hand-made traditional tinder box clay pipes

Online seller of hand-made traditional clay tobacco smoking pipes. I have been making hand-made traditional smoking pipes since 1995.

The Pakuranga Toastie pipe: Continuing the traditional making process.

Early clay smoking pipe manufacture

In the beginning, and for a considerable time, early clay tobacco smoking  pipes were made from clay dug out of the ground, warpage and cracking were common. However, today, clay is manufactured from the separate ingredients. In reality, commercially produced, ‘scientifically’, modified and tested clays avoid warpage cracking and distortion. Consequently the ‘modern’ clay makes commercial sense.

Raw clay

I wanted to make a clay pipe by the original process using ‘out of the ground clay’ for my gin pressed pipes. So, I dug clay for my ‘Pakuranga  Toastie  pipes’ out of the ground where I lived. Firstly, I removed stones and roots, slaked the clay in water, dried it to a ‘pressable’ consistency. Secondly, my ‘out of the ground raw’ clay’ was pressed   into my gin press in a replica Scottish T McLachlin no18 clay pipe mold. Thirdly, these tobacco pipes were dried, ‘fettled ‘and fired in a kiln to 1100c. This results in little pipes exhibiting a ‘toast like’ appearance: the Pakuranga toastie clay pottery pipe was born in 2004!  However, it exhibits a bit of warpage in the stem, but is a great little clay pipe, truly manufactured by the original clay pipe making process and more durable than the other pipes.

gin pressed pipe,

Tinderbox Pakuranga toastie added to inventory 2004

White earthenware gin pressed pipe introduced 2004

 Tinderbox Historical snippet © 2019
Women and pipes

Yes, Women smoke pipes! And why one has to ask should they not? Historically many famous women have smoked pipes including the wife of an American president – Rachel Jackson. Women smoked pipes of the smaller variety having small bowls and requiring less tobacco.

woman pipe smoker



Original style.

I strive for originality. Consequently, I search the catalogues of the time. Because ‘the lady’s leg’ appears in the tobacco pipe makers catalogues of the Victorian era: Holland’s and MClardy’s I could not pass it up! As a result, I made The Ladies leg clay smoking pipe. However, it was considered slightly risqué in the Victorian era. First thing to remember is that many people smoked pipes. Therefore, pipes had ‘advertising potential.’ Consequently, many ‘fancies’ as these pipes were named at this time – were made. For example, pipes of famous actors and actresses and politicians

clay leg pipe

lady’s leg pipe



Classical elegance

The Victorian straight is a classical design.

classic pipe

victorian curved smoking pipe

Tinderbox Victorian clay pipe introduced 1998


The Victorian straw straight and its cousin the ‘Victorian curved’ are beautiful pipes. Seeking authenticity, I made the moulds or molds – both spellings are correct.  In order to achieve this I used my original tobacco pipe  fragments and built on those. Under the circumstances it was the only option; because pipe molds are rarely available today, mostly museum pieces.

Theatrical  pipes  for The movies and theatre.

Requested to make pipes for the movie The Hobbit’ I made curved  and  straight Hobbit pipes. As a consequence, you can buy Hobbit clay smoking pipes on line here. Accordingly, they are  presented with a white tipped stem just as required for the movie. In addition, I offer a pipe of my own design: the plain curved Tobacco smoking pipe green glazed tip. All of these pipes are fully functional. I am not only an online seller of a range of hand-made traditional clay tobacco smoking pipes, I make for the film industry too!



 Tinderbox Historical snippet © 2019
 Tobacco smoking pipe advertisement

“Emigrants will find smoking pipes are the most profitable article they can take to the gold regions.” So stated J. Inderwick, of Leicester Square, London in this advertisement in the gold rush days.

tobacco pipe advertisement

Decorative  clay hat pipes

Several decorative pipes from my Tinderbox pipe range are available. Though barely-functional (a very small bore), the Sailor’s and the small Victorian pipes are a delight. However, these make excellent hat ornaments for fisherman, black powder shooters and steam punk people. As a result they have found their way onto some of my friends hats and caps.


Molds or moulds? Both are acceptable

I make my own pipe molds and the models used are original pipes. Pipes are my income. Therefore, I don’t make pipe moulds for sale.


So, to own a pipe made by original gin pressed process, as some of my pipes are: you will want to see the Pakuranga toastie, the Pakuranga Marbled Clay smoking pipe and white gin pressed pipes. However not all my pipes are made by this process.  But to see my historically correct original  gin pressed method  how to make clay pipes I have provided a link


Types of pipes

Victorian, American civil war, Napoleonic war and Civilian re-enactors buy my pipes for props.

Links: Learn more about pipes:


The Society for Clay Pipe Research

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