When I first started selling pipes in my shop, Decatur was the best-known name in pipe furniture. They had a nice assortment of stands, racks, tobacco jars and cabinets, and they were pretty reasonably priced. Then with very little warning, Decatur was gone, and there weren’t many companies left to fill the void. A number of the remaining manufacturers made some great-looking items, but the prices were really high, and some of the other companies that turned out more affordable racks were of inferior quality.
So, imagine my surprise when we had the opportunity to purchase a new line of racks and stands from…Decatur. All of the designs are simple and classic and made of solid hardwood, but what makes them especially interesting is that they’re using some rather exotic woods that have really nice grain and variations in color. One wood in particular stands out. It’s called coyote wood, and it has areas that are a rich, reddish-brown and others that are a light golden color, but the change in color isn’t gradual, it’s dramatic. The stands made with this material are unlike any pipe racks I have ever seen. Over the last year, their lineup has gone from 3 offerings to a total of 7, and I understand that more will be coming.
What’s really exciting is that they’re expanding into another area that is sorely needed- cleaning supplies. The problem in this category is that some of the products are frequently backordered, and often for extended periods. Decatur is filling the void with a series of products that work well, and are affordable. Their lineup includes two stem polishing compounds- Haze-Away and Shine Brite. Haze Away is made to remove light to moderate oxidation, and Shine Brite is a fine polish. They can be used by hand, or with a buffer. Coming soon is Briar-Fresh. It’s a pipe sweetener that we’ve already tried, and it does a great job dissolving gunk and tars in the airway when used with a pipe cleaner or shank brush. What’s especially nice is that no traces of it are left after about 15 minutes of drying time.
There are plans for an silicone-impregnated polishing cloth, a wax specifically made to be used by hand, a stem protecting oil and a kit that will include a handheld buffer. Everything we’ve tried so far had worked well, so we have high hopes for the new Decatur.