Author Archives: Martin the Wanderer AKA "curlysmoke"

A Baldo Baldi estate pipe for 100 bucks? Probably not.. ;-)

Just imagine this beauty in your hands!

Just imagine this beauty in your hands!

Italian pipe maker Baldo Baldi is known for perfection, very clear and straightforward, but sometimes unusual pipe designs, – and not exactly for cheap smoking pipes.

Usually a Baldo Baldi on Ebay (if there are any at all) will set you back anywhere between 700 and several thousand bucks. So when I saw one in pretty decent condition listed at 100 dollars I almost got excited myself.. :)

Well, of course it is an auction, not a fixed price pipe sale – so you will most likely have to bid quite a bit more before this beauty belongs to you and may be caressed by your fingers and lips! ;-)

If you want to make this one yours or have a closer look at it (and surprisingly a few more Baldis that are listed at the moment) on our Baldo Baldi estate pipe listing page.

Quote from seller’s description:

Baldo Baldi

Very nice grain and in very decent condition, it seems

Very nice grain and in very decent condition, it seems

What can one say?  A Baldi is a Baldi.  The best wood, tight perfect straight grain with growth rings. . . impeccable design . . . wonderful craftsmanship . . . light weight . . . great beauty . . . and a pipe maker with the highest of reputations.

This pipe is nearly pristine . . . just a few light signs of tooth chatter on the under side of the bit and a tiny little ding on the inside edge of the rim, at about 6 o’clock. Otherwise, the wood is perfect.

All stampings are on the under side of the shank:  script B. Baldi with crowned       pipe, HANDMADE IN ITALY for Carmignani ROMA

This pipe has been cleaned by it previous owner but, as with any estate pipe, the buyer should clean it to his/her personal satisfaction before smoking.


longest dimension:  6”

bowl height:  1-7/8”

rim width:  1-7/8”

tobacco chamber diameter:  7/8”

tobacco chamber depth:  1-3/8”

Happy bidding and good puffs all day!

P.S.: missed the link? – here it is again –  our Baldo Baldi estate pipe listing page. We have also other listing pages with all sorts of estate smoking pipes sorted by maker/brand or type, very convenient to browse and easy to find the pipe that is still missing in your collection!


BIG Pipe Lovers – this Brakner Jumbo might be for you!

Brakner Antique Rusticated estate pipe

Looks a bit like the bow of a ship and is HUGE

Looking through the current listings and thinking about which one to present here today, I originally wanted to pick a US-made Boswell freeform pipe with a unique, natural design – but frankly it looked from the pictures that this pipe might be one of those where you have to invest loads of time and never get it back to a decent, smokable condition.

So instead here comes a Danish GIANT, a Brakner Antique that seriously rivals my own old Lorenzo “Titano” fattie.

The grain is still visible at the top

The grain is still visible at the top

It is HUGE, rusticated (but in a nice way that still shows the grain at the top and parts of the stem), has a clear, yet unique and impressive shape, and, did I mention HUGE? ;-)

Condition seems to be pretty perfect according to seller and pictures, so the asked price seems ok to me as well.

Check out this pipe and other Brakners on our Brakner estate pipe listing page! Click here!

Additional info / Quote from seller’s description:

Brakner started life as Peter Micklson (the change in name happened after his start in pipe carving) and at various points in the early part of his career worked under the likes of Sixten Ivarsson and Poul Rasmussen. The carver gained a considerable jump start to his career when the winner of the 1955 World Slow Smoking contest was won by a man smoking a Brakner pipe. While the carver created fine smoking instruments in three categories (The Bella Danica, The Royal Danois and the Antique), he is best remembered for the latter, which bears the rustication in front of you.Peter Brakner was another graduate of Poul Rasmussen’s “Suhr Pibemageri” (pipe workshop), whose foreman was the great Sven Knudsen. His work was featured prominently in the early Sixties in the Larsen catalog, before they began carving their own pipes, alongside Gert Holbek, Sixten Ivarsson, Sven, and others. He is best known for what I call his “microrustication” technique, which imparts a very interesting texture to the briar as shown on this example.

