School me on Hand Cut, Hand Made and Free Hand Designations.

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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
I can remember seeing a local business owner when I was a teenager named K B Youngblood smoking a big Danish Freehand and I wanted that pipe, not quite as much as the hundred dollars KB said they cost.:)

A hundred dollars in 1974 would be just over six hundred dollars today. I had the hundred but not to spend all of it on one pipe.

A few years later I happened on KB in Kansas City and he admired my girlfriend so much and she admired his Nording so much I went to a pipe shop that day, and became the owner of a large Nording Freehand grade 3 that only cost $40 (about $200 today) and it proudly reads Hand Made in Denmark by Eric Nording. Except for a hard to see flaw in the finish it’s a beautful pipe and I still own it.

Over the years I’ve bought over a dozen new and used Danish Freehand style pipes, and I’ve noticed the prices have not increased much and the quality has not progressed at all, and even backslid a bit.

Here’s my cheapest new unsmoked Bari Special Hand Cut that does say, Handmade in Denmark. It was only $35 about ten years ago. It was hard to break in, but now an excellent smoker. But in no way does it compare with my Preben Holm and Stanwell and Nording pipes from the glory years of Danish freehands.

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I’ve noticed if a pipe is Made in Denmark they’ll always say so, like a watch Made in Switzerland. I have freehand style pipes made elsewhere and they aren’t so proud of it.

For those who know, concerning a Danish Freehand style pipe, what are the differences between pipes that say Hand Cut, Hand Made, and what makes a Danish pick axe bent style pipe a geniune Freehand?
 
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alaskanpiper

Enabler in Chief
May 23, 2019
9,369
42,501
Alaska
I can remember seeing a local business owner when I was a teenager named K B Youngblood smoking a big Danish Freehand and I wanted that pipe, not quite as much as the hundred dollars KB said they cost.:)

A hundred dollars in 1974 would be just over six hundred dollars today. I had the hundred but not to spend all of it on one pipe.

A few years later I happened on KB in Kansas City and he admired my girlfriend so much and she admired his Nording so much I went to a pipe shop that day, and became the owner of a large Nording Freehand grade 3 that only cost $40 (about $200 today) and it proudly reads Hand Made in Denmark by Eric Nording. Except for a hard to see flaw in the finish it’s a beautful pipe and I still own it.

Over the years I’ve bought over a dozen new and used Danish Freehand style pipes, and I’ve noticed the prices have not increased much and the quality has not progressed at all, and even backslid a bit.

Here’s my cheapest new unsmoked Bari Special Hand Cut that does say, Handmade in Denmark. It was only $35 about ten years ago. It was hard to break in, but now an excellent smoker. But in no way does it compare with my Preben Holm and Stanwell and Nording pipes from the glory years of Danish freehands.

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I’ve noticed if a pipe is Made in Denmark they’ll always say so, like a watch Made in Switzerland. I have freehand style pipes made elsewhere and they aren’t so proud of it.

For those who know, concerning a Danish Freehand style pipe, what are the differences between pipes that say Hand Cut, Hand Made, and what makes a Danish pick axe bent style pipe a geniune Freehand?
My interpretation is that hand made/hand cut simply mean it is not a factory produced pipe and seem to have been used interchangeably from what I can tell. In modern parlance hand cut is also often used to describe a stem specifically, but I’ve certainly seen it stamped on briar as well, especially on older pipes.

The term freehand I’ve always just assumed to mean that the briar was shaped at least predominantly, if not entirely, without the use of a lathe (aside from the chamber and airway anyway).

To be clear though, these are entirely my assumptions and don’t reflect any sort of actual research or pipe making technical knowledge 🤷‍♂️
 

burleybreath

Part of the Furniture Now
Aug 29, 2019
970
3,363
Finger Lakes area, New York, USA
I always associated "handcut" with the stem only. "Handmade," I suspect, but don't know, could mean anything. Then there's "machine made, hand finished." We need a new government agency to set pipe making standards and terminology. As the standards would by necessity be international, perhaps the U.N. could take up the task. (I haven't been drinking, I must state, to obviate any criticisms of this idea that might arise.)
 
