Blog by Steve Laug
Over the years I have been the recipient of quite a few gift pipes. Some of them have been pipes that I had previously given away and that came home to me like one I had given to Mike Leverette many years ago. Others were gifts from friends who saw a pipe that they thought I would like and picked it up for me. Those pipes were just right and always came with a ready story attached. Besides pipes like those mentioned above I have also received pipes from my daughters as presents over the years. Those come with a special kind of love attached that exceeds the value of the pipe. Those too have been just right. These kinds of gifts are ones that speak their story to me every time I pick them up for a bowl. Each one reminds me of the giver and the circumstances of the gift.
Yesterday all of that gift goodness radically changed for me. There is no doubt that this gift will also always have a story attached but it will always be one that causes me to laugh when I pick it up. Ahhh, I am getting ahead of myself with my story. Let’s begin at the beginning as my daughters used to say when I read them stories as little ones. This story begins with a friend, Dallas coming by my office so that we go to lunch. We try to get together and have lunch and often share a bowl together at least monthly when I am in the town. We always have a great time and some great conversation.
Off and on he has brought pipes for me to repair or I have brought pipes I thought he might be interested in that I have repaired. Well, yesterday he out did me. He came to my office and said he had a gift for me if I wanted it. The “if I wanted it” should have been a clue. He reached into the pocket of his coat and took out his offering. He handed me a Glad Sandwich Bag. He opened the bag and took a pipe and lighter combination out and handed it to me. The pipe and lighter we covered with a patterned paper or vinyl that was downright ugly. He laughed and said that someone had gifted him with it and he was passing it on to me. We had a good laugh as I took it from him and turned it over in my hands. It was something that only he could have gotten away with without so much as a smirk or a laugh as he came through the door. It is certainly a gift that I won’t forget and it will have that story attached to it.
We went and enjoyed a great lunch and conversation and I took the pipe home from the office with me that evening. My daughters cracked up laughing when they saw it and one of them even said they kind of liked it. I took some photos to share with all of you. I don’t think that this is a pipe that I will ever smoke but it is certainly unique. The pipe is made wood and appears to be pear wood or some other hardwood. It is very light weight and is light coloured. The bowl has a metal insert in it that has five holes in the bottom of the bowl. It extends probably half way down the inside of the wood pipe. It is the kind of bowl I have seen in cheaper Chinese knockoff pipes. I am pretty certain it was crafted for smoking something other than tobacco.The photos show that the pipe is covered with what looks like wallpaper or even gift wrap. It is even uglier in person than it is in the photos. The paper covers the bowl leaving a small ring of wood around the end of the shank. It is also wrapped around the stem leaving the end of the stem uncovered. The wallpaper/gift wrap comes up to what would have normally been a button on the stem. The entire surface of the pipe is covered with a heavy coat of urethane or some kind of shiny plastic coat. The end of the stem was painted with black shiny paint and a coat of urethane to protect it. The lighter sports a matching covering and is just as shiny. It is a cheap plastic butane lighter. I would be afraid to fill it and strike it for fear of it melting in my hand.I decided to explore the pipe a bit so I took the stem off to have a look. There was a metal stinger apparatus/filter tenon inserted in the stem. The whole apparatus functioned as the tenon. Inside the shank the mortise was polished. The fit of the stem to the shank was off slightly because of the paint and urethane that covered the shank and stem end.Over all it is one weird-looking pipe. Thanks Dallas for this one. It has changed the way I look at gift pipes. I am already thinking about who I will pass it on to. Maybe it will be a gag gift one day. I can say this with some certainty it is a pipe that is destined to be passed on again.