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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Naked Pipes Revisited

Today's headline photo is a group shot of Neil Roan's Talbert collection. He sent me this a week ago and I've been trying to find time to post it. What strikes me about it? Seen in groups, my pipes are:

A) Amusingly consistent in bowl size (Large)

B) Amusingly consistent in stem length and look (Long and swanky)

I can't help but chuckle at how similar the stem bends are in 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7. It isn't intentional, I just keep making what I like!

Now, to the subject of this post. The two unfinished Talberts that I tried recently were well-received and both sold pretty snappily, which suggests there are at least some folks out there who would enjoy having some pipes with no finish whatsoever. I decided to experiment a little and do a Ligne Bretagne this way, to see if there was equal interest in that price sector (One never knows, what is popular among 400 € pipes may be totally disliked among 100 € pipes and positively glorified among 1000 € pipes). So, voila la pipe:



Like the two Talberts that came before, this LB is completely unfinished - no wax, shellac, or anything - so it will darken a good bit as it is handled. Unlike the previous Talberts, it was stained with a red-brown tint initially, and then sandblasted again to remove the stain from the outer surfaces and leave it only in the crevices as a subtle enhancement of the grain's appearance.... an effect which is utterly lost in these photographs, which tinted so gold in the workshop light that this detailing is invisible. I decided to offer this one for direct sale here (Note - This pipe is now Sold), to test the waters, as it were, before potentially cursing Larry by sending him a box of unfinished pipes that might never sell. If there is some interest or enthusiasm for this look, I'll do some more this way and send them over to P&P. LB buyers, please leave a comment and let me know what you think! Interesting, non-interesting, cool, weird - Let me know.

Aside from working on the FdP pipes, I have been trying to... very slowly... assemble another box for Pipe & Pint. I've got a few pieces in it, and just added this new Talbert Briar "stubby" - continuing the recent set of "fat" pipes done as a change of pace from my more usual long, thin, slinky pieces. This particular one was fun-looking enough that I thought I'd post it to the blog. Nice blast! These stubbies are serious workhorse smokers - thick walls, shanks, thicker-than-usual bits for serious clenching - they're just made all-around for hard use. If anyone on this side of the ocean wants this one, it is 383 € (again not including VAT for EU folks) and should be here for the next two or three days, before it goes into the box for the USA.

6 comments:

  1. Hi Trever,

    By way of feedback on the nikkid pipes.... You probably know that Betram's, here in DC, sold their pipes unfinished for years and years. Their explanation for this can be found by clicking on my name above. We locals sometimes get to see the results of that marketing at yard sales and antique shops-- pipes in all states of coloring. I think folks liked watching them "turn". I certaingly enjoy watching natural finish pipes darken and color. I wouldn't be put off by an unfinished pipe. I don't know that I could recommend the Betram's approach (unfinished only), but certainly as a option it would have some appeal.

    I would think that Larry would be helped by having a "pitch", and perhaps some examples of pipes along their way to darkening.

    I trust that you and Emily are well.

    Best,

    Chris

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  2. Obviously, what we need to do is for me to send Larry a bunch of unfinished LBs, you drive down and buy them all, then smoke them for a while, then take them all back down to Larry for him to exhibit in his shop for darkening references :D

    And yep, we are well, better than usual, even. Plus Emily's birthday is next week, giving us a nice day off!

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  3. I would absolutely buy unfinished LB pipes. I have two unfinished pipes of different makes, and it has been a pleasure watching them gradually darken.

    Also just wanted to say that I recently acquired an estate LB sandblasted tall billiard, and I cannot believe the wonderful flavors it brings out of the VA and VA/Per blends I've been smoking in it. Just amazing. I also appreciate the light weight, and your bits are hands down the most comfortable I've encountered. Thanks for the great work!

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  4. I wouldn't want all of my pipes to be unfinished, but there is certainly a place for them in any collection, I feel. I have three and have really enjoyed watching them color. It's true they go through an ugly duckling phase when the coloring tends to be blotchy and well, kind of ugly, but once the juices really soak through, they have a look that no other finish can match.
    So there's my €0.02!
    --Toren

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  5. Hi Trever,

    I have been wondering for a long time now, why artisan always need to color their pipes (apart the fact of hiding flaws). I find the natural color of wood so beautiful, especially with wonderful sandblasts like yours !

    Have a good day, and happy birthday to your wife !

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  6. Em says, "Thanks for the happy birthday!"

    The reason pipes are finished is to protect the wood - bare wood left exposed to handling and the elements faces all sorts of problems. It looks quite mangy after handling due to absorption of finger oils and sweat, it will soak up any moisture it contacts, leaving stains, it's more susceptible to decay over time... just overall, bare wood is a lot more vulnerable. Personally, I struggle between the urge to make what I believe are the better pipes (finished) versus what so many buyers seem to want (unfinished). Given the demand, though, I will certainly make more unfinished pieces, and we'll see how the market accepts them.

    The ones that really give me pause are the pipes to ship to Larry, because I know they'll be repeatedly fondled in the shop, and will quickly look quite ugly...

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