August 29th, 2015
We finally managed to squeak away for a small two day vacation earlier this week - Our first vacation since last Fall. We had a great time in the mountains and the weather was perfect, and better yet, we came home with a lot of new pipe ideas to try out in the next few weeks. First up, though, is the continuation of the Ligne Bretagne flood that I started last week. Late summer is traditionally the slowest time of the year for pipe sales so I've got a LOT of Ligne Bretagnes lined up in the workshop in an attempt to actually get some inventory onto the site so people won't keep complaining that we never have any stock. The result is that I'll be posting new LBs regularly for the next couple weeks, most likely, though I don't know what the odds are that I'll have anything else to equal the two smooth "Bing" billiards in this latest update. Four new pipes posted, have a look!
August 20th - I've just posted five new Ligne Bretagnes - Four to our catalog page here, and one to our Etsy page. I've been finishing and posting them all through this week and will continue through the weekend and into next week. The last half of August is traditionally one of the slowest times of the year in the pipe biz - It's hot, no one's thinking about smoking, everyone's ready for the summer to be over, and everyone's spare cash is tied up in buying school supplies for their kids for September. I figured this would be the perfect time to flood the site with new Ligne Bretagnes in hopes that we could finally have some ongoing inventory to head off some of the "You never have any pipes for sale!" complaints.
August 7th - Geez, it's been longer than I thought since the last update! I had a bout of summer sickness that laid me out for a few days, which didn't help, but am back in the shop now and have just posted four new Cuttys to the Ligne Bretagne catalog. It's always fun doing multiple variations of the same shape together - It's a bit of an education, really, because it's good training in learning to see the smaller details, and finding ways to make each one distinct from the others, with its own personality, even while sharing the same overall shape. In these four pipes alone, we've got Bakelite stems, ebonite stems, straight pipes, bent pipes, natural blasts, unfinished blasts, and a couple comparative renditions of our Autumn Harvest finish.
July 22nd - BIG update this evening! I've just posted eight new pipes to the site. They're all Ligne Bretagnes, but they run the gamut form a rare rusticated piece to a single grade 5 smooth bulldog to a handmade Collector, and on top of this, I'm also introducing our new Etsy shop! Before anyone freaks out, no, we're not planning on moving our pipes to Etsy any time soon. However, there is a growing and thriving pipe market on there, and I wanted to try it out as a possible alternative source of sales. Etsy offers me some benefits that my own site lacks, such as automated marking of sold items (A big plus), the easy ability to offer sales and specials, simpler inventory updating, and a readymade mobile purchasing experience. Time will tell if Etsy actually brings in any money for us, but I'm hoping it will since the easy accessibility of Etsy means it would be easier for us to market other items as well, like Emily's jewelry work. I've added a mini, live-upating catalog thumbnail view of our Etsy inventory to our Ligne Bretagne page here, also, so site visitors can easily see every pipe we have available, here in once place.
July 8th - New Goblins! I've just posted two more new Goblins to the catalog - It's definitely turning into a Goblin summer, here. October clearly can't get here soon enough for me! I've also posted three new Ligne Bretagne bulldogs, all sandblasts, but each with a different finish and overall look... including one in an all-new finish which is quite striking.
June 30th - Closing out June with the rest of our churchwardens! We've finished up the ones we started a week or so ago and they're all posted now - Four new churchwardens in several shape variations, plus a genuinely stunning bulldog in fiery finish that positively jumps off the monitor screen and practically right off the pipe when seen firsthand. Hope everyone's having a great summer so far!
June 24th - A small update today but a fun one - I've just posted a rare grade 5 Ligne Bretagne to the catalog, alongside the last Fat Dwarf for a while and the first of a new series of deep-bent churchwardens with larger bowls than the usual Ligne Bretagne.
June 17th - Welcome the first Goblins of 2015! I don't know why it's taken me this long to make any, but the Goblin mood has now definitely set in, and I'm spending my time sketching all sorts of weirdness in my sturdy. The first two Goblins of 2015 are now posted, with more to come over the rest of the summer. Maybe it's because I can already feel Fall from here...
They're not alone, though - I've also posted two new Ligne Bretagne churchwardens! I don't make churchwardens that often, as they're a pain to get right (meaning keeping the stem curves smooth and even), but I dunno, I guess, again, that I was in the mood. One of them is even a brand new shape for Ligne Bretagne, or to be specific, a brand new restyling deviation of one of the older designs that I ended up liking a lot. Whether it sells or not will decide if anyone else agrees with me!
