Reviews

We love to hear from you; so please tell us how we are doing.
GuildPipes@gmail.com

Review

"I recently obtained my second pipe from John Fordham at Guildpipes. Another winner! My first was a beautifully grained " HANDMADE " Algerian briar. This one is a "HANDMADE" also, but with a rusticated finish instead of smooth-grained. The reddish-brown bowl and dark amber lucite stem make it a truly handsome pipe. Fordham calls it a "sunburned marshmallow",which seems an appropriate name. A good smoker with no problems. I'm still trying to figure out what tool he uses to create the unique rustication pattern.The pipe marries artistic form with sound function in a happy union, which appears to be standard procedure for this Craftsman. Still reccomend, if you want a real "Looker" that smokes well at an unusually reasonable price. "

~ By F.R.T. November 17, 2013

 

Review

"While my favorite pipe was being refurbished, I picked up a small bent red apple from the Great Smoker Collection. I generally smoke when I am reading and therefore prefer a pipe that hangs lightly and that does not need much attention. This pipe fit the bill very well.. I found that with proper packing the pipe can afford a comfortable long smoke without the need for relighting. It is the first filtered pipe in my collection which presented a concern for me at first. The 9 mm filter does not inhibit the draw of this pipe in the least bit. I will add this pipe can also be smoked filter-less but I have decided to stick with the filter for the coolness of the long smoke. I would recommend Guild Pipes’s Great Smoker line of pipes to anyone that wants a reasonably priced pipe that smokes as good as much more expensive pipes for much less. In my collection I now have a new favorite pipe to smoke while I read."

~ By TJ July 30, 2013

Review

"Guild Pipes handmade pipes are the fastest breaking in, smoothest smoking, coolest pipes you will ever smoke. They will out smoke any factory made pipe and I have yet to find any handmade pipes that Guild Pipes have not beat. I say this as the owner of 2 dozen or so pipes. The Guild Pipes handmade pipes that I own have out smoked them all.

One of my nicest pipe experiences have been to observe Mr. Fordham creating his masterpieces. This has given me the following insights as to why these pipes raise the bar.

Materials - Bowls are made from the best quality plateau aged briar. Depending on supply, they can be Grecian, Italian or Algerian. Stems are made from German ebonite blanks and are hand crafted to fit each bowl. If requested Delrin is used for the tendon

Design - Pipes can either be straight or 9 mm filter. While Mr Fordham will do any standard shape, his freehand pipes are a unique pleasure. (I’m the owner of the Borg!) Please note that if you custom order a pipe, every effort will be made to accommodate your request but if the briar says otherwise, the briar wins.

Mechanics - To the eye, the skill and craftsmanship and skill of 40+ years of machining and workmanship is apparent. Some of the finer touches are hand applied stains and waxes. To assist with carbon formation, a non-toxic proprietary coating is applied to the bowl or at the customer’s request can be omitted. What the eye cannot see is Mr. Fordham’s fluid dynamics background that is incorporated into each pipe. The resultant balanced airflow is what makes these pipes a truly superb, superior smoke.

Mr. Fordham also offers his lifetime guarantee. For his lifetime, if the pipe fails because of material defect under normal conditions, he will fix or replace the pipe. He also offers refinishing and overhaul services at nominal cost.

If you want one of the best, smoothest pipes available, I recommend a Guild Pipes hand-made."

Regards!

~ By CL Aug. 3, 2013

Review

"I recently bought my first handmade pipe from John Fordham at Guild Pipes, a pretty expensive pipe ($350), though he worked with me on the price to our mutual satisfaction. What a pipe! The picture on the website didn’t do the Algerian briar justice; beautiful grain, no putty, drop-dead gorgeous design and execution. To me, the thing is a working work of art. I can smoke it or just look at it and grin! As for the smoking, it draws well, no hot spots, sits in the hand well, etc...In other words, no problems. Fordham himself seems a fair, no-nonsense guy who gives it to you straight without the bull. Really seems to know his stuff and is a wealth of information. I give this experience a five out of five ( rare for me ) and a 'Highly Recommended'."

~ By FRT July 8, 2013

Review

"I have a collection of about two dozen pipes that include a Boswell and several Mastro De Pajas, Poul Winslows and Guild Pipes hand made series. I can honestly say that while all are well made pipes, the Guild Pipes hand made series have better airflow and smoke easier. If you are looking for a great smoking, custom hand made pipe, this is it! buy now or be sorry and pay later."

~ By CEL July 3, 2013

Review

"I purchased a Great Smoker several months ago, and couldn’t be more satisfied. This pipe smokes better than pipes I’ve had costing 2-3x what this one cost, and I think it looks better too. For a really great pipe and real customer service, I highly recommend Guild Pipes."

