Posted on May 30, 2018
Last week on a sunny Tuesday we took a trip up to Middlewich in Cheshire to see Ian Walker. Ian is the man behind Northern Briar's pipes. If you haven't heard of Northern Briars they are definitely worth checking out. Ian is a Third generation of pipe makers in his family, he creates some of the finest handmade pipes on the UK market. Unlike most pipe makers Ian creates his masterpieces on a 70 foot narrow boat on which he has converted part of the boat to a workshop.
Ian makes all of his pipes himself and uses fine Italian briar blocks and crafts his stems from German rods. We were amazed to see that every single aspect of Northern Briars are hand made by Ian and a lot of his machinery is older than he is! Northern Briars have a wide variety of shapes with many tradition shapes but also some more exotic creations such as the Sea Urchin and Helix pipes.
Ian gave us a full tour and showed us how he made his pipes including how to create the Sea Urchin finish and the perfect twists on a Helix. We could not believe that his lathe that he makes all of his pipe on was over 60 years old and had been thrown our of Duncan Briars in the late 1950's! Whilst we were there we picked up 14 handcrafted Northern Briars and also learnt so much about artisan pipe making. Northern Briars and ourselves will both be in attendance at the UK pipe show so be sure to catch up with us both there. Here is our selection of Northern Briar pipes