About my pipes

Paneled Lumberman

I have been making pipes since 2011 – at the time of writing this it has been almost ten years. These years of experience have allowed me to fully understand how to craft high quality smoking pipes.

I can't appreciate the aesthetic qualities of my pipes, which I leave up to you. But the taste, the perfect fit of the parts, the accuracy of drilling and thoroughness of handling even the smallest details of my pipes is always excellent. I am immodestly absolutely sure about the quality. When selling a pipe, I know it will be a pleasure to smoke, while being simple and convenient in exploitation.

As an additional quality assurance I offer the opportunity to return it and to get back all its cost within a week after getting a pipe, except the shipping costs. No one has used this opportunity yet.

Materials

For the production of my pipes I use only quality materials from reputable suppliers that have never failed me. I buy the briar only from MIMMO – perhaps the most famous briar cutter. And this is really important: the taste of a pipe is very dependent on the quality of the briar wood.

Of course, during my work I have experimented with different suppliers, and decided to stop these experiments. The only benefit of other briar suppliers is a lower price. The one thing a pipe maker should not save on is briar.

Briar from MIMMO is always well cooked, always sufficiently dried, always damn tasty, unlike some other suppliers which used to disappoint me. Meanwhile, I have to put my reputation into the hands of my briar supplier, because if the customer is dissatisfied with the taste of his pipe, it will be my fault.

I buy ebonite from the German manufacturer SEM. Ebonite supplier selection is not so important for the quality of pipes. There are some German, US and Japan manufacturers who can make high-quality ebonite, which can be well polished, does not fade and does not turn green in a month. Possible faults affect only my work, but not the quality of my pipes. For example, sometime bubbles happen in ebonite, because of which it can happen that I have to throw out an almost finished stem. It's frustrating, but it happens equally rare with all of the manufacturers that I worked with.

Shapes and sizes

Бластовый бентик в сравнении с банкой Петерсон

I'm not a fan of nosewarmers, and I am not involved in the current trend to reduce the dimensions of pipes. Most of my pipes have a size greater than the market average. I have to refuse nosewarmer orders because I don't smoke them and quite frankly even don't understand them.

Among pipe shapes I mostly prefer the classic shapes. Whenever I happen to make a freehand, it will be quite simple, without any frills. My favorite shape is Canadian. Almost equally I appreciate other forms of the Canadian family: Lumberman, Lovat or Liverpool.

I often use decorative rings of different materials: boxtree, rosewood, olive, mammoth tusk. For thin shanks I often use silver rings because they look beautiful, and give me the opportunity to make a shank slim and durable at the same time.

Engineering

I strongly believe that engineering is the focal point of any smoking pipe. It is engineering which shows the difference between a good and a bad smoking pipe. Below you will find the main engineering principles I follow when making a pipe. Any work piece that doesn’t satisfy the requirements is rejected and sent to a fireplace.

Although the visual appeal of my smoking pipes depends on particular taste, the performance quality of their insides is perfect, which ensures seamless smoking and easy care.

Smoking pipe engineering

  1. The air hole touches exactly the bottom of the tobacco chamber. Never higher. Sometimes a bit lower as a groove up to 1 mm deep. This should be done in Canadian pipes, for the bottom mustn’t be too thin.
  2. The tenon almost bumps up against the mortise. I margin fractions of a millimeter taking into account the material expansion because of heat during smoking and hot weather.
  3. The mortise itself is drilled with a flat-bottom mill instead of a usual drill to avoid cavitations inside the pipe. That kind of mortises don’t have to be cleaned regularly because there isn’t any gurgling or hissing. The air hole is perfectly centered at the bottom of the mortise.
  4. The shank and the mouthpiece have an exact match. One never finds any projection in that joint and the pipe line isn’t broken, since it has been polished as one piece. While the shape of the mouthpiece assumes the pipe’s symmetry, I work hard to enable the mouthpiece being inserted in both directions without necessity to detect the top or the bottom.
  5. The air hole tapers smoothly without projections despite the fact that it was made sequentially by drills of different diameter. All projections are sanded carefully, and the air hole is perfectly smooth.
  6. The mouthpiece bit is relatively thin (about 4 mm), but the walls are not thin, so one should try hard to bite it through.
  7. The stummel foot is thick enough. To get this thickness the air hole is drilled a little above the channel axis, even in straight shapes, such as in Billiard.
  8. In case I use a glued-in teflon tenon, I previously drill a corresponding hole in the mouthpiece without making a cavity inside.
  9. The air hole slot is made in the shape of a deep cone to let smoke expand and hinder from burning the tongue.

It takes me tons of time to take into account all the nuances and make the engineering perfect. That is one of the reasons why my pipes are more expensive than machine-made smoking pipes.

Wrong pipe engineering

Here I show a similar smoking pipe, but with all imaginable faults. Unfortunately (but to my great joy) almost every tobacco shop sells pipes of that sort. The threats from those engineering mistakes are the following:

  • If the air hole enters the tobacco chamber too high from its bottom, tobacco will never be burned till the end. Mind you that if tobacco remains stay in the chamber for a long time the pipe can get sour.
  • Mortises that end too deep can cause the formation of a cavity that would require special cleaning.
  • If the channel begins much above the mortise bottom, this will make it impossible to clean the pipe as a unit. The pipe cleaner will bump against the projection.
  • In industrial pipe making mouthpieces are produced apart from the stummels, which can cause projections and gaps. However those are mostly considered an aesthetic defect.
  • Because of a dramatically narrowing mouthpiece air hole (projections) there will certainly appear condensed moisture along with soot and ashes which are very hard to be cleaned away with a brush.
  • A thick area before the mouthpiece lip is a key bane of industrial pipes. It’s not comfortable to clench between teeth.
  • A thin stummel foot will get much too hot in no time.
  • Inside the mouthpiece sometimes a large cavity can be found beneath the glued-in teflon tenon. It will acquire dirt which will be impossible to clear out. Over time brush shags will be added up and they will form clods that will never be washed away, even after hours of steeping the stem in spirit. The clods will spoil the tobacco smoke by making it sour or bitter.
  • Often the mouthpiece slot is made with a round cutter unlike a cone shape, this doesn’t allow the smoke to expand smoothly. Thin flows of smoke will burn the tongue.

My Pipes

428 $257 USD
Bamboo Pickaxe
Smooth Billiard
Rusticated Canadian
Bamboo Apple
Buddha Tomato
Smooth Billiard
Bent Tomato
Dublin
Brandy
Bent Apple
Smooth Billiard
Bent Dublin
Bent Volcano
Bamboo Poker
Buddha Apple
Paneled Canadian
Smooth Pickaxe
Smooth Billiard
Smooth Billiard
Brown Canadian
Bent
Bent
Bark Poker
Black&Red Lovat
Alexandr Bondarev

Sasha Bondarev 🇱🇻 🇪🇺 Latvian pipe maker

I started making pipes in 2011, and now it's my only job. I make about 5 to 8 pipes per month, spending 2 to 3 working days on each one.

For my pipes I use Italian briar and German ebonite or acrylic rods. I pay special attention to pipe engineering: accurate drilling, fine stem fitting, comfortable mouthpiece button, deep V-slot.

Every single one of my pipes provides a perfect smoking experience. Just try one of them, and I’m sure you will want to get a second one soon.