Topic: Pipe 11: DEC06 -NFS
This pipe is being made especially for a fellow member of Christianpipesmokers.org. I'm sure he'll love it!
Here's my dog Ally basking the warmth of Pipe 10 which I rendered into firewood. I had too much difficulty drilling the holes to accomodate the bend. The mortise wasn't clean and thing went south from there... Enjoy the fire Ally!
All background images in these photos are from the Winter 2007 Edition of Pipes & Tobacco Magazine. The article titled "Briar Cutters" featuring the Romeo's of Italy. "Mimmo"Romeo states in the article that the outside of the burl is the MOST desireable. Pipe 9 includes the absolute, spot on, dead-center of the burl, which is safe to assume is the LEAST desireable part of the burl. For this reason PIPE 9 is mine and not yours.
I do feel that I did reconcile the dead center of the burl with the heel of the pipe, wrapping around to each side. I actually like it and like I said before it is rock solid. It is by definition the oldest part of this burl.
Mimmo also says that once the wood is processed/milled/cured it is not possible to dertermine the origin of the wood, neither i it as important as many people suggest. What is important is in fact the service Mimmo to the pipemaking community. The people with the sawing the blocks, in my humble opinion have a huge impact on the final product. For instance, if I put out a straight grain or other gorgeous pipe, it is because the folks with the saws made it possible.
The pictures below hopefully demonstrate the center of the burl as it presents itself in my pipe:
I decide to add a line of tampers to production... for those "off days." I figured out the design, what to use as the actual stoker, the part that meets the ember: Stainless. I decided what to use for the tamper material, and more imporatanly how to integrate it with the stainless. I need to work out some procedural kinks, and solidify some designs, and actually let my son make some as well. Cost of materials is more than you'd imagine but the will still be affordable, in fact I will probably take them to swap meets and hive them to SHPC every month as part of their door prizes they raffle off.
Here are some prototypes. Feedback encouraged. I forgot to photograph the one that already made it into my pocket. My favorite is the balck and orange castle/lighthouse shape one. the two others are for Christmas and are red and green.
I have also decided to catergorize my pipes:
I've been stalling on Pipe eight a bit because its my last bit-o-briar. I have a shipment on the way but as of today its in Erie, PA. I'm in Beverly, MA. It'll be a couple of days. And I took Monday off because that's what I do. Although I did do some sanding: 2-300 grind, with the staining inbetween.
Today I did 300-600 grinds and stained it for the last time. Tonight and or tommorow I will do 800 - 100, polish and wax it. I also carbonised the bowl.
Top ten reasons why this pipe is not for sale:
... 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!