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March 7th, 2020 

It's been some time since I updated the front page, but we've hardly been inactive - 2020 has seen one big change already in that we've gone from making random collections of Ligne Bretagne shapes to focusing on producing at least ten or twelve examples of a specific different shape each month. This has worked better in terms of streamlining our production, plus provided an enjoyable playground for experimenting with methods of differentiating common designs via finishes and stains. There are two new LBs posted at the moment, in this month's chosen shape (A bent Canadian), with more to come.

The bigger news will be our new website, which is not far from completion. I still need to do some work on the catalog backend to get the shipping optiosn sorted, and then a ton of testing, but it should be making its premiere in the not too distant future. Expect a cleaner design, easier navigation, better galleries, blog, and comics, and a new Patreon page where we can engage a little closer with our fans and collectors.


November 11th, 2020 - "And I, Jack, the PUMPKIN KING!"

He's finished at last! After three years in the making, of starts, stops, all manner of life difficulties, and about a hundred carving hours, the Talbert Halloween Pumpkin King is finished at last! He's the first Talbert Halloween pipe in years, and one of the best of the last twenty. What began as an idea of a mad pumpkin hatching out of a conventional Author shape grew to incorporate multiple new carving and staining techniques I've worked out over the past couple years until it grew into a gleefully fiercesome beastie with enough personality for a dozen Halloweens. He may be late arriving this year, but I hope the wait was worth it.

In other news, I've also posted a new Goblin, the first Goblin of 2019,much to my surprise. Man, this year has seemed to pass in the blink of a gnat's eye...


November 3rd - I'm still working on our pile of October Pumpkin Madness orders - Wow, this year's pipe was popular! There will be a few other, more "normal" new pipes posted along the way, though, as we've got some various Ligne Bretagnes that we've had drilled or partly finished sitting around here waiting, so they'll be appearing in the catalog in bits and drops. One of these, a new sandblasted Prince, is posted now. I've also still got the Talbert Briar Halloween Pumpkin King to finish, which I'm seriously hoping I can get done this year, given that he's been in process since 2017! That sketch to the left has been on our front page for a loooong time...

March 30th - Bizzy, bizzy months... My wife is recovering excellently from her hip replacement and colon surgery and is now back in the workshop with me fulltime, for the first time in nearly three years! We're having a great time together though, and she's out there now drilling about a dozen tenons as I write this. Those of you who follow our Instagram page already know this, but part of this month was spent in developing a new rustication technique for our pipes. I spent about a week experimenting with twenty or thirty different cutters and blades and saws, working to develop a rustication look that was fundamentally different from the usual coral-like carvings, and what I got was something I've dubbed "crosshatch" because the idea came to me from my years of doing pen & ink illustration. I've been working on a number of pipes with this finish and have now posted several at once to our Ligne Bretagne catalog.

February 13th - First new pipes of the new year! January passed pretty much in a flash, made up almost entirely of running back and forth to the hospital and doctors and my wife's physical therapy sessions, due to her hip replacement. Now we are - FINALLY - back to normal work and I've just posted the first couple of brand new Ligne Bretagnes to come off the workbench.

November 28th, 2018 - It's holiday shopping time at Talbert Pipes! I write with news of more new pipes, or in this case, more new "old" pipes - I've posted some more of our surgery-donation pipes and there are some great gems in there.  There are a pair of older Ligne Bretagnes that have never seen a match, but the bulk of the new arrivals are in the Talbert Briar catalog.  There's a brand "new", UNSMOKED Talbert Yule Pipe from 2000 in perfect condition, plus a "Golden Ratio" billiard that some folks might remember from the pipe forums, a bamboo-shanked blast, and more. Also, don't forget, we've still got a couple of estates from other makers from my own collection available here. Any of these should make excellent gifts for the pipe collector in your life, so please send us some business - We need all the funds we can raise!  My wife and business partner Emily is going into her second surgery in December (Hurray, Merry Christmas...?) and I'll be posting both new pipes and more of these older pipes to try and generate as much income as we can to help cover her surgery bills.  For the full story on that, and if any of you very fine hobbits are interested in donating, we have a GoFundMe page posted where we're also trying to bring in as much cash as possible, as two hospital surgeries on a pipecarver's salary are... Well, you can imagine.  Visit our GoFundMe.

November 4th - Hello world! Yes, we are still alive. It's a bit mind-boggling that I've not updated the front page since January, but while I've posted a number of pipes since then, they've all been one here and one there, nothing big enough in numbers to constitute a full site update with email notices and all. But, here we are back at last with a pretty huge update, and possibly more pipes now posted to the site than we've ever had available at one time before. There are many Talbert Briars, both unsmokeds and estate, several new Ligne Bretagnes, one pretty spectacular Goblin, and even some estate pipes and rare tobaccos from my own collection on our Pens & Misc page.

A couple of other things have come back to life also, including...

