Old looking New Shoe … For a Pipe!

Imagine if you will, a solid block of Cherry wood. Locked somewhere inside of this block, is a shoe. Not just any ordinary shoe, but a shoe meant to hold finely crafted smoking pipes.

At the end of the Chicago Pipe Show, this was my challenge. Create a pipe stand in the shape of an old shoe. Our best client had a plastic shoe pipe holder, and loved the way it looked.  The problem was that it was small to hold many of his pipes, and was made of plastic.  I was given this model to work from to create its wooden twin.

The model was an injection-molded piece originally made out of clay.

It portrayed an old sagging work shoe complete with laces, but I must say, it looked kind of cheap-e.

Settling on a beautiful block of cherry wood, my project began.  I started with the inside, drilling the center out to the point where a pipe would rest securely inside.  After that I worked my way to the outside.  It was a real challenge for me to carve this shoe; but still be my own creation. The details are what really made it come to life. I wanted the sole and heel of the shoe to look like leather.  I did this by cutting grooves into the heel, and then polishing it with a hard piece of leather.  The laces had to fall upon the surface naturally.  I let them be a lighter color, so they would add more interest to the surface.  The body of the shoe ended up showing off the cherry wood grain nicely.  It was a pleasure to carve something that lent itself to wood so well.

shoe #1shoe #2

As a carver I am always excited to work on commissions, they help me as an artist take myself out of the planning. The client has the vision.

It’s my job to make it come true. It helps me become technically better at carving, by forcing me to pay attention to every detail.

shoe #4

Jennifer Rinaldi

shoe #3


  1. Jennifer,
    Your craftsmanship is superb! The owner of this piece must be very happy!

  2. Thank you so much Adam, it was a fun project.

Translate »