Rex Walden Pipes
It wasn't until I bought my first home complete with a small workshop space that I started making pipes. I started out with a pre-drilled pipe kit as many do. Then, I watched many great videos of pipe makers sharing how they made their pipes, and then read and reread many forum postings and pipe making websites (like this great resource, Pipedia.org). I started to buy and modify other tools for pipe making, and then started ordering more briar.
I would say that I am heavily influenced by Danish pipe making masters and many of their trademark shapes and also by the many Japanese pipe makers, having spent a lot of time in that area of the world. That being said, I admire and respect so many emerging and contemporary American pipe makers that I see producing some truly inspiring work.
The thing I like most about pipe making is the "getting lost" part. When I head out to the shop, fire up a pipe, and get to work on a piece of aged briar, the problems and stresses of everyday life fades away- the clock seems to speed up and I feel excitement as the pipe begins to emerge from the briar. My reward for the hours I put into a pipe is knowing eventually another pipe smoking brother or sister will enjoy the fruits of my labor.
I am also excited that (thanks in large part to the Internet) the pipe hobby is now truly global. My pipes are being enjoyed as far away as Asia and Australia- having spent some time in that corner or the world, it is really exciting for me to make connections with some of my customers from far away and collaborate on their ideas and wants. I tend to take my time with each pipe that I make, focusing on one at a time, rather than making bunches of them simultaneously. Since I am not a full time pipe maker, I am able to enjoy that freedom and truly take my time with each piece.