The Talbert Pipes Blog, which has gotten a new post about pipe collectability, and also our rather silly web comic, Giant Radioactive Monsters Eloquently Discuss Collectible Tobacco Pipes, which has gotten several new strips over the past month or two.

So many people asked me about Pumpkins this October that I totally lost track due to overload and hurricane chaos (more on that below), but there IS one single Talbert Halloween Pipe in the works, which is a very large, very sinister Pumpkin... but I didn't even get close to finishing it in time for Halloween. Now I'm debating whether to go ahead and finish it, or just save it till next October. Those of you who follow our Instagram page have already seen it -

Sharp-eyed folks might recognize it as the pipe from that little paper sketch above left.

In other news, circumstances have pushed us into setting up a GoFundMe page because, in short, my wife had cancer AND a split and abscessed tooth, and her medical bills have piled onto us in a not-fun monstrous way. The full story is on the GoFundMe page. If anyone is able, please help out. Donations are simple and easy, and we need every penny we can get, because...

Well, here's the story of our year. Since I wrote that opening post in January, my wife's father's dementia worsened rapidly. We spent the first half of our year struggling to be caregivers while keeping ourselves afloat, barely - thus the dearth of updates and new pipes since then. Eventually he was permanently committed to a home for end-of-life care and for some months, our lives revolved around him and helping and supporting Em's 86 year old mom throughout the whole grueling experience.

Eventually, he passed away, with both his wife and his daughter sitting by his bed holding his hands, which was maybe the only bright spot in all that he went through those final months. Then there was the funeral to handle, and after that, trying to offer Emily's mom as much support as we could. Unfortunately, not long after her father's death, my wife had a jaw ache diagnosed as a split tooth that had begun to abscess and worse, the dentist could not do the needed surgery on her because her blood pressure was high. Like, WAY high...

This prompted more medical tests which found that she had early stage colon cancer.

Sooo... In late summer "getting back to work" flipped immediately over into "hospitals and surgery". Over the course of one week, Emily had her tooth extracted, had a horrible blistering welt skin reaction to the pain medication which prompted an emergency trip for more meds, and then went into the hospital for colon surgery at 4am that Friday.

My September went from the "Working on Halloween Pipes" plan to going back and forth to the hospital, then later looking after Emily as she recovered at home.

One might think that was excitement enough for one year, but then Hurricane Michael hit Greensboro in October. My 86 year old mother-in-law, just recovering from losing her husband a few months before, was sitting in her living room watching as the city power pole by her driveway snapped off and crashed in the street, complete with exploding transformer, and another tree fell across her car and front yard. We got the call in the middle of the howling storm, which took out half the stoplights and power in Greensboro, and by the time we got to her house, it looked like her neighborhood had been bombed. We had to bring her home with us as her house had no power and was draped with hanging electrical and phone lines.

And that was pretty much our October... We realized very quickly that between the lost working time of the past year plus the HUGE hospital and surgery bills capped with even more lost working time due to the storm and helping with the fallout from the storm (car repairs, tree removal, etc) that there was simply no way we'd be able to handle the mountain of crisis expenses without help, thus our reluctant decision to create our GoFundMe -

I do not like these GoFundMe things because my general impression is that it has become a beggar's site overcrowded with people asking for free cash for a new couch or whatever, but we talked about it and concluded that if anything qualifies as a genuinely deserving cause, it would be all of the grief and difficulty we've been through this year. So in closing, if you can send a few pennies our way, it would be MUCH appreciated. Let's hope the year has exhausted its supply of nasty surprises, because we're both very ready to get back to making pipes again!


January 10th - Hello and welcome to 2018 at the Talbert Pipes workshop! I hope everyone had a happy and survivable holiday season. I'm a little amazed that we managed to survive 2017, talk about a tumultuous year... But here's hoping for bigger and better things to come. Today I've posted five new pipes to the Ligne Bretagne catalog - Four LBs and one Collector - and you can see them here. There's some excellent news about LB Collectors also, which is explained on the new Collector's catalog page (and I'll probably be adding it to a Pipe Blog post soon also). Those of sharp eye might also notice that my catalog photos have improved a bit. It's somewhat required in this age of Instagram filters to "snazz up" pipe photos but I didn't want to stray too far into the territory of "All FX, minimal pipe", so I hope I've found a good balance that looks a wee bit better while still presenting clear, straightforward pics that tell the buyer what he or she is getting.

There is also, eventually, a full-scale site revamp coming, but that's still off in the future. I plan on greatly simplifying the site layout, offering some new buying options, automating more of my update process, and more, but of course that's a HUGE investment of time and time is the thing I have least of, excepting perhaps for money. It's well past time for a refresh, though - When I built this current site, I wrote it all out in a text editor, which should tell you how many years it's been, now that we're in the age of WordPress and readymade templates driving everything. Onwards and upwards!