Question to Those Who Have Had Pipe Commissions Done

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piperl12

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Apr 7, 2012
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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?

 

piperl12

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Apr 7, 2012
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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

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Apr 7, 2012
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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.

 

pitchfork

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May 25, 2012
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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.

 

7ach

Senior Member
Sep 10, 2013
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http://www.ebay.com/itm/SAVINELLI-120th-ANNIVERSARY-EIGHT-PANEL-RHODESIAN-SHAPED-PIPE-PIPESTUD-/390684229783?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5af6984097&nma=true&si=Hnd3prhqHS3YXAgQhxzJMxM5FmU%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
Are you looking for a pipe like this one?

 

lonestar

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Mar 22, 2011
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Edgewood Texas
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 :D 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.

 

daveinlax

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May 5, 2009
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WISCONSIN
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. 8O

 

pitchfork

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May 25, 2012
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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. :crying:

 

dixie

Member
Oct 27, 2013
169
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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!

 

shayde

Senior Member
Oct 4, 2013
389
3
Sorry this is a little off topic, but where can I find pics of Rad's Zulu's??

 

pruss

Preferred Member
Feb 6, 2013
3,452
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Mytown
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.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,998
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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.

 

piperl12

Preferred Member
Apr 7, 2012
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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.

 

pruss

Preferred Member
Feb 6, 2013
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Mytown
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'... :puffy:
-- Pat

 

pipestud

Preferred Member
Dec 6, 2012
1,742
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Robinson, TX.
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

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,897
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United States
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.

 

piperl12

Preferred Member
Apr 7, 2012
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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!

 

bigvan

Preferred Member
Mar 22, 2011
2,193
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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.

 
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