Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pipes and Iron

© By Albert A Rasch

Just a small catch-up post for some of my friends that are outside of the Outdoor Bloggers Summit. As I sit here and think about it, it strikes me that many of my fellow Bloggers who aren't yet members of OBS, think that they don't actually belong in the "Outdoor" category. Well I am going to invite each and every one of you personally. If I think you belong, then by golly, you probably do! You just haven't realized it yet! Or you just don't know about OBS. So expect an email from me soon!

My Argentine friend Pablo Gonzalez, El Aprendiz Herrero is not only an accomplished bladesmith, but a pipe smoking aficionado too. He has wanted to know which were some of my favorite pipes. I thought I would share my favorites, not only with him, but with you also.

For those of you who don't know too much about pipes, the long stemmed one is a church warden. Also known as a "reading pipe," because the long stem allowed one to view a book without the bowl in the way. This one was made by Tim West. Tim West is an American pipe carver who makes many unique freehand pipes. This one is a pretty conservative though. It is the pipe I most frequently use at home.

The other two are Danish Stanwell pipes. The dark one is a #30 "Barok," and the lighter one is a #62 "Legend." I consider these my traveling pipes. Relatively lightweight, they're great when you're driving down the road.

Now, this calabash is probably my show off piece. Filled with a mild, sweet, blend, nothing says, "Country Gentleman," or "Squire," like a calabash. I find that when you really have nothing intelligent to say, or perhaps some boorish company is troubling you, the mere use of the calabash will immediately stop anyone from actually hearing what you are saying. You can say pretty much whatever you want. Make fun of their kids, insult their intelligence, anything. When you are done you put the calabash behind your back, rock back and forth on your heels, and profoundly expostulate, "And that, my dear, simple, friends is why the Theory of Relativity is being superseded by Quantum String Theory." Trust me, it works.

I also have a really nice Randy Wiley pipe. Wiley has been carving pipes for well over thirty years here in the USA. I got this one many years ago but truth be told, I haven't smoked it yet. I got it because I liked the shape! The bowl is humongous, but the pipe fits very well in the hand.

I have another dozen or so pipes that I have picked up over the years, but they are smoked when the mood for that particular pipe strikes me!

I've got one more thing to share with everyone. I've mentioned it a few times, that I'm somewhat of an amateur metal worker. I do a little on the lathe, a bit on the milling machine, and a little at the forge and on the anvil.

My favorite in terms of taking something and really working to get it to be something, is forge and anvil work. With the mill and lathe, you usually know what the results should be, down to the thousandth of an inch. Not the forge, no sir. The metal and fire tell you what they will or won't do. At least they do with me. On the other hand, my buddy Todd Hill at Primitive Point not only makes the metal dance, but it will whistle a tune simultaneously.

This is the one and only utensil I ever made that actually came out! Not pretty, but I really like the way it came out. I made a nice set of tent pegs once, the recipient thought they were the best thing ever. Made out of #3 rebar, I cut it to 14 inch lengths, squared it on the anvil, folded the last inch and a half over, beat that until it was round, and levered 3/4 of an inch from the folded over end up a bit for the rope to hook onto. I also forged a point on it and quenched it in oil. Came out pretty good.

Well another weekend is now half over, hopefully tomorrow we'll have some fishing tales to tell!

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...




Anonymous said...

I think it's marvelous that you're recruiting for the OBS. Thanks for that. I appreciate it.

Albert A Rasch said...


Always at you service.