News from the Pipemaking Workshop with the Funk.
Talbert Pipes Website - Kentucky Fried Popcorn - My Web Comic.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Last big update of 2008

Biz News - As expected, December was a pretty quiet month here on the site, with no new pipe updates, but I'm making up for that now with a BIG pipe catalog posting to carry us into the new year. First up, we have a pair of new Ligne Bretagne Collectors, both handmade sandblasts with horn stems, and one of them is our last green pipe of 2008! Then there are also two new Morta Classics, a prince and a poker, for those folks who want to snap up a Talbert Morta made from Briére morta while they are still available. Finally, I've also posted our first new Talbert Briar in a long time, a beautiful new freehand of exotic shape, for the fans of our highest grade line. In other news, I'm about to go take out the Christmas-themed items from our Gift Shop, but I hope to replace them with some new and interesting goodies in the near future.

This is one of those classic examples of, "I really should have known better". Here it is five days past Christmas and I have yet to finish the first of the Christmas Ghost pipes, for which I currently have enough requests to keep me working until June... but who wants a Christmas pipe in summer? I've been away from the Halloween pipes too long, and should have remembered that if I even wanted six or seven for October, I had to start working in January. Still, this first one IS coming along beautifully, and looks to be every bit as disturbing and yet graceful as I had envisioned. Now it's just a question of digging in with a good audiobook (or three) on the headphones and listening my way through forty straight hours of detail sanding...

Since this will be my last blog post for 2008, I'd like to wish everyone a very happy New Year! 2008 was certainly a tough one for us, so we're looking forward with both anticipation and trepidation to 2009, which I hope will be a better year for everyone out there. Our very best wishes to all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all that stuff!

OK, I know this is terribly crude and simplistic and very "1994", but it's my first-ever attempt at doing an animated GIF and I just learned how to make them this afternoon, just for this project.

I wish everyone a wonderful and happy holiday season!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Away in a Madhouse

This little group project has now grown to the point that I thought I would share it here. I'm a mod/admin on a little forum called "The Pub Crawlers", which I've mentioned here before, which is a sort of catch-all-topics group of friendly sorts who share particular interests in pipes, Lovecraft, horror films, SF, fantasy, genre movies, Trek, etc. For a forum group project this holiday season, I proposed that we stick a Christmas tree on our forum logo banner, and then everyone in the group could contribute small pics of decorations or gifts or whatever else they found, to be added to the tree - making it our own "community-decorated" forum tree. From a simple, plain tree, it has grown a bit this month! Here it is in its current version:

I contributed Santa Cthulhu, while Emily provided the worried-looking Coraline ornament, and everyone else in the forum added the rest. It's still growing by the day, and I suspect the tree may not even be visible by the 25th. This is what happens when a bunch of Lovecraft fans are asked to make a Christmas card...!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pipe's Progress

Here are a few quick snapshots of the pipe I talked about briefly yesterday, where I posted a photo of it at an earlier stage. It's coming along startlingly well. I believe it was Mark Tinsky who once compared pipemaking to gold mining in the sense that one does not "clock in" to an hourly job, but rather one hunts and hunts for the few gems and nuggets that are most valuable. This definitely is!

It is not far from completion, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to nap a few more photos of it in unfinished state, before the final sanding and polishing occur.

Also, there are still decisions to make. This is a "shape strong" pipe, meaning that the shape is the star here, and there is plenty going on IN the shape, so even though the grain is pretty excellent, I do not intend to give it the sort of high-contrast grain staining that I might apply in other circumstances. While a simple billiard shape can be "jazzed up" via some strong black contrast stain, this pipe would just become raucous, with too many strong elements fighting for attention.
The choice now is between an even, all-over orange/yellow/red stain or just leaving it natural. The staining would show off the grain better, while leaving it unstained gives maximum prominence to the curves and shape of the pipe.

Decisions, decisions...

I should also mention that I don't yet know what I'm going to DO with it... Whether it will go up in the catalog or be shipped off to P&P or elsewhere. Fortunately, given that I'll probably spend a week of spare time sanding the thing, I'll have plenty of time to decide.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I never know what I'm doing

I just recently posted in the site news that there would probably be no new Talberts posted this month due to the work on the Ghost pipes, but here is one on the way! The Ghost work has been fun yet incredibly stressful and frustrating for all the same reasons the Halloween pipes were (the stress of needing cash for bills NOW and looking at a half-finished pipe that won't be done for another week and a half, at minimum...) While waiting for a couple of stummels to dry after boiling, I took advantage of the time and roughed out a new Talbert Briar freehand. If the grain is any indication, it should be a damned nice piece when it's done, assuming it doesn't develop some disastrous flaw in the final stages. Never planned for it, but it's a nice diversion! (Speaking of diversions, there will be another couple of LB Collectors coming along eventually, also)

People ask me what I'm planning for the next month and what will be available. I don't know what I'll be working on tomorrow... (But I do know that at least three quarters of every day is being devoted to Christmas Ghosts, which at this point are more likely to all be January Ghosts)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

What's on the burner

December is going to be a very quiet month on the website. I have requests piled up for the Talbert Briar Christmas Ghosts, enough to probably take up all my time right through January, so I don't expect to have many new pipes appearing on the site (except maybe for a new Goblin here and there). We did finish up this bamboo-shanked morta the other day for a request, but unfortunately the sale fell through and it's now sitting around until I can decide what to do with it (Options are to either photo & post it to the site catalog here, or send it over to Pipe & Pint, who have no mortas in stock now). I'm trying to finish up another Goblin in/around the Ghosts, and may photo this morta with it. Until then, if you're interested in this morta, just email me. Note - This pipe is now sold. As I mentioned in a previous post, we are ceasing production of the locally-harvested Briére morta pipes, of which this is one, and just using up the last of our morta stock until it is exhausted. Once it's gone, it's gone!

These three stummels are another running side-project. When I'm spending day after day doing detailed carving on complex designs, I try to stack up time-consuming work on the side, letting things dry, soak, boil, heat, etc, so they'll be ready to go when I can get to them. That's how it is with these three - I have a request for a billiard created with the curing treatment I discussed in a previous post, and I wanted to do several LB pipes this way and have them heating and drying alongside my regular daily work.

The two in back have already started getting their very-deep grain contrast staining, even at this stage with much sanding and shaping still to do. The front one is going to be a natural, however, and it shows off a nice side effect of this briar treatment process - the visual enhancement of the briar's natural growth rings, even on a smooth pipe. It's striking how visible the ring pattern is.