By Cam Schutte
There is much tradition associated with pipe smoking that dates back centuries ago. The traditions are part of the lure of pipe smoking for many people. In more recent times however, some of the traditions have evolved and been modernized, mixed and matched, new and old. Here is a story of the newest innovation in pipe stands as told by Cam Schutte. Cam is a member of the Greater Kansas City Pipe Club and The United Pipe Clubs of America.
It all started when Anthony Harris, member of our club and wood-turner "par excellence", decided to combine rare earth magnets with his exotic wood creations. His principle is simple and very effective – embed a magnet in the core of the pipe stand and use a spherical magnet in a pipe to hold it in place n the stand. Attachment 1 is the one he created for me to use as a prop for photographing pipes.
Anthony has offered his stands at several shows including St. Louis, Chicago and Kansas City. They have been very well received with notables such as Chuck Stanion and Jon Rinaldi acquiring them for their photography as well.
But with a substantial collection of large Comoy’s Extraordinaire 800’s to display, I wanted more from this intriguing technology. I just didn’t know what the solution might be. The answer came during a brainstorming session with my good friends, Mike Sull and Al Shinogle, on our way to the Chicago show last May. I took my single pipe stand to show Al as he had not seen one. Being a very resourceful fellow who loves to create unique items in his extensive workshop, Al quickly began offering mind expanding ideas for how the magnet technology might be employed for a collection of pipes.
By the end of the trip we had settled on a concept of using a steel plate as a base for a stand with more capacity. Attached to it would be cylindrical posts with magnets at each end. One end would attach to the plate and the other would hold a pipe much in keeping with what Anthony had created. Soon after our return home, I began working on a prototype.
As I tried different materials for the posts, beginning with vulcanite rod, I found it outside of my mechanical skill set to make anything work well enough to accomplish the needed result. I consulted with Anthony but no apparent solution surfaced from that conversation. One day, out of the blue, it came to me that no other material was needed but the magnets! With cylindrical magnets (1/2" in diameter and 1/2" high) I could assemble posts as high as I needed by stacking them. And with their pulling power, staying adhered to the plate was no problem.
The next issue was how to get the pipe to rest securely on the 1/2" post. Again, necessity was the mother of invention, and I found that putting a 3/4" disk magnet 1/8" thick on the top of the post gave a lot much more adequate support. But one obstacle remained – how to get the cup-like effect of the depression Anthony made in his stands. I decided to walk the aisles of WalMart to see what inspiration I might find. Then it happened – I saw buttons, simple plastic buttons for clothing. Fastening one of those to the disk magnet with a strong cement did the trick.
With the functionality resolved, the finishing touch was to have a frame made that would contain the steel plate and give the appearance of a piece of furniture. This 36" creation now resides on the antique desk in my office. It magnificently displays 12 of my large Comoy’s as I had envisioned.
Photos courtesy of Cam Schutte