Ashton Pipes Question

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mtwaller

Lifer
Nov 21, 2018
1,332
5,673
34
Atlanta, GA
But Les is retired, no?
Indeed, he is. All of the Ferndown’s on the market are all there will ever be. But, to the point, I believe they were all oil cured. All of my Craig-era Ashton’s have a sheen on them that my other briars do not. At risk of putting my foot in my mouth, I’d hazard a guess that the new ones are oil cured as well.
 
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americaman

Part of the Furniture Now
May 1, 2019
941
3,084
Los Angeles, CA
I am not happy and have reached out to smoking pipes - it is disappointing that they would sell a pipe with so obvious a flaw.
I actually did the same this summer. I purchased a Craig Ashton from Smoking Pipes and the stem had dings in it (which I have never seen on a new pipe). I contacted Smoking Pipes, sent it back, and they actually completely took it off their website. It was saved in my wishlist and suddenly it had some weird inventory marking in all caps and then disappeared, so I’m assuming they sent it back to the distributor or Jimmy Craig. Additionally, the pipe had a semi-obstructed draw. Just a disappointment all around.

However, this is not my experience with all Ashtons. I have two Bill Taylor era pieces that are wonderful (one without a date stamp), and I had a Craig that was great.
 

americaman

Part of the Furniture Now
May 1, 2019
941
3,084
Los Angeles, CA
Will do. This was a 330 dollar pipe and had a number of pictures but I didnt see the problem in the photos. What a pain. Honestly I should not have to deal with this. They shouldn’t sell a pipe, let alone a higher end pipe, with this kind of sloppiness.
I 100% agree and I told basically told them this when I returned my Craig Ashton.
 
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Dec 10, 2013
2,445
3,091
Nijmegen, the Netherlands
So many good reads here, thank you all for sharing !
A good friend granted me the right of first refusal , so I purchased a few imho high end pipes for low end prices.
The pipes are in like new condition, barely smoked. I'm so chuffed.
One is a huge 1988 ( so very early ) Ashton Sovereign LX canadian with a brindle stem. It shows astonishing grain .
The left side of the bowl is a little sun faded. I was given to understand the Sovereigns to be natural finished, so
not stained, only polished and waxed. Am I correct ? I need to perk up the colour a little .
Please share :)
 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
18,614
11,785
Maryland
postimg.cc
So many good reads here, thank you all for sharing !
A good friend granted me the right of first refusal , so I purchased a few imho high end pipes for low end prices.
The pipes are in like new condition, barely smoked. I'm so chuffed.
One is a huge 1988 ( so very early ) Ashton Sovereign LX canadian with a brindle stem. It shows astonishing grain .
The left side of the bowl is a little sun faded. I was given to understand the Sovereigns to be natural finished, so
not stained, only polished and waxed. Am I correct ? I need to perk up the colour a little .
Please share :)
I'm not certain about "no stain" but certainly light, almost clear. Buff with White Diamond and then several coats of wax (buffed in) should revive the faded area of the finish. Pictures are a 1000 words, lets see the damage please.
 
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Dec 10, 2013
2,445
3,091
Nijmegen, the Netherlands
I'm not certain about "no stain" but certainly light, almost clear. Buff with White Diamond and then several coats of wax (buffed in) should revive the faded area of the finish. Pictures are a 1000 words, lets see the damage please.
Thank you Al , at least one who cares about my sorrows :)
This was my idea too . It is not so much damage , only a little fading from sunlight and tough to catch a picture. Maybe it is not even fading, but in the briar.
I'll try later, my camera is broken :(
 

jguss

Lifer
Jul 7, 2013
2,511
6,618
Yes Jon, I'm the one. It makes me feel a little special and yet I prefer we keep it sub rosa.
Agreed. Just between you, me, the members if this forum, the guests who casually peruse threads, hackers who dwell in the nether regions of the dark web, local/national/supranational governments, and of course the employees, officers and directors of Google.

Oh, and I may have told my cat Oscar.
 
Dec 10, 2013
2,445
3,091
Nijmegen, the Netherlands
Agreed. Just between you, me, the members if this forum, the guests who casually peruse threads, hackers who dwell in the nether regions of the dark web, local/national/supranational governments, and of course the employees, officers and directors of Google.

Oh, and I may have told my cat Oscar.
So much for my privacy; actually I do not care a fig . And love cats btw.
 

francli

Lurker
Feb 2, 2023
10
11
I wrote this elsewhere but I think it applies here:

I have some thoughts but they are hopelessly and probably unfairly biased, especially when it comes to currently produced pipes that bear the Ashton stamp.

I think of Bill Taylor’s pipes in three time periods. The first period was 1984 (the first full year of production) through the very early 1990s. I have no idea if it was the briar or the methods, but the sandblasting during this period tended to be fantastic. Wonderfully grained, very deep and craggy but without really distorting the shape. Bill had left Dunhill to start Ashton and you could tell from the pipes made during this period that he was motivated- he not only was making pipes that were far superior to Dunhills made at the time, he was making pipes that really could be compared to pre-WWII Dunhills. The stems in this period were very thin, very flat, and a little wide. I think they are very comfortable but probably a little too thin for clenchers. He had two men working for him during this time, Frank Lincoln and Sid Cooper, who probably deserve a lot of the credit for these pipes. It can’t be a coincidence that after they left (I think they both passed away in the early 1990s) the pipes changed.

The second period (in my mind) was from the early 1990s to 2003. The blasts were still excellent but maybe not as frequently well grained and not quite as deep. The stems changed, not quite as thin and not as wide. At some point “Ashtonite” was introduced as a stem material and I’m still not sure exactly what it is. I think it’s just a slightly softer than usual lucite but I’m not sure. I love these pipes and I think it was the Ashtons of the 80’s and 90’s that spurred Dunhill to get their act together and back to making great pipes in the 1990s.

The final period (again, just in my mind) was 2003-2008. Bill dissolved his partnership with RD Field, his US importer and who closely collaborated on the creation of the brand, in 2003. I think Field was a critical check on QA, for all the great pipes that Bill produced he could get very sloppy and a lot of them needed to be returned rather than passed on to retailers. After 2003 this check didn’t exist and I think the pipes that made it to stores suffered for it.

I think that the idea of the brand continuing after Bill‘s death is ridiculous. There was a man behind those pipes and he’s gone. That said I did buy two of the new JC pipes thinking that a good pipe is a good pipe no matter what the stamps and my biases say, so I should give them a shot. Both smoked terribly and the stems were uncomfortable. I also don‘t like the fact that the JC pipes run small for the size and Bill Taylor’s Ashtons ran big. I wouldn’t care except that they are priced on size.

I‘ve done a lot of generalizing here and I don‘t mean to say all X are good and all Y are bad. Just my general thoughts.
Hi all, I'm the new member here. I heard from a friend that Bill Taylor got a traffic accident in 1993 and from then on he didn't make pipe himself. Is it true?
 

Papamique

Part of the Furniture Now
Mar 11, 2020
791
3,962
This is not what I heard. He suffered from alcoholism and liver disease was the story I heard from people close to him.
 

francli

Lurker
Feb 2, 2023
10
11
This is not what I heard. He suffered from alcoholism and liver disease was the story I heard from people close to him.
Thank you for the reply. I got an other reply from an US friend. He said that Bill participated several years pipe show in Chicago after 1993 and made pipe onsite in 1999.
 
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