Archives for January 2010

Off the Bench

Two completed, on their way to there new homes.

Smooth Poker with Zebrawood band


Sandblasted Full Bent with band of Ivory and Green/Black Cumberland stem

full bent #1


This up-date to our blog is way over due; it’s been a busy time in the Rinaldi house getting pipes out before Christmas.  I am happy to say that we didn’t disappoint any one of our clients.

In this segment I am working on a few pipes.  One is a poker that has a really nice straight grain; I am making this Poker for a client that wants our Navajo rustication with a black finish, I must admit I am somewhat torn, this pipe would be such a beautiful smooth.  However, I love the Navajo look and it will look great on a Poker shape.  I think I might have to flip a coin, heads I keep it smooth and make another, or tails rusticate it and move on to the next.  What a nice place to be.


The next is a roughed out Bulldog with an Ivory inlay and a handsome piece of black Buffalo horn, the shank needs a little more shaping but again a very nice clean piece of briar with a super grain.


The next is a freeform full bent; this is being made for Carlos.  It has a beautiful Birds Eye rim and I think it will sport a very nice grain.  It has a band of Ivory and a requested green/black Cumberland stem.  The body will be a very dark brown finish.  I enjoy working a freeform shape, it gives me the freedom to use my imagination to create what I see and feel as I go along.


This next segment is combined work of Jennifer and myself.


At times we are asked to do things that we have never envisioned doing.  This is the case of our friend Hadley Scott’s Clan Pipe and stand.  Jon and I knew we would need to research this project to make it work.  Being a little intimidated by the scope of the project, I invoked the words of some Scottish Ghosts of the past.

“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others”.  ~ “Robert Louis Stevenson”

On that note we now embark on the journey of Hadley’s Clan Pipe.

Jon purchased the XX large Italian briar block for this pipe at the Chicago Pipe Show.  The piece was chosen for its clarity and size.  Hadley wanted a pipe large enough to have to bowl resting in his lap.  That meant that the stem would need to be at least 17 inches long.  After researching bagpipes, Jon & I decided that we would fashion the stem after one of the stems on a bagpipe.  The oval buttons on a bagpipe are called projecting mounts.  Jon wanted to re-create that feeling in his stem.


Traditional projecting mounts were made of bone or ivory, with the bands located on the lower regions being called ferrules.  These elements would be a nice touch to the clan pipe.  It was decided that due to the length of this pipe that the stem would be in two parts.  We also wanted to include the silk cord & tassel.

The willing horse is always worked to death.  ~ “Scottish Proverb”

Hadley supplied us with his clan pins, which he wanted to have etched on his pipe.  I took his pins and hand rendered them to preserve the detail this took time.

While I was working on the renderings, Jon was working on the stem & beginning to carve the pipe.

Untitled-1sword copy

The devil’s boots don’t creak.

Scottish Proverb

This is so true!  That piece of wood looked so perfect too.  As Jon was carving the pipe, a some much feared sand pits made it’s way to the surface.  Not to be daunted, we discussed where to place the clan emblems.  Luckily the emblems mostly covered the flaws.  In the areas where the pipe would be handled, Jon decided to lightly sandblast.  The look was quite pleasing.

“Luck never gives; it only lends”.

“Scottish Proverb”



As the pipe came near to completion, my thoughts turned to the pipe stand.  I will need all of the luck I can get!  With a pipe this long and heavy, my stand would need to be large enough to accommodate the length & weight.

Hadley wanted a stag’s head for the theme.  The Scott clan motto is

“I Love” represented by a stag in the circle of a Scottish belt.  (As seen in crest pins)  Somehow I would like to incorporate the Scottish belt into my design.  We shall see how.

I decided to carve the stag’s head out of a piece of cedar given to me by Olie Sylvester. Olie has a wonderful interesting pod-cast site the cedar round had a nice purple cast to it as well as being pretty heavy.  The well for the pipe to rest in was the first thing I needed to carve.  I had to make sure that the pipe would rest easily and be nice & stable. In a few weeks Jon will work on the finishing, the sandblasted area will be darker then the body, I can’t wait to see it completed.





This is a pipe my wife carved for our friend and pipe artesian Don Kesling of Don was asked to carve a pipe resembling a stag’s head.  I was honored that I was asked to take on the challenge.  Being a hunter myself, I have a deep appreciation for a many pointed stag.  I have been fortunate in my lifetime to have seen a few real showstoppers.  Carving this image on a pipe was going to be fun!

Don did all of the drilling, stem work, and technical parts of the pipe that I was to carve.  He sent me pictures of prospective blocks and asked my opinion.  I ended up choosing one with a nice straight grain, but with some cross grain to it as well.  We had decided that parts of the pipe would be sandblasted.  I told him to leave me with as much wood as he could.  This way I could carve the needed details deeply, without risking the thickness of the bowl.

I sent him photo-shopped pictures of how I envisioned the pipe would look.

Don told me the client wanted a nice buck’s head with a many-pointed rack.

Don and I saw the same image.  The antlers needed to wrap themselves around the bowl.  It is always nice to have to adhere to a clients wishes, it is even better when you both can have the same vision.

Carving wood is like a time warp to me.  You get started and before you know it the day is gone!  I feel fortunate that I love what I do.  Right down to the smell of the wood!  This pipe took time, but due to the subject matter, it seemed to go fast.

In the end, Don, his client, and I were pleased with the result.  Here are some images from start to finish.

65buck copy#2IMG_2890_edited-2

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