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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Variations


I've just posted three new Ligne Bretagne Collectors to the LB catalog.  LB Collectors are, to quote from our website:
Every so often, I produce handmade pipes for the Talbert Pipes line which, for one reason or another, don't meet my standards to become a genuine Talbert. These are typically pipes with some minor cosmetic flaw of some sort, nothing that would impact their function or reliability. In cases where I don't wish to completely discard these "seconds", I will fit them with readymade stems from our Ligne Bretagne stock and sell them as one-of-a-kind Ligne Bretagne Collectors. Each pipe is priced individually based on grain and complexity of design, with prices typically running between $180 and $280.
There will be many more LB Collectors posted this month.  This is not any indication of a sudden run of flawed Talbert briar blocks, but rather of the discovery during tax-time inventory of a box of old blocks I'd previously cut and drilled years ago.   When we were in Brittany, I would often cut and square a block and set it aside to be an LB Collector if it had some visible defect that would keep it from being Talbert Briar quality.  Many of these blocks are even drilled - It's an old drying technique to help ensure a superior first smoke.  Drill the bowl chamber in the block and let it sit for a year or two.  Briar dries at about an inch a year, so air exposure will allow any remaining moisture in the block interior to dissipate and guarantee a clear, pleasant smoke when the pipe is finally finished.

I had all of these piled into a box which we promptly lost when we moved back here, but it turned up the other day during the inventory of our stock for our yearly taxes.  I'd like to try and clear these out to make room for new briar inventory, so look for a run of new Ligne Bretagne Collectors in the next few months.  The pre-drilled ones do present a shape limitation, but I personally find some enjoyment in seeing how much I can vary shapes just by altering the most minor of details.  For instance, have a look at Collectors 4, 5, and 6 - All three of those pipes were done from blocks cut and drilled nearly identically.  But it's possible to tweak the most minor details and create a very different look.  For instance, the join of shank and bowl - It can be tight or thick.  Thick can sometimes look clumsy (Many critics mistakenly believe thick is automatically bad, but actually it's a matter of aesthetics - For instance, it can look just as clumsy for a pipe to have a super tight join that completely kills the harmony of the overall shape).  One of those Collectors has a really tight join, where the shank has been filed in very close so it's a distinctly different shape from the bowl, while the other two utilize smoothly flowing joins where the curvature of the shank into the back of the bowl mirrors the curvature of the underside of the bowl at the front.  Lines - Good pipemaking is all about lines and how to use them.