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Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Silliest Pipe I Ever Made


Before I go further I should apologize for the lateness in getting the new updates posted for this page and for "American Pipemaker in Brittany". The last several days have seen me working non-stop and round-the-clock to finish the most complex Halloween pipe I've done thus far, Grendel's Mother, seen here. After finishing that horrific creation, I felt like posting something whimsical, so here is (in my opinion) THE silliest pipe I have ever made. I nicknamed it "The Slug" at the time. It was done as several experiments rolled into one. I had been doing some fairly radical pipe design sketches, and I wanted to try out an idea to see how well it translated from drawing to reality (answer: wretchedly). Also, I was working a lot with casting my own acrylics for my stems, and I thought that such an ability could be expanded into casting larger bits than one is usually able to make from the standard rods and plates that everyone uses. I wanted to experiment with an engineering idea also - to create a pipe with a large expansion chamber where the smoke could cool and condensate before being drawn upward through the stem, theoretically providing a cooler smoke. As with most such ideas, what it mostly provided were gurgles from all the condensate that it collected during each bowl. While the thing was a technical failure in several aspects (bowl size was limited by chamber, ergo small bowl, plus short mortise, plus heaviness due to lots of wasted wood in the design), I think its greater contribution to the Razzy Awards of pipedom is the fact that it is freaking ridiculous looking - it looks, for all the world, like a tropical fruit punch drink. A friend suggested that I should have put a pair of those little wind-up feet on the bottom instead of the solid base, so the pipe could walk around freely. Here also is my original design, which explains a little better what I was trying to create.