Topic: Other News
... to use an acrylic stem for once. I hadn't because" the pipo tenon turner wasn't working on acrylic for me because it was slightly bent and it was breaking and chonpping and making a bloody mess. Solution: I straigntened it out a bit and that help, but more importantly I use it in a different drill. An OLD drill of my dads. Its from back when they made them with aluminum casing. This drill has a higher RPM and worked much beter. Excellent actually.
About the briar. This is the hardest briar I've ever seen. Its not much to look at but its solid as a rock. As usual I'm going throught the same old thought processes as usual: love it hat it love it hate it, want to keep it, sell it, keep it. It's the best pipe yet, the worst, its a masterpiece, its trash. So, i decided it was time to put the ipe down and watch the Pats.
Pipe 8, altough put on the back burner for two days is finally taking shape. In an attempt to
I had an idea... I used a 1 1/2" hole saw to rough the bowl and start the hole. Ouch! Thats gotta hurt. It seemed to work fine. Then I took the Coping saw to it and broke another blade. DAMN.
And, I had replacements in my hand this afternoon when I purchased the hole saw and put them back figuring my blade breakin' days are done. Guess not. Could've, Should've. Would've. Anyway, here 'tis:
Thanks to the Sherlock Holmes Pipe Club of Boston (is there another?) for the warm welcome in the December Issue of their Newsletter.
To confirm, I had an awesome time at my first meeting! A great and gracious bunch of guys. I didn't get a chance to talk with everybody. I especially wanted to meet Tim Hynick as I admire his work greatly. Everywhere I turned there was one of his pipes in the hands of their proud owner. They were/are truely an inspiration to someone like myself who is just learning.
I am looking forward to the December meeting and Especially the trip to Kaywoodie!
With all the planning I did on pipe 8, Pipe 9 just kind of happened after visiting Heather Coleman's website on clay pipes. I love the delicate shapes of clays, and see no reason not to transfer the elegance to briar; all the better!
This is one of her drawings of an 1870 clay. I liked the idea of a shankless design and went to work on my own out of a piece of oil-cured plateau.
The stem will come from the stummel in compound non-ninety degree angles. It made it a bit difficult to drill the holes but the mission was accomplished after I ended up holding the wood in one hand and the drill in the other. A true master, I know.
<< Notice the wicked mess. This is a rough rough cut. Also note the broken coping saw blade. Grrr!
Here is the topside, and my own little hand held sanding strap I made out of duct tape and .. umm sandpaper. This is what I used to shape the rest of Pipe 9.>>>
This pipe will be finished tommorow, Sunday November, 26.
I read an article on Pipelore.net by By Corneel Vermeulen about a pipe called the "Belge." I was amzded and inspired that after so much "research" on pipe shapes, I had never heard of the Belge! Seems it is a carry over shape from the days when clay pipes roamed the earth. The shapes were readily transferable to briar except without the spur. When I get the right piece of wood, I will make one with a spur.
I hate setting a pipe down on its side and having ash spill out. I do this a lot as I dont really leave them in my mouth if Im not puffing. Its a 'me" thing. Anyway, I loved his article and especially the examples of modern Belges he presents. The thought of creating one for myself was overwhelming. So I made the following plan by which I can "kind of" work off of. You see, I basically need to move the shape of the pipe up on the block about 1/8" so that I can leave enough wood to round the stem. Also mine will be more of a "Borraine" than a Belge. I have to also mention that the works of: Larry Roush, Michael Parks, Rad Davis as cited in the article are truely inspiring!
Heather Coleman reports that "Gambier was the largest and most famous of pipe makers and flourished in the 1850-1920 period. They were winning gold medals for pipes in the mid 19th century and producing over 26 million pipes a year, many using steam powered presses." Her collection, reserch, and committment to the clay pipe is extensive, perhaps she would know how it made its transition to briar.
Remember I have a laxley Zulu which is of intrest because it was made on the Isle of Mann. Laxley being a onetime manufacturer of the meerschaum, but when materials became scarce they switch to briar. Perhaps Gambier "marketing department" decided when fashions changed to briar that they would "'ave a go a it." I'll ask her if she knows the answer to Corneel's question
Here (left) are some early 19th century Clay pipes from Heathers collection. Impressive and for me, inspiring. Months ago I had thought of mimicking the shapes of clays. Reading Corneels article whelp to reinforce that desire. Seeing Heather's collection has opened my eyes as well, and reminded me of when I was a teen snorkeling by the coast by my house in Beverly, Mass. I found a stem from a clay pipe. I assumed it was from the 1700's when half-way between my house and the beach stood the Woodbury Tavern. I was hooked and did a bit research myself and remember learning that tavern pipes were community property, and after they were smoke, the stem would be broken off for the next person. I have since/recently learned that the tavern pipes were pretty much the "estate pipe" of today. Taverns were effectively the secondary market for clay pipes.
