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Friday, October 21, 2005

Calabash Sandblast

Well, late again - I spent yesterday afternoon and all evening finishing up the four new Ligne Bretagnes I just posted (seen here and here), and did not have time to post a new entry here. For those who may not have caught the news page, the Ligne Bretagnes have a new stem logo now and these are the first four examples of it.

Today's pipe pic is an experiment from 2000. I have a supply of these meerschaum calabash bowls in varying sizes, but I've never really had anything to do with them since I don't have any proper gourds and briar blocks are usually too small to fit a meer cup into. This meer bowl was a smaller one, however, and I decided to give it a try. The resulting pipe was extremely attractive, in my opinion anyway, and probably would have been a great seller on looks alone. I never made any more of these, however, because it was a lousy smoke. Lacking the absorbancy of a gourd, the condensation in the briar chamber under the meer bowl was ridiculously annoying, and it took multiple pipecleaners to get through a single bowl.... and this considering that the bowl was tiny! This is a classic example of why a good pipemaker needs to smoke samples of everything he makes, because sometimes you never know what will work or not until you try it. I think Toren Smith ended up with this thing, though no telling how many hands it has passed through now. Consider it a Talbert Pipes historical oddity ;)


  1. Would it be possible to remove the insert and use the pipe Trever ? It's a lovely piece of wood and an attractive shape and stem.

  2. Unfortunately no, not really. The briar walls are extremely thin and the bowl opening is huge, to allow the meerschaum cup to fit down into it. If you tried filling the briar directly with tobacco, it would probably burn through in several spots all over the bowl.

  3. That's a pity - but it's a nice looking pipe - in fact it would look good in a case.

  4. Oddly enough, it wasn't me that got it, although I might very have--it appeals to me.
    I've had two "briar calabashes" and both smoked wet, as you say. My solution? I'd drop two or three denicool crystals into the briar bowl before inserting the cup. Worked like a charm.
    Denicool crystals are a real wonder and I use them a lot, in fact. Certain tobaccos I like tend to smoke wet, but a denicool or two into the bowl before loading solves that. No more soggy dottle!

  5. Funnily, that was exactly what I ended up doing - I used those Nording clay stones though, as I had a box of them to play with. They worked well at absorbing the excess condensation, but still got on my nerves for having to dump out a little pile of stinky rocks after every smoke. Now I wonder where that pipe is, as I'd thought you had it!