The most comfortable shoes I ever owned were a pair of tall buckskin moccasins I had when I was a kid. I would even wear them in winter. With a pair of wool socks, they were better than clunky snow boots.
This evening I finished making a pair of basic moccasins to use this winter as house shoes at our cabin. The outer is oiled leather bound with heavy lace. The insole is a thick 8 oz. piece of leather. They are quite comfy.
The best part: they are so easy to make. I know what everyone in my family is getting for Christmas this year 😉
p.s. Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been spending all my blogging time on Tumblr. There will be more activity this winter, I promise.
I got this nifty pewter pipe tamper recently. It is made by Peterson Pipes, of Dublin, and the top is crowned with the bust of the world’s first Independent Consulting Detective, Mr. of Sherlock Holmes (formerly of 221B Baker Street, London). I’ve always been a fan of Sherlock Holmes, and to me, he is one of the prototypical pipe smokers. In this rendition he is wearing the stereotypical deerstalker and sporting a calabash, though neither of these accessories were used to great extent in the original stories. This is image of Holmes comes from the stage, where an exaggerated pipe shape was required to convey pipe-ness to the theatre audience. I have not yet decided which of my pipes I will be pairing this tamper with. I have a meerschaum calabash on order that might work nicely.
I received this pipe, a Savinelli Miele Bulldog, from danishpipeshop.com several weeks ago. I’d seen this series on that site months ago when I first took up the pipe, and fell in love. I always had it in my mind that I would order one someday. Well, here it is. The Miele series is the third in Savinalli’s food inspired pipe series, after Chocolate and Coffee. Miele is Italian for honey, and the pipes in this series come complete with a wooden tamper in the shape of a honey dipper. The bowl is finished in a warm light stain, and the golden acrylic stem reminds one of honeycombs. The pipe comes in suede-textured golden pouch, and everything is packaged in an amazingly designed box.
I like to pair an appropriate tobacco with each pipe I acquire. A rustic pipe should be combined with a rustic tobacco, a sophisticated pipe should be combined with sophisticated tobacco, and so on. The Miele pipe naturally should be combined with sweet, strong tobacco. I decided to make my own blend for this unique pipe. I had some Honey Cavendish*, which is a wonderful aromatic, but felt that it was to monochromatic to use on it’s own. I’ve been enjoying the earthy nature of Bilbo’s Pipe, and think it will blend well with the cavendish. I went to my local tobacconist today to stock-up and the proprietor also recommended Ed’s Finest as a sweet, full bodied mixture. This evening I blended the three mixtures together in equal proportions. I’ve named the blend Majdy, which is the name of a village in Poland near the city where my wife is from. Moid is the Polish word for honey, and the village name Majdy is a somehow derived from moid. (Our parent’s have a lovely cottage in Majdy, on an island that used to be an orchard, and we have friends in the area that operate a honey farm.)
In the mornings I drink tea with honey. The brand of honey I have been using recently comes in a hexagonal jar. I finished a jar yesterday and set it aside for use as a tobacco jar. Besides conscientiously pairing tobaccos with my pipes, I also like to accessorize my pipes with aesthetically or conceptually similar tampers, pouches, etc. It makes sense to me to pair the Savinelli Miele Bulldog and Majdy blend with the hexagonal honey jar.
Unfortunately, I have bit of a cold right now and I want to wait until I am well to smoke this pipe and tobacco blend for the first time so I can maximize my enjoyment.
* All tobacco mixtures mentioned are house-blends available from Epicure, in Calgary. I don’t know if they do mail order and I’m not sure if similar blends might be available in other markets.
I restored this axe a few weeks ago. I cleaned up the bit and attached a new handle. This very sharp and moderately heavy implement has since been leaning against the door of my office — an accident waiting to happen. Last night I started to work on a leather sheath to protect the bit (or perhaps to protect me from the bit). I’ve made a few sheaths for other axes in the past. I borrowed this design from the great sheaths that come with some of the Gränsfors Bruks axes (their axes with larger beards come with a sheath of a different design). Anyway, it was pretty straight forward and I am very happy with the result.
Yesterday I posted a few rustic wood table accessories that I made from Aspen branches. Today I made two sets of candle holders from branches of another Aspen tree. Could Christmas gifts get any easier? I don’t thinks so.