This Brakner Antique pipe is in superb condition with solid smooth walls, very clean and with the original clean stem.

I photographed it next to a Dunhill group 4 pipe so you can get a feel for it’s large size

Stamped – Brakner Antique Denmark – Hand Cut 812 – 37152

Pipe length: 6 1/2″

Bowl Height: 2 3/8″

Bowl Width: 1 5/8

Chamber Width: 13/16

Chamber Depth: 2

Missed the link above? Here it comes again –

You can view this pipe and other Brakners on our Brakner estate pipe listing page! Click here!

Fugly or Beauty? Artsy Turkish Meerschaum Pipe is today’s pick…

Meerschaum pipes are polarizing. People love them or hate them.

What category are you in?

I usually dislike them – while they have unique smoking qualities, I prefer the look and the grip of  a nice piece of briar and zen-like perfection without any disturbing details or artificial showing-off.

But that is a matter of taste – and even I sometimes am intrigued by the possibilities a skilled carver has when shaping a pipe out of a block of meerschaum material.

A decorated Skull and a winged bat - nothing impossible for a meerschaum artist!

A decorated Skull and a winged bat – nothing impossible for a meerschaum artist!

While I was sifting through the current Ebay pipe listings, looking for a unique pipe to present here for you, this one made me laugh. At first. Then I had a closer look at the pictures and thought: WOW. This guy (Turkish master carver H.Cor) seems to know what he is doing!

Personally I still think this is a fugly piece of pipe for necrophiliacs ;-) – but a very  adorable one, stemming from a long history of skillful meerschaum pipe making in Turkey.

If you are a meerschaum lover, you will certainly be able to appreciate the beauty of the skull and bat motive and the craftsmanship that is quite obvious.

turkish meerschaum skull bowlBTW the pipe’s color comes from natural bee wax, and according to the seller they ship worldwide in a custom leather casing.

Take a closer look at this pipe while it is available and many other meerschaum pipes (there are also some other motives by the same artist) on our meerschaum pipes listings page at – CLICK HERE

…and cast your vote in the comments below  or on our Facebook page, what you think of this motive and this sort of pipe! :)

How to make your own pipe tobacco! (well, almost…)

Ever run out of decent pipe tobacco? In a first world country, and as long as you are a functioning member of the work-to-consume-zombie-society, this should not be an issue.

An empty pipe is a sad thing and attracts spiders!

An empty pipe is a sad thing and attracts spiders!

I live in Paraguay. And my funds are limited at the moment. So importing stuff is out of the question – and Paraguay is not a pipe smoker country. Not at all. No freaking body smokes pipes here, apart from very few other Europeans and some stoners… LOL.

The heat helps – I had not smoked a pipe for almost 2 years, and hardly even missed it. But then came a day where I longed for some curly smoke… and one day later I walked into a despensa (one of the small local stores that carry almost everything, although no great selection or variety) and what did I see: TOBACCO. What the actual fuck. Never seen it before, and I’ve been living here for almost five years now…

No, not some well designed cans and pouches filled with my favorite blends – the universe was not SO kind. It provided me with a challenge: blue plastic bags, stuffed with cruelly maltreated, rather dry tobacco leaves. Roughly cured and … well, beyond saving? I decided to give it a try.

Of course this was some rather rough and tough tobacco variety, and the curing had been done in a ditch in the earth, it seemed – the locals chew that stuff, they told me. Well, at least “natural” tobacco, maybe even “organic”. I cut up some of it, and tried it… EEEEWWWWWWW. Nah, totally unsmokable.

But I remembered reading about the “old” ways – a few decades back many pipe smokers purchased raw tobacco leaves and treated and cured their own tobacco, did some blending, and happily smoked the result…

So here is my “how to make your own pipe tobacco” mini-tutorial… for those in need, or those who like to experiment.

