By Peter Matzhold from his website
I am Peter Matzhold and I live near Graz. Graz is the main city in the Austrian district of Steiermark. Graz is the second largest city in Austria.
As you can imagine, a pipemaker needs some place to work where the surroundings help to set the right mood while working on my pipes. My family and I live in a house where I have established a workshop and storage for the Briar. This is the perfect situation for me to work in. Near to my family and everything I need for working just a wink away. Whenever I have a new idea for a design, my first route is directly to my workshop, no matter what time it is. Pipemaking is a big part of my life and my customers should feel and taste this when they puff my pipes.
I am about the age of 53 (in 2005) and my first real passion was architecture. I studied architecture in Graz and worked in this profession for a couple of years. At that time I started to carve my own pipes. Sure, they were just for my personal fun and use. Then, during a stay in Basel, I met a gallery owner who persuaded me to exhibit some of my pipes. I wasn't sure if I could ever have success with this kind of work, but life taught me I was wrong. I decided to try to earn my living from my hobby. It was a good decision.
In architecture I had 10% work and 90% struggle. Now I have 10% organization and 90% time to work. Everything I know about pipemaking I had to teach myself. A long period of trail and error followed. Finally the pipesmokers in Austria and Germany started seeing and knowing my work. I am now well known in this area and I really enjoy being a pipemaker.
During all these years of working with Briar, I started to do servicing and restoration jobs for pipesmokers throughout Austria. Whatever has to be done to repair a pipe and make it smokeable again - I am the man, including Dunhill repairs.
Another service that I offer my clients are custom made pipes. I have made a number of pipes specially designed for customers and friends. For example a hunter's pipe with a stem made of deer horn. Anytime you have an idea, or dream of a pipe with a special shape, send me a drawing and I will make that pipe for you. It is a real pleasure to me to see the eyes of a satisfied customer as he smokes that first bowl in his new pipe.
Something about my pipe making philosophy:
When I started making pipes I did it only for my personal use. Then, after I had decided to become a professional rather than a hobbyist pipemaker, I was searching for my niche in the market. I found out that my design and the way I think about pipes had to look and feel different from the average pipemakers. In addition to this, my workshop and my one man company :-) is not able to produce more than 200 pipes a year. So I experimented a lot with grain - stain - wax, etc. After a long period of trial and error I discovered my personal perfect finish, which is a result of all these treatments in a special order and way. Since I can only produce about 200 pipes a year, it is impossible to compete against all the large pipemakers in the world. So the pipes I am focusing on are pipes with perfect grain (either straight or cross grain) and clear lines. The main thing in my work is the combination of a well ballanced shape together with a grain that helps to pronounce the form of the pipe.
A classic shape is always a big challange for me. In that case the grain plays a major roll in the appearance of the pipe. The grain can influence the form a lot. It can make the pipe look more dynamic or more calm.
Take for example a Billard: when the grain striations start at the top of the bowl, it makes the pipe look more calm. When the grain striations start at the bottom of the bowl, they make the pipe look more dynamic. When the pipe is cross grained and you can only see birds eye on the sidewalls, then the form is most neutral.
Pipes - new in design but with a classical touch and familiar proportion. The look and the feel when you hold the pipe - all these factors should influence you during a smoke and make you feel comfortable. Perhaps you can compare it with the task of a wineglass designer. In some of the details, you should see the handwriting of the pipemaker.
I like to equip my pipes with a half-saddle mouthpiece because the half-saddle makes the lines of a pipe smoother. Or a stem with a flat upperside parallel to the bowltop.
Some of my pipes have a hardwood insert to embellish the look. These inserts are often made of olivewood, because olive trees like to grow near the briar. Sometimes I make shank extensions with horn, because every single part of horn is as unique in colour and veining as wood.
Another part of my philosophy is that I only produce clean pipes. That means NO FILLS! I will never ever sell a pipe which has a fill. A spot or a tiny sandpit can somethimes happen and is a part of the natural feature of Briar, as long as that spot does not have any influence on the look or the smoking quality. For example, a flaw in the tobacco chamber or draft hole sends a pipe to the trashcan. Only about 60% of the Ebauchons I start carving are worth making a pipe out of. More than 40% is garbage. If I notice that a pipe will have a too large spot or flaw, I drop it in the trash can. It's just my bad luck if this happens at a very late stage in the production. Whenever I make a mistake in drilling (for example, the draft hole is 1mm too high) or something, I immediately discard the pipe. All pipes I produce are of the highest quality that I can make.
My finish: A light-brown-to-orange colour with a Carnauba wax coating which is polished to a shiny high gloss. Due to the nature of the Briar, some pipes come out lighter and some darker.
All of my mouthpices are handcut and made of vulcanite.
The shapes of my pipes are hard to describe. Some are more on the classic side and some are more on the freehand side. A lot of my pipes cannot be described with the usual nomenclature system. Better to look at them and decide for yourself. Taste is too subjective to discuss here.
So whenever you decide to buy a Matzhold pipe, you can be sure to get a pipe with good grain, made from the best Italian Briar with NO FILLS; a handcut vulcanite mouthpiece; a smooth, waxed and polished finish and a unique shape that is lovely to touch, smoke, play with and to look at.
Whenever, wherever you smoke a Matzhold pipe and you feel satisfied, relaxed and happy - you can be sure of a big grin on my face!
Thank you for listening, I think this is the right time to fire up another bowl of my favourite tobacco - Dunhill 965! ah..... yea !
Peter Matzhold Niederschoeckelstrasse 84 A-8044 Graz, Austria Email: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Website: Peter Matzhold