December 6th, 2013
In keeping with my plan of posting everything I finish as I finish it, for the aid of holiday shoppers looking for gifts during the next two weeks, I've just posted one new Ligne Bretagne Collectors, a long-shanked tavern-style Dublin.
December 3rd - I've just posted a new Fat Dwarf to the Ligne Bretagne page. This is the last one for a while, since I am out of stems for them again and probably won't order more until after New Year's. Also, the smooth one from the last update is once again available, as the sale for it fell through, Look for smaller, more frequent site updates for the next couple of weeks as I try to put everything we finish on the site quickly, for those who are hunting for holiday gifts.
November 30th - The second of this year's Talbert Yule Pipes is now posted on ebay. Also, I've added three more Ligne Bretagne Fat Dwarves to our catalog. We're working our way through the batch that I drilled in early November, and will post several more before we finish out this run. With luck we will have some other Ligne Bretagnes posted too, for everyone looking for a little extra Christmas present!
The Ebay auction worked out OK, though Ebay's "bite" out of the selling price is pretty huge. However, I am happy that at least everyone who might have been interested had a chance to see the bid and bid on it over the course of the auction. In the course of talking with various people about our email notices, however, one interesting point has come up - The recurring email complain I will get is, "I got your notice, went to your site, and everything was sold." In a recent instance, the fellow had attached the original email notice and commented that it arrived the day *after* the email notices were sent... Strange, I thought! Checking into it, I learned he'd set his email notices to arrive in "Digest" form instead of as "Individual Emails". Ergo, the mailbot was sitting on email notices and not dispatching them to him until later, sometimes a day or more. This led me to wonder how many others might be having the same problem! So, if you're having delays receiving our email notices, please double-check your email settings and make sure they're set to Individual Emails instead of Digest. That way, you'll get the notices the instant they go out, instead of after a delay. I hope this may help solve a few people's delayed-notice problems!
November 21st - Lots of new pipes are up! I've just posted five new Fat Dwarfs on our Ligne Bretagne page. These haven't been seen in a long time (At least 2 years!) because I haven't had the materials for their extra-fat stems, but now they're finally back and are as chubby and silly as usual.
The big news, though, is that the first of this year's Talbert Yule Pipes is up. As in the past couple of years, it's another bone-white bleached briar look, with a silver band and either black ebonite or faux-ivory stems. The difference this year, however, is that I'm selling the Talbert Yules on Ebay instead of direct from our site. I've had a lot of complaints in recent months about lack of inventory ("By the time I get to your site, everything is already sold!") so I thought I'd try an experiment and post a few pipes on Ebay - That way everyone is guaranteed to have a chance to buy them over the course of their auction period. I'm posting the links to the pipes on our Talbert catalog page as they are finished. You can go straight to the ebay page of the first pipe here.
October 31st - Happy Halloween! I've just posted two new Goblins for the occasion! I hope everyone has had a marvelous October season filled with oddity and terror. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to wander the streets of our little town by night...
(Your Humble Narrator)
October 21st - New Halloween Pipe! I've just posted the second Talbert Halloween pipe this year, the Mad Scientist. For those who are interested in the backgrounds of how pipes like this come to be, check out the extra-long Pipe Blog post where I detail every step of the design process, and explain how the shape was created and tweaked in its long road from concept to pipe. But that's not all! I've also posted four new Ligne Bretagnes, all of which were created during and around the making of the new Halloween pipe - When you spend a whole evening working on frustrating design issues, it's nice to be able to just go make something.
October 12th - Here's a little mid-month update - Two new Ligne Bretagne sandblasts (One green, one natural) and a Goblin Churchwarden. Most of my working time is going into my current Halloween pipe project, but I hope these new additions will be entertaining for the folks who might not quite be shopping in that price range. Also, I've finally updated the Pipe Blog with a post about my own personal philosophy of handling emotional bumps, and how important it is to be able to get back into a positive mindset when you're making your living doing creative work. Now it's back to the workshop for more Halloween fun!
September 29th - One more update before the month is out. For those who are not shopping in the Halloween Pipe budget range, I've just posted three new Ligne Bretagnes, including a drop-dead stunning grade 5 unstained prince that's a real beauty.
September 24th - Halloween pipe season! Yes, it's here, the first Talbert 2013 Halloween Pipe is posted. I hope to do another one or two before Halloween gets here, but we'll see how time works out - There are also a number of seasonal activities I'd like to do next month as well. I had a great time working on this first pipe, and managed to listen my way through all of both Joe Hill's "NOS4A2" audiobook and the last book of "The Strain" trilogy as well (FWIW for readers - NOS4A2 was excellent, as expected, thought really much more of a Christmas horror than one for Halloween season. "The Strain", by contrast, fell victim to a downhill blah from which it never recovered. The first book was fantastic, the second a slog, and the third a downbeat deus ex machina of the worst sort. Bummer.)
September 17th - Another small update to try and keep some stock on the site while I work on Halloween pipes. This time around, I've got two new Ligne Bretagnes and three estate pipes from Pipe & Pint - I was talking to Larry and told him I needed something to fill out a site update and he asked if we could post these three pipes for him, so they're up now - Two Ligne Bretagne estates and one Talbert Briar which has somehow remained unsmoked since 2001! So, basically a 12 year old new pipe for sale.
