The Italian Tobacco Pipe Artisans©
The love affair between Massimiliano (Max) and pipe smoking goes back to 1990 when he bought his first pipe. He realized right away that he had just found a long-term passion. At the center of his fascination, though, was the pipe itself, as an object. He was intrigued by how pipes were made, and so, he kept wondering what pipe making involved and whether or not he had it in him to actually make one according to his own imagination and personal preferences. Max was not surprised by how fascinated he was with a wooden pipe; you see, he had worked at his uncle's carpentry workshop every summer since he was 14 years old, and he was more than familiar with wood and woodworking. Once he managed to find the materials he needed to make his first pipe, he went to his uncle's workshop to see what would come out. At first, he was not very happy with the results, but he had already fallen in love with the process of making pipes, and so he knew that pipe making would become part of his life.
After his initial experiments, Max wasted no time in improving his skills and increasing his knowledge of every aspect of pipe making. He visited every briar mill, workshop, pipe maker, and tobacco store he managed to locate. In the meantime, he started building a whole collection of sketches and pipe designs based on his own observations, and more importantly, his imagination.
Soon, he started putting to practice everything he had learned about pipe making, and when it was time for him to choose a name to give to his pipes, he didn't hesitate to use the name "Duca", which is the name of his medieval birth city (Ferrara). Once the brand name was established, Max decided to go a step further in honoring his city by using aristocratic titles as the base for his grading system.
Max uses the best materials he can find, from mouthpiece rods, to inserts, to briarwood. He gets his wood from three different regions in Italy, and then he lets it dry out for at least 2 to 3 years before he shapes it into pipes. He loves experimenting with as many materials as he possibly can; he makes mouthpieces out of a wide range of materials, such as acrylic, vulcanite, horn, and Cumberland, and inserts out of boxwood, silver, and bamboo.
Besides pipe making, Max always finds time to dedicate to his other hobby: airbrush painting. Often, and as expected, Max's paintings show pipes and people smoking them. Whatever passion he indulges in, he is always puffing on a beloved pipe, filled with a Golden Virginia tobacco.
You can see all the DP pipes here: The DP Pipe Snapshot.
Click to view the maker's own website: Duca Pipes Website.