Hurdles arise at unlimited points to inhibit creativity.
Briar pipes travel a long way before we enjoy them. From the mind of the carver through the carving process, lots of care determines each shape and drill. Skip Elliott makes Elliott Pipes that are the smoothest smokers on the market. Each block of briar inspires a pipe shape before his skill elevates his smoking pipes among the absolute best.
Briar begins every tobacco pipe journey. Skip investigates each block on his wall. His hand runs across a one huge block with lengthy plateau, and the plateau suggests a Dublin. Creativity sparks into action. The plateau could cover the front and follow the shank. This design would make a one-of-a-kind briar pipe, so Skip has to try.
Of course, all this depends on the rest of the grain. Skip soaks the block and reveals less grain than imagined. There's some cross grain, but nothing causes excitement. Well, that's okay. Skip can put this one back for another day.
Wait, what about sandblasting? Skip sees no obvious pits, so this could work. A large, uniquely comfortable Freehand emerges from the blaster with excellent ring grain. Another of Skip's fabulous smokers is ready for stain and stem.
In the process of making a bowl, Skip uses a lathe to get the shape started. The lathe threatens to ruin every pipe with the slightest wiggle of the hand, but he has a toolbox of tricks from years of experience.
If the lathe struggles with briar, Osage orange is the lathe’s nemesis. Skip began using Osage a couple years ago. Osage is harder than briar and requires extra pressure to shape. Thus, the margin of error reduces even father. Still, the tree grows in Alabama, so Skip can make local pipes from local materials. Osage orange brings a wonderful yellow color and a sweetness to the smoke.
Skip and his toolbox proved greater than the lathe. Skip made an Osage Dublin for a customer, so it's already sold. The fluorescent grain shined around the conical bowl. A black stem compliments the traditional look. I look forward to seeing more of these smoking pipes.
Stems complete the look of our briar pipes. Traditional smoking pipes come with a black stem which compliments a light, natural stain. For a darker stain, the tobacco pipe benefits from a livelier stem. Skip found the perfect match for a red billiard. Gold swirled with white and green for a special look.
Still, the colorful stem required a Delrin tenon. Delrin adds strength and flexibility to the stem/shank fit, and the tenon fits the stem into the shank. Now, Skip must exactly match the Delrin to both shank and stem. Skip runs several drill bits through the Delrin because he wants to eliminate any turbulence between stem, tenon, and shank. This attention to detail enables a perfect match for Delrin tenons.
The result of Skip's skill and creativity was a stunning Red & Gold Billiard. The proportions between bowl and shank were perfect, and the bright stem made a particularly handsome pipe. Skip had this one sold its first day in the shop. Keep an eye out for more wild stems from Skip.
Elliott Pipes from Skip Elliott are wonderful creations from briar. Briar sparks Skip’s creativity, and his skill enables the easiest smokers on the market. Each pipe’s design bears Skip’s unique passion for pipes, and his craftsmanship carries the tobacco pipe over every hurdle. Check back often for Skip’s newest creations.