~ By HRZ June 24, 2013

Review

"I got a pipe from Guild Pipes back in January 2013, a freehand plateau briar that I’ve always wanted. I had seen a pipe on his site that was close but not exactly what I wanted. I spoke to Mr. Fordham about it, he was easy to talk to and said that changes would have to be made on a new pipe since the one I had seen was sold. I figured he’d say he could have it in a few months, but to my surprise he said a few weeks. I have smoked that pipe to death!. It just keeps getting better. I’m saving for the next handmade down the road. These pipes do what you wish all your pipes would do, smoke great."

~ By George S. July 25, 2013

Review

"I purchased a chicken wing pipe from Guild Pipes because of a recommendation from my brother. For once, he gave his sister great advice. The pipe has become my boyfriend’s favorite. He likes the way it smokes and the aroma of the cherry smash puts both of us in heaven. I’m so impressed with the experience, my next pipe purchase will be a great smoker for his Christmas present."

~ By JJL June 23, 2013

Review

A Birthday Pipe

"I have been smoking for the past few months a Guild Pipes short, rusticated, bent apple that was given as a birthday present. The pipe is exquisite. The bowl is a dark brown that shimmers hints of orange/red/yellow as the light plays off the facets that form the rustication. The stem is a constant swirl of silver and grey. The overall appearance is that of a robust but elegant pipe.

As with all my other Guild Pipes pipes, this pipe smokes like a dream. Draw is light and smooth. To give the reader an idea of the air flow on this pipe, I was getting smoke out of the bit from a slight breeze going over the bowl of the pipe while I was smoking a third full bowl of 1Q.

All I can say is that if you don’t have a Guild Pipes pipe, you are missing out on a rare smoking pleasure."

~ By C. L. October 30, 2013

Review

"I acquired a "Great Smoker" (Called the Sunburnt Clam) from Guild Pipes. This pipe was stunning of high quality and smoked amazing from the first bowl. The airflow was unbelievable. I decided to devote this pipe to virginias and high quality aromatics. The taste of the pipe on the first bowl was the best I've ever tasted. The pre-carboned bowl is making the pipe break in very evenly and quickly. The pipe is getting better and better with every smoke. This is my first Guild Pipe experience and will not be my last. The Sunburnt Clam has moved to the top 3 of my favorite smokers and I own about 65 high quality tobacco pipes. I would be amiss if I didn't mention the owner/carver Mr. John Fordham. John is a pipe smokers carver I met him and told him the about the pipe I'd love to own and in a few days I got and email telling me it was done. John made this pipe even better than I was able to articulate it to him. I will be doing a review on that pipe shortly as I have more time to enjoy it. So far I rate Guild pipes and John Fordham 6 out of 5 Stars.

Sincerely,"

~ By Rev. B.J. Williams October 30, 2013

Review

"I've had great experiences with Guild Pipes. The pipe I bought from John is the best pipe I've ever had. I have had the pleasure of sitting down with John and he has taken me to a new and higher level of pipe smoking. He is truly a craftsmen and makes and repairs pipes to a very high standard of excellence. I would recommend him to anyone."

~ By RSK November 10, 2013

Review

"I recently was looking for a pipe with the intention of using it as an occasional back-up pipe. Given my satisfaction with a previous purchase from Guild Pipes, I asked John Fordham, the owner and pipe maker, for a recommendation.

The Sexy Italian he suggested is a smaller pipe, perfect for a relaxing smoke after dinner. Although I purchased this as a sometime pipe, I find it's quickly becoming my favorite. In addition to its simple, clean design, the pipe smokes flawlessly. I only wish it had a larger bowl!

I highly recommend Guild Pipes and John Fordham if you're looking for a great looking, great smoking pipe, as well as old-fashioned customer service."

~ By djh November 24, 2013

Review

"About 10 years ago, I met an older tobacco man in a local cigar shop. Luckily, this meeting turned into a life long friendship.

What this man taught me about cigars alone could fill volumes. One day we started to discuss one of his other passions, pipes and pipe tobacco.

I was by no means an expert on this aspect of smoking, but as most paths I travel, I am a good student. Who knew where this would take me?

I purchased several of John's estate pipes, and a few corn cobs, and luckily was gifted several blends of John's aged tobaccos.

I was on the fast track to true enjoyment in this realm. With John's help and guidance, I collected a first class rotation.

Life brings with it many forks in the road, and I went several years without seeing John. When I next saw John, he had embraced the art of restoring and manufacturing briar pipes.

John had discovered the truth about perfect draw, and translated many average pipes into great smokers before buying the equipment to hand make pipes from blocks of briar.

By the time we reconnected, John's handmade pipes were as beautiful as any I had seen or owned. But we all know more important than looks is how well a pipe smokes.

We also know that we don't choose a pipe, the pipe chooses us. And so was the case with the first pipe I bought from his hand made specimens.

In no time at all, I was committed to increasing my collection with other pipes John had made. I am thrilled to say these are some of my favorite pipes now.

