I’ve just finished up one longstanding project, to turn all my old pre-drilled blocks that I’ve accumulated over the years into pipes – I first posted on this subject in blog entry Variations, and in the pic to the left you can see the very last pipe made from those old blocks, a rusticated Ligne Bretagne Collector with a horn shank ring (It isn’t on the website yet, but will get posted with the next update). So, that’s one box nearly emptied, and a little shelf space nearly cleared for newer inventory.
What’s left now are the other blocks in that box, a pile of small briar chunks that I’ve also accumulated over the last ten years or so, made up of excellently-grained wood sections cut from larger blocks that had significant flawed areas. Typically, they were cases where 1/2 or 2/3 of a plateau block consisted of perfect tight grain, and the other 1/2 to 1/3 was bald. I tend to just saw these down to the usable wood and set them aside for future use… and then forget about them, leaving them to accumulate. Here I have a pile of these that need to be used, so they’re all getting turned into pipes over the coming month(s) (Except for that one ebauchon in there – No idea HOW that got mixed in, but it needs to go back to the ebauchon shelves).
I enjoy projects like this because they’re creatively challenging – None of these are going to make large pipes, and it will be interesting to see if I can even get interesting designs out of them. The less wood you have to work with, the more limited your options become, but also the challenge is greater to come up with something interesting. The first Talbert from this stock is already in the works (As seen in my Twitter preview pic from last night) and it looks to be a fun morph of a tall organic shell design. Some of these blocks just aren’t usable for pipes – There are a couple that are simply too small to do anything worthwhile with, and they’ll become handmade tampers. The others, though… Well, let’s just say that the next month should be a good one for Talbert Briar fans who are looking for smaller-bowled pipes. For a better size comparison, check the pic below, which includes a typical full-size plateau block in the upper left. You can virtually look at that and see how these smaller blocks were created, via cutting away rough tops and large flawed areas to zero in on the perfectly-grained section within.