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OzPiper

Lifer
Nov 30, 2020
5,823
30,996
71
Sydney, Australia
My interpretation is that hand made/hand cut simply mean it is not a factory produced pipe
In modern parlance hand cut is also often used to describe a stem specifically

The term freehand I’ve always just assumed to mean that the briar was shaped at least predominantly, if not entirely, without the use of a lathe (aside from the chamber and airway anyway).
^^^^^
My understanding too

Bowls are often shaped on a lathe or with a frazing machine and hand-finished. Often labelled handmade, but I think they should be labelled hand finished to be accurate.
 
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georged

Lifer
Mar 7, 2013
5,536
14,221

School me on Hand Cut and Hand Made and Free Hand Designations​


Because there are no laws, regulations, certifications, requirements, or anything like them in the pipemaking world, any company or carver can stamp whatever they please on anything they make for any reason whatsoever.

Trying to define and make distinctions between what they HAVE stamped on existing pipes is impossible to do in any manner beyond cataloging, and would be useless for determining the methods actually used.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
My great grandfathers all rode for Mr. Lincoln to put down the Great Rebellion.

All of them and their compatriots seem to have lived to die of great old age and soak little children with their stories including Harry Hosterman who retold them to me.

They smoked pipes they hand carved from “sweet briar”. Not my ancestors but others in the 8th MSM and 12th Missouri cavalry wrote about carving their pipes in camp and on the march.

(Likely it was mountain laurel and not imported briar)

Those, would have been hand carved by hand using a knife, truly a hand made production.

Now, a more modern imported briar pipe that reads it was hand made I expect machines were used to bore and drill it.

And I suppose we’ll allow a grinding wheel and a power buffer, and it’s still hand made.

Dr Grabow today claims 54 operations are needed for each pipe. They don’t claim to be hand made but a man or woman handles that pipe 54 times before it’s ready. Those are machine made, hand crafted pipes.

My first big Nording I bought in 1977 could eat my latest $100 new Nording for lunch still be hungry. It just drawfs it, same style, same kind of mouthpiece.

And the old one has a sort of almost but not quite perfect aura about it really fine hand made things all possess.

My new smooth Nording #1 is still a big pipe if you keep the old ones away from it.

But it only says Nording-Made in Denmark

It sells new for a 1977 inflation adusted price of $20 though, which is the chief virtue of modern pipes.

How they make them look so perfect and pretty is really none of our business so long as they are.

$30 SON stamped Made in Denmark

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Hillcrest

Lifer
Dec 3, 2021
2,717
13,055
Bagshot Row, Hobbiton
Not Danish but ... there is a quote somewhere from Achille Savinelli regarding all of their pipes being hand made as there are over 80 hand processes that go into making a pipe after the initial ebuchon cut on a machine. In the meantime here is their page discussing the differences.

 

K.E. Powell

Part of the Furniture Now
Aug 20, 2022
506
1,828
37
West Virginia
Georged nailed it. The only way to really understand what exactly these distinctions mean is to ask the manufacturer directly, and even that requires some level of trust.

That being said, I think the fact that these distinctions are so muddied not only speaks to the lack of regulation or international standards in pipe making, but also speaks to the presumptions of the consumer market for pipes. I think many erroneously think "factory" pipes have little to no real human involvement or crafting in them whatsoever. That is not so. Even at storied factories such as Peterson or Genod, their cheapest low-grade pipes require a good deal of human handiwork. It's not as if these pipes just come out of a conveyor belt or something.

I'm not suggesting that factory made pipes are perfectly similar to those made by individual artisans, but I do think the similarities are far closer than most are willing to admit. If you're buying a pipe from a reputable artisan or a reputable manufacturer, you are buying something that likely required a good deal of human labor and handicraft to produce. Take that for what you will.
 

Buzz Saw

Might Stick Around
May 20, 2022
75
373
Southeast Indiana
I can remember seeing a local business owner when I was a teenager named K B Youngblood smoking a big Danish Freehand and I wanted that pipe, not quite as much as the hundred dollars KB said they cost.:)

A hundred dollars in 1974 would be just over six hundred dollars today. I had the hundred but not to spend all of it on one pipe.

