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UNSMOKED 2004 Talbert Briar Freehand 

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 Price: $615
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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!

And here we have another UNSMOKED piece, coming to you brand new from 2004...! It's been a gallery showpiece all this time, and I've done nothing to it other than to give it a newer and better re-wax, a new bowl carbonizing, and a bit of stem interior improvement. It's a gorgeously unusual thing, with curves everywhere and some very beautiful grain, especially the tight and detailed bird's-eye spread all across the bowl rim. The back side of the bow has a really interesting cascade effect of the grain across the wood - Check out the close-up pic above, it's pretty neat. The stem is handcut white acrylic, which I've always felt goes really nicely with unstained pipes like this.

The bowl chamber in this is quite large, bigger than what I typically use today. It may not measure that deep, but it will hold a lot of tobacco due to the width. One nice thing about large bowl diameters like this is that they'll smoke virtually anything well, without some of the draw difficulties one can get into with smaller diameter conical chambers and dense flake tobaccos that don't want to let air through. The other advantage is weight balance - a wider chamber means less bowl weight.

I shot a ton of photos of this pipe because the shape is complex enough that it's hard to convey an accurate sense of what it looks like in just a few typical side photos. I was very much letting the grain dictate the form in this case, and it's always fun because I rarely know myself how the end pipe will come out - I just tweak it here and there as the grain flows and let nature take its course. I'm glad to see this one again, and I hope the next owner will enjoy it as well, as a piece of virgin 2004 Talbert Briar history.