My Name is Jesse Jones, and I make tobacco pipes.
I began smoking a pipe as soon as I turned eighteen, but never seriously considered pipes as more than just a simple object for smoking tobacco until 2009. After meeting several influential friends who also happened to be pipe collectors I became enthralled by the natural beauty of briar. I began making pipes in late 2011 as an attempt to capture some of that beauty for myself.
In 2014 a dream of mine came true. I was hired on to carve restore pipes professionally at Smokers’ Haven in Columbus, Ohio. I gave up a career in public education and moved across the country to start my new life in the hobby I love. In 2014 I and a handful of other carvers were selected from among near one hundred other North American carvers for the prestigious Greater Kansas City Pipe Club’s Pipe Carving Contest. This contest represents the best of the best among North American carvers and I was truly honored to be selected. I would go on to place in the contest a number of times over the next few years including 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019, making me the only carver to win 5 years.
In 2016, Scott Townsend, the former general manager of Smokers’ Haven, and I opened a new business entirely devoted to our love of pipes. We call our venture Blue Room Briars. This has allowed me not only the opportunity to carve under my own marquee, but to offer high quality refurbished estate pipes, new artisan pipes, and production pipes with hopefully a more personal touch. We have high hopes for the business and have already been greeted enthusiastically by the pipe community.
I knew from the moment I had finished my first pipe that my relationship with briar would be a long one. Briar dust is in my soul now, and I’d love to be able to share some of my passion with you.
To me one of the most beautiful things about pipes are the shape they take. I am of the opinion that since pipes are tools first and art second, form should follow function. Nothing epitomizes the pipe quite like the traditional English shapes; functional, unpretentious, timeless, classical, and beautiful. For this reason I have a passion for the old English shapes and my work is greatly influenced by the English masters such as Dunhill and Ashton. This is not to say that the amazing pieces produced by the Danes, the Italians, and others are in any way inferior, but to me many are art before they are pipes. I produce mainly those traditional English shapes that have stood the test of time. From time to time I will produce a Danish inspired freehand, but those pieces are the exception rather than the rule.
The most important aspect of a smoking pipe is its quality. I use only the finest briar sourced from the Mediterranean, typically Italy. My stems are handcut ebonite or acrylic with particular care afforded to the size, thickness, and contour of the bit. A deep slot is cut into each stem to ensure the least amount of turbulence in the smoke stream. One modern twist I have incorporated is the use of Delrin tenons which are not as prone to breakage and allow easy removal of the stem for maintenance. I do, however, use traditional tenons if the design is necessary. The draw on my pipes are always smooth and open allowing for maximum enjoyment of whichever blend you choose for your pipe. Flaws are a natural part of each block of briar. Pipes with sufficient cosmetic flaws are usually sandblasted, while pipes with few flaws are finished smooth. Any pipe with a flaw that compromises the longevity or functionality of a pipe are discarded. These days it is difficult to find an excellent quality smoking pipe in a classic shape at an affordable price. I aim to change that.