Blog by Steve Laug
I wrote this review several years ago now and post it here as I wrote it then. Dan still makes great pipes and they are reasonable in price. Dan is one of the makers that I have learned much from in terms of staining and stem work. He has always been available to me when I have a question or need a tool. We have spent many hours communicating across the continent via Skype and for that I am thankful. I have two of Dan’s pipes and love them both.
Yesterday (11/5) I received my Gabrieli pipe in the post from Dan. I have been waiting anxiously to have it in hand since he posted it here on the forums as a piece in progress. It is a beauty to be sure. The length of the pipe is 6 inches and the bowl height is 2 inches. The chamber diameter is 7/8 inches and depth is 1 ¾ inches. When it first arrived I thought it seemed large but it is very nice in the hand and the largeness is more in terms of appearance than reality. The overall shape is a ¼ bent brandy bowl that is quite large with an elongated shank that is pencil like. The combination works for me quite well. The stamping is also unique. On the stem and shank junction it is hand stamped Bethlehem, PA. On the left side in a smooth circle it is stamped Gabrieli arched over USA. On the shank right side is a Moravian cross with the date and grade stamp.
The finish on the outside of the pipe is rusticated in a finish not unlike the sea rock rustication on some of the Castellos I have seen or other brands that have a similar pattern of rustication. There is a deep craggy feel and look to the rustication on the bowl with a randomness to it that adds to the overall appearance. On the shank the rustication changes appearance a bit to more vertical striations and patterns. The variation between the bowl and the shank is actually very nice and they blend together well. On the rim of the pipe Dan left a bit of plateau on the right rear rim but the way it is in appearance carries through the rustication pattern from the bowl but a bit deeper. The rest of the rim is smooth with a slight edge protruding onto the bowl all the way around the pipe forming a smooth band around the outer rim that matches the smooth band at the shank stem junction. The staining on this appears to be a blend of darker/medium brown with a red undertone that is interesting. It really goes well with the shank stem extension of Masur Birch set into the stem between a band of Cumberland and a Cumberland stem. The colour of the pipe is a beautiful match to the Cumberland stem colours. Nicely done Dan. The stem itself is a well made half saddle stem. The top of the stem is saddle shaped and the underside a gentle taper. The design along with the slight bend makes it fit very comfortably in the mouth. It also rests well enough that it can be clenched quite easily. The tenon is delrin and is funneled at the end for good mechanics. The button is exactly the way I like them – thinner on the edges with a gentle rise at the centre top and bottom. It fits well behind the teeth for a comfortable feel. The draught hole in the end of the button is also funneled to deliver a mouthpiece that has the same diameter from start to finish. Comfortable and well executed. A pipe cleaner passes easily through the pipe with no obstruction.
The mechanics of the pipe are nicely done as well. The bowl chamber is fairly large with a slight chamfering around the inner edge of the bowl. It is coated with some kind or precarb coating that has no flavour attached to it. (Whew!) The draught hole is centered at the bottom of the bowl and seems to have a slight funnel as well – like a shallow Y- leading into the shank and stem. There is a very easy and open draw to the pipe. The fit of the stem to the shank is very good. Smooth and tight. The tenon sits deep in the mortise – if not exactly the same length then impressively close! The fit of the tenon is also smooth. The drilling of the draught in the shank is straight but to accommodate the bend in the pipe it has the small u at the bottom of the mortise that is barely noticeable but present. The air pulls clearly through the pipe with no whistling at all. Using a light to shine through the various airways reveals smoothly executed airways on the inside. Very nice mechanics.
Today I gave it the inaugural smoke. I loaded a bowl of Red Ribbon (1983) and took a long walk at work. It packed very easily and lit well. The draught on the pipe was superb. The smoke was uncomplicated and effortless. It was smooth from the get go with none of the new pipe break in woes. The bowl coating is tasteless and does not change the taste of the tobacco. I am looking forward to another bowl on my drive home from work.
Thanks Dan for a well made pipe that smokes as good as it looks!