This article originally appeared in Pipesmoker Unleashed EMagazine http://www.pipesmokerunleashed.com/magazine/may2012.html Since that time I have edited it and also added my own reflections on the Pen Tamper that I also purchased from Eric Archer. My additions to Bob’s original article are inserted in italics so that it is clear what was in the original article.
Eric Archer of CEA Pipes came up with a winner when he designed and crafted a new item, the Pipe Pen Tamper. It combines two of the tools that I use all the time into a single handy and beautiful piece – it combines both a pen and a tamper in a hand turned barrel. He calls them Pipe Pen Tampers. They are custom made out of briar, vulcanite and brass. I think if these were readily available they would be instant sellers in any pipe shop where pipemen gather to enjoy a bowl and the fellowship of the briar. They are available for special order on the PSU Storefront ( http://www.pipesmokerunleashed.com/forum/forum.php ). Click on the link and it will take you to The Pipesmokers Unleashed Website. Once there you can click on the online store on the left side of the home page. You can contact Eric through his listings or through the contact information is available in the members list or through a private message (PM).
When Eric posted his first edition Pipe Pen Tamper on one of the threads on Pipe Smoker Unleashed (PSU) internet forums “wow!” was all that I could say. I immediately knew that I had to have one. The problem was that I was not alone; it seemed that many of the other members also wanted them. Soon there was a list of folks waiting for their unique and custom Pipe Pen Tamper. I decided that I wanted mine to be a bit different from the others that Eric had made before so he used vulcanite as a band at the middle and in the lower portion of the barrel as pictured in the pictures below to make that happen.
I too had to have one so I contacted Eric and asked him to make one for me that was slightly varied from the one that Bob pictures below. I have attached pictures of my pen tamper below for comparison. Mine also has a smooth upper portion on the barrel with a metal band separating the upper portion from the lower portion of the barrel. The silver/metal band matches the tip of the pen. The lower portion of the barrel has a slightly different rustication pattern and the smooth band at the top and bottom of the rustication sets it off nicely. The bottom of the lower portion is vulcanite against which the silver tip of the pen stands out nicely.
It is constructed of a stunning piece of briar. There are no visible flaws in the briar and the craftsmanship is excellent. The vulcanite is used in a band on the top portion of the pen barrel and also on the lower end of the barrel. The tip is a silver metal that looks very good with the briar and vulcanite. He mounted a flattened and polished brass tamper head on the top of the upper barrel. The lower part of the briar pen barrel has been nicely rusticated with an interesting rustication pattern leaving a band of smooth briar between the rustication and the vulcanite and between the upper band and briar as well. The rustication is stained with a darker stain than the smooth parts. It works to highlight that part of the piece. The upper portion of the barrel is sanded and polished to smooth finish; then it was stained to accentuate the natural grain of the briar. The two distinct styles of working the briar combined with the vulcanite and the brass at the top make this Pen Tamper a functional piece of pipeman’s art. It seems almost too nice to use but I won’t let that stop me!
Mine is also constructed from a nice piece of briar. As in Bob’s tamper, there are no visible flaws in the briar. Eric’s craftsmanship is consistently excellent. The tip is a silver metal that rests agaisnt a wide vulcanite band. For the tamper portion he mounted a flattened and polished brass head on the top of the upper barrel. The upper portion is stained with a reddish brown/medium brown stain while the rustication is stained with a darker stain. The combination looks well designed. Bob was very correct in calling Eric’s Pen Tampers functional pieces of pipeman’s art. And like Bob, once I had it in my hands it seemed too nice to use. But I have continued to use it since I received mine.
The PenTamp feels great in the hand. In Eric’s design the centre point of the pen is squeezed to make it fit nicely between the fingers when tamping. The rounded flair on the lower barrel makes it fit well between the fingers and thumb when writing. The rustication gives the barrel a grip so that it does not roll in the fingers when writing. It is a stable writing instrument as well as a well-built tamper. It is surprisingly much lighter in weight than it appears; both tampers tip the scale at .635 ounces or 18 grams. They both have a length of 5 1/8th inches or 13.0175 centimeters which is the standard length of most pens. The PenTamp works great as both a tamper and a pen and obviously we both are already using both ways. As a pen it writes with a fine line and flows smoothly. As a tamper it fits most bowls and is weighted enough to lightly tamp a bowl as you smoke it. We cannot recommend Eric’s workmanship highly enough. Contact Eric Archer through PSU to order one of your own.
I received an email from a friend and reader of this blog after posting this and he sent me pictures of a special pentamper Eric made for him as well. It is designed specifically for those with arthritis in their hands and fingers. This is a great piece of work. Dallas says that it is comfortable in his hands and easily gripped. Thanks Dallas for the additions. I had totally forgotten that you had this one.
What a lovely and useful creation!