A few years later I happened on KB in Kansas City and he admired my girlfriend so much and she admired his Nording so much I went to a pipe shop that day, and became the owner of a large Nording Freehand grade 3 that only cost $40 (about $200 today) and it proudly reads Hand Made in Denmark by Eric Nording. Except for a hard to see flaw in the finish it’s a beautful pipe and I still own it.
-Let's get to the real business, what happened to the girlfriend?
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
-Let's get to the real business, what happened to the girlfriend?

There was a barn dance in Kansas in early 1977 for the kids in the dorm and in that entire place, there was exactly one boy who knew every country song on the radio, sang back up in beer joints when the lead singer let me, could waltz and do the two step and shuck down on a stomp dance to Cotton Eyed Joe. Plus my hundred dollar Stetson was my hat and my hundred dollar cowboy boots were my shoes. My shirt buttons all snapped. I was as close to a cowboy there was at that barn dance.

There was some prize I forget now, for the winner of the dance contest.

And the Dee Jay was in heaven having somebody to actually request The Key Is In The Mailbox, Walk On By, and City Lights, and who knew Patsy Cline songs were not really country.

I won the dance contest stomp dancing to Cotton Eyed Joe.

Out of breath I sat down with my buddy Jim and this girl approached me, and said my friend would really like to dance with you, but she’s too shy to ask.

I said where is your friend and she said she’s over there, and I looked past the best looking girl I’d ever seen in my life wondering which girl,,,,and the pretty one winked at me.

I said to Jim that poor girl needs a dance partner and he said WAIT and I said you wait here, and watch.

I went to the Dee Jay and requested a few songs and taught her the two step and to waltz and the bar room shuffle.

Then I sat at her table, and she asked where I was from. I said Humansville.

She said what does your father do for a living and I said he’s deceased, but we still own the farm and my mother teaches school.

I asked where she was from and she said Nevada. When I asked what her father did she said

He owns banks

Then she asked do you have horses on your farm and I said Yes, Ma’am we surely do, you’ll have to come over and ride some with us.

(I had as many horses at the time, as I figured her father owned banks. But I knew well I could borrow all the horses I wanted.:)

By this time Jim was waving and motioning at me to come back to our table and I did.

He said do you know that night desk attendant who has to turn sideways to walk through the door and duck his head?

I said oh shit no,,,,

Yes you drunk hillbilly that’s his fiancé.

About then the Dee Jay spun Send Me the Pillow That You Dream On, and if I had not had a last dance with her none of the rest of em would have danced and it would just sort of gone to waste, you know?


I went home all dejected and forlorn and next day called my mother and said I danced last night with a girl that is so gorgeous she could double for Emmylou Harris and she’s engaged to a football player twice my size and three times more handsome.

Mama asked who asked who to dance?

I told her the story (minus any reference to beer a half inch deep on the floor) and she said that girl isn’t as engaged as the football player thinks she is.

He needs to take her out dancing more often.

The football player went home for the summer and one evening the lobby phone rang, and it was the pretty girl from the barn bash.

She asked if there was anyone in the dorm lobby that wanted to go dancing in Lawrence Kansas.

That’s how I got married, the first time.

I didn’t have horses, but her Daddy did own a dozen banks.

It all turned out to be a mistake I made at the end, but one I’m glad I made.
 
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proteus

Lifer
May 20, 2023
1,160
1,935
53
Connecticut (shade leaf tobacco country)
To me a Freehand is a style of pipe in the same vein as Apple or Billiard or Zulu. Freehand is non-conforming. A Freehand can be hand made hand cut or machine reproduced from an initial carving. To me hand cut and hand made can still include powered machines are used to make the pipe like buffers, lathes, etc but the production is not a carbon copy because each time the maker makes the same pipe slight differences are imparted due to the human factor. As opposed to a process which creates perfect duplicates of each pipe eliminating the human factor. Like an album vs CD. One has uniqueness and character and the other only sterile perfectionism. Hand made and hand cut are essentially the same compared to each other.
 
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