Trying out materials from different suppliers is always an adventure. Some time ago, I ordered a “medium” sized block of plateaux briar wood from a vendor who came highly recommended. When I got the block in the mail, I was at a loss as to what to do with it–it was so big! It was 2 1/2″ tall and a good 3″ long. I had planned to make one pipe out of it, selecting the best figure and discarding the rest, but now I began to wonder…. Could I get two small pipes out of one block?
I drew out and then erased several designs on the side of the block until I had a plan. I cut it neatly in half, so as to make myself two small blocks fit for tobacco chambers about 1 1/4″ deep. (I am grateful for backsaws that cut thin kerfs!) Here are the results:
This bent Dublin takes advantage of the natural top of the briar burl–called “plateaux”–creating a rough, irregular surface to contrast with the smooth surface of the pipe’s sides. The lucite stem came from my first pipe kit. I broke it while assembling the kit, and it has been lying around my workspace ever since. I finally repaired it and fitted it to this pipe, which I think it fits pretty well.
The second pipe is a churchwarden. Although I enjoy doing freehand shaping, I also need to work on making some classic shapes. This is one of my favorites–the “apple” shape, which I should say doesn’t look at all like an apple to my eye. Nevertheless, I find it a pleasing shape, and I think the grain pattern in the wood complements the shape pretty well.
As usual, these pipes are both available for purchase at my Etsy shop.