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UNSMOKED Ligne Bretagne Pipe #0501lb

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The quick story - I've recently gotten hold of a large cache of my older pipes as part of a generous gift to help us pay my wife's cancer surgery expenses. Over the next weeks, I'll be gradually posting them as I get them cleaned, inspected, etc. Many of these pipes are NEW and UNSMOKED and have been part of a display collection, sometimes for as much as 20 years!

Here's a real oddity from our workshop's history. By now, we've largely settled on short & stubby stems for our Fat Dwarf pipes, but this was back in 2005 and we were still experimenting, and decided to do a long-stemmed version. While I prefer the shorter versions, looking at this now, it works better than one would expect. The chunkiness of the Fat Dwarf bowl is enough to offset the longer stem and generally larger "presence". It was purchased for shop stock and sat in a box and never went on sale, and has literally been sitting behind a pipe shop counter in a drawer for the intervening 13 years! (This is the kind of thing that if you tell it to non-pipe people, they'll be shocked, but if you tell anyone who's familiar with pipe shops and their inhabitants, they'll understand perfectly...) The bottom line is, someone today has the chance to buy a brand new Ligne Bretagne from 2005 that's never been smoked! And for a good cause, to boot.

This pipe is an oddity, and a rarity, for another reason. Back in 2005, I was working a lot with metal flake inlays as a means to prevent morta shank cracking. The thick shanks of our Fat Dwarfs don't need this function in the slightest, but I used it here just for looks, as a way of putting in a decorative ring in the shank that wasn't a stuck-on band or acrylic slice glued on, but was a real recess-filling inlay. Also, there are three inlaid flake metal dots on the stem, signifying the pipe as a grade 3. I'd decided to start marking the stems of every Ligne Bretagne with inlay dots to signify their grade. This process lasted for about 25 pipes before I went back to no-dots, because adding in extra work and steps is anathema when you're trying to offer an entry-level line of pipes and I very quickly decided I'd rather put that labor time into the rest of the pipe instead of decorating the stem.

An unusual fork in Talbert Workshop history!