I find humility to be a virtue. I don’t believe that anything is accomplished by brazenly tooting one’s own horn, and I try to live by that. I’ve known plenty of people in my life who aren’t humble in the slightest. Very rarely is this hubris justified, however, and I attribute that to overcompensating for an inner lack of confidence. The rarest of all are the folks who aren’t humble but can back it up. The people I admire, though, are the ones who quietly go about their business, do it very well and don’t look for the spotlight.
Although we had met years ago, I’ve only really gotten to know Dan Chlebove well in the past couple of years, first through meeting at the Lehigh Valley Pipe Club and later, when he joined the staff of PipesandCigars.com. Dan has been a pipe maker for over 16 years, producing wonderful briars under the Gabrieli Pipes brand. When I talk about someone being exceptionally talented but incredibly humble, Dan is a prime example. I own one of his pipes and love how easily the pipe smokes, how comfortable the stem is, how attractive and well-made it is, and his amazing attention to detail. He’s been doing this on a part-time basis all this time, and when his employer shut down, we were able to persuade him to join our staff to restore our estate pipes, among other things. Now, Kevin and I had both done some of that work before Dan joined us. We know how to remove oxidation, buff a pipe, ream them and sanitize them, but Dan’s skills leave us in the dust. He has taken some of the nastiest, grungiest old briars and restored them to like-new condition. All of us are stunned by what he can do.
Of course, when you work together as many hours a week as we do, you get to talk frequently. Kevin and I were talking about how difficult it must be to get the airway in a stem right so the pipe will breathe properly. Dan told us about the multiple detailed steps he uses to accomplish this on every single pipe he makes. Now, when someone makes pipes that routinely sell for $1500 or more, I would certainly expect that kind of attention to detail, but Dan’s pipes are some of the most reasonable artisan-made briars out there, and you can see the care he puts into them with every aspect of every pipe.
Yet, with the fact that he knows how much work goes into his pipes, and he knows how highly people think of his efforts, he’s still one of the most genuine and, yes, humble people I’ve ever worked with. So whether you’re buying an estate pipe from us that has been lovingly restored by a true artisan or you’re looking at one of the beautiful Gabrieli pipes on our site, rest assured that there’s a lot of painstaking detail work he’s put into it because he takes pride in his job.