Past Work



A little bit about Will Purdy...


I have been around since 1958, and began smoking a pipe in 1976. My wife Georgia and I live in Louisville, in lovely Boulder County Colorado. It's a picturesque little town of about 1,900 people, at an elevation of 5,530 feet (1.69 kilometers) above sea level. We average 275 days of sunshine each year - making life here pretty grim! Louisville was rated as the best small town in the United States by Money Magazine in 2009. My wife is a retired high school English teacher, so on our combined salaries we live humbly, but wouldn't change a thing.


Georgia grew up in Sarasota, Florida, when it was still a sleepy gulf coast town, and I have spent my entire life in and around Boulder. I was educated here from preschool through my college degree from University of Colorado in Political Science. I spent my youth on the ski slopes with my family, plus backpacking, cycling, and fly fishing with my dad. My first dozen or so years of employment were spent in the fly tying and fly fishing trade, and my second dozen or so were spent in sales for a manufacturer of computer supplies.



My pipe making journey...


The pipe making bug was contracted at the turn of the century, and I never recovered. I started with pre-drilled "kit pipes", the first of which was shaped over many months using only a sanding block and a hand held orbital sander. No kidding! I'm a stubborn and determined son of a gun. After several kits, I started buying tools, including two lathes which were machines I had never previously touched, let alone used. I told you I'm stubborn! I struggled figuring out the process' by myself, and practiced and honed my skills for over three years. My advisers were collectors who I wrote out of the blue asking for opinions, guidance and advice. I left professional pipe makers alone figuring they were busy enough trying to make a living, and didn't need me bugging them for information.


I can't express how warmly I was received by the collecting community. Whether I met them via e-mail or through my many visits to pipe shows, I was treated to invaluable information, encouragement and knowledge.



My approach to pipe making...


I would describe my approach to my pipe making as creative, precise, uncompromising, and, hopefully, fresh. Since I am far from new to pipes I have great respect for the classic pipes from the British Isles and France. I have a firm understanding of the development of the different European and Asian schools of pipe styles. Aside from the English classics, I tend to leave the other designs and shapes to carvers from those regions and those schools. I'm not driven to copy unique shapes created by others; in all honesty, I'm driven to avoid them. I don't presume to think of my work as truly unique, but I do strive to respectively pay homage to the classics with my own subtle twists, and also to introduce pipe shapes that I consider my own to my portfolio of offerings.


I approach each and every pipe I make carefully. I work slowly, not on the basic steps, but to bring out the finest and most subtle beauty in each block I shape. I admit that I am slow - in fact I think I am probably the slowest full time pipe maker in the world. I don't think of this is a negative, but as one of my hallmarks. I cut no corners in any aspect of my work, and even though my prices reflect this, in my heart I know they are still true bargains. I do everything possible to make beautiful smoking instruments, yet an even more important aspect of my efforts is how my pipes smoke. If a pipe takes me a week or more to make, I finish that piece with pride and the fulfillment of a job well done, and then I stamp my name on it. My late father always told me that something worth doing is worth doing well, and each pipe that leaves my shop, to offer to you, will always meet Dad's approval.