Moretti

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Moretti's website

Courtesy Marco Moretti

Articles about Pipe Moretti[edit]

Pipe Moretti: The Pipe and the Pipe Maker, Both Italian Gems, by Joseph Hornsby[edit]

This article was originally published in The Pipe Collector, the North American Society of Pipe Collectors newsletter NASP, and is used here by permission. It's a great orginazation--consider becoming a member.

My name is Joseph Hornsby, and I have been a pipe smoker and collector since 1997. I am a veteran police officer in Greenville, South Carolina, presently working as a Forensic Technician. One day, I was dispatched to a residential burglary and met a man who would expose me to a true pipe artisan and a real gentleman, Mr. Marco Biagini.

"Well, sir, I have processed all areas that I believe were conducive and suitable to retaining fingerprints. I will take the collected fingerprints and run them through A.F.I.S. for any possible matches," I said. The stately, gray-haired gentleman thanked me and continued puffing on his pipe. "Sir, if I may compliment you on your beautiful pipe, beautiful grain." The gentleman's eyes lit up upon hearing my comment. "Are you a pipe smoker, young man?" I proceeded to tell him that I was, and suddenly, before we knew it, we had been chatting about the wonders and pleasures of the pipe and pipe smoking.

"What kind of pipe are you smoking," he asked. "Well, I have quite an assortment, from low grades to high grades, but I have developed a real fondness for Italian handmades." The gentleman asked if I had ever smoked a Moretti. "Smoked a Moretti? No, sir, I'm afraid I've not been exposed to those pipes." "You are missing a real treat, wonderful smokers, beautiful grain, that's what I'm smoking now." "May I ask where you obtained it from"? The gentleman replied that he had been given the light-stained Canadian by his daughter. "Well, sir, I'm going to have to find out more about Moretti Pipes." We said our farewells, and off I went to yet another call, not forgetting the brief pleasantries shared.

Courtesy Marco Moretti
The following day, I began looking online for information on Moretti pipes. As it turned out, there it was, as easy as one could hope for: www.pipemoretti.com. As I browsed the website and read the history of PIPE MORETTI, I found that I kept looking at the various pipes offered for sale and was quite pleased with some of the prices. Some of the pipes started at 52 EURO, which is approximately $56.00. I decided to send Marco Biagini an e-mail and commend him on his site and the pipes he offered for sale.

As it turned out, Marco is a former police officer, or "Carabiniere," who began making pipes in 1983 after his father-in-law, Mr. Igino Moretti, was no longer able to maintain the business alone. Marco and I immediately hit it off, with repeated e-mails back and forth. I found Marco to be a true gentleman and a sincerely honest man who was kind and friendly, referring to everyone as "friend." After looking and asking repeated questions of Marco, I finally narrowed my choice down to four pipes and asked Marco to provide his opinion as to the grain of each. Marco was inquisitive as to my likes and preferences in pipes. I eventually decided on a bent billiard and placed the order on Feb. 28.

Marco and I continued to chat while I eagerly awaited the newest member of my pipe family. On March 10th, after running the mail carrier down, I finally had the package in hand. The pipe was far more beautiful than the picture indicated, and the feel was excellent. Much to my surprise, Marco had also enclosed one of his carved briar tampers.

Courtesy Marco Moretti

The next day, after rubbing a little maple syrup on the inside of the bowl, I packed "Blondie," as she is affectionately called, with Caledonian Highland Cream from AC Peterson. WOW! I was amazed at just how well the pipe smoked and how little lighting I needed to keep the tobacco burning at a nice, cool, dry smoke. My wife, Aimee, as she always does whenever I obtain a new pipe, asked what I thought. Upon seeing my smile, she simply said, "That good, huh?" And yes, it was that good and even better.

