As many of you know, I have a site devoted to my carving, Windjammer Pipes. I have decided that site should remain a showcase for my carving and any discussion of my processes or experiences in carving will remain here on my blog, which would seem logical. Any carver, whether the professional or hobbyist, knows that Briar can be unpredictable. It is a gorgeous wood, but unknown headaches can lie buried beneath. I have heard of carvers going through 3 or more pieces of wood just to complete a pipe because it was riddled with flaws or one particularly large monster was hiding just below the surface. Many will not do custom orders for this very reason. I have recently experienced this headache, but with a pleasant outcome.
This piece was started as a variation of a Dublin that I had seen here. Although I do not like to “copy” a pipe, this shape just really jumped at me with its clean crisp form. I happened to have a piece of wood that fit it perfectly and I jumped on it. After getting into the wood a bit, to the point where I wanted to be, or at least close, it showed several surface flaws. I was at a crossroads, I was not going to abandon the piece, the flaws were minor in my mind, but I knew, it was detour time. I had a few options available in order to work around these flaws. Rustication was on the top of the list, but after really looking at this piece I decided it had some very nice grain that I didn’t want to cover up. Partial rustication could work, but I am on the fence about partials. If done right they can be gorgeous, but I just didn’t want to go that route. So, I took a little inspiration from Design Berlin pipes, and they do a really neat looking fluted bowl. So, off I went, back to sanding, and came out with this. The fluting is a variation of Design Berlin, but still unique in that it shows off more pronounced panels that display the grain.
As far as the remainder of this piece, I think I am going to keep it simple. No fancy shank extensions, and a basic vulcanite bit. The thought of a silver band has crossed my mind, but I really want to see how the staining comes out first. I have a feeling this one should be a beauty when done. I have a couple others in the works, a Belge and a basic billiard as well as another request for a custom piece, so there should be a bit of progress on those in the near future. My last custom pipe is finished, and I have just been too busy to take some pictures and get it posted, but fear not, soon.