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Friday, March 02, 2007

Largest Pipe I've ever Done?



A lot of the pipes I make are larger in size, but I may have outdone myself. The pipe on the right above is a nicely large 1982 Group 5 Dunhill - positively dwarfed by the giant horn I just finished. In fact, here it is again, this time pictured next to the immense Ser Jacopo Maxima Maxima that I received for Christmas:



My sandblast is not only taller, but has a larger diameter bowl chamber at 2.5cm. I can get a whole finger into it, and can only wonder at how much tobacco it will devour... but, I'd still love to keep the thing as I enjoy huge pipes out of sheer laziness (The annoyance of having to change pipes during a long evening's smoke). Bigger and better pics of the beastie can be see here, and yes, it is for sale and available, for a whopping 456 € (not including VAT for EU buyers!). I've actually stamped it XL and for the first time in my pipemaking career I've applied my "XL" price mod... Largely because it was cut from a giant-size ebauchon of a couple decades' age that was in a size no longer available. Yes, that was ebauchon, not plateau! I can only wonder at how large the original burl must have been....

It isn't the only new Talbert on hand - There's also a more modestly priced (390 €) and sized (group 5) fat, pointy-bottomed goblinish little sandblast that can be seen here. It's also available.
I plan on sending both of these overseas at the start of next week if they don't sell over the weekend. Money-wise, I have a good bit of ground to cover and I want to cover it this month, so new pipes will be appearing fast and frequent, and shipping out just as fast.

The huge pipe was in one aspect a disappointment for me - It was incredibly close to being a smooth, and in the end was only let down by one small pit that just wouldn't go away without deforming the shape. It would have been several grades higher as a smooth, because of the crosscut nature of its grain - All of the left side of the pipe was bird's-eye, and very large and swirled bird's-eye as well. Quite dramatic. Unfortunately, crosscuts make less attention-grabbing sandblasts because of the nature of the grain. While the detail and general gnarliness can easily be seen here:



and also on the bird's-eye side here:



... There are a lot of people who don't understand what they're looking at, all while readily identifying and enjoying the more obvious ring structure of pipes like the goblin. In the pic above, I've added some little black circles to highlight the actual clusters of bird's-eye - the swirled circles and ovals that contain many tiny points, each of which is the "head" of a spot of bird's-eye grain. I've heard people in the past mistakenly dismiss such grain orientations as poor blasts, and even comment that the bowl is "blasted unevenly" because the ring structure is visible on one side but not the other, not understanding that this is how the rings are displayed on a crosscut bowl, and that the strange moon-crater-like side is really a large expanse of bird's-eye grain.