408. SPECIAL BULLETIN: Artisan Pipes from Peterson’s Austin Quinlan Drop Tomorrow at SPC

See end of blog for special announcements

It gives me great pleasure to announce that in tomorrow’s regular drop at SPC, Peterson’s Austin Quinlan will make his debut as an artisan pipe maker.  If you haven’t read his story, stop and go back to Post #329 and circle back. He thus joins Giacomo Penzo (Posts #199 and #200) as the second artisan pipe maker at K&P. This is a remarkable achievement, making it possible for us as Pete Geeks to obtain contemporary hand made pipes from not one, but two of Peterson’s craftsmen under their own names.

Austin is currently head of Smokingpipes Europe’s Estate Restoration, does QC for Peterson, repairs, stem bending and papering in the factory–and everything in between.  Between his job, his work as artisan and his family, Austin stays remarkably focused and committed, taking time out only for something as important as the recent appearance of Rammstein in Dublin’s RDS Arena. After his hearing returned and his head cleared from the pyro fumes, he and I did a bit of a chat to get you ready for tomorrow. I, for one, can hardly wait!

 Mark: Austin, when Pete Geeks look at your work, the first thing they’re going to ask is whether, after you’ve worked all day long in the Peterson factory, you find inspiration from Peterson in your work as an artisan.

Smooth Bent Egg (and one of Austin’s favorite shapes)

Austin: I think Peterson always has some inspiration on my work. It’s in my DNA. I think every pipe maker is inspired, whether consciously or unconsciously, by the big houses like Peterson, Dunhill, Stanwell, or anything from St. Claude, because before we were pipe makers, we were pipe smokers, and these were the houses we loved the most.

But specifically, in addition to the Quinlan Handmade stamp, you’ll find the Deanta in Eirinn (Made in Ireland) on the bottom of all my pipes, as well as the Irish Heather color I chose for the leather pipe sock bag that Claudio Albieri makes for them.

Smooth Apple

M: What about other artisans? Where do you find your greatest inspiration?

Smooth Dublin w/Olivewood

 A: As for the artisan side of things, my biggest influence has been Tom Eltang.  It all started for me with him. Vladimir Grechukhin and S Bang big time, because for me these personify perfectly the aesthetic that I love—chubby! And Kei’itchi Gotoh, because the way he reads briar is like no other. The man is a genius, and the epitome of Japanese craftsmanship. And, ironically, my two favourites of his that I would love to own, are his renditions of a full bent ball.

Smooth Bent Apple


Then of course “the usual suspects,” artisans like Jess Chonowitsch, Adam Davidson, J. Alan, Tokutomi, Micke, the Ivarssons, Former, and many others. There’s such a well of inspiration to draw from.

Sandblasted Tulip


M: How do you go about designing a pipe? It’s a huge question, I know.

A: I’m sure all pipe makers are like this, but when I’m designing pipes, I’m really just making pipes that I want. Which makes it painful to have to have to then sell them! My design language definitely rests heavily on compact, small-to-medium size bowls, not too wide (20mm max) because I think it’s the best for all tobacco types, especially Virginia or Virginia Perique flakes, which is what I normally smoke.

New-York Hamburger GH ebonite

And I lean to the stout and muscular with the occasional more elegant piece. I love mechanical watches, and in that world there’s the term ‘beater’ given to a watch that is made to be the one you wear doing anything and everything, because you know it’s made to last, made to endure—and that’s what I want my pipes to be like: made to last, made to endure.

When I start a new piece, it’ll usually be me thinking “I wanna make a bent billiard” or a sitter, or a Dublin, etc., and I’ll scan my Mimmo blocks to see what lands, or I’ll happen upon one of the blocks in my stock and see a design in the block shape, or the grain orientation.

Sandblasted Bent Dublin

I’m not one of those people who maps out every square centimeter of a design; it’s thought, and then action. Once I decide on what I want to go for, I’ll attack a block and see where it goes, making decisions as I go depending on what the block has to say about what I have in mind. I like to think of my designs as organic renditions of classic shapes.

Austin’s R&D pipes


Photos by Austin Quinlan

Don’t forget that if you decide you need to add one of these to your rotation,
you don’t have to wait for the drop.
You can call SPC anytime after they open Monday
and make your purchase.
(Just sayin’.)




We reached the minimum order for the New Era 59FIFTY ball caps. I’ll keep you informed when I receive on update on when they’re arriving, and if you suddenly find you have to have one, go back to the Google Order form in Post #406 for details on ordering. The order will be placed Tuesday at 12 noon CDT.


What you’re looking at is digital my pre-visualization of the penultimate 10th Anniversary Pete Geek Event, a sequentially-numbered Zippo Sterling Armor engraved Thinking Man pipe lighter, which has recently been approved by Kapp & Peterson.  Because it will be expensive, there will be no Google interest form, but instead offered only on a pre-paid basis.  It’s simply too expensive for me to risk having to make up funds for any canceled orders.  I don’t have the price yet, but it should be somewhere between $220-250.

You can get an idea of how Zippo does their intricate engraving by looking at this photo of the 150th Anniversary Sterling Peterson Zippo that was sold in the Grafton Street shop several years ago (see Post #325):

This and the 10th Anniversary PPN Commemorative pipe will conclude PPN’s year-long Pete Geek events.  Thank you to everyone who’s participated!



I have three sweet Petes up just now on eBay you may be interested in–two Sterling Donegal Rockys P-Lips from the classic age of rustication and a rare 502 Apple, one of 250 made as the Pipes & tobaccos Pipe of the Year in 2003. There’s also an amazing pencil shank straight grain dutch billiard army mount, with a Remington .410 shell used for the band, made by J. T. Cooke in the mid-1980s, just before he would launch into orbit as the world’s greatest blaster. Oh, and a hardcover of the Big Peterson book, “as new.”

Continue Reading408. SPECIAL BULLETIN: Artisan Pipes from Peterson’s Austin Quinlan Drop Tomorrow at SPC