By Bob Tate
Luciano (pronounced: Lu-chee-ah-no) pipes are made in Italy and are the creation of Luca Di Piazza, owner of NeatPipes. Luca wanted to create a high quality line of pipes that would be affordable to all pipe smokers. In the beginning months of 2007, he set to work making the first pipes that would carry the Luciano name. He wanted to make sure that every pipe in the Luciano line had all of the correct engineering that makes a pipe a good smoker, but he wanted to be able to produce them in a way that keeps the cost of the pipes low and affordable. The way that he achieved this was by having each pipe Hand Finished instead of Hand Made.
The process of Hand Finishing that each Luciano pipe goes through:
• The briar block is cut into shape by a machine. This is the only time that a machine is used in the process. The rest is done by hand by pipe makers.
• Once the machine has cut the block into the specified shape for that pipe, it is then handed over to pipe makers. The pipe maker then drills the pipe by hand to ensure that the drilling is done correctly and the draft hole is properly aligned.
• After that is done, the pipe makers then finish the outside of the pipe.
• Once all of the briar work is done, they then work on the stem. The stems are bent by hand, hand finished, and are fitted to that specific pipe.
They do this so that the stem matches up perfectly and is flush with the shank of that particular pipe and to make certain that each pipe will pass a pipe cleaner from button to bowl. All of the briar that is chosen for the Luciano line is of high quality and has been seasoned for at least two years. The stems on Luciano pipes are made of high quality, pre-cut, Lucite. Each stem is custom finished to perfectly fit each individual pipe.
Luciano pipes come in a variety of shapes and colors and they are continuously expanding the shape chart and the Luciano line of pipes on a constant basis. Most of the shapes that are offered are variations of classic shapes which have been modified a bit to showcase his personal style. Luciano pipes are available in Smooth, Partially Rusticated, and Sandblasted finishes.
The Smooth and Partially Rusticated finishes are available in four colors;
• Light Brown
• Dark Contrast
The sandblasted finishes are available in three colors;
• Dark Brown
• Natural or Virgin
Every Luciano pipe is stamped with the Luciano name, Hand Finished in Italy, and the Year that it was made. Although some of the older pipes in the line do not have a shape number stamped on them, Luca says that they are stamping the shape number on the newer production pipes.
From the time of their inception, until late in 2009, Luciano pipes were only available in China where they were received and appreciated by pipe smokers as great pipes with excellent smoking characteristics and a great price point. During this time, Luca was developing and perfecting the way that he wanted the pipes to be made. He was working on the shapes, finishes, and the overall aesthetics of the pipes that would carry the Luciano name. In September of 2009, Luca was finally ready to release the Luciano line to a larger base of pipe smokers and he started releasing them in the United States, Russia, and Italy. The Luciano line made its U.S. debut at the 2009 Richmond Pipe Show.
At the 2010 Chicago Pipe Show, Luca released the next expansion of the Luciano line. They were called the Luciano Pease/di Piazza Design. Pease/di Piazza Design is the brain child of Luca Di Piazza and Greg Pease of G.L. Pease Tobacco. They collaborated and brought four new shapes to the line. These shapes are;
• Chubby Apple
• Stubby Dublin
• Chubby Poker
• Stubby Bulldog
In January of 2011, Luca once again showed his dedication to expand and continue to grow the Luciano line when he released the 2011 Luciano Pipe of the Year. The 2011 POY is a Limited Edition of 100 pieces and is a new shape to the Luciano line. The shape is called Danish Apple #54D. It comes in two finishes;
They are available in four colors depending on what finish the pipe has;
They received a great reception from pipe smokers and at the time of this article only a few pieces of the 100 are still available. Luca assures me that this is just the beginning of the Luciano Pipe of the Year; “This is the first pipe of the year for Luciano” he says “and surely the first of a long series.”
Luciano pipes retail in the range of $70.00 – $190.00 USD. As with all pipes, the price depends on the grade of the briar, finish of the pipe, size of the pipe, etc. But even their lower priced pipes are made with the same care and attention to detail as their higher priced pipes. Luca says that he is expecting to release about 40 new shapes to the line in 2011.
So far I have added three Luciano pipes to my collection. They are among my favorite pipes and I hope to add more of them to my collection. I bought my first Luciano in December of 2009 and added two more at the 2010 Chicago Pipe Show. My first Luciano was a Bent Bulldog and the two others are a Bent Rhodesian and a Pease/Di Piazza Chubby Poker. All three of them smoke great.
They all pass a pipe cleaner from button to bowl with no problems and no bending of the cleaner necessary. Even fluffy cleaners will pass. The internal engineering are perfect on all three and the stems match up perfectly with the shank. The draft hole is drilled perfectly with the hole at the bottom of the tobacco chamber and centered properly. All of them are light enough to be clenched with no discomfort. In my opinion, they are a great value for the cost of the pipe. Here are a few photos of my Luciano pipes:
I hope that you have enjoyed reading a little bit about the history and production of Luciano pipes. If you would like to add some Italian made pipes to your collection without spending an arm and a leg, you can’t go wrong with Luciano Pipes.
Luciano Pipes are available at the following E-tailers:
Luciano Pipes are also available directly from NeatPipes.com
[*All photos, with the exception of the author’s pipes, are courtesy of NeatPipes.com]