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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Blowfish Madness

Biz News - I've been continuing to post new Ligne Bretagnes to the catalog for the past week. I can't remember if I even announced the last update or not, but have a look, as there are probably new pipes there. I've got two more of these pear shapes finished and sitting here waiting to be posted, but that will have to wait till I get this blowfish done.

I've been working on a pile of blowfish shapes lately, and as one of the buyers asked for pics of the process, I thought I might as well post them here, just for general entertainment value to see the steps a pipe goes through from start to finish.

So, like all pipes, it starts off as a block of wood and some drilling measurements:



Once the piece is successfully drilled, the shaping starts. I'm working on several variations of blowfish shapes, from the mild to the wild, as one of the orders asked for a "distinctly Talbert blowfish". That's what we're looking at here. It's actually going to share some visual characteristics with a Fantasy Bulldog shape I made a couple years ago.



Granted, it looks pretty ordinary so far, but that will change. I wanted a block where the grain flowed across at an angle, to work well with the combination of smooth and sandblasted elements I'm envisioning. Here it is with a stand-in stem to serve as a visual balance guide:



Now it's time to start the real stem for the pipe, made from black ebonite:




One can already see that it isn't going to be a very traditional blowfish. I particularly want my Fantasy Blowfish to be organic, as blowfish shapes have the unique ability to look spectacularly ugly if done too symmetrical and constrained (Flashbacks of Princess Leia headbuns!). Here's the first of what will be multiple stages of black staining for the contrast on the smooth part of the pipe:



And most of it already sanded back off:




And finally, the pipe in its last photo, showing a lot more of the shape detail. Everything will get refined but most of the remaining work is "slog work" - ie, many hours of sanding and bit filing and sandblasting. I'll post more pics as it (and the others) progress.