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How Pipestud Became a Pipe Smoker

Even though I have now been smoking a pipe for 49-years – I started when I was 17, and I’ll let you do the math on how old I now am – I can still vividly recall the first time I smoked a pipe. I was a junior in high school and worked part-time as a disc jockey for a local radio/TV station in Waco, Texas. The news anchor was a grizzled old veteran named Bill Herring and he smoked a pipe. The only time that pipe was out of his mouth was when he was anchoring the TV newscasts – yes, we could smoke freely just about anywhere we wanted to back in those good old days. Bill always smoked Stanwell pipes filled with Borkum Riff Whiskey. Everywhere he went Bill left a trail of the most wonderful smelling smoky odor. He looked very distinguished in his suit while puffing on that wonderful smelling pipe every time he came into the radio broadcast booth to deliver the news to my listening audience. One day, I decided that I wanted to be like Bill and smoke a pipe so that I could look grown up, smart and distinguished too.

One evening in between spinning those old 78’s (I bet a lot of you don’t even know what that means), I cautiously approached Bill as he was preparing for a newscast at his desk in the newsroom. I began the conversation by telling him how much I enjoyed smelling his pipe and that I was thinking about taking up pipe smoking myself. Bill stopped hammering away on his old Smith-Corona, took a couple of slow puffs, smiled, and said, “Boy, I think you’ve made a wise decision.” To shorten a long story, just a few days later Bill took me to Waco’s only mall where our town’s only pipe shop – The Humidor – was located. I was fascinated from the moment I walked into the shop. The smell of the place was heavenly, and behind the counter on a peg board hung about a kazillion pipes of all shapes and sizes. On a shelf under the peg board was a long line of glass humidors filled with various blends, and under the glass counter in front of the owner were more pipes being displayed as well as various lighters, tampers, etc. It all looked so cool – I was hooked! The owner of the establishment, dressed smartly in a tweed jacket and bow tie, joined Bill and I as we looked over the pipes on the wall. After about 20-minutes I chose a Danish looking sandblasted bent Dublin pipe with smooth side panels; a Stanwell second called a Danish Sovereign. The $12.00 price tag on that pipe stretched my wallet but hey, I wanted that pipe in my mouth! So I gave the pipe to the shop owner to set aside for me and then began the hunt for the perfect tobacco.

Bill and I walked over to another wall filled with display shelves of tobacco tins. It was a whole new world to me. Mac Baren, Dunhill, Balkan Sobranie, and many others – probably all now long discontinued. Bill said that most of those blends carried hefty price tags – some as much as $3 dollars! So, he advised that we look at the pouches of blends that were in another area. As we looked over the huge variety I spotted a large box that had the same Borkum Riff Whiskey pouches that my friend always had sitting on his desk back at the radio/TV station. “I want to get a pouch of that Borkum Riff Whiskey,” I firmly stated. “I love the way it smells.” Bill smiled and said that it tasted as good as it smelled and that it was the only tobacco he smoked. So, I added .89 cents to my tab by getting a pouch.

Before leaving the shop and heading back over to the station, Bill got me some pipe cleaners and a tamper to go along with my prized new pipe and tobacco and off we went. Once we got back to the station and at Bill’s desk in the newsroom, he showed me how to load my new pipe and how to tamp once the pipe got lit. We both used matches – I wasn’t about to pay the kind of money the pipe shop wanted for the lighters they had – and I stood by his desk, feeling quite grown up and manly as I took my first few puffs. I thanked Bill and then strolled back out to my car with pipe in mouth, hoping that I was projecting the perfect image of a pipe smoker to anyone who might be looking.

My bedroom at my parents house was actually a stand alone on the other side of our garage. So, I knew that I could smoke out there with no issues. My father didn’t smoke but my mother smoked cigarettes and I felt pretty secure in the knowledge that I wouldn’t get much grief once I told them I was smoking a pipe, but didn’t want to take any chances of them seeing me smoking it right off the bat. I got into my bedroom and lit up again… and again and again and again. Man, keeping a pipe lit was not easy! So, I just puffed harder and faster trying to keep the thing going. I bet I used up a whole book of matches on that first bowl. I actually did enjoy the taste at first, but after awhile with all that puffing, all I could taste was hot smoky air. I smoked that bowl of Borkum Riff Whiskey all the way to the bottom as I was determined to smoke every shard of tobacco.

I smoked two more bowls before dinner and another one right before going to bed. I was still using a ton of matches, packing the bowl too tightly, no doubt, but I sure was having fun being a pipe smoker – until the next morning. I woke up feeling something weird and painful in my mouth and on my tongue. I could hardly talk and when I brushed my teeth with my Gleem toothpaste there was a burning sensation in my mouth that was almost intolerable. Hell itself could not have been hotter!

I have a saying, pipe smokers are born, not made. A born pipe smoker keeps at it until he/she learns proper smoking techniques through trial and error. Back in the 1970’s there was no internet. The only way I could get smoking tips was by ordering an Iwan Ries Catalog that had helpful tips in it. I didn’t smoke my pipe much at first, mainly because I had my tongue in a sling, but once I began the learning process, I decided two things. First, I really liked smoking a pipe and second, that pipe smokers must not have asbestos tongues after all.

Happy Puffing,

Steve

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The Annual New Year’s Day Sale is Almost Here!

