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Restored Estate 2001 Talbert Briar 

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 Price: $SOLD
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Here is an early Talbert Pipes beauty from 2001, when I'd been making pipes professionally for about 3.5 years or so. It's stamped 01 AG3B, meaning it was made in 2001, was a sandblasted Silver (AG) grade 3, and had a banded stem. I've just finished thoroughly cleaning and restoring and improving it, a process that included reaming the bowl back to bare wood and re-carbonizing, reaming out the shank airhole and cleaning, and reshaping the bit and opening the V-slot of the mouthpiece. Normally today this pipe would cost $615 so I'm estimating that in its restored and improved condition it's worth a decent chunk of that, but it will still net someone a really spectacular piece of sandblasting for a sizable discount off the price of a similar new pipe.

There are two points I wanted to touch on with this pipe, and one of them IS the sandblasting. It's pretty darned nice, if I do say so. I've gone back and re-blasted over the pipe again to improve on the detail of the original finish and remove most of the rim darkening, and it really came out well. The blast is a big part of the aesthetic goal with this one, which I recall well - I very specifically wanted the marriage of this precision, hard-lined, almost mechanical shape and the unfettered wildness of the sandblasted surface, because I felt that the two contrasting styles would give the pipe a sense of drama, and dramatic tension. High concept, perhaps, but I still think it works 17 years later.

The other amusing bit is the stem, which illustrates just how much stem tastes have come in the past couple decades. At the time I made this, using a colorful acrylic stem like this was fairly radical. Flashy stems were OK on "factory" pipes like Aldo Velanis and $75 Savinellis, but collectors frowned heavily on ANY stem materials on high grade pipes other than black vulcanite and cumberland. If you used anything different, you ran the awful risk of being regarded as "cheap"... despite the fact that a handcut acrylic stem was just as much work and skill as a handcut cumberland one, and would last a lot longer. Now, stems are all over the place. You can get rainbow, every color imaginable, and probably even neon. The scene isn't nearly as stifled as it was then, and artisans are free to use whatever they like without incurring the condescension of the Olde Guarde. At the time, I was being a bit radical by using this acrylic, but I *really* wanted this color because I felt it harmonized perfectly with the orange-tinted bowl and the bocote ring. It's funny how the "radical" of one generation is the completely normal of the next.