Q: Do you accept commissions?
A: Yes. But. There are commissions and there are commissions. There are some pipes that I can make in two or three blocks, and there are some that I can try for 10 or 15 blocks and not get. See my blog post Unicorn. If you like my style and just want a pipe, you'll have a pipe really soon. If you want me to replicate that one lightning strike, it may just not happen. My last five commissions were each completed in a week or less, but that's because they were reasonable. If you want a 55 Interpretation with perfect grain or an Eskimo with a blast like Neill Roan's, I dunno, it may be a while. Unless you're willing to pay $2,000, in which case you have my attention.
Q: What's up with the international shipping?
A; You tell me. I used to be able to ship anywhere in the world for $25USD with some confidence. No longer. I understand that it's a matter of international diplomacy why I can get a $7 lathe tool with free shipping from China, but it costs me nearly $60 to ship a pipe to Japan. That is for USPS Priority International, International First Class is $20 cheaper BUT cannot be insured and if the package doesn't show up you're simply out of luck, they won't even look for it. I charge $35 to ship anywhere in the world and I pay the difference, which is at least $20. I am happy to try other carriers, but I don't want to exchange one problem for another. For instance, my experience with private companies like FedEx and DHL is that they can overcollect import duties. If anyone has advice on the best way to ship internationally, please let me know.
Q: What do you think about bowl coatings?
A: Not opposed to them. I've experimented on my own pipes. If you want one, I can do that. In my years making pipes, though, I've had only one customer ask for a bowl coating. And in my years reading pipe forums, I've read how many of you hate them and think they taste awful and suspect that they are hiding flaws in the bowl. So, I leave my bowls naked, unless you ask for a coating. If one of my pipes has a flaw in the bowl it either becomes one of mine or goes in the stove.
Q: Will you declare a lower value on the customs form?
A: No. I won’t lie to my own government to save myself money. I don’t mean to be on a high horse about it, it’s just worth more to me to have a clear conscience than to sell a pipe.