Now we’re going to Bruken to meet our friend, David.
How are you!
Wow you’ve been here for 100 years, 102 actually! This is experience!
Show us your factory. Come on in!
Well we just arrived in Bruken, a factory with over 102 years of experience.
A workshop with history and a lot of magic,
we’re here and we’re so excited by the sensation
that this amazing place is transmitting to us.
And we went to where they keep the briar…but there was no briar.
Now isn’t the season for briar, but usually they put it here,
and little by little the whole room gets filled, and it always has to be dark and humid.
because the moment that the wood starts to dry up it, it cracks.
The wood has to keep thinking that its still underground, so that’s why its dark and always wet.
And also when here is a lot of briar, little branches start to grow,
that means that you’re tricking the briar into thinking its still alive.
For example if I have 3 people that sell me 8000 kilos of briar,
I call the truck and it brings all of the briar directly here,
So you mean they can´t stop not even to sleep or anything?
They can stop of course, but it has to be minimal.
Briar only grows in the Mediterranean, so Italy, Greece, Morocco and Spain.
What happens is that it has to be humid, there has to be oak, there are a few characteristics that have to be met for there to be briar.
But there’s briar in almost all of Spain. Which most people don’t know.
These are the saws that you use and the profession is the person that knows how to make these cuts.
Because if you just put anyone it can be a disaster.
We try to avoid the defects. What exactly is a defect?
A defect is a hole, or dirt that got into the briar… all that can be seen in a finished pipe.
This is just an example okay since we don’t have that much, this is a defect.
So we can´t use it.
So what we do is when we see those defects we try to avoid it
so what happens is we end up cutting a lot,
You said that from 10,000 kilos, 5000 end up there, in the trash. Its usually around 50%.
And then the briar that we keep has to be classified also, and hopefully those pieces don’t have any defects.
Because usually 40% of the already pieced briar also ends up having defects.
We’re talking about being left with pretty much nothing. From 10.000 to about 3000 at most.
Imagine you’re making a great pipe then all of a sudden a defect comes out as you’re shaping it…
Now you’ll be able to see it better with the finished pipe bowls.
The high standard of Bruken makes it so from 10.000 kilos of briar, what’s left is about 2000.
So 20% of what they start with. That is high standards. That is quality.
This is the vital process.
Once you cut the briar, it starts to lose humidity.
No, because we keep it in water.
Full of water. We’re still tricking the wood.
Because the wood has to keep thinking that it’s still alive.
If you cut the wood and you leave it out over night, the next day it’s all cracked.
This whole area is full of briar in water.
And when we have enough we fill up this copper boiler with briar and we boil it.
We spend a lot of money on propane gas.
The boiler is very important.
You can’t use that area one in a while? That wasn’t there before,
because we would use the briar with defects to turn on the oven that boiled the wood.
And once you remove all of the sap, you have to dry the briar naturally.
There are some people that put an air conditioner, because it sucks up the humidity but not us…
We’ve been drying our briar here for 100 years.
All of this here is really good wood, nothing to do with the wood that’s over there.
With this you know that the pipe that you’re gonna make is of the best quality.
What we can see is that the roots go from the bottom all the way to the top symmetrically.
So those whose job is just to sell cut briar have to make the most out of the briar they buy and the 8 hours a day they are cutting.
To do that you can’t cut the way that we cut, you have to cut more briar. About 400 pieces a day.
But that is only for the people that only sell briar.
Our money is made from selling pipes, so we can’t just cut and cut.
because once we start working on it a lot of defects start showing up.
Or also you get nice pipes but not those that are worth more money. Exactly.
So you must end up with a lot less of the best quality pieces.
I think that we have to work on the wood as soon as it’s ready.
If it’s dry in 4 months, then as soon as it’s dry.
Why? Because the tools work better, the wood is softer.
You work at ease… you work the wood a different way.
Once you work on a piece that’s been dry for a year, it’s really hard to work.
I have some bowls that were made 50 years ago, that I have kept.
And when I take one out to work on it, I go crazy. Because the wood is so hard.
And you can’t rewet it again? No.
The wood is already dead. Even though you wet it again it doesn’t change anymore.
When we finish the whole tour you’ll understand.
The pipe making process starts here,
This machine makes the preform of the pipe, the rough hole for the chamber.
For this we use 3 tools.
One that perforates the chamber,
another that forms the top part of the bowl,
and depending on the pipe, another that creates the form of the bowl from the top until the middle section.
They get this piece and cut it a certain way so that it makes the curved shape of a pipe.
If this curvature isn’t perfect, the pipe doesn’t come out correctly.
You scratch it and ruin it.
This part always has to be very sharp.
If you touch it with your finger you can see how much it cuts.
Each pipe has a different curvature so each piece has to be different.
Everything depends on themselves, they have to make their own cuts and pieces. Everything is 100% artesanal.
4 machines, a drill that helps make the process quicker but everything else is handmade.
Making the cuts, the knives, everything. It’s incredible.
Next we shape the shank of the pipe, since this pipe is straight we’re going to use a drill
and make the pipe turn around it’s own axis so that we end up with a shank that’s straight and perfectly round.
If the pipe were curved we would use different tools.
Now we have two parts of the pipe, the chamber and the shank, and we’re only lacking the countour
where we’ll also use the drill to give the bowl the contour we want.
Starting now everything else we do is by hand, we have to remove this part,
then file the pipe and prepare it for the finishing touches.
We now have the 3 main parts of the bowl, starting now until the sorting of the quality everything is by hand.
The pipe bowl has leftover wood in the center part which we’ll remove with a drill.
After doing this we can now make the hole in the shank
using a tool that we made by hand ready to use without leaving any marks on the inside of the shank.
Something that we feel is very important.
In continuation we do a surface roughening of the bowl to remove imperfections
left from the other steps so that it’s ready to be sanded.
As you can see both the roughening and sanding processes require artistry.
For the roughening we use a
vertical belt sander,
and for the smoothening a front disc sander.
After sanding we polish the pipe,
we put a bit of oil on the polisher in order to clean up any leftover sawdust from the bowl of the pipe
and at the same time show the imperfections that the pipe may have so that it will be ready for classifying.
We’re here in Bruken a factory with over 100 years of history.
And how can we not be with our friend Emilio Navarro.
An artesanal pipe maker who doesn’t seem to make many pipes since they’re so exclusive and hard to find!
I do still make pipes just not the ones that you want.
Emilio is an artisan and like all artists there are pros and cons.
Our friend Emilio makes amazing pipes but mostly when he’s inspired.
Sometimes he abandons pipes for 12 years because he’s not inspired.
We’ve seen all the different processes of the factory with our friend David, who is the successor of Emilio.
He was able to transmit his work and the passion that he has to us.
And we’re so happy to be able to understand the quality and the work that goes into Bruken pipes.
If you had to put a price on all of this work and passion what would you put?
Much more than what it is now.
If the factories that work the most quantity close, factories like us,
pipe prices would rise by about 200%.
I realised today that all of your work is by hand,
sometimes you use a drill or a machine for a specific part,
but all of the other processes are done by hand and using your own steady hands.
We saw you and your steady hands sanding a pipe.
That’s another thing that they say, that Bruken or Emilio Navarro pipes aren’t hand made.
All pipes are made the same way, the hole in the shank for example can’t be made by hand.
And after that it’s all the same, by hand.
There are artisans that do every single part by hand but by the time they get to the most important part,
they’ve used a lot of time and effort.
In the end those are all costs that make the product more expensive.
I think that Bruken uses a perfect balance of man and machine.
The market says that crafts is an imperfection, but many imperfections isn’t also good.
Bruken makes imperfections almost perfectly.
Yes because it shouldn’t just be an imperfection, it should be perfection too.
We try to find perfection.
That’s from all of your years of experience.
David’s already learning, he’s starting to learn. Haha
Being here in Bruken, stepping foot in this factory of over 100 years,
the ambiance in very familiar, there is magic in every corner.
It’s a very warm sensation. The workers, the young artisan that’s showing you this incredible process.
When they do it it seems so simple but in actuality it’s very hard.
The figure of Emilio. We found him to be amazing, someone really special.
And our friend David, who I think is gonna be a great successor of Emilio.
Because he is a person that feels very passionate about the magic that is in this place.
He understands how to interpret all of the history in Brukens 100 years.
And I think all of this is in his soul. Because he’s doing little things that surprise us.
I think he’s going to be a great artisan, and we are very happy to now feel some of that magic.
Because now in the store we see the pipes in a completely different way.
We’re gonna feel craftsmanship, magic, and just something very special.
In the end it’s easy to just sell a pipe, but after being in Bruken I think that everything will change.