More recently, I was let down by being unable to buy a Boswell jumbo. Boswell is no longer taking custom orders.

Again, the pipe Gods had smiled down upon me, when John stumbled across an estate pipe meeting my desires.

After John had not only restored this beauty, he improved the draft, and provided me with the Boswell jumbo I desired. Sorry Jim, but it is better than new, and ranks up there as one of my favorites.

The latest addition to my collection is one of John's original designs, a nose warmer/sitter. The hand made stem in brilliant blue swirl makes this one of the prettiest pipes I reach for when I am looking for a short smoke.

Like all of the greats, known and unknown, their lives have blessed us with opportunities for enriched downtime. John and Guild Pipes might not be a a household name, but they will, and I am grateful for knowing the man and his art.

Thank you John, I will always light up with you in mind."

~ By Rich January 9, 2014

Review

"I decided recently that I wished to return to pipe smoking after many years absence. Fortunately, I knew John Fordham as an avid pipe aficionado. What I didn't know was that he is also a master pipe builder. John spent some time with me sharing some of his vast knowledge of pipes, tobacco and all things pipe related and patiently showed me some of his wares. At the time I purchased a refurbished Stanwell and one of his beautiful handmade pipes. I was very satisfied with the Stanwell which came broken in but when I smoked the handmade (a new pipe that had never been smoked) it was very clear that it was a step up from the Stanwell and will only get better. John is a font of information which he more than willingly shares in the very real interest of helping you to get the most from your pipe smoking experience. His handmade pipes are a testament to both his skill as an artisan and his love of pipes. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that he proudly stands behind his products. Now, I need to see him as he has two more pipes that I need to include in my rack."

~ By Tom Hall February 16, 2014

Review

"I now own one of John’s Great Smokers and three of his handmade pipes. Everyone has a different sense of what makes for a good looking pipe but all agree on what makes for a great smoking pipe. Without a bit of hesitation, I would put John’s pipes up against any production or handmade pipe out there. Even casual observation recognizes these pipes are of superior construction using the best quality plateau aged briars with hand applied stains and waxes. What can’t be observed is a superior smoking experience resulting from John’s attention to creating a balanced airflow. In other words, these pipes require so little effort on the smokers part you might say they smoke themselves. My most recent acquisition, the Bent Sexy Italian, is another fine example of John's craftsmanship and will surely not be my last. While having a nice handful of a bowel, it is very light with all of the desirable smoking characteristics of all John’s pipes. I am quite confident that all of these pipes will continue to provide the most pleasurable of smoking experiences long after I’m gone. If you are a pipe afficionado or a newbie, you simply cannot do better at any price than scoring a Guild Pipe."

Thanks,

~ By Tom Hall April 20, 2014

Review

Bamboo Churchwarden

I would like to share my first impression of my new bamboo churchwarden pipe by Guild Pipes. As with my other Guild Pipes, the fit and finish are impeccable.

The unique feature of this particular pipe is that the stem is a two section design that allows the choice of either a 6mm or 9 mm filter. While I use 9mm filters, the ability to use 6mm filters in a pinch is a nice touch. As for smoke-ability, this particular pipe reset the bar. The first time I lit a bowl of tobacco, a slight breeze actually had smoke coming out of the bit with a 9mm filter inserted. I don’t know if its possible to get a freer airflow.

~ By Christian E. Lee May 1, 2014

Review

The Discus – A Guild Pipe

This was my first Guild Pipe, it is a great smoker. Mr. Fordham only uses top quality Briar from the Mediterranean. This pipe was made using Algerian Plateau Briar. This Briar was aged 30 plus years after being processed. The stem was made from top quality German Ebonite. This pipe also has a 9mm filter, which helps improve the quality of the smoke by removing any tar from the product that you are smoking. The well balanced airflow is what makes this pipe a truly superior smoke.

I recommend Guild Pipes hand-made, the smoothest pipes available. You can’t go wrong with this kind of quality product.

I will only smoke Guild Pipes.

~ M.W. Tersey May 26, 2014

Review

Bent Apple – A Guild Pipe

I heard about John from a fella at a smoke shop, they told me he made hand made pipes. Well, I looked him up and it was the best decision I have made in a long time. I told him what I was looking for and decided on a bent rusticated Apple. You can find a photo of this pipe on his site, it is the one sitting on a rock in the gallery. It is a great smoker, it far surpasses anything I have to smoke in my small collection, which include Caminettos, Elliot Natchwalter, George Jensen to name a few. In fact, it smoked so well I asked him to make another pipe for me, man- o- man did I get a great pipe. Its a Danish Apple with plateau briar with a mix of rustication and straight grain and the best thing is it smokes better than it looks. Thanks John for the great pipes. Hope he puts a photo of it on his site

~ Harold Snow July 29, 2014