June 8th - Panel Madness! But not by intent, though... It's just random chance that the six new pipes all posted to the Ligne Bretagne catalog page are ALL panel styles of one sort or another, in a variety of shapes and finishes including three new Fat Dwarfs.
June 2nd - Back to briar! It's weird, it seems like it's been forever since I worked on any briar pipes after all these mortas. I've started on a run of Fat Dwarves, now posted to the Ligne Bretagne catalog page, along with a HUGE, ODA+ sized LB Collector poker, which some lucky buyer is going to be able to use as a war hammer.
May 27th - Four more new Morta Collectors are posted, in a bit more variety of shapes than before. These will be the last mortas for a while - I had intended to keep making them until I used up the last of the blocks in this box I've been working from, but I can tell that I'm not far from getting tired of working on so many similar pipes, and am switching off to something else while I'm still enjoying them and have enthusiasm for them. I really, really try to avoid ever letting any workshop projects turn into slogs... It's odd, but I almost feel as if it's doing a disservice to the potential buyer, to sell him something that I was just sort of, "Ugh, get this finished" about, so I always try to move back and forth between different kinds of pipes to keep my enthusiasm high. This doesn't mean these are the last mortas ever, just that it's probably going to be a few months at least before there are any more.
May 19th - A small update for this evening! I've just posted three new sandblasted Morta Collectors, more of the long-stemmed designs that have proven so popular, as I continue working my way through the remaining smaller blocks of our Breton Morta stock.
May 9th - Geez, it's been a busy month here. Hello to everyone who's back from Chicago! I hope everyone had a great time up there in the frozen northlands. While the rest of the pipe world was partying, I've been here making pipes - and now there are five Ligne Bretagnes posted on their catalog page, along with a new Morta Collector, for anyone looking to snap up one of the Breton Morta pipes before they're all gone. I hope everyone is having a terrific Spring!
April 23rd - Huzzah! Taxes done, off, and away! We're safe from the government for another few months. To celebrate, I went into the workshop and made something really weird, just for fun... You can see it, as well as a nice collection of all-new Ligne Bretagnes, on the Ligne Bretagne catalog page.
April 9th - Well, tax season continues and Em is still madly working away in the office, trying to make up for time lost to sickness and crisis last month, but I'm back with five new pipes! Apparently it's "Back in Black" time, as all five are black - There was no theme intended, honest, but with three mortas that are naturally black and two large bulldog blasts stained that way, it's a rather tuxedo-themed update this time around.
March 31st - What a month this has been! Health issues, family in hospital, sickness... It seems like March was one crisis after another! I've only posted a few pipes over the course of the month, but I'm finally back with a semi-normal-sized update - Four new Ligne Bretagnes in mixed shapes and finishes. Let's all hope April will be a bit more calm...
March 9th - A bunch of new pipes are up! Technical description, yes. But really, I've just posted a little of everything - There's that huge new Talbert Briar natural Dublin that I previewed on Facebook, with the custom-blended stem and morta band, and then there are also several new Ligne Bretagne bulldogs, a semi-bulldog, and new Morta Collectors. So, a little something for every buyer and every taste!
February 28th - Here it is the end of February and I haven't made a single Talbert Briar yet this year, but that little omission has now been rectified with the first Talbert Briar of 2015 - A new deep-green, sandblasted Rhodesian with a custom-blended Sargasso stem and handcarved brass band! Check it out on the Talbert Pipes catalog page. Also, I've just posted SIX new Morta Collectors to the Ligne Bretagne catalog page. That last set sold out so quickly I wanted to try and get more up before the end of the month (and just managed... barely). The gradual clearing-out of the smaller morta blocks continues, and these churchwarden-style shapes have proven to be an ideal solution for getting some beautiful pipes out of the last of the Breton Morta.
February 28th - Since the last set of Morta Dukes and Dons sold out quickly, I chose to stick with my plan for the time being and continue to work my way through our remaining box of morta blocks. As a result, I've just posted four new Morta Collectors on the Ligne Bretagne page. I'm having a blast making these, and I hope it shows through in their exuberant and rather whimsical styles - Every one of them is a fun piece, though my favorite of the new set is probably the clay-style conical-bowled one - At least, that's the one I look forward most to keeping for myself if these new ones don't sell quickly!