In the early fall, the power company felled a couple of Aspens near the power lines at the cabin. I never like to see good wood go to waste so I collected it for firewood. The larger trunk pieces I left at the cabin, but the smaller branches I brought back the city. The bark on this wood has wonderful character and some of it found its way into one of my first hand-made pipes. I was re-stacking my wood pile yesterday evening and got inspired to make a few more things.
I have plans to use some if this Aspen as legs for some benches along some of the trails at the cabin. My brother had a set of Veritas Power Tenon Cutters which I will use for the joinery. I figured I should practice with the tenon cutters on something smaller before tackling anything structural. I got the idea for a rustic wood candle holder or candelabra. I picked a few pieces of wood from the wood pile and headed to the shop, completing the candelabra in about half an hour.
Rustic Salt Shaker and Pepper Mill
I thought this wood would be good for replacing our old, ugly salt shaker and pepper mill. I took the hardware from the old pepper mill and repurposed it. This was my first opportunity to use my new General wood lathe and OneWay lathe chuck. In retrospect I couldn’t have picked a harder project for my first lathe turning — green wood, and not exactly balanced. I’m quite happy with the result, though it took longer than I thought it would. The salt shaker was child’s play in comparison — a hole and counterbore in the bottom, a few small holes in the top, and a dowel plug. I polished the tops and bottoms with a buffer, and finished each piece with a coat of beeswax.
A few months ago, shortly after my brother passed away, I received an e-mail expressing sympathy from a friend and colleague. My friend had taken a year off work to travel around the world with her husband, doing missionary work and generally having an adventure along the way. When I received her e-mail they were ensconced somewhere in Italy on month number nine of their trip.
She asked if there was anything I needed in that time of mourning. I had just begun my pipe collecting misadventures, had received a pipe from my mother-in-law in Poland, and half jokingly replied that I didn’t really need anything, but if she liked she could pick me up a pipe. Her next e-mail was filled with maybe just a little bit of shock, but she agreed, and said she and her husband would look for something.
Yesterday, a package arrived for me at the front desk at my office. This is not unusual, my wife and I get packages shipped there all the time. I looked at the declaration first, which stated in neatly written capital letters, “SMOKING (TOBACCO) PIPE”. Just last week I’d placed orders with SmokingPipes.com and DandishPipeShop.com, so I thought it was one of those orders. However, when I got back to my desk and set the package down, I thought it strange that the declaration was for a single item when I distinctly remembered ordering several things from each shop (pipes, tampers, etc.). It was at this point that it dawned on me that I was holding a DHL box from Deutsche Post so it could not be any of my recent orders. I finally looked at the sender’s name and realized my friend had been true to her word, as she always is.
I waited until I got home to open the package. Inside, was a black satin pouch containing a lovely full bent billiard with a rusticated bowl and white band. The shank was stamped Molina, Made In Italy. My friend (or more accurately, her husband) had picked up the pipe in a shop in Italy, but had waited until arriving in Germany to ship it. (A wise, choice, as I have no doubt the German post office is more efficient than the Italian).
I did a few quick searches on the internet for Molina Pipes, but did not find much. There website is in Italian so I will have to spend some time with Google translator to learn more about this Italian pipemaker.
This pipe is a wonderful gift, something truly unique in my fledgling collection, and all the more special because of the loving kindness of the wonderful friends who took the time to pick it out and ship it half way around the world. If my friend were to ask me again if there is anything I needed, I would have to say that she just gave it to me. Many thanks.
I’ve always had a fascination towards pirates. Ever since I can remember I have been enamoured with the history and mythology of pirates. There are a number of pirate movies (that is, movies about bucaneers, not to be confused with pirated movies) that are in constant rotation in my video player. One of my favourites is Disney’s Treasure Island, starring Bobby Driscoll and Robert Newton. This film was in released in 1950, but has stood the test of time quite well. In fact, while watching it, one can’t help but recognize that some of Newton’s Long John Silver mannerisms played an important part in Johnny Depp’s later characterization of Captain Jack Sparrow.
Having recently taken up the pipe, I’m always on the look-out for pipe references in literature and film. Treasure Island has two great pipe scenes which showcase, what I believe to be, historically accurate clay pipes. I’ve not read Robert Louis Stevenson’s original book (it’s on my list), so I can’t say if the pipes portrayed in the film are due to Stevenson’s genius or the producers. Either way, the pipes make a fun movie even more enjoyable.