Where did you visit on your travels?
Steven: Our first stop was Geneva, Switzerland then onto Copenhagen, Denmark.
Did you meet any prominent figures in the industry? If so whom?
Steven: We were in the company of one of the leading figures in the UK tobacco industry and also a handful of specialist retailers from the UK. We were all taken to the house of legendary pipe maker Erik Nørding where we met him and were introduced to his family. Also, we visited the Danish Pipe Shop where we met Nicolas and Louise son & daughter of the late founder Mr. Nielsen. I also met for the second time Niels Nielsen who makes his own Signature Cigars only available for sale in Denmark.
What was the most interesting pipe manufacturing fact you learned that you did not previously know before your trip?
Steven: We were shown how Erik achieves the complex shapes of his pipes by using a specially designed, custom made machine which has a template as a gauge.
Peter: Also I found it fascinating to learn how the lucite stems are made from rods of lucite. The care that was taken in sizing and adjusting the stems to fit perfectly was a real eye opener.
How small or large were these facilities?
Steven: The work shop was all on one level at the back of their family home, but it seemed like it went on forever, room after room. Each one was tailored for the appropriate manufacturing process. It was easy to get lost, which I learned first hand after taking a few wrong turns.
Peter: It truly is an optical illusion as from the outside I expected the Nørding workshop to only be a medium scale operation, but once entering I was taken a back by the sheer size of the place and volume of pipes.
How many different pipes did you see on average, and which one was your favourite?
Steven: To be honest we have stocked most of them over the years, that being said there were a few that did catch me off guard. For instance the ‘Snake Pipe’ and the ‘Shorty’ definitely caught my eye.
Peter: We saw literally hundreds if not thousands of pipes, this included traditional styles as well as some rather unique freehand designs. I was really intrigued by the ‘Freehand’ range which requires special techniques to transfer an image onto the pipe. The ‘Harmony Fonts’ and ‘Seagull’ in particular left a lasting impression on me.
Did you get to partake in any pipe manufacturing processes, if so which?
Steven: Yes, we were taught how to shape a pipe properly on a band saw (cut corners off the square block of briar). Following that we were taken to a large belt drive sander that had a strip of sandpaper about an inch thick on it.
Peter: I was shown how to shape the stem and even got to have a go at it myself.
What are some of the new products in The Pipe Shop as a result of this trip?
Steven: There are many but the most notable I would say are the ‘Valhalla Series’ and also the ‘Hunting Collection’ in which we have the full range dating from back in 1998 to present.
Peter: Most definitely the ‘Freehand’ pipes and the ‘Hunting Collection’.