About My Pipes
I learned to make pipes from my fellow artisan pipemakers, and I try very hard to adhere to industry standards.
That means: I finish my pipes using leather dye type stain, shellac and carnauba wax; my pipes are drilled on-center; my airways are drilled at 5/32-inch diameter tapering smoothly through a slot in the bit; my pipes have no fills; I use epoxy when there is gluing involved; and so on.
About Jet-Black Finishes
Artisan pipemakers, and those who collect artisan pipes, frown on using any types of paints or varnishes on their pipes.
So any time you see one of our pipes with a jet-black finish, this is accomplished by applying black stain, followed by a mixture of black stain and shellac, followed by carnauba wax.
And this makes a nice, durable finish, except that black stain, being finely powdered carbon, does not soak into briar as well as other stains, and a lot of that color will come off if you rub it with alcohol or other solvents.
Fortunately, our jet-black finishes can be repaired to good-as-new condition quite easily using Winsor & Newton 951 Black Indian Ink (or other India ink with shellac mixed in) available at most art supply stores.
Make sure that it has shellac mixed in, because that is what makes the finish waterproof and keeps the color from coming off on your hands.
To apply it, simply put on a pair of latex gloves, wipe the pipe down with alcohol, let it dry, and apply the India ink with a cutip. As that is drying, dip a cotton ball in alcohol, smooth out any inconsistencies by wiping and dabbing, and let the finish dry.
If you want, you can buff the pipe with carnauba wax later for extra protection, but that is really not necessary because waterproof India ink holds up well on its own. And seriously, the pipe will look as good as new.
I was born and raised in Missouri and started my work career as a draftsman for a doorlock manufacturer. There I learned nearly everything I know about engineering and also about the importance of minute details.
Later I went to work as a design draftsman for various boatbuilders, and it was during this time that I learned AutoCAD and also developed my eye for, and love of, graceful curves.
I moved to Houston in 1997 and not long after that, I met my darling wife, Adriana. The two of us have one daughter who is totally my Kryptonite, my biggest weakness in this world.
We continue to live in Houston, but nowadays we split our time between Texas and Mexico. It is a long story, but Adriana inherited some property in Mexico, and we spend part of the year down there looking after things.
We are able to pull this off because I have a second shop set up in Mexico, and I am rarely away from one shop or the other for more than a few days.
I have about a thousand interests/hobbies: beer brewing, playing the guitar, messing with old Volkswagens, computers, woodworking, metalworking, and so on.
Let's see here, what else? ... Two dogs, one cat ... Type O+ blood ... Ah, well, I guess that's the main stuff ;-)