From the Skoda Pipes Website
My name is Joseph Skoda, I live in the northeast corner of the Hudson Valley not far from the Massachusetts border. This was home to several well known artists of the Hudson River School, Fredrick Church and Thomas Cole to mention a few.
Freehand Rodesian with concentric rings
The picture on the opening page was taken only a few feet away from the front door of Church's estate,Olana, which means "Place On High". They drew their inspiration from their natural surroundings and perfected their oil landscapes to the point that one could easily be drawn into the scene itself and reflect upon the Creator of all things. One of my favorite lines from Herman Mellville's novel Moby Dick, is the beginning paragraph, " Follow a path, any path, so long as it follows water, for there is something about water that draws all men. Follow a pathway that leads to a stream and the stream will lead to a river and the river to the sea, the sea, where a man finds a reflection of himself ". I draw my inspiration from my natural surroundings as well, both from land and sea. God created the Heath tree, I have the privilege of carving something beautiful and useful from it. Each time I buff a pipe to a mirror finish and can see my own reflection, it becomes just that, a part of and reflection of myself.
I've been carving pipes for over sixteen years and have many years of experience in custom woodworking and cabinetry. I've made numerous ship models from scratch, Lapstrake Skiffs, Dorys and America Cup Defenders. I love anything with a sail on it. Being accustomed to detailed work it was an easy transition to make pipes after first stumbling onto an issue of Pipes and Tobacco magazine in 1996. I've found it to be both satisfying and enjoyable to create a functional piece of art with clean lines, a good feel in the hand and pleasing to the eye.
Elipticus with concentric rings
I love the immense diversity in the world that we live in and rarely make the same shape twice but I will make variations on a shape in whatever rhythm I happen to be in at the time. I enjoy the tried and true standard shapes as well. It was with an Iwan Ries Canadian that I first learned how to properly smoke a pipe. Above all, regardless of shape, the engineering is the foundation of any pipe that smokes well. My stems are all hand made from German Ebonite. I also use exotic and native woods, bone, antler, horn, acrylic, various faux marble and turquoise materials. In the extensions I always turn a tenon on them and never flush-fit them onto the shank to ensure a solid long lasting fitting. The airway is the same diameter from the bottom of the bowl to the flare inside the stem.
The nomenclature on each pipe is "Skoda Pipes" inside an oval with four digits. The first two is the year and the other two the sequence in which it was made. My High Grades are a combination of the Greek Alpha and Omega letters in two classes, the Alpha and Alpha B. Alpha being the highest grade. Each of my pipes feature a stem logo composed of two gold dots, a larger and smaller one, symbolizing the negative space of the letter "S."
P.O. Box 306
Philmont , NY , 12565