So I had to learn more about Marco and Pipe Moretti, since obviously Marco had gained a fan and friend for life. I asked Marco how many pipes he produces a year. With an average of 1,000, Marco says that most of his pipes are smooth, natural finishes. Marco uses only Calabrian briar because, in his opinion, the briar is the most resistant to heat. Marco says that he allows his briar to dry naturally between 10-12 years and sometimes as along as 15 years. Marco says that most of his mouthpieces are pre-formed, but he does make some by hand on occasions. Marco inserts a briar dot in each mouthpiece, a symbol of Moretti Pipes.

Marco does smoke a pipe on occasion but finds that he usually smokes cigars and cigarettes. Marco says that he enjoys making all shapes of pipes but most enjoys making the Dublin, Rhodesian and prince. Marco says that it usually takes between 5 to 12 hours on average to produce a new pipe. All his pipes are finished with 1200 sandpaper. Marco believes that the quality of the briar and the individual attention given to a pipe are what produces a quality smoke. Marco doesn't believe in filling flaws, preferring to leave sand pits and other minor flaws visible. Marco says, and I quote, "A beautiful woman is beautiful even if she has flaws, as is briar with its sand pits." Marco's pipes run from the $56 I mentioned up to $800 for some straight-grain horns I have viewed. Marco makes a lot of really large pipes. All his pipes are simply stamped "Moretti" and below that "Recanati."

Marco is still assisted on occasions by his father-in-law, Igino, who is now 73 years old. Marco says that a piece of briar with too many flaws is simply discarded instead of being blasted or rusticated. Marco prefers to sell to pipe smokers and collectors more so than dealers, though he and his family do run a retail shop in Recanati, Italy that carries his pipes. As Marco says, "I make all pipes with the same care because I want the best for my friends." Marco Biagini and his wife, Emanuela are charming, accommodating people who know no strangers and treat everyone as though they are life-long friends.

I often believe that the character of a pipe maker is evident in his or her work. Marco's character is reflected in the care and love he places in each pipe, making and sending them to friends yet to meet and friends never met, but nonetheless to friends.

This article was originally published in The Pipe Collector, the North American Society of Pipe Collectors newsletter NASP, and is used here by permission. It's a great orginazation--consider becoming a member.

More on Moretti, by Fred Hanna[edit]

Courtesy Marco Moretti

I found myself nodding in agreement throughout the entire article on Moretti pipes, recently written by Joseph Hornsby in the Pipe Collector. I have owned and smoked many Moretti pipes since my introduction to them in 1999, and I have been consistently pleased with the workmanship and quality that pipe maker Marco Biagini provides at very reasonable prices. In addition to such details as air curing his Calabrian briar for 10 or more years, making 1000 pipes per year, and other particulars noted so well by Mr. Hornsby, there are a few more points that I would like to add.

Marco has told me that he likes to buy as many magnum-sized blocks as he can afford. This amounts to approximately 100 per year. He loves to make gigantic pipes, and these are readily observable on his website, www.pipemoretti.com. Many of these end up being rusticated or partially rusticated due to flaws in the briar, and Marco sells these pipes for the remarkably low price of $60 (give or take) on his website. In my experience, there is no better deal for magnum- sized or rusticated pipes anywhere. Although the cost of shipping from Italy must be figured into the cost, these pipes remain highly reasonable.

There are a few more details that I would like to mention. Marco's stems are Lucite, but he will make a vulcanite bit for a pipe if asked. Marco seems to be very concerned with making sure that his pipes pass the pipe-cleaner test, especially in recent years. I have had several magnum-sized Moretti deep bents that take a pipe cleaner effortlessly, without any twists or turns. Marco has told me that he considers this to be a very important aspect of pipe making, and I couldn't agree more. I have noticed that some $1000+ brands do not attend closely to the pipe- cleaner test, and many such pipes allow a cleaner to pass only with contortions and gymnastics. There's no excuse for this oversight in pipe making.

