The Quality of the Stamping

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
.
Status
Not open for further replies.

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
35,274
33,677
A significant "tell" on quality control is the stamping on a pipe. If a factory line is minding its P's and Q's, the stamping is custom made to the pipe brand and series and deep enough to be entirely legible for the life of the pipe. Any failings in the stamping is a tip-off that the senior crafts people weren't there or didn't care. My first pipe is just a Tinder Box house pipe, but beautifully stamped with a custom "Tinder Box St. Ives" stamp in a circular configuration. The pipe is well made and has lasted for forty years, smoking well. I have a few poorly stamped pipes, or less-well stamped pipes. Both a Greek-made Amadeus and a Ben Wade have stamps that are uneven, light, and incomplete -- the pipes are fine, but obviously by luck and not by close attention to detail. I have quite a nice estate Thompson Cigar house pipe, and the stamping is clear, but it is also clearly some kind of changeable stamp machine that says only "Thompson" in stark sans-serif, that could be set up to say anything. Stamps matter, and give information beyond that intended. Any stamping stories of your own?

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
13,622
17,079
SoCal
jrs457.wixsite.com
From my experience, the quality of stamping has no bearing on the quality of the pipe. Some of my favorite classic Brit wood is indifferently stamped and they're great smokers.

 

milehighpiper

Senior Member
Sep 10, 2018
418
297
Denver, CO
I just purchased a pipe from a forum fellow and he said it had light stamping. I had my doubts but I wanted a Peterson straight pipe so I jumped on it. It is a great smoker and has many years of life left. So my extensive experience of one pipe, does not confirm your suspicions of stamp quality vs pipe quality. However, I do wish the stamp was a bit more visible, I feel that with one more buffing session it will no longer be visible.

 

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
.

mikethompson

Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2016
7,626
9,205
Near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I had a forum member refinish a 1950 K&P Peterson for me and some of the stamping was lost in the process. It is still a beautiful pipe and I enjoy smoking it.
I think clear and deep stamping is important for collectors, but doesn't bear any weight on the quality of the pipe.

 

piffyr

Preferred Member
Apr 24, 2015
782
74
I've seen light stamps, double stamps, overstamps, half-stamps, and lots of other stamping irregularities on some otherwise very nice pipes from some very venerable makers. The quality of the stamping has no bearing at all on the quality of the pipe.

 

npod

Preferred Member
Jun 11, 2017
2,895
768
Stamps matter, and give information beyond that intended. Any stamping stories of your own?

MSO489, this one's for you! See below.
Stamps matter! Period! Full Stop. Whether it is a factory or artisan carver, the stamp is THE identifier for the work. It is critical.
One of my best memories was watching a stamping in action. I commissioned the first pipe set from Johannes Gaarn Rasmussen, AKA Suhr Pipes. His work is beyond reproach, and he has been carving pipes since he was 8 years old. However, he did not have an official "stamp" as you suggested in the OP. When I visited Denmark to tour and pick up the pipes, he had literally just received the hard metal "stamp" and had never employed it. Prior to that he had used Tom Eltang's laser engraver. He wanted Tom to do the stamping because he was nervous, but I insisted that he do it himself. I wanted the work to be fully his own.I never realized how much skill is involved in stamping a pipe. One wrong move and the stamp is ruined, or superficial, or blurry, etc. Anyway, I managed to photograph the event, the first Suhr stamp, mentor and student. And by the way, he nailed it. The look on his face after the stamping was priceless. And the pipes are wonderful, and the stamp is also employed on the custom box.





 

kola

Preferred Member
Apr 1, 2014
989
1,344
If a guy can make a damm good pipe for heavens sake give it a dam good stamp !
I love Boswells perfectly hand scribed signature. That's even better.
IMO there's nothing worse than having a mid to high end pipe with a sloppy botched stamping.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
35,274
33,677
The pipes I have with imperfect stamping are not defective. The Ben Wade and the Amadeus are otherwise sturdy and well made. But that may be luck. I take good stamping as a signal that someone was paying attention.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
35,274
33,677
crash, yeah, I can see this as a fussy slightly neurotic presumption, since I haven't had problems with poorly stamped pipes, but I do resent bad stamping; it seems like the finishing touch, like the signature on a painting, the factory or artisan's final ownership of their work. But I can see the other idea, that it is a picky inaccurate way to evaluate a pipe. 'Tis true, my poorly stamped pipes are doing just fine. I'm sure if I were working in a factory that turned out 3,000 pipes a day, I wouldn't give a flip whether the stamps were exquisite or illegible. Maybe.

 

crashthegrey

Preferred Member
Dec 18, 2015
3,006
471
38
Cobleskill, NY
www.greywoodie.com
mso, that is the beauty of this hobby. If someone will look over a pipe for stamping, someone else will have an opportunity at a pipe because they love the button, etc. We all have our thing. It works for us. I don't mind stamping, as wood is fickle and sometimes the stamp just doesn't take as expected. I hate to see a beautiful pipe "ruined" when the stamp doesn't work right, as you really get one shot at it. But I have my own unique and likely picky criteria, too. So no judgement here.

 

kola

Preferred Member
Apr 1, 2014
989
1,344
...like owning a 57 Chevy - but missing the hood ornament. Yeah she drives great - but it just don't look right. At all.
Imagine a 66 Chevy II SS with the chrome letting on the rear quarter panel sayig "Super Spit" instead of Super Sport.
Disgraceful, embararassing and nothing but pure rape and sodomy to the Chevrolet name and it's heritage.
Same for pipes.
I have to look at the stamps on my pipes now. ;)

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
15,968
4,419
Maryland
postimg.cc
@npod - that is one hell of a set - how about a shot of that nomenclature?
I've seen plenty of Ashton and Upshall pipes were awful stamping, light, uneven, double-stamped.

 

disinformatique

Preferred Member
Being the perfectionist that I am, I would insist that everything be perfect, including the stamping. Atleast upto to my own personal standards.
@npod That's an awesome story Neal. I'll inbox ya for Suhr's contact info, I want something special for my 40th birthday next year.
Cheers,

Chris :puffpipe:

 

npod

Preferred Member
Jun 11, 2017
2,895
768
how about a shot of that nomenclature?

Well, it’s not my finest work with the macro lens, but here is a quick shot in low light of the stamping.



 
Status
Not open for further replies.

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
.