Paul Becker – Pipemaker
I was born in Pinneberg in January of 1947. My parents ran a fine tobacconist shop there. After completing school, 2 years of a trade school in Hamburg and an apprenticeship as a merchant, I worked in my parents’ business.
I have been an enthusiastic pipe smoker since I was 16 years of age, and even then the dream stirred in me to produce pipes on a popular North Frisian island one day. Many of the well- known Danish pipemakers were role models for me.
But as is often the case in life, dreams are not realized immediately, and so I first took over my parents’ business with my wife Erika in 1970.
In 1982 I fitted out a workshop in the basement of my house in order to offer my Pinneberg pipe customers a quick, but good repair service for their pipe mouthpieces and other smaller repairs. Up to then, the workshop room had served as the dark room of “the amateur photographer Becker”.
Rainer Barbi stood by me with advice and practical support in the equipping of my workshop. He recommended that I not only undertake repairs, but rather that I also try producing a pipe for myself. To attain the know-how for this, I was allowed to look over his shoulder while he was producing his fine “pieces”.
It was no sooner said than done, and one day I proudly held the first self-made “freehand” in my hand and was happy to finally be able to smoke it. A few of my Pinneberg pipe customers saw me with my “first” and wanted to acquire a “freehand” from me for themselves.
And so I set to work, and for eight years I sold pipes from my own production out of my shop, each with increasing success.
In 1990 we decided to close the store since from then on I wanted to devote myself completely to the making of pipes. Now finally my long cherished dream was fulfilled. I became a freelance pipemaker like my role models, the Danes.
I try to connect creativity with precise craft. Slowly but surely I can count more and more fine tobacconists in Germany as my customers. Variety in form, beautiful grain and exact workmanship with a love of detail were persuasive. The best plateau are equipped with hand-cut mouthpieces that cater to the bite.
In order to avoid confusion, I have been trading under the name “Paulpipes” for some time now.
There are three models of “Paulpipes”: in natural, in orange and in a warm brown tone, all polished with carnauba wax – no V A R N I S H ! Each pipe is completely handmade by me alone, from the freehand drilling to the rough and fine sanding to the staining and the natural buffing and polishing, the breaking-in treatment of the bowl, even the hand-cut mouthpiece.
All pipes are f r e e of f i l l e r ! They at most exhibit smaller spots (small inclusions in the wood) that under no circumstances diminish the smoking pleasure, o n l y the price. Pipe wood is a natural product and therefore no piece is identical to a second piece. “Spot-free” pipes are therefore very rare and accordingly more valuable and more expensive.
A specialty developed by me 20 years ago is the pipe with the removable shank middle piece. It can be smoked as a churchwarden or as a “normal” pipe by leaving out the middle piece. The bowl is available in the form of a ball or with faceting, always changing and to the extent possible always improving. This “fine piece” enjoys great popularity.
Through special Pipe Maker sales in fine tobacconists’ shops, many customers have already met me in person while watching the art of pipemaking in action. “Paulpipes” are available in Germany and Austria only at fine tobacconists’.
For some time now, I have also had an Internet address (see above) where you can find all the dealer addresses for my pipes. Furthermore, you can get an idea there of how I work. In the last four years I have also won several loyal customers from abroad.
Each year about 100 pipes leave my workshop.
I produce not only pipes with a filter, but also pipes without a filter.
Each filtered pipe has a removable adapter that has been precisely fitted and is therefore smokable without a filter. Many steps are necessary before a “jewel” can leave the workshop and also satisfy my quality control.
So I’ve come to my limit with about 250 pipes per year, because authenticity and quality take precedence for me.