A curious aspect of Moretti pipes is the surface of the inner walls of the tobacco chamber. Marco does not sand these to any great extent, and one will find the inner walls to be quite rough. This gives the illusion of lack of detail and finish and may turn off some American collectors. However, this is deliberate. I asked Marco about this, and he says that he considers a rough surface to be ideal for forming a cake sooner rather than later. Interestingly, I have owned some pipes whose inner walls were so smooth that accumulating a cake was difficult in these pipes. I am not a great believer in forming a thick cake, but I do believe that at least some cake seems to be important in breaking in a pipe. There are many perspectives on this point. Whatever the case, most of us have come to expect smooth, carefully sanded or coated surfaces in our tobacco chambers, and Marco challenges us to reconsider this view. As far as I am concerned, after I smoke my Moretti pipes a few times, the chamber walls are no longer visible anyway.

Marco is very careful to drill the draft hole, or air hole, of a pipe centered and flush with the bottom of the bowl. Once again, this is not always the case with all pipes from major brands, even with some far more expensive high grades. Marco also does not believe in wide tobacco chambers--that is, chambers with great diameter. Most of Marco's chambers measure right around .875 inches. Lou Zisholz made some interesting comments on this point in the last issue of the Pipe Smoker's Ephemeris in the context of Dunhill and BBB magnums. Specifically, Lou told us that chambers too wide in diameter tend to provide a poor smoke. For the most part, I agree with Lou, although I want to experiment with this a bit further. Nevertheless, Marco Biagini has told me that a chamber with a diameter of 13/16 to 14/16 inches makes for a better smoke. We can debate the pros and cons of this point, and there are many. However, the point here is that this is the reason why you will not normally see a wide, huge tobacco chamber, even in a Moretti magnum, although there are exceptions. Having said that, the bottoms of Marco's chambers are nicely shaped and promote the combustion of tobacco all the way to the bottom of the bowl.

Courtesy Marco Moretti

Marco, to my knowledge, does not use putty or other fills. However, you will see sandpits in many of his pipes. If sandpits bother you, then carefully inspect Moretti pipes before you buy, for there can be quite a few in some pieces. We all know that Italian makers are not as concerned with removing sandpits as much as are the Danish makers. Marco does not try to hide sandpits, but he does not charge much for them either. Thus, one can get some very well-grained, all-smooth pieces with a few pits for as low as $100. Cleaner pieces with great grain cost more, of course.

Speaking of grain, Marco produces many nicely grained pipes. I currently own 2 Moretti magnums with incredibly tight straight grain all around the bowls. If these were Castellos, they would cost well over $2500. Similarly, I recently owned a spectacular, truly gigantic Moretti with 360 degrees of tight, dense birdseye on a pipe nearly free of sandpits. It is always quite a spectacle to see a pipe rim displaying that striking sunburst, radial grain pattern typical of the ultra-rare 360 birdseye pipe. But on this Moretti, the sunburst, radial grain pattern was on a rim nearly 4 inches in length, and the bird's-eye was plastered all around a pipe nearly 4 inches high! One look at this piece and one instantly recognizes the great skill possessed by its maker.

It is worth noting that Marco has the admirable quality of being open to feedback from his customers. I know that he has followed the advice of Tarek Manadily and Tony Soderman, and he has also patiently listened to some of my own minor suggestions as well. In closing, if I seem enthusiastic about Moretti pipes, it is because I am indeed. If the reader is interested, Marco has some amazing pipes on his website, and, like Mr. Hornsby, I encourage pipe smokers to check them out.

This article was originally published in The Pipe Collector, the North American Society of Pipe Collectors newsletter NASP, and is used here by permission. It's a great orginazation--consider becoming a member.

Contact information[edit]

Vicolo dell’Olmo
7 – 62019 Recanati (MC) ITALY
Tel. +39-0717570063
Fax +39-0717572459
Email: mailto:marco@pipemoretti.com
Website: Pipe Moretti

中文版 by CrabHao(Zhang Shi-hao) 1968年Mr. Igino Moretti在義大利Recanati創立了Moretti Recanati品牌,爾後於2004年更名簡化為 ”Moretti”,2009年9月起加入西元年標記。

