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Monday, February 23, 2009

A Nice Deal

Here's a nice deal for someone - an unsmoked Ligne Bretagne bulldog sandblast on ebay. I always wonder about pipes like this... Why was it unsmoked? What is the story behind it? Did the original buyer suddenly go off bulldogs after purchase? I've never bought a pipe unless I intended to smoke it, usually within minutes of purchase, so the "aftermarket" in unsmoked pipes will probably always puzzle me. In any event, I remember this particular pipe and it is a very nice blast, and should certainly be a good deal for whoever picks it up!

Fans of deep sandblasts with deeper pockets, however, should check out this monster - a Talbert Briar poker from 2000. I remember that one very well indeed - In fact, it's one of those pipes I've made that I would have loved to keep for myself. In the late 90's, I got hold of a stock of some extremely old Algerian briar in long-shanked block sizes, perfect for pipes like this, and the material not only smoked well but produced excellent sandblasts. It required hardly any effort to get a good blast, and extra attention paid dividends in a radically craggy surface. Like most of the Algerian briar I've seen, the grain was hardly ever in what's considered "proper" orientations (stacked rings, for instance), but it had a randomness and sheer craziness that I enjoyed very much.

And FWIW, I have no affiliation with either auction nor the sellers, I just thought they were both good bargains worth mentioning here since orders have kept me so busy that I've hardly had any time to make pipes for the website, lately.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Phillippe Bargiel Video

I found the link to this on French site FumeursdePipe, and thought it was well worth passing along as it isn't often that videos on meerschaum pipemaking surface. The thing that interests me about this video is that he works the meerschaum dry, while I was taught to work with it wet because it is very hard on the tools when shaped and drilled dry. But, P Bargiel has far superior quality meerschaum to work with than what I have used, so it is likely that his material is simply softer and less "rock-like".

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Sunday, February 15, 2009


Note - Of the pipes previewed in this post, both Ligne Bretagnes are now sold, and so is the morta poker. The two remaining mortas will be posted on our website catalog in a day or two.

Quiet time on the Talbert Pipes website and blog does not equal relaxation time for us. Unfortunately. It seems like a very long time since I last had the chance to update the site or blogs, but the workshop has been humming. It's odd, too, given the global recession this year, that our sales should be improving. It almost seems that we've run about six months to a year ahead of the news media-induced "state of the economy" - That is to say, we first noticed an inexplicable drop-off in business in the Fall of 2007, long before news channels were squawking about the economic disaster round the clock, and the sluggish sales continued through a good chunk of 2008. Now that the media has finally realized there is a business crisis on hand, our business has picked back up a good bit. This is not to say that we're in any danger of becoming wealthy any time soon, but at least we can afford to buy food now, which is a great improvement!

The three morta pipes above were all just finished recently, but I haven't had time to post them to the catalog yet. I'm actually trying to decide what to do with them, whether to sell them direct or send them to a dealer, as we have a couple of dealers with orders in-house now. If anyone wants one, feel free to email me for info - prices are as always, 209 € for the sandblast or 229 € ea for the smooths, plus VAT and shipping if applicable. I'm particularly fond of the "fat prince" in the middle - It has an extra-thick bowl shape that is very broad and round, with a beveled rim instead of a flat one. The sandblast poker was done for an order and may or may not be sold, I haven't heard back yet.

In other news, I finished the two Ligne Bretagne billiards that were treated with the process I described in a previous post. Both came out smooth, and quite nice:

Again, here are two pipes that I have not yet decided what to do with. I'd rather sell them direct than send them to a dealer, because I want to be able to get direct feedback on their smoking quality due to their special treatment, but I just haven't had the spare time to stick the pics together and post them as catalog entries. If anyone is interested in either of them (The first two pics are of the "gold root" one with a strong grain contrast stain, and the third pic is of the other pipe, in red-orange with a marbled white stem accent band), just let me know. Despite a greater amount of labor time going into them, these treated pipes are the same price as normal Ligne Bretagnes for now - 123 € each, plus VAT and shipping as needed. Note that I have yet to develop a cutesy marketing phrase for this process, nor any special marking, so for the time being they are indistinguishable from normal LBs.
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