I'm not sure when this originally aired, but I came across this video clip from The History Channel's "Modern Marvels" program. It shows how a custom, handmade pipe is made and also features the Cornell & Diehl Tobacco Co. in North Carolina, who manufactures over 200 blends of pipe tobacco.
Nice to see an interesting, albeit brief, segment on pipe smoking in the mainstream media. Years ago when I worked at The Tinder Box in Columbus, Ohio, we invited pipe carver Tim West into our shop for a pipe making demonstration. He set up his equipment in the front of the store and was there for several hours. It was extremely interesting, even to non-smokers who were passing by.
So-called board, or basket, pipes are typically machine-made and, though perfect for someone starting out in pipes, don't offer the same smoking experience as that of a hand made custom pipe. The selection of briar, the curing process, the care and craftsmanship that goes into the carving, and the finishing of the pipe all contribute to an excellent smoking experience. Knowing the amount of work and the vision that goes into such pieces of art only serve to enhance the enjoyment of the pipe.