Thursday, August 6, 2009

What a great anniversary!

So this week stands as the one year anniversary of my first pipe. I'll try to snap a photo of my first pipe in the next day or so, along with the most recent one. I feel I've come an awful long way in just a year. Admittedly I have been constantly working on a pile of pipes during this last year, but still, I'm surprised I've been able to do as much as I have.

Today marked a fine way to celebrate this anniversary. There's a metal working school and art gallery in Kalamazoo called the Smart Shop. It is a major stop on our town's Art Hop circuit. There's a big metal shop, a beautiful garden with amazing sculptures, and a nice gallery full of work by several different artists.

They contacted me last week, asking if I would be interested in showing/selling my pipes in their gallery from November until January. They said they would like to make me the featured artist for the December Art Hop.

Holy wow!!

I owe an article written by Jessi Phillips and some photos taken by

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New month, new shop

My shop is up and fully running now. The garage is doing a bit of multitasking with the bar, my tools, and as a storage space. Once July is over and our roommates are moved out I'll be able to move the boxes downstairs. I'll have a lot more room then.

The work station.

The bar right next to the garage door. It is a good spot.

And the view from where I do most of the work with the power sander, and a trio of pipes in progress. We live on a busy road, but have a nice little treed area across the way. We've seen a lot of deer back there in the last week.

I am also very pleased to say that I won Etsy's poll for the best father's day gift. There were a lot of very cool gift ideas, and am very grateful for the folks who gave me their votes. The Etsy admins wrote a nice post in their blog.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Vote for the Best Father's Day Item

I got a very pleasant surprise when I found a message from an Etsy intern, informing me that 1 of the 40 items picked for the Best Father's Day Item poll was one of my pipes. Very cool!

If you have an Etsy account I would be very thankful if you'd give me your vote. Here's the link:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A pipe for me

This pipe is one of the last chunks of plateau briar I had left. During the first step, drilling, I made a mistake, making the mortise go too deep. The wall between the mortise and the tobacco chamber is too thin now. I doubt I'll have a problem with it, but I didn't want to sell a pipe which I'd have to tell the buyer to smoke gently near the bottom. So it is mine.

I'm very excited! The first plateau pipe in my personal collection! The grain ended up being perfect. Tiger's striping on the sides. Great bird's eye grain on the plain which faces the smoker. I prefer to hold a pipe in my left hand, lighter and tamper in my right, so I contoured it for a perfect fit. I think this is my coolest pipe so far, and am very glad it is mine.






Friday, April 10, 2009

I need to make a mark

So I got my stamps yesterday for marking pipes. It was a total bust. Once I get a lathe and start turning plates and bowls and other big stuff, the stamps will be handy to have. But they won't do for the pipes. The font is just too blugh, and 1/8 inch letters ended up being too big.

A metal worker was recommended to me by some other pipe makers on a forum, so I'll be contacting him after I make 3 more sales.
1st sale will go to more wood and stems since I'm almost out.
2nd and 3rd sale (or 1 plateau sale) will buy my logo stamp. They cost about $100. I'm thinking I want something really simple. Maybe just 'Henderson' with a very simple long stemmed pipe used to underline my name.

I can't decide between 'Henderson' or some variation with my initials in front. I could have either 'AHenderson' or 'AAHenderson' (Andrew Alan). I think 3 caps at the beginning does unbalance it a bit, but I am always tickled by my initials spelling 'aah'. Tho, I think I'd be happier hearing someone say the have a Henderson pipe, instead of saying they have an 'AAH' pipe. The single name will probably win in the end.

Anyone have any thoughts on if I should have any other info on my stamp? Maybe the year underneath? That would mean buying a new stamp every year, but that's not too big of an expense, and it might make them more of a collectible.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

March is getting close!

This last week has been rather intense.

My wife and I were married the day after Valentine's, in 2008. The Esty admins had read a forum post I wrote, and asked if I would mind them using it in Etsy's blog, The Storque. It turned into a nice gift for both of us for our first anniversary. It was very nice of Etsy to include us in their blog.

Jess and I had a wonderful weekend. A great first anniversary, with an awesome money clip bought off Etsy, from the wonderful artists at Unearthed.

Unfortunately, that same week my car decided to give out on me. Repairs would have cost much more than the car was worth. I hate shopping for new autos, and it took about a week to finish. I am very pleased with the results.

The guy I bought it from was very good guy. A boring but nice story took place that happily ended with me driving a great truck for almost half of what I'd planned on spending. I think both of us ended up happy at the end of the exchange, and he also gave me a load of wood for our fire place.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Where did january go?

I don't know how january got away from me. It was a busy month, every day feeling packed. In a good way tho. Some fun project every single day!

The rings are not moving quite as quickly as I'd hoped, so I've been laying off of those while cranking out pipes as quickly as I can. The new tools I got around christmas time have really made a huge difference in how long each pipe takes.

The drill press made getting the holes lined up a quick chore, when before it was a nerve-wracking project for each pipe. The band saw saves me so much time away from the sander. Plus many of the trimmings are useful. Especially nice is being able to effortlessly cut off a chunk to make the bead for the drawstrings on the pouches I make.

I don't think I'll go back over the last month. Today was a good day because of a big reorganizing of the woodshop/spare bedroom.

At my wife's prompting I finally took the bed out of the room. I needed the space because my wonderful father helped me build a work bench out of his scrap piles of various woods. It is awesome having the bar free to sit at again. Until today it was covered in large tools and mountains of red dust.

The table we built is pretty basic, but it is firm, with plenty of space for what I need. The room seems huge now. Better lighting, more walking and sitting space. That room is the only place inside that we allow smoking, so we tend to end up entertaining in there. I will feel much better about having people in there now. Another perk of the new setup is that cleaning will be much easier. Less visible places for dust that are hard to reach.

This first pic is looking into the room from just inside the door. Pictures like these always make a space look tiny. Trust me, there is so much more room for moving around now:


This is the table, all loaded up:


And just because I really like this pipe, here's one of my two favorites made in the last month:

pipe 35