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Thread: Ken Barnes Returns To Finding The Grain - Pix Heavy

  1. #1
    PSU Member sablebrush52's Avatar
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    Ken Barnes Returns To Finding The Grain - Pix Heavy

    One of the great pleasures of being a member of the piping community is making friends in it. For the past several years, Ken and I have kept up an interesting and lively correspondence. Ken is one of the nicest people I know.

    So when Ken let me know that he had returned to pipe making I was excited by the news.

    For those of you not familiar with Ken's story, Ken started at Charatan as a teenager, learning all aspects of the craft under the mentoring of Chief Carver Barry Jones, and later went on to Co-Found James Upshall Pipes.

    Ken is famous for his ability to "find the grain" in a block of briar, and cut that briar to bring the most out of it. Pete Siegel, Upshall's US distributor, said that it was as though Ken had x-ray vision. He could look at a block and "see" where the grain was going inside of it. He's still doing that.

    Ken sent me two of his pipes to show at the WCPS. I hadn't intended to sell them. One of them, an exquisite billiard with a little Bang influence in the shaping, got away, but I refused to part with this one:













    I can see some of the Charatan/Upshall lineage in this pipe, along with Ken's own spin.

    Rick Newcombe got three pipes from Ken, and we met up at the WCPS and created a little display at Rick's table. Rick kept one and sold the other two that he had. So, we can truthfully say that we sold all of Ken's pipes that were available for sale at the WCPS.

    Ken loves the classic shapes, and looks for blocks whose grain will allow him to carve a classic straight grain. It's a bit of a tightrope walk since classical shapes have well defined definitions of shape and proportion, so it's different than "following the grain". He studies the block, decides what classical shape that block will yield, then removes the excess material, freeing the pipe from its confines.

    Ken's pipes will be available for purchase at Scandpipes, and Ken is setting up his own website.

  2. #2
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    Exquisite pipe! Grain to die for! And thanks for the info, Sable.
    Tobacco is my favourite vegetable - Frank Zappa

  3. #3
    PSU Member plugugly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sablebrush52 View Post
    One of the great pleasures of being a member of the piping community is making friends in it. For the past several years, Ken and I have kept up an interesting and lively correspondence. Ken is one of the nicest people I know.

    So when Ken let me know that he had returned to pipe making I was excited by the news.

    For those of you not familiar with Ken's story, Ken started at Charatan as a teenager, learning all aspects of the craft under the mentoring of Chief Carver Barry Jones, and later went on to Co-Found James Upshall Pipes.

    Ken is famous for his ability to "find the grain" in a block of briar, and cut that briar to bring the most out of it. Pete Siegel, Upshall's US distributor, said that it was as though Ken had x-ray vision. He could look at a block and "see" where the grain was going inside of it. He's still doing that.

    Ken sent me two of his pipes to show at the WCPS. I hadn't intended to sell them. One of them, an exquisite billiard with a little Bang influence in the shaping, got away, but I refused to part with this one:













    I can see some of the Charatan/Upshall lineage in this pipe, along with Ken's own spin.

    Rick Newcombe got three pipes from Ken, and we met up at the WCPS and created a little display at Rick's table. Rick kept one and sold the other two that he had. So, we can truthfully say that we sold all of Ken's pipes that were available for sale at the WCPS.

    Ken loves the classic shapes, and looks for blocks whose grain will allow him to carve a classic straight grain. It's a bit of a tightrope walk since classical shapes have well defined definitions of shape and proportion, so it's different than "following the grain". He studies the block, decides what classical shape that block will yield, then removes the excess material, freeing the pipe from its confines.

    Ken's pipes will be available for purchase at Scandpipes, and Ken is setting up his own website.
    Thanks for this, Jesse; I do know much of the past story but it was great to see the recent information. I responded to your other post before seeing this one, so will not repeat the questions -

    but will it be.........................smoked??
    Last edited by plugugly; 11-27-2018 at 08:17.

  4. #4
    PSU Member sablebrush52's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plugugly View Post
    Thanks for this, Jesse; I do know much of the past story but it was great to see the recent information. I responded to your other post before seeing this one, so will not repeat the questions -

    but will it be.........................smoked??
    Hi Chris,

    It will be smoked...eventually. But I'm holding off in case Ken needs more pix of it for his site.

    And I've been told, Ken lives in "Doc Martin" country, Cornwall. He's been sharing Paul Hubartt's workshop for now. He's been able to get back his Upshall equipment, and that made it possible for him to resume making pipes.

  5. #5
    PSU Member plugugly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sablebrush52 View Post
    Hi Chris,

    It will be smoked...eventually. But I'm holding off in case Ken needs more pix of it for his site.

    And I've been told, Ken lives in "Doc Martin" country, Cornwall. He's been sharing Paul Hubartt's workshop for now. He's been able to get back his Upshall equipment, and that made it possible for him to resume making pipes.
    Thanks, Jesse, especially for all the new information.

    That part of Cornwall is very beautiful - but "Doc Martin" has a lot to answer for in terms of tourist invasion. The missus won't let me watch that programme with her because I volubly point out errors in his "diagnostic process", some of which are hilarious!

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    PSU Member coalsmoke's Avatar
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    An absolutely stunning pipe, Jesse. Congrats! I've never seen grain so well defined before.
    Russ

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  7. #7
    PSU Member plugugly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coalsmoke View Post
    An absolutely stunning pipe, Jesse. Congrats! I've never seen grain so well defined before.
    Hi Russ, up early today! Or late to bed??

  8. #8
    PSU Member coalsmoke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plugugly View Post
    Hi Russ, up early today! Or late to bed??
    Up early. Couldn't sleep.
    Russ

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    There is no pipe.
    -A Zen teaching

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    Moderator jimbo44's Avatar
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    Like the best Charatans of former years!

    Thanks Jesse.
    Work is the curse of the smoking classes

  10. #10
    PSU Member Piffyr's Avatar
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    Absolutely beautiful grain on that pipe!

    Here's an old photo of Ken at work...



    The Upshall info thread at PipesMag is among my top-5 favorite things on the pipe-related interwebs thanks to Ken's contributions.
    COOK'S FINE PIPE WORKS
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