After re-sanding and buffing and waxing the stem 3 times, its still not perfect but it was worth the extra work. Remembr the smoke hole is slightly off center and the stem is not perfect. the bowl is BEAUTIFUL.
This might make a good gift for "the man who has everything," even if he doesn't smoke. I think anyone who appreciates art over craftsmanship will recognize the value in the pipe. It'd make a nice gift to yourself, maybe for Christmas. I'd buy this pipe if I enjoyed conversation and a good smoke. Its a "Conversationalist" in that it can be a conversation starter or enjoyed while discussing your favorite topics with your frinds. Most of all, remember this is a "student pipe"Mad by me the student in an effort to learn the craft. Think of it not as one of Van Goghs paintings, nut as a sketch of one of his paintings. Thanks for bearing with me throuhg the process of Pipe 7.
Dont forget to check out Pipe 8
Lucky Pipe 7 did rise from the ashes. (pictured is a jacket I embroidered (Monday night Football in reflection)) I ended up filing it, and the shaping it with 80 grit (or "grind" as the Dutch say), then sanding it all the way down to 1000 grit. Really. I stained it to expose the grain. It is perfectly in tune with the layout of design. If it were a guitar it would be called blame grained, or burst. In pipe parlance it is a straight grain I think.
After about every 2-3 stages of sanding, I would stain it, which would raise the grain, and then sand it down. I did it the first time so that I could see the "depressions" in the wod. It worked, so basically, as in the 5th pipe when I rusticated, unrusticated, and re-rusticated. This pipe I sained, unstained, and re-stained.
It was impressed upon me by David Field, that the stem is half the pipe so therefore you should spend half your time on it. Who would have thought. I did devote a lot off time on the stem but noticed I need to spend even more because of scratches. About the stem: It is very thin. At the peg, it is not much wider than the mortise. and, it is oddly shaped; rounded like the belly of a guppy onthe bottom. The top rocks. I maintained the diamond shape and merged it well with the pipe.
The stummel is like a worry stone. You can't help but pick it up. It has an energy about it that will make you not want to put it down, like a worry stone gone warm, or a beautiful chesnut. Beacuseof the thin stem and the sort of pod-like, thistle shaped volcano, it lokos very botanical. The grain is burled or Birdseye as my friend Nelson from the Pipe Club calls it. The face is also birdseye. the sides of course are striped.
If you do in fact put this pipe down, it rests beautifully on the tabe. There is an oh so slight up-ward cant to the stem, which works well for this pipe. If you look at the bottom of the pipe you might be reminded of a golf club; a wood to be exact. you might not though.
What makes this pipe special is that if your a small guy like myself, you might not like big 'ole freehhand. My pipes are becoming slight as they tend toward the classic shapes, but maintain the freehand creativity and respect for the wood. Here are som pics. The final picture will be posted tommorow.
Today I got laid off. Probablly wasn't in the right frame of mind to be carving, or to change methods for that matter. I took away a bit much wood, This one might be headed for the fire. We'll see what tommorow brings:
Not to mention that the drought hole is a bit off center. AFTER these pics were taken was when the "damage was done." If you've been watching this pipe, don't give up on it yet. Like the Phoenix it might rise from the ashes!
This pipe was in a box of stummels. I busted out the meerschaum lining, engraved my son's initial in each of the three "panels," and quick-fitted a stem. It now holds about a bushel of tobacco!
So far: It seems like "Vulcanite" is a good stem material for a "a" but I am tending toward acrylic having experimented them recently in what I like to call "Pimp my Pip.e" More on that later.. . Anyway, as a smoker I prefer the vulcanite because Im a biter, but as an artist I am moving towards Cumberland stems and Acrylic.
Sold to Jessup, Maryland
This pipe, started out with an architectural influenced freehand, and became a taper an 1/8 Bent Tapered Brandy, or as the prince of Whales called them; "Cognac."
Pipe five is a more organic, in process and in result. It is more of a gourd shape and I am surprised how much of a an influence the bottle gourd ended up being... Organic even in its rim as it is slightly "depressed" in front to rear center. Neither is it entirely round at the rim.
