While the magazine is still on hiatus, here’s a quick review from The Piper and His Goodwife:”
Well folks: yes, we are still alive and breathing, and must apologize for not writing reviews in awhile. Real life got very busy for both of us as the summer and winter work was a bit crazy. That being said, we hope everyone had a great summer and winter so far and had a most joyous holidays with family and friends.
Some of you may know that I like to review pipes as well as tobacco, but more important to me is to also get to know the pipe maker behind the pipes we enjoy. I like to get a better idea of the work and passion these craftsman show in there skills when they create a pipe. It doesn’t matter if it’s traditional or freehand styled pipes or everything in between. For me, being a Certified Consumer Tobacconist, I feel it’s the right thing to let consumers know what’s is out there; especially beginner pipe smokers, to help them decide what may be a great choice in any investment they like to get int Paying more doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality and smoke ability in any pipe.
This being said, today’s review is on a new pipe maker that I feel has proven his passion and dedication and willing to learn more from each pipe he makes. I have seen many new pipe makers over many years that just really didn’t get the passion and very little skill, who were more into it for a fast buck and priced there pipes way too much. This is certainly not the case from this new pipe maker! He takes pride in his work and is never to proud to ask questions when needed to veteran pipe makers and others in the know. So you may be thinking already, “Who the hell is this new and rising pipe maker?! Get on with it, man! Jeez, I’m getting old here!”
OK OK OK! Be patient with me, I’m old and get to yapping a bit to much at times, deal with it. 😀 His name is Britain K. Kaminskas of ariestobaccopipes.com/. Check out his site!
This pipe, believe it or not, is only his 3rd one from briar, as he had practiced on other woods until he felt confident enough to move to briar. This is a very smart move on his part, as briar is expensive and not easy to obtain fast enough, compared to other hard woods. You’re going to make many mistakes and why spend money on a expensive piece of wood until you learn your skills? I am glad he did, as so many I have seen want to dive into the deep end of the pool before learning how to swim first. It takes many small steps to get to the end goal and you need to know the base foundations before you can reach the top. It takes time, blood and sweat with hurt, scrapped hands and knuckles. Never ever take a handmade pipe for granted! It takes years of learning new methods, tools, ideas, and knowing when to move to the next step in your skill level
I know Britain is in the craft for the right reasons and will move forward in time to be a great pipe maker with the hopes of being a artisan pipe maker to perhaps a master pipe maker. Who knows? Only he has the power to direct his destiny. So here is a picture of the pipe for this review with the dimensions.
The name of this pipe is “Komanda.” It’s his pride and joy. I was impressed, considering this was only his 3rd briar pipe! He had this to say about it:
Komanda “Command” handcrafted Italian briar with vulcanite stem. :length 6″ chamber 7/8 in bowl depth 1.75″ bowl height 2″. Lathe turned and for now a factory stem. I will be hopefully making my own stems soon. I am a pipe smoker picking up the hobby on a whim. Learning about pipes fascinated me and collecting them became a habit. Learning to make them was my next addiction in the pipe world. I started off the lathe and come up with what I have to offer now. I am Aries tobacco pipes. it took me awhile to come up with a name but I finally found something that meant something to me, I am an Aries and Aries is the God of war so my slogan on my website is “Bring out the God of War in you.”
So at this point you’re thinking: “Ok, nice pipe, but the nitty gritty is, how does it smoke?” I’ll get to that in a minute or so, but first, it has to be critiqued on construction. The positives are that it looks appealing to the eye and feels good in the hand. The rustication looks very nice, bowl and bore are centered as is the draft hole. The stem wasn’t made by him at the time I got the pipe but he is about to start making his own stems When put through the smoking tests it did smoke nicely, even through the hot test, as it didn’t get overly hot. Bowl wall thickness is even.
Now some areas that need improvement. He added the delron to the stem but it wasn’t centered enough. It needs some work in flushing the joint to have a seamless joint. It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but it does have a small gap. The staining did rub off some on my hand when smoking, perhaps more time is needed to dry before waxing. I informed him of these mistakes, and he has since corrected the issues those issues in his pipe designs.This is how any good pipe maker learns is from input from the consumer, or else how is the maker going to know how there pipes are?
Overall, it’s a very nice smokeable pipe. Is it a master pipe maker pipe? No, nor did I expect this from his skill level, but I am very impressed with this pipe and look forward to others he will create and enjoy them as well!
So the smoking testing part is next. I always put any pipe I review through this test to see if it can handle aggressive pipe smokers. I used all types, cuts, types of tobacco and use a 3 tier method, Frank’s method, bend and fold, cut method, rubbed out. Overall this pipe did get hot but not enough that you couldn’t hold the pipe in your hand. With a new pipe with not a lot of cake on it to insulate, the bowl was impressive as it should of gotten hotter.so it will improve as it gets more cake build up on the bowl. It did gurgle some, especially from the aromatics, which can be a common issue. Perhaps moving the draft hole very slightly higher may help this issue, as tobacco can condensate when smoked if not dry enough and smoked to fast and hard. So always best to make sure your tobacco is dry enough and learn to smoke slow, just enough to keep your ember lit.
The tobacco I used in the testing are many but to name a few I used: Hobbit’s Weed, Molte Dolce, Main Street Pipers’ English no.1, Main Street Pipers’ American Pride and our Blend No.2, Peter Stokebye Twist Flake, C/D Ten Russians, Orlik Dark Strong Kentucky, G.L Pease Navigator, Mystery blend Aro and English. Bell’s 3 Nuns. So as you can see I use a nice variety of types and cuts to test with as I possibly can to do a thorough testing.
After all this testing, what are my ending thoughts of this pipe and maker, you may be wondering? .First off, I’m impressed he took the extra time to learn the basic shapes with other woods before investing money on briar.
I am impressed he had chosen to learn the classic shapes before thinking of the more detailed intricate harder shapes. Many get frustrated too soon when attempting to do this. It will take years to be a master pipe maker, but never loose the passion and fun creating a pipe
I am impressed he is humble enough to ask for help if needed and take into account others opinions and adjusts if he determines is needed. Has the eagerness to learn as much as possible to better his craftsmanship.
I see him going far if he continues as he has been going and keeps the passion alive and keeps his inspiration to create. We will all benefit from his and other pipe makers’ creative thinking.
Just another reason to support all of our pipe makers that stand by their work. Get out there and get to know them as a friend, as I do. There are many fantastic, friendly, honorable pipe makers out there that will work with you and your budget range for an investment in a quality pipe. Remember, a great handmade pipe DOESN’T mean you have to take a second mortgage out to afford it. Makers will work with you if possible, but remember, also, handmade pipes are worth the money for the skill, time, handpicked material, and all the thinking before anything is even touched, compared to any factory made pipe. At least that’s my opinion. I’ve got nothing against factory made pipes: some are great, but as far as I’m concerned, handmade is better.
So make sure you check out Britain K. Kaminskas at ariestobaccopipes.com/ for your next pipe! Tell him I sent you. You wont be disappointed
Keep on puffin!
Rated: 3.5 out of 5