When I began college back in 1986, my love for all things pipes began. One of my Philosophy professors walked past me in the hallway smoking a unique pipe, and the most delightfully aromatic pipe tobacco I had ever experienced. I stopped him and commented on the beauty of the pipe, and it’s most unusual shape. He told me the name of the tobacco was Ugly Chuck’s blend from a popular local tobacconist, and the pipe was a Ben Wade Danish Freehand; his description of the pipe, and the heritage behind the craftsman, Prebin Holm, began my affinity for the pipe, and the Danish Freehand discipline. Imagine my surprise when I visited the same local tobacconist, to investigate the new found interest that had been fostered inside me, and discovered that a pipe similar to the good Doctor’s was $275.00….a hefty sum for a struggling college student, not sure if the new found interest would click with him. I settled for a made in Denmark Lykars Freehand, fully rusticated, and matte black.
My world changed. That $45.00 pipe and four ounces of Ugly Chuck tobacco began my journey into a remarkable brotherhood. Never have I met a bum in the world of pipes; I’ve met a few scoundrels, but still, men with redeeming qualities. My personal collection grew to 31 pipes. Not one single pipe better than my first, but then again, I’ve never seen or found a better deal since. I built my collection on second quality pipes, many mechanically inferior, but well within my meager budget. This would serve me well as a pipemaker years later.
24 years later, after smoking my first pipe, I decided to try my hand at making one. I bought a block of Briar, a precut stem online and gave it a try. I was a machine repairman by trade at the time, and knew my way around tools and how to make them earn a living for my family. My first pipe was made using a cordless drill, a vise, a few router bits that I ground down on a grinding wheel, and an old drill bit. The pipe was mechanically sound, but not much to look at, and covered with scratches. That pipe fetched me $ 49.75 on Ebay, and it was most gratifying to sell it for that amount, considering I had $25.00 tied up in the piece. as time went on, every pipe I sold was reinvested into my newfound love and craft until after about 200 pipes made and sold, I procured much of the tooling I use today; old buffers, grinders, band saws, dust collection equipment that was burnt up and burnt out, and rebuilt by me. I love the mysterious ways of the briar, love the challenges that each block brings me, and am proud of the fact that every one of my pipes are hand made by me.
After 3600 pipes, the Leedy brand is enjoyed all over the world; a Leedy pipe has been sold to every continent in the world, Including Antarctica. The best value in pipes too, I believe, as I remember my college days of being broke, and and mindful of those first pipes of mine of suspect quality. A well made pipe can be affordable. My pipes are world class, and won’t take to much bread….and butter off of your table. Every pipe is fully backed by yours truly, and I stake my hard earned reputation behind them. In addition, I will always be proud to custom make a pipe for you, and offer the most unique experience you can imagine. It’s the best world in which I live, and I cordially invite you to become a part of our pipe family. Congratulations in advance on the purchase of one of the finest smoking instruments in the world, and thank you for trusting the man behind them.
I take pictures of Tom’s pipes. I love taking pictures, and these are even more special to me to capture because each pipe has its own personality. I love the outdoors, and natural lighting, so you will find many of my pictures are taken outdoors giving me the ability to capture the smallest details of the pipes, which I love.