J.L. Thompson

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From the "About Me" page on the Thompson Pipes Website:

I make my pipes in a small workshop in the basement of my home in Parkville, Maryland, a suburb just north of Baltimore, where I live with my wife and three sons. Originally I set up my workshop with a small lathe so I could turn small gifts like pens, bowls and ornaments for family and friends. Since I got started making pipes, they have become my main focus, though I do still make ornaments and other handmade gifts for family.

Jason and Kathy Thompson
Smooth Elephant's Foot with Desert Ironwood
This pipe made it into the 7 day set for The 2016 Kansas City Pipe Club Contest

Like the pens an other items, pipemaking is a part time hobby for me; I work full time as a Landscape Architect for a small firm in the area.

As you can see by the photos, my family is very important to me. Between my full-time job and family, my pipe making time is limited. I currently try to make 20-30 pipes a year. Since pipe making is my creative outlet and my time is limited I rarely take commissions but feel free to contact me if you have an idea in mind for a pipe and we can discuss the possibility.

My Pipemaking Story

I've always been interested in wood; I like working with wood, I like hiking in the woods, I like the smell of a wood fire. Since I was a kid, I have been interested in woodworking. Much of my early interest was due to my grandfather who was a model builder and master craftsman. Sadly he passed away when I was an infant but I grew up seeing the things he made and felt a connection to him through them. My interest continued to grow through woodshop in high school and projects at my home. Opportunity was slim for projects during college and years living in an apartment and condo so it was a happy day when I purchased my current house and had a place where I could get back to my favorite pastime.

After a few years of making small turnings and a few other wooden "things" in my shop, a post by another wood turner of a tobacco pipe he made intrigued me. I always was mesmerized by the patterns and colors that could be found in the grain of wood if you looked close enough. As I looked into pipemaking more, I realized that bringing out the look and feel of the wood's grain was the goal of most pipe makers. So, after extensive online research I decided to try to make my first pipe. It was made from a block of osage orange wood I had and, like many other first pipes, was out of proportion and not exactly something to show off. But at least it had a hand cut stem.

Since making my first pipe in 2013, I have studied many different pipes and made many dozens of pipes until I felt that I could produce a consistent, high quality pipe that can deliver a cool, enjoyable smoking experience. I have to thank the moderators and members of the Pipe Maker's Forum for the vast storehouse of information there and the constructive critiques of many of my early pipemaking attempts.

From 2015 through early 2017 I was a member of the BriarLab team to help me gain exposure in the pipe smoking community while balancing my day to day responsibilities. The guidance I received from Nate King and the other BriarLab members helped me refine my pipemaking skills and create a "brand" for my pipes. I believe the things I learned through BriarLab contributed to my pipe being selected as one of the seven winners of the 2016 Pipe Carvers Contest at the Kansas City Pipe show.

Contact Information:

Website: https://www.jlthompsonpipes.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/j.l.thompson_pipes/