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Ligne Bretagne Pipe #1732lb

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This pipe, #1733LB, and a Dublin pair from last update all have a little story behind them - We have a lot of these stummels in roughed form in our stock, filling up several crates. We just brought them straight back from France without much digging, because straight Dublins of decent bowl size are always popular and good sellers & smokers. I wanted to do a few of these alongside some back orders I was working on, so I went out and did a bit of digging in one of the boxes, and found a small fraying bag buried under the bowls. Inside were maybe six or eight stummels like this, with perfect grain... I've mentioned before that usually I get perhaps 3-5 grade 5 pipes in a year, out of 150+ produced. If all of these bowls finish out as nice as they look now, every one will be a grade 5! I can only guess that the previous pipemaker had sorted and hand-selected these a couple decades ago, and put them in this bag to set them apart, but never got around to finishing them. Whatever the story, I now have a handful of matching, near-perfect straight Dublins to finish and post. I'm tempted to finish them all together and make a 7 day set from them, but I wasn't sure if there would be a buyer for that and August is always a slow month and I just flat don't have the time for a "project" right now, so I chose to start by finishing a pair.

The last pair were both pale, one a natural and the other only lightly stained. I wanted to go the other way with this second pair, and focused on creating some really dramatic stain contrast effects. Simple shapes like this make beautiful "frames" for more complex staining, because they're not cluttered wiht distracting details and stylistic swoops - You just look at the grain, front and center. The underlying contrast of this pipe was created using an "Old World" darkening technique I learned in France, which darkens the grain without the use of actual stain. Thus, you can apply a top tint of golden yellow over it, as I've done here, without worry that the yellow will dissolves the blue-based black underneath and cause the whole pipe to turn a rather sickly pale green.

Beyond this point, I will just let the photos speak for themselves, but just *look* at it... The flame grain on the left side is so jagged, focused and sharp that it resembles a hailstorm of javelins falling from above. I'm especially in love with the back side of the pipe, the part that faces the smoker, because of how strong and clear the grain is there as it crosses from side to side. Meanwhile, the bird's-eye side is worthy of pipes costing hundreds of dollars more.