Here is the classic example of a discarded idea, something that looked good on paper but proved unfeasible in real life. In the profile sketch at the lower right, one can see the original design concept – a freehand design accented with multiple crescent shapes. My intention was to turn an olivewood blank to the size of the joiner, then curve the briar of the outer crescent smoothly into the olivewood.

Unfortunately, this proved unfeasible in reality – curving outwards from the olivewood left the edges where the briar met the olivewood very, very thin, and they wanted to split and chip. To strengthen the briar, the curve was gradually filed backwards to a flatter meeting, which lost the curve of the sketch and ended up looking dumb. A bit of thinking and sketching produced a new idea for a stem that will (I hope) be equally distinctive but a good bit more practical in assembly. In retrospect, I should have made the whole crescent from a single piece of briar instead of adding the olivewood for the join. Sometimes pipemaking seems to be en eternal journey into the land of What-Not-to-Do!

Categories: Pipe Blog


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