John Keller is not here just to make a plain corn cob tobacco pipe. His goal is to make pipes that resonate with people, to have customized items that look better than people thought they could.
Keller's JWK 2366 Custom Cobs have been around for a few years now and have gained a huge following, for good reason. Having taken first place at Cobfoolery two years in a row, 2017 and 2018, in the traditional shape category, these customized corn cob smoking pipes are worthy of your attention.
Keller's process for custom cobs allows him to have a wide variety of styles. He uses hardwood plugs to make new shanks for the pipes. Combining customized, premade vulcanite stems with the shanks, Keller is able to take a traditional corn cob smoking pipe and turn it into some very interesting designs. Though they all stay within the traditional tobacco pipe styles, the customized cobs are drastically improved from the originals.
Keller doesn't do these customs for just the money. Sure it's a business, but his first love is the appreciation of smoking pipes. When we spoke with him, he told us about his passion for his practice of "lunting."
Lunting, walking through woods and nature with a smoking pipe, is Keller's way of relaxing and taking in his environment. It also fuels his philosophy when making new pipes. It is the idea of "go with the flow and let the work happen" that allows him to make such artistic custom pieces.
Though he is relaxed and confident in his abilities, he is still ambitious in his customization. His passion runs deep and he consults with other pipe makers, some masters at the craft, to ensure that he is getting the proper feedback and advice. In always looking to improve, he has adopted the mentality of "the best pipe I can make is the one I haven't made yet."
With that mindset, we anxiously await everything he has in store.