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Talbert Emerald Egg #1607T 

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 Price: $SOLD
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I really like the combination of this amber resin stem material with brass ring detail and a green bowl with natural accents. I've made on similar to this already with a smooth unstained rim, but here I wanted to leave the natural plateau grain untouched and just stain the rest of the bowl. That proved to be considerably more challenging than it might sound... with a smooth rim you can simply sand any stain bleed from the edges back down, but trying to keep a clean edge between the plateau top and the sandblasted sides was a real trick, especially given how fast and far thin stains tend to bleed. One second of inattention and it has spiderwebbed halfway across your rim! I'm happy with the result, though, and I think it's unique and quite unusual looking - Certainly not something you'll see on many other pipes! It did make it a bit tricky to photograph, however, as the pale, unstained top wanted to burn out in any lighting that was bright enough to show the details of the deep green bowl rings.

I've been doing a lot of work recently using my own cast resin block material, where I pour, mix, and blend the colors and effects myself, and this stem may be my favorite example of this yet. I mixed in a wee bit more color variance into the basic amber tones, resulting in a highlighted, almost molten lava-like effect - Check out the close-ups above, both with white backgrounds and without. The one with the darker background is best for showing off the splashing swirls of the stem coloration, while the white background photos are handy for displaying my bit slot design in all its customized, gradual-fanning attractiveness. The stem is decorated with two solid brass ring inserts and a central ring of polished Honey Locust wood from a block gifted to me by a local NC woodcarver. It's beautiful stuff. People often mistake it for Olivewood but it has a slightly more golden-yellow tint to the color, which I wanted to try with this stem.

The sandblasting just continues to show off the improved results form my recent revamping of our sandblaster. Really strong, deep-blasted rings that nonetheless maintain the bowl shape without deformation. It's a craggy thing, but a positive joy to hold in the palm where the curved egg shape just naturally fits into the shape on one's hand. I've become very fond of this echoing egg shape as a design motif, and you can read more about the thinking behind these shapes here if you're so-inclined. I should add that this is a BIG pipe - It has one of the tallest bowls and deepest chambers I've made recently - so it's not a lightweight "Tuck it in your shirt pocket" sort of smoker. This is a pipe to be savored and best-enjoyed at home over the course of an entire evening, as the bowl will last for quite a long time... Most of our Ligne Bretagne bowls are smaller than the size-comparison Zippo above, but in these pics, this pipe absolutely overwhelms the poor Zippo - It's almost twice its size, with massive thick walls to boot.

I snapped a few shots of the creation of this pipe as I worked on it, and have been posting them to Instagram this week. Here they are collected, for those who may be curious...

Above, the resin material is drilled, turned, and mated with the Honey Locust wood ring.

Work on the stem continues:

Now, after shaping, filing, and polishing, it's starting to look like a proper stem!

The stem was completed before the pipe itself, as the bulk of the labor time for this pipe was actually in the stem instead of the bowl. It may sound a bit backward, but if I have a briar block that has flaws and must be rejected, it's easy enough to switch to another block. Here, however, the stem had to be right from the start.

Hand-shaped (Not turned in this case, as the bowl is a bit curved in its design and the plateau top angle would make turning difficult):

And from there it was off to the sandblaster to create the final pipe you see above!