Handcrafted Pipes by Victor Rimkus
I am located East of Albuquerque on the slope of the Sandia Mountains at over 7,000 feet. I am an electronics engineer capable of designing hardware, software, and product packaging. This explains my background in engineering from concept through production.
I began smoking pipes to expand my knowledge of tobaccos beyond cigars. Pipe smoking requires a lot more dedication to get started, and continue, than cigars.
After purchasing some factory pipes and a few estates, I set out to make my own pipes. I began with a kit from an on-line store and actually got it shaped into a smokeable pipe. Not satisfied with the plain briar of the first kit, I purchased some kits from Mark Tinsky and made a few more pipes. All of this work was done with a Dremel and hand sanding. Mark was very helpful with ideas about how to best use the limited tool set that I had and always provided encouragement.
Not satisfied with the design limitations of kits, I purchased some briar blocks and stems with pre-cut tenons from Mark Tinsky. At this time I got a drill press and began drilling my own pipes. The rest of the shaping was still done with a dremel.
Not satisfied with being limited to stems that were available with pre-cut tenons I got my first wood lathe.
I figured out how to cut my own tenons and began buying pre-made stems from Pipe Makers Emporium. With the wood lathe I also got some sanding disks for shaping which was a welcome change form the Dremel but the Dremel is still used.
By attending pipe shows I was able to discussed my pipes with well known pipe makers. I learned a lot from several pipe makers such as Joe Nelson, Joe Skoda, Russ Cook, Jeff Gracik, Will Purdy, Lee Von Erck, and Kjeld Sorensen. They have all been very supportive and have provided encouragement and excellent direction.
Over the years I have added to my tooling and I have been hand cutting my own stems. I am currently obtaining my briar from Romeo Domenico (Mimmo).
I kept my son in the loop for all of this while he made a few pipes and completed college. Now he has his own shop and is also selling pipes at N.W.R. Pipes.
This is my typical batch of briar from Romeo.
I visited with Mimmo in 2012 while on vacation.