The life of pipe 5: Freehand>> six sided billiard>> four sided flat paneled square billiard>> Brandy. I learned that making a freehand pipe, you must not overplan it, to force a shape on to the wood is what making classic pipes is all about; not neccesarily a bad thing.
In fact, I believe that the reduction of mass produced pipes to freehands has taken away from all of our appreciation of the classics. Similarly, it has driven the price of Plateau up, and Ebuchon down. The best article to understanding what makes for good briar was published in 1985 by Pipe Smoker Magazine and written by R.D Field. If you take the time to read it you might noticed that the author places several variable even before whether or not the briar is Ebuchon or Plateau. Age of briar, contributing to tightness of grain is more imortant than whether or not the briar is Ebuchon or Plateau. He doesn't speak to which country yields the best wood, but he does place the gender of the plant as being more important than from what part of the root ball the piece was cut.
He even states that if you consider the weight of the wood to be important, with lightness being better, than you might want to consider the rootball from a male plant. Pipe 5 is a long but light pipe. Pipe 5 Lite if you will. But I can't imagine specifying female briar when placing an order. Do the harvesters or mills even know the gender of the plant. Fact is Female briar is tighter grained, denser and therefore heavier. If you smoke hot, you might want a heavier pipe more resistent to burnout. Anyway..
In my opinion, that to make a freehand is like righting a story. the classic shapes are the grammar, the language of pipemaking and I need to better learn that language. In a way freehands a bit to easy.
With so many classic shapes: round bowls, cylindrical bowls, bulldog shaped bowls, Conical Bowls, and Brandy glass shaed bowls like this pipe , the possibilities are endless. If the shapes are the grammar, than the other variables are the vocabulary. Those variables are length of shank & stem:
Shape (oval, round, square, diamond). Height of bowl, Rusticated or smoothe, wall thickness, Stem material, Stained or natural, Carbonized bowl or not, height of bowl, typ of bit, mounts or not, bent or not. How much? 1/8, 1/4 , full...Who made the pipe, from where the wood was obtained, age of wood...
You get my point, the opportunies are endless, even with the classics. Even a freehand shape is becoming a classic. The volcano is becomng a classic freehand shape. Wow! That said, Pipe 7 will be a volcano.Read about in Topic "Pipe 7." There will be surprise and I promise you it will be most original, at least I have never seen anything like what I have planned!
After three hours of shaping, Pipe 5 has taken on a new life. Its tending toward a classic shape, and away from a dutch-like Freehand. But I think you'll like it. I'm loving it. Pictures Saturday, you'll ee what I mean.
This man thinks it a good idea.
There's Comfort in the Classics
Pipe six is becoming more traditional and less freehand. It is inspired me to "tend toward the classics." I have ordered a 7 blocksampling of Vintage briar milled in the 40's. That's old wood!
'06 will bring But one more freehand. of the volcanoe variety. But...
Good news for members of the Growth Ring. If you've purchased a pipe in '06, you could be eligable to trade up for one of these...
Concerning the Freehands
In 2007, I will be buying 1st grade plateaux blocks from Corsica, Tuscany, or Sardinia via the purveyors to :
These pipes will be high end and will need to be priced accordingly. They will feature primarily Cumberland Stems and banded with either:
The trouble with rusticatation is that the pipe looks like sh!t before it looks good. this pipe No. 5 is looking less and less than what I had in mind. That's not neccesarily a bad thing. It is what it is.
The grain at the top of the bowl is in a twirl sort of pattern. as I went with that, my plans started going up in smoke, literally. I am relying a bit too heavly on "removal by rustication," but I was affraid I would have enough wood. At least this will end up a study in texture. Three different textures: Smoothe. burnt umbra (you'll know what i mean when you get the pipe,) and the Castlerock Teture I love so much. Itsa color and a texture.
So today was a tough day. Got some done on the pipe. I was able to work on it at lunch, and before supper. I cleaned the work bench, tinkered with another pipe I'm working on for myself, yadd yadd yadda This piep will be halfway beween a freehand and a classic, kind of like a billiard on steroids. The handle sticking out of the tobacco chamber is primarily for handling purposes (what else,) but it also helps prevent the bowl from splitting when in the vise or while working on it. In this case its not much of an issue because it is my intention to keep the walls thick.
So, I spent time fitting a new stem to the pipe, then shaping the shank to match the stem. So far the sand pit/blemish has not gone away and I started to think... Cindy Crawford has a "blemish" on her face but she's smokin'. I wouldn't throw her out of bed, and likewise I won't throw the pipe in the wastebasket either. That's just crazy!