I have a large stock of smaller briar blocks that I’ve occasionally puzzled over what to do with. It’s good quality stock, very well-aged, but just a bit too small per block to make a decent-sized “average” pipe (such as a billiard, poker, etc). I was looking at them and imagining different possibilities when it occurred to me that I should use some organic design that didn’t require a shank, enabling me to use the majority of the block for the bowl rather than a small section, and this led to a quick sketch of a snail/nautilus-like design.
Most shapes like this only turn up in the upper echelons of the price ranges, but I was curious to see if I could manage to produce a simple version for a Ligne Bretagne price – a tough trick, since the bowls could not be fraized and would have to be shaped entirely by hand. I made a fair number of concessions compared to the sort of work I’d put into a Talbert variant of this (mostly in the level of detailing of the “tail”), but overall it was a worthwhile experiment and made an excellent “proof of concept”. I was disappointed in one aspect – the design is profitable for direct sales only, not for wholesale distribution, so this is a pipe shape that probably won’t be turning up at P&P for retail sale. But, otherwise I’m really pleased with the little beastie – getting a smooth on the first try was a nice surprise (!) and I think it’s a very neat shape for this price range. Plus, the design allows nearly the entire briar block to be used for the bowl, producing a bowl chamber that’s more group 4 rather than the group 2-3 that could otherwise be cut from such blocks.
The remaining FdP Talbert Briars are shortly to be shipped to Pipe & Pint. I must say, I was a bit disappointed that only one of them sold, as I believe they were some of my better work, but in all honesty I really wasn’t expecting to see any sell since “group pipes” tend to max out around the 200 euros cost range. In any event, the others were NOT stamped with the FdP logo, and I’m confident they will all find good homes through direct sales (If anyone wants to buy one direct before they ship to P&P, contact me this weekend because they’ll all be going in the mail on Monday). It’s going to be hard to part with the #1 pipe……
I’ve started another set of Ligne Bretagne FdPs, but in between we did a couple of mortas, as I was about to go crazy making the FdP shape over and over again (I could never work for a factory!). All of these new pipes are pretty quirky and fun, and the churchwarden is way cool! These also are for direct sale, so if anyone is interested in the snail above or either of these mortas, please email me.
Morta Classic #64
Pipe is SOLD