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Artisan Pipes vs Factory Made Pipes

Pipes come in so many different shapes and sizes that it can be difficult to decide which direction to go. Do you want to go with an Artisan pipe, which can be costly but looks incredible or a “factory made” one where a brand can be well known for craftsmanship and make hundreds a day. 

To begin with, it’s worth noting that it's not just Artisan pipes that are handmade as nearly all pipes are hand made to some degree. Drilling, fitting and finishing are usually done by a skilled craftsman even if the big blocks are cut mechanically first. This can lead to a lot of confusion as pipes from factories are labelled as such whereas they do have the handmade aspect to them, however Artisan pipes are fully hand carved as well as hand drilled.

Artisan tobacco pipes are generally small works of highly-individualised art. Looks wise these pipes are usually superior to factory-made ones due to the artist having no limitations other than their imagination. These pipes are drilled, shaped and finished with the careful eyes and hands of an artist who has spent years perfecting the craft. They would have been apprentices under master craftsmen and have learnt everything to do with pipes from those willing to teach. Since these pipes are an expression of the artist's imagination, they tend to be one of a kind and so the price goes along with it as it is considered a rare item.

The disadvantages of Artisan pipes are the price and the time frame of which it takes for a pipe to be completed - this limits how many pipes they make a year and makes the brand even more rare which will hike the price up even more. One disadvantage which is often forgotten about is if your Artisan pipe breaks it can be hard to replace any broken parts as they are one of a kind and worse if the pipe is lost as it can not be replicated.

On the other hand factory made pipes are created in large quantities, typically these pipes are started by machines and then finished by skilled artisans. Variations will still occur as each Artisans finish may be slightly different but the basic shape and smoke ability are much more consistent than Artisans. 

Factory made pipes leave behind individuality in favour of consistency and a good smoke and while some variation does occur most pipes of the same brand tend to smoke very similar to the next. The affordability also adds to the selling point of these pipes - which is why new and daily smokers will have a factory made pipe whereas collectors may favour an Artisan pipe. However, even a collector will have factory pipes - after all, would you want to go out on a trip with a one of a kind pipe with the potential of breaking it? Or would you choose a more affordable pipe which has been replicated before?

We have a large variety of Artisan pipes made by many different Artists like Talamona or Ardor who have carefully learnt their craft. We also have factory made pipes like Peterson or Savinelli so you can choose what kind of pipe you would like.

Written by Oliver Partington