Get some tobacco leaves, preferably mildly pre-cured and dried, but not toooo dry.

Here you see mine hanging among my tools:

two bundles of pre-cured tobacco leaves among my tools

two bundles of pre-cured tobacco leaves hanging on the wall among my tools ;-)

Well, what do we do with those poor bastards? Lets have a closer look and feel:

Dry enough? Too dry? Dirty?

Dry enough? Too dry? Dirty?

Should be dry, but not so dry they break, dirt from the curing in ditches has to be removed…

Let’s prepare them for their treatment: roughly rip them up or cut pieces, avoiding the very hard veins, so that you can make a stack that fits into a typical tobacco can (or whatever you are going to use).


roughly cut tobacco, old empty can – almost set!

Well, still looks a bit dry, that stuff, eh? Let’s add some gravy… ;-)

I would not drink that stuff...

I would not drink that stuff…

I cooked up a solution of molasses, bit water, raisins, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla. You can add other spices, plums, booze – there are quite a few recipes out on the web… That stuff will now be applied to each and every single tobacco chunk. You can use a brush or spray it on, or briefly soak the leaves in the solution.

Spraying did not work well in my case (should have filtrated more...), so I just soaked the leaves later on.

Spraying did not work well in my case (should have filtrated more…), so I just soaked the leaves later on.

Now we pack the tin or whatever container we want to use with the wet leaves and squeeze in as many as possible – should be tightly packed. Let the tobacco rest for a couple days, up to a week. It will do a little additional fermenting (resulting in a smoother smoke), and the aromas from our “gravy” are absorbed. The place should be warm, but not too hot – here the climate is more than enough. Bit careful, esp. during weather conditions with high humidity – or you might find mold growing on your tobacco. Check it daily and see if it smells moldy or if everything is ok – if in doubt, end the process a bit earlier. If you have a bit of mold growing on it – don’t despair, you can still wash it off, we will apply HEAT enough in the next step, won’t do any harm.


Baking the tobacco.

We will now “bake” the tobacco – this will help the aromas to “stick”, and dry off some of the excess moisture.  You can use an oven at low/medium temperature, or put a stone in a cooking pot, place the tin on that and heat it on stove top (just opened the lid so you can see more ;-) ) How long depends a bit how and how generously you applied the gravy earlier…

After the baking the tobacco will still be quite wet, but if you squeeze it, no liquid should come out.

Baking done. Ready for cutting.

Baking done. Ready for cutting.

Now comes the cutting. There are little machines (you can find a tobacco cutter on Amazon) for that where you get a more precise cut and it is easier to keep the chosen width – but some scissors will do just fine, good for your fine motor skills ;-)

I cut mine quite rough. You can grab 2-3 chunks of tobacco, roll them up, and then cut – more efficient than cutting every single leaf, and easier to grab, since the tobacco is still very wet and soft.

Almost looks like pipe tobacco now...

Almost looks like pipe tobacco now…

Almost done. Let the result dry off naturally until it is just right for the pipe. Tuna can strictly optional.


And then – enjoy a very …. errrmm…. “authentic” smoke!

Weeeelll - this is clearly NOT my favorite blend, but... wellllll.... it is smokable...

Weeeelll – this is clearly NOT my favorite blend, but… wellllll…. it is smokable…

The quality of the smoke will be determined by a lot of factors – from the type of tobacco you purchased and your “gravy” recipe, to the fermentation and baking process. I had very smokable results – and some that were not so great, LOL

In any case: with a good strong coffee and some sugar cane booze this “almost self made” tobacco ain’t that bad anymore…  Have fun experimenting!


P.S.: pretty cheap the whole thing – I paid about 1 Dollar for the bag of tobacco (with quite a few leaves in it), plus the ingredients for the gravy etc. I had 3-4 tins of tobacco for 3 bucks… ;-)

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