February 7th - Back in France, I accumulated a lot of smaller morta blocks. When I say "smaller", I don't mean tiny, but rather, not suitable for a traditionally-shaped pipe with bowl and shank. If they were cut with a shank of any length, they would effectively be micro-pipes. However, our recent work with the Ligne Bretagne Dukes and Dons made me think of that stock, and some digging around produced what I'd suspected - While the blocks are too small for traditional pipes, they're ideal for Dukes and Dons... just use the entire block as the bowl! For those who like to follow the behind-the-scenes on projects like this, I've written a blog post HERE.
There were a number of challenging considerations, though. Cost was the biggest - They were all going to have to be Collectors, being handmade, which would put them in the odd position of competing with their own brand. From the quick glance, they look a lot like the recent Ligne Bretagne Dukes and Dons, but under the surface, the differences in cost are vast. The standard Ligne Bretagnes are finished from partially pre-machined stummels, ready to be worked. The morta, by contrast, had to be dug up from the Briere park, sawn apart, cut into blocks and carefully dried over 3-5 years before it could even be used. Then, each bowl needed to be drilled and shaped by hand, eating their way through my tools in the process since Breton Morta is hellishly hard stuff.
Will they sell? I have no idea. But it's an intriguing option - If they do sell and prove popular, I can make more until that last box of morta is gone. This would make me happy, as I would much rather turn it into pipes than write it off and cut it all up for bands, shank extensions, and tamper pieces. But, if there isn't any market for these at the price point they need to be to be worth making, I'll very happily keep these for my own collection and turn back to other work - For sentimentality alone, I'd be very happy to keep some of these since to me they're not just pipes, they're symbolic of our whole international adventure and are the existing foundations of the popularity of morta pipes in today's collector market. In a nutshell, they're a piece of pipe history.
January 31st - Aside from starting a new line of Talbert Pipes magnetic pipe stands for 2015, I've also been immersed in the creation of a new style of Ligne Bretagne - the Duke and/or Don shape. I've been wanting to do something like this for some time, and finally set aside the time needed to do the workshop customizing that would allow me to efficiently create many new pipes in these styles. For more technical info on the "Making Of" behind these pipes, I've just posted a new Pipe Blog entry, "Making the New Ligne Bretagnes". For everyone else, you can see seven of the new shapes in a variety of bowl designs and sizes on the Ligne Bretagne catalog page, available for sale now!
January 23rd - One of the most popular Ligne Bretagne shapes ever has been our straight poker. It's one of the larger bowl sizes and over the years, we've been fortunate enough to sell every one we've made. Alas, all good things come to an end. I haven't made any in a couple of years at least, as I thought we'd already run out of stummels. However, Emily went searching and managed to find one remaining bag of seven stummels left. One has already sold so six are left, three of which are now posted to the site and the other three are earmarked for something more unusual, possibly (They may end up being finished as they are or heavily modified, I haven't decided yet). Annnd... That will be it. When these three sell and I finish up the last three, that will be the end of the Ligne Bretagne poker shape, at least among the standard-line non-Collectors, assuming that I don't find another cache of them buried at the bottom of a crate full of billiards or something.
January 18th - The Ligne Bretagne deluge continues! Well, if one can call five new pipes a "deluge", anyway, but I'm doing my best to get some inventory up on the site after it sat empty for so much of December while I did Yule pipes. The new ones are a nice bunch - mostly bulldogs, though there's one slightly bent Canadian among them. The real standout is the new grade 5 smooth squat bulldog. It's gorgeous. Now THAT is the way to start off a year!
January 8th - Hey hey, we've all survived another year! It's been quite a ride. 2014 was a heck of an adventure, what with its massive ice storm and all, and as I type this the temperatures outside here in sunny NC are hovering around 17 degrees, which just seems blasphemous somehow. Where's our 50 degree January? But in any event, I'm back with more pipes. Eight new Ligne Bretagnes kick off the new year, in a wide variety of colors and styles with something for every taste, and some new look that haven't been seen before too! So, check them out in the catalog and see what you think - There are a couple of churchwardens, the usual passel of bulldogs, and more. I'll be back again in a few days with new Talbert Briars, and eventually I also hope to be posting some very nice handmade pipe stands as well.
Older news posts can be found here: