Manuel Shaabi was born in Lebanon in 1950. He apprenticed as a wood sculptor and cabinet maker. In 1979 he left for Bavaria, Germany. There he worked making one a kind furnishings and restoring old sculptures and figurines in churches and cathedrals. When he moved to Hamburg in 1984 he couldn't find enough work, so he went back to school and completed his professional training. His final test was to make a trunk. He made such a fine trunk that he was offered a position at the school as an instructor. In 1993, having won numerous awards for his cabinet making, he gave it up as it didn't satisfy his creative needs. He started over at Pipe Dan learning to repair pipes. He quickly mastered the art of pipe making and in 1998 left to start his own studio.