Biz News - I posted two new Talbert Briars yesterday, but both have already sold to the folks on our email notice list. However, I also posted two rather interesting Ligne Bretagnes, and they're available - One is a sandblasted churchwarden and the other a neat contrast-stained candyapple pear.
And, breaking news! The late, lamented Welt der Pfeifen pipe forum has been resurrected from its dire fate. It is now under new, considerably-more-stable management, and all who enjoyed it before are welcome to pop back in! All the original user accounts are preserved, so you should be able to log in using your original username and password.
The pic pictured is one of many as-yet-unseen Ligne Bretagne shapes that we have here, but have never made pipes for sale from. Reasons vary. Many are just too small - Group 2 billiards don't have many fans willing to pay 100 € for one, and so they aren't worth the bother of turning into finished pipes. Other shapes offer different problems. While some of the LB stummels are pre-drilled with airholes, I often actually have less trouble with the ones I can drill myself.
Case in point, these bent bulldogs.
I've got no trouble cutting the ring on the bowl, finishing the rough-cut shanks, etc, but the airholes are ALL drilled at a high position in the shank, such that it is impossible to drill a mortise that will have the airhole centered in the bottom for pipecleaner passage. It's a shame, because I think these group 3-ish shapes could be popular sellers, with a bit of chin-tucking and spiffing. I tried drilling one just to see how deep of a mortise I could get before the airhole wandered too far upwards, and managed only to get about half a centimeter deep before it would no longer easily pass a cleaner.
Obviously, I could just disregard my "Must always pass a pipecleaner" rule, but I'm not willing to do that since I take pride in knowing that all my pipes pass this test. Unfortunately, this leaves only a choice of unworkable options for the shape. Doing one of my angled tenon inlet setups would work, but that is too labor-intensive for a Ligne Bretagne production budget. I could always do a VERY heavy mortise-bottom reshaping to channel the cleaner into the airhole, but I've heard enough buyers fuss about pipemakers who use this trick that I'm reluctant to try that either. Another option would be to reverse-tenon it - Make a male tenon set into the shank which would fit a mortise in the stem. This would be almost guaranteed to freak people out and result in lots of returns because it looks "different". So, the quandary remains, and another of many unseen LB shapes continues to be unknown.
They do serve one useful purpose, though - Like all of the unused LB stummels, they provide readymade examples for experimentation. The pipe in the pic is subject #6 in a set of alternative methods for creating a sharp black contrast staining. Very handy to be able to jot down step-by-step notes for different methods, then do them all side-by-side on readymade stummels to easily contrast and compare the end results.
In other news, I've just posted my first Photoshop web gallery. It's just a little experiment with one of the Photoshop tools, the automated gallery maker. I tried to get some current and interesting shots of various tools and such in the workshop, and I hope it will be entertaining! I'm not sure how, or if, the comments system works, but I guess we'll find out.