Recanati是一處人文薈萃的小鎮,除了聚集詩人、作家等藝文人士,煙斗藝術的發展同樣蓬勃,Recanati也是煙斗工廠的集散地,小鎮的製斗傳統始於1850年。其中有一家名為Hully Briar的煙斗工廠,在20世紀初曾擁有約50名煙斗師父,在當時頗具規模,而Hully的首席便是Mr. Igino Moretti。(今日Moretti的工作坊坐落於昔日義大利文豪Ciacomo Leopardi 故居的對街。)

1950年經濟大蕭條時期連帶影響Hully斗廠的生存。於是Mr. Igino Moretti被迫轉行成為一名火車司機,然而Mr. Moretti依然無法忘卻對煙斗的熱情,常於擔任一名火車駕駛,還是重拾斗師的身分之間左右為難,但這個問題沒有困擾Mr. Moretti太久,他於1968年終於創立了自己的品牌---Moretti Recanati。

起初Moretti除了製作自家品牌的煙斗之外,為了維繫工作坊的生計也接了許多知名品牌的代工訂單。這樣的情況持續到了Igino Moretti的女婿Marco Biagini接手這個品牌為止。Marco認為Moretti已是一個成熟的品牌,目前支持工作室的運作已足夠,不需要再忙碌於代工的工作,便將產量降低,重心放在精緻自家品牌的煙斗。於是他架設了網站,展示銷售自己製作的煙斗,Marco會花一整年的時間專心創作,然後在每年秋天出售一整年創作的成果,他獨立銷售自己的煙斗,並不透過中間商,目的是為了將煙斗事業更加單純化,少了量產的壓力,如此他就有更多的時間投入煙斗創作及個人休閒。(警察退休後的Marco最愛的休閒活動是釣魚,所以他閒暇之餘製作的煙斗壓棒都像極了綁在釣線上的浮標)

Marco採用義大利Calabrian石楠,且擁有極豐富的石楠庫存,這些石楠皆經Air-Cured風乾10~15年。Marco對石楠的要求十分嚴格,有瑕疵的木頭他會直接丟棄,因此他所製作的煙斗以光面斗為主,僅有不到5%是蝕刻斗,除非是客戶的要求否則他幾乎不製作噴沙斗。

Marco同時也是世界上極少數會使用Bog Oak(沼澤橡木)創作煙斗的斗師,因為這些沼澤橡木皆有4000~6000年的歷史,除了稀有之外也同等昂貴,若非技巧熟練,否則一般斗師不會採用這麼珍貴的材料。Marco製作煙斗不使用車床夾具,他習慣讓木頭去就鑽頭,就算是煙道或煙嘴皆是如此,這些技法會在某些北歐的手工斗師中見到,但在義大利斗師中Marco算是異類,因為這工法有危險性,且相當困難,手的穩定度和力道必須拿捏得絲毫無誤,才能鑽出完美的缽孔和煙道,否則將會毀損木頭,甚至造成人身危險,為何Marco要選擇這樣辛苦的製斗方式?這與他所推崇的”單純原則” 有關,他認為只有少使用制式工具,才能呈現煙斗工藝之美,因此Marco的煙斗總有一番迷人的質樸感。

Moretti的煙斗製程從挑選石楠至末端染色、拋光皆由Marco個人完成,這樣的工序使得Moretti的產能降低,一般義大利手工品牌為了量產更多的煙斗會請幫手及數名工匠共同參與製斗,所生產的煙斗則是所謂的量產手工斗。Marco從不假手他人,因此較能維持一貫的品質,也更貼近創作的原意,斗客們也能從煙斗上察覺斗師的性格。此外,Marco也是義大利斗師中少數會以個人名義製作煙斗的斗師(煙斗刻印個人戳記,由於一般義大利品牌是由不同的工匠完成,所以較少會直接在斗身上留下記號) ,一位資深斗師在多年的製斗生涯中,除了原有品絣牌之外還能在作品上留下自己的記號是一件令人感到驕傲的事。

以Marco Biagini為名的Collection級高階煙斗數量極少,每年僅約50~80斗,其中有些巨無霸尺寸的Freehand煙斗,讓人過目難忘,世界上你絕對見不到比這些煙斗更巨大、更驚人的煙斗了!評論家Mr. Joseph Hornsby再北美權威刊物Pipe Collector中亦撰文推薦,而Pfeifenbox的創辦人Mr. Martin Farrent也對Marco的高端煙斗給予極高評價。

Marco對於氣孔的設計有他獨到的堅持,每一只煙斗Marco會力求通暢,並且經由精密的測試,Marco特別強調:「一支好煙斗除了順抽之外,在使用後仍需方便清理,煙道中不能隱藏不順暢的死角,有經驗的師傅絕不能忽略此點。」另外,Marco製斗會再斗缽內壁刻意留下粗糙的鑽鑿痕跡,這製程十分顛覆傳統,其目的是為了幫助使用者更快累積碳層(Cake)。而每一只完成的煙斗都會在煙嘴榫芯加上特氟龍,讓斗嘴更容易拆下。對於細節如此考量,更顯Marco對煙斗的用心。

Marco對石楠有獨特的觀點,與絕大部分遵照傳統製斗的丹麥斗師相左,他認為有好紋路的木頭並不一定就代表是好石楠,而且他從不修飾砂眼,即便是高階的等級;並非他粗心大意而是因為他認為砂眼也是石楠的一部分,沒有必要為了避開不起眼的小砂眼而遷就煙斗塑型,除非這砂眼已經構成瑕疵,而瑕疵的木頭不必辛苦裁切來避開砂點,直接當柴燒吧!

Marco是一位感性與理性兼具的紳士,和他相處過的人絕對會為他謙和的笑容所著迷,初次見面他會像對待老友般親切的招呼著”My Friend” ,加上他爽朗的笑容,展現十足的親和魅力,他待人態度始終和善,且心思細膩充滿智慧。Marco堆球單純簡單的生活態度,他樂於自己分享這項生活哲學,而這些性格直接反應於他的煙斗作品中,從他的煙斗給人自然、不做作的印象,Marco的煙斗沒有浮誇的外表,更沒有華麗裝飾,見過Marco的煙斗會詫異其簡約及潔淨感,他的作品清一色擁有無染色Natural的外表,斗室內散發出石楠淺淺如玉米味的香氣,而這樣的製斗哲學在Moretti作坊傳承40多年來不曾改變。風格對於一位藝術家而言實在是太重要了,甚或一位煙斗創作者,見到Marco的作品後才了解「風格」為何意。

有幸於2009年5月與Marco Biagini結緣, 其人為義大利手工製斗師, 雖說其煙斗品牌 Moretti 不為國人所熟悉, 其作品卻為人所著迷, 與之交談感受待人親切、工作充滿熱誠、熱愛家庭與生活崇尚自然, 他娶了Moretti先生的唯一女兒後, 自然而然就繼承了家族事業。Recanati(http://encarta.msn.com/map_701528938/Recanati.html)是義大利東部靠近亞德里亞海的的地方, 在威尼斯南邊, 早期的作品多為Moretti Recanati以紀念發源地, 近年因Marco先生獨立創作手工製造, 也為了品質維護, 增加與家人相聚及喜好釣魚的時間, 所以最近所收集到的收藏品只剩下Moretti標記了, 據其所述, 分級中的最後一級多了Emblem的差別在於材料的製作相當困難及繁瑣, 一年最多做不到4支斗, 希望以後有幸再收集吧! 不過當我收到他從義大利寄來的作品時, 真的驚訝於他的細心, 我很小心翼翼的慢慢拆封外層的牛皮紙(很有環保觀念的唷), 以保留其完整, 再拆包裝的盒子, 印入眼中的是一堆環保泡泡龍, 再慢慢的把裡頭所有的煙斗全部拿出來, 說真的, 每一支斗拆開來看時, 真是愛不釋手, 美極了! 你可以感受到遠方友人的用心及對其作品的鍾愛, 每一支還附上親筆簽名呢! 我已經張貼在部落格上了, 歡迎同好欣賞及意見交流, 正所謂作品本身會說話唷!