From the Carver's Website:
I am 30 years old. The majority of my work history has been in residential construction. I started making pipes after visiting Colorado for my older brothers wedding and saw some pipes that his friend had made. My little brother was intrigued with them and wanted to make his own. I decided I would try it with him. Before we even got home we found Pimo's website and ordered some stems. The first thing I learned about pipes was that they don't make bent stems, you have to heat the stems and bend them yourself. In the beginning I learned something new about pipes every day and usually it was the result of a mistake. In high school my favorite class was wood shop . I made a dining room table with leaves and an oak roll top desk among other things. I've always enjoyed working with my hands. After high school I worked for a home builder for about 6 years. I learned a lot about almost all aspects of residential construction. My boss and I built about one house per year. Most of the time it was just me and him working together. When we did bigger jobs like pouring the basement floor my boss would pay some of his friends or old employees to come help us for the day. Even though his houses sold for almost $500,000 , he was still very conscious of wasting material and time , and keeping costs down. So what I really learned while working there was how to work efficiently.
My first pipe (Pictured below) was made out of a chunk of Cherry wood from a tree that I had cut down the year before. I used the stem from an old pipe I had since our stems from Pimo hadn't arrived yet and I couldn't wait. I drilled the holes and mortise with a hand drill. I had to drill the air hole about 3 times to get it in the right place since the pipe was bent which is not the pipe to start with ( as I found out) but I was copying one of my factory pipes and didn't think about it. Anyway I stained the pipe with some Minwax wood stain and finished it with an oil finish. This first pipe was very roughly made but it smoked so I was hooked. From there I kept making pipes from my Cherry wood with pre-made stems and a tenon cutter from Pimo. I never sold any of the cherry wood pipes because they were not worth the $10 I might get for one, plus I was nowhere near able to create a finished product. After I got pretty good at drilling the holes I ordered my first briar blocks. I worked with briar for the first time and I created my first briar pipes. The pipes smoked well even though the second grade briar I got usually had some cracks here and there. The drilling process I developed never included using a dremel to center things up or make it possible to pass a pipe cleaner.Although ounce I started making my own pipes I took a better look at my few pipes and pictures of other pipes online. I soon realized that not every pipe maker had the same standards as I had developed. After these first few briar pipes thing started to spiral out of control. I started acquiring all kinds of tools, files, drill bits, sanding pads, buffing wheels, motors and much more as I could afford it and I spent every moment of spare time in the carport working . I had already moved to a drill press when I made my first briar pipes and I soon moved to a full size metal lathe that makes perfect holes, mortise, stems, shank connections and tenons. Since then I have sought advice from several established pipe makers and two in particular have helped me enormously, they are Mark Tinsky pipe maker at www.amsmoke.com who I talked with over the phone early on when I first started selling my pipes.,and I also sent him a pipe as a gift but really for his critique which was very helpful, and Premal Chheda pipe maker and owner of www.smokershaven.com , who I met at last years NASPC pipe show in Columbus Ohio , and who has also spent allot of time working with me on the fine details that are very important for a pipe that costs more than $200. Now Premal is selling my pipes in his shop in Columbus Ohio.
- You may enjoy listening to Brian Levine interview Clark on the Pipes Magazine Radio Show
Clark Layton Website: http://www.laytonpipes.com/ Email: LaytonPipes@Gmail.com (Fastest Response) Daytime Phone: 814-826-3005 (Clark Layton) EST (Timezone). US Facebook: Clark Layton