had a site.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  17. mso489

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    I'd invest a little more thought in this if you are thinking of going to a pipe carver and asking for a pipe
    done to resemble an established Savenelli model. Why not just buy the Savenelli? As someone said. But
    it is more than that. The better the carver, the more established and known he or she is, the more they
    expect to be approached for the quality of their own work. They don't want to do a Dr. Grabow Royalton,
    but in more expensive materials. This is more like buying a painting. You aren't going in and looking at
    sketches telling the painter to move the tree from here to there, or to change the geometrics in an abstract
    painting. You are really buying the artist and his choices more than just a pipe. Some carvers probably do
    deliver "copies" of established pipes, but not the best carvers, and never as the best work. You want to go
    in with lots of ideas, pictures of pipes you love, and a willingness to look at everything available that the
    carver has done. Then you trust your carver. He's doing you a pipe, but he's the artist. That's my take.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  18. piperl12

    piperl12

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    Wow, all good advise. Thanks guys! Shape wise the pipe that Sav makes is pretty much what I want. The aesthetics are really where I feel a custom carver could do something special. Also the willingness to pay a higher price than just buying the Savinelli means I am guaranteed spectacular grain or blast. If I just buy the factory pipe I am stuck with whatever grain that pipe that was available would have. @Pat, I never thought about Mike I actually know him from back in the Burlington Pipe Club days. In fact we were always going to try to get out shooting sometime.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  19. pruss

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    Rob, I bet you could get Mike up to yours for some partridge/grouse hunting. Might be a good way to talk shapes. Just sayin'...

    -- Pat

    Posted 5 years ago #
  20. pipestud

    pipestud

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    I was thinking about a reproduction of that Savinelli 120th Anniversary pipe but made by a master carver. Certainly the value would be greater down the road. I could also that way order three pipes in different finishes but the same shape. The shape is a panel 1/4 bent rodesion... at least that is what I would call it. - piperl12

    There are so many great pipe makers out there that I would not recommend one over the other. Do a little research to see what other pipemakers work you enjoy and consider their general price points for their work. Usual turnaround time can vary from 1-3 months, depending on their workload.

    Best,

    Pipestud

    Pipestud
    Posted 5 years ago #
  21. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    I have had Rad do 9 commissions for me and everyone came out exactly as I wanted it to. Normally it takes a couple of months for a Rad but I have had them come in sooner on a couple of occasions. I have not seen Rad do a panel pipe so I am not sure if that is something he does, you can always ask him. I know that if he did take on a commission like this, he would not do it if he were not comfortable with that style. Rad also never charges for a deposit, he makes your pipe and if you like it you buy it. Not many artisans are that confident as most require a deposit.

    In terms of price, in my opinion no one is making a better pipe for the money than Rad. I see tons of other artisans charging more for pipes that do not look anywhere as good as a Rad. In terms of smoking properties, I will put my Rads up to pipes costing 2-3 times the price. In terms of stem work, for my tastes Rad makes the best stems. I have smoked my share of pipes from Former, Rainer Barbi, Kurt Balleby and to a one, none of those much more expensive artisans made a pipe that was better than my Rads. In almost every case, they were not as good as my Rad's.

    Now if you want to spend significantly more money, Poul Ilsted is known as the king of the panel pipe, but the price I believe will be at least double of a Rad and I honestly do not know if the pipe will smoke better as I have never smoked one of his pipes.

    Harris
    Posted 5 years ago #
  22. piperl12

    piperl12

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    Thanks Harris, Rad was who I originally had in mind when I thought about having one made instead of buying an estate. It would take me easily a couple months to find the estate one that I want and at the end of the day I have a Savenelli that was made by someone in a factory. The same amount of time a bit more invested and I can have a beautiful work of art made by an artisan like Rad. Seems like a win/win. Not to mention I think that pipe would look awesome as a set. One smooth with straight or flame grain and one in Rad's blast. I'm drooling just thinking about it!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  23. bigvan

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    I'm with MSO. Paying an artisan carver to recreate an off-the-shelf factory pipe seems like an unusual request. Factory pipes start with an established shape, whereas the artisan starts at the grain, and allows the shape to follow. Asking a carver to carve an EXACT shape but make sure it has "spectacular grain" also takes the art out of it. At least to me it does.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  24. peckinpahhombre

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    Pat - I see that site of Mike's is new. When I visited him a couple of months ago he said he was soon unveiling a new site and that he hope to put more pipes for sale on it. Looks like a nice site.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  25. escioe

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    Didn't Neill Archer Roan have Jack Howell make renditions of the Comoy 283 straight rhodesian a few years back? That seems like an artisan remaking a factory pipe shape. I thought it was cool.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  26. captainbob

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    All of my pipes are commissioned from Bob Hayes (www.bobhayespipes.com) He is married to Pam, daughter of the late Craig Tarler of C&D. It is the best decision I ever made in my pipe smoking career. I own 23 of his pipes. Tell him Captain Bob sent you! He recently copied a Savenelli quarter-bent Pot I bought 40 years ago and he did a perfect job of it!
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Posted 5 years ago #
  27. lonestar

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    Didn't Neill Archer Roan have Jack Howell make renditions of the Comoy 283 straight rhodesian a few years back? That seems like an artisan remaking a factory pipe shape. I thought it was cool.

    That is common for an artist to make factory shapes, and even more common to make factory inspired shapes.
    The only point I was making earlier is that Rad may not be the guy to go too for panels. I only said that because I don't recall seeing any Rad panel pipes, but I'm sure he has made one at some point.
    Now, you want a Castello shape 55, I'd say Rad is your man any day of the week.
    Only one way to know if he wants to do a particular shape for you, just email or call the man and ask.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  28. pruss

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    Pat - I see that site of Mike's is new. When I visited him a couple of months ago he said he was soon unveiling a new site and that he hope to put more pipes for sale on it. Looks like a nice site.

    Agreed, Peck, the re-worked site is MILES above its predecessor. The gallery/archive of pipes by shape is a really cool feature.

    -- Pat

    Posted 5 years ago #
  29. easygoer

    easygoer

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    Even if the briar used by a carver is top of the line I imagine it happens a lot that they get half way through completing a commission and find a flaw in the wood (pit). Has anyone come across this where they have to change from a smooth pipe commission to a blasted one or possibly do you have to pay extra for the carver to try again.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  30. peckinpahhombre

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    easy - Most I have worked with would just blast that pipe, sell it to someone else, and then try again to make your pipe. I recall one carver telling me that when he makes a smooth commission, he may have to try 3 or 4 times before he gets there, because of flaws etc.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  31. easygoer

    easygoer

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    Thanks Peck

    Posted 5 years ago #

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