I know that most of you probably sleep in a little late on New Year’s Day after having stayed up to welcome in the new year the night before, but don’t sleep too late or you will miss my HUGE Annual New Year’s Day Sale!

Pipestud’s Consignment Shop will be loaded up with many rare, vintage and no longer produced tobaccos that are among the most highly coveted blends in the world. Additionally, I will have many long-time favorites with lots of taste enhancing age on them that will be priced to fit both your pipe and your pocket book!

What time on January 1st will the New Year’s Day Sale begin? It will begin some time next Tuesday morning. Those who are in my First Responders email group will know exactly when the sale starts. So, if you are not a First Responder member, I strongly suggest that you join so that you will also be privy to that important inside information in order to get a first shot at some truly remarkable tobaccos! You can join simply by submitting your email address below.

Thanks for dropping in and reading. I hope to have you back on January 1st, if not before!

-Steve

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Pipestud is on Christmas Break and My Annual New Year’s Day Sale Info!

This is always a wonderful time of the year for me as I enjoy my Christmas season by taking some time off from work to relax and enjoy the holidays with my family. We do a little traveling, spend time with relatives and simply enjoy some of the pleasures of life that God has so graciously bestowed upon us.

In years past I simply shut down Pipestud.com for the holidays, but now, with an eCommerce site in operation, I have decided to keep Pipestud’s Consignment Shop open so that my customers may continue to make purchases even though I will be away. Although new product will not be added until January 1st, please feel free to place an order if you see something you would like to purchase. I will be back on December 26th and will immediately begin fulfilling any orders received right on through the New Year’s Sale and beyond as it will be business as usual. So, while there may be a slight delay in shipping your orders prior to December 26th, the delay will be short lived.

Thanks again to all of my great customers for your many years of loyal support and my prayer is that this holiday season is a blessed one for you and your families!

Steve

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Pipestud 2.0 is a success thanks to you!

Howdy Gang!

There is nothing more gratifying than getting to work in the mornings and finding multiple emails in my inbox that are complimentary of the new and improved pipestud.com – even when mentioning things that they think would be website improvements. So, I first want to thank all of my loyal customers (many of whom have been with me since the launching of Pipestud’s Consignment Shop back in late 2006), and also to thank you for some really terrific suggestions over the past couple of weeks that have helped improve the site layout and functionality.

An example of improvements made due to input by some of you included better navigation, increasing the number of products on each page and what I discovered to be very important to a lot of you; having a “Sold Out” sign on the photo page prior to click through of any tobacco tins that were no longer available. I hate to admit it, but I didn’t think that was going to be an issue when Tech Support asked if I wanted it… and I turned down the offer – GULP!

You are my loyal customers and I can’t say strongly enough that your concerns are my concerns. If anyone ever has an issue with the site please feel free to email me at steve@pipestud.com. And if it is a complicated technical question, I am not the person you want to email as just figuring out how to turn on a computer or mobile device can be a challenge for me. So, those kinds of emails need to be sent directly to my awesome Tech Support team leader, a gentleman named Andrew who not only is a tech-wizard, but wants to be of service and I am sure will be able to address your issues quickly. He can be reached at admin@pipestud.com.

Thanks!

Steve

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We survived opening day!

Howdy Gang,
Opening day of the new Pipestud’s Consignment Shop this past weekend was a huge success thanks to all of you! Also, thanks to everyone who took the time to send me feedback and suggestions.  The launching of a new website, especially transitioning from a manually run store to an eCommerce one, can be difficult. But from what you all have been telling me, it’s been a success!
A couple of issues did crop up that my tech team has since fixed, for example –
  • Unable to access cart from mobile browser (woops, that’s kind of important isn’t it?)
  • Showing products as out-of-stock without having to click on them (already done, too)
Currently the focus is to make the mobile browsing experience easier and continue rolling out new product categories, like Drugstore Tins.  I have had a lot of emails inquiring about the return of the popular “Drugstore Tins”page. Rest assured that I will be posting Drugstore Tins that will be available for purchase very soon.  But at the moment I still have a large inventory of product from consignors that I am getting up on the site as I play catch up from the down time while the website was being rebuilt. Once I get caught up, the Drugstore Tins page as well as other really nice bells and whistles will be added – so stay tuned!
Please e-mail admin@pipestud.com if you run into any technical issues or have an idea of a way to improve the site. For all other inquires, I’m always here for you and can quickly be reached at My New Email address – steve@pipestud.com.
My previous aol.com e-mail address is no longer being monitored.  That’s it for now, Happy Holidays everyone!
-Steve
Oh and by the way, this blog was already sent to my First Responders group.. but it also included some super secret awesome information about an upcoming event.  So if you aren’t already a member, you might want to sign up so you don’t miss out on any future events. ;-P
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Welcome to the new Pipestud’s Consignment Shop!

As I’m sure you can see, there have been some major changes to my website – namely I turned it into an automated shop; there’s a shopping cart and everything! So say goodbye to sending me e-mails when you see something you want and hoping you got your order in fast enough to pick up your coveted item. And no more guessing or waiting hours for an invoice. Inventory is up to the second accurate. Comments, suggestions or just want to express your outrage and anger at the changes; feel free to e-mail me (at my fancy new e-mail address) steve@pipestud.com, and I promise to respond quickly! -Steve