September 8th - Work on the first Halloween Nightmare Blowfish continues apace, but groceries must be paid for too, so I've posted four new (and rather more affordable!) pipes. There's one new Ligne Bretagne Oom-Paul, a couple of Ligne Bretagne Collectors, and even a new wee-sized Goblin! Autumn season is most definitely here...
September 1st - New pipes on the site! I finished up the Seattle Club POY project and am on to other things. I had picked out a small mountain of workable stummels for the Seattle project and had a few left over, so there are three new Ligne Bretagne billiards posted, in a variety of finishes. Also, I finally finished up a Talbert Briar Ibex that I've had rattling around the workshop ever since 2005! You can read about its bizarre history in its description text. In other good news, the sharp-eyed will notice that our Twitter feedbox on this page's sidebar is now working again. Sometime semi-recently, it completely broke due to mysterious changes in the Twitterverse, and the box vanished. Emily spent some time yesterday surfing the web for widget support and constructed this whole new box for our Twitter posts, so once again, those who don't have Twitter can still see our previews and random comments from right here on our site page.
Next up is the Facebook page feed from the bottom of the page. That one broke too, and that's her next project, to figure out why and get it working again so even non-FBers can see what workshop updates we post.
Also, in closing, it's now September... and Halloween pipe season is starting. I plan on doing little other than Halloween pipes for the next two months, to be posted to the site as they're completed. First up will be a Nightmare Blowfish...
August 14th - Still working on the big Pipe Club project, but I had to take a little break after so many billiards and do something unusual. In this case, "unusual" took the form of a radical new Goblin in Very Large size, along with a pair of new Ligne Bretagne Collectors (One Liverpool, one ODA poker). That's it for the moment, for pipe news. I should be finishing up the club pipes fairly soon, just in time to start Autumn pipe season...
...and speaking of things that go bump in the night, I have been up to one other side activity recently, writing a couple of articles for the new UK magazine Space Monsters (I also write and draw a little comic strip for them). The magazine is aimed at fans of classic SF and fantasy cinema and TV, defined in this case as roughly from the 30's to the late 70's. My own articles cover the Sinbad films of Ray Harryhausen and a crazy list of giant bug movies, and the first issue has articles on Godzilla, Space: 1999, The Blob, Star Trek, and more. Check it out, if you're interested in that sort of thing!
July 15th - As expected, working on the current club pipe project has kept me busy the past couple of weeks, but I did manage to get a few Ligne Bretagnes finished in and around the Big Project. Four new ones are posted!
June 30th - Poker Madness! Every so often I get these urges to do a bunch of shapes along one theme. Usually I do this with the standard line Ligne Bretagnes, but this time around I decided to do all Ligne Bretagne Collectors (with one standard shape thrown in for good measure). It also made an excellent opportunity to test out something new. We've been talking to our sandblasting media supplier about our work, and specifically about the recurring problem of old, hard briar - That is, a good bit of my briar block stock is 30 years old or more (Hell, I guess 40 now...Time flies...) and it's extremely hard to sandblast. I can get finely detailed surfaces but not particularly deep or craggy ones, and we talked over some different medias to use for the first pass of what would be a two-media solution. The result was that I came home with a trunk full of new media to try out, and the four new LB Collectors in this site update were the perfect subjects for my experimentation.
In a nutshell, the process involves cleaning out the sandblaster, filling it with the very aggressive media recommended, doing the initial few stages of blasting on the recalcitrant stummels, then emptying the cabinet out and refilling it with finer media for several stages of final detailing. It's a complex process that adds a lot of time, and as a result, these Collectors are mostly higher in price than prior ones. It's a bit in the air as to whether I will continue using this technique on future Ligne Bretagnes, or confine it strictly to Talbert Briars, but regardless of what happens, I think this poker set made for an intriguing visual comparison test of old method vs new.
June 24th - It's update time again, and today I have something really cool - Another long-shanked Ligne Bretagne Collector bulldog AND a new (and very bizarre) Goblin! Also, three new Ligne Bretagnes as well, so there's a little something for everyone.
I plan to do one more small update later this week and then the site will probably be quiet for a big chunk of July because I'll be working on a pipe project for the Seattle Pipe Club. What that realistically means is that the site will be dead for a couple weeks and then I'll post a pair of really bizarre freehands, which I've made for a desperate change of pace after doing 20 billiards :D So, that's what next month will look like!
June 12th - Just a small update today - Four new Ligne Bretagnes are posted to their catalog page. Somebody buy them quick, one of my backup hard drives just died this morning and needs replacement! :D (Note - This is not a serious problem due to my "Triple-backup-everything" philosophy - It's really very nice to know I can shoot holes in my computer if I want to, and not lose any data...)
It's possible this site may eventually get rewritten in WordPress. Emily has been learning WP lately as an intro to her working more with Pipe & Pint on their website. Also, I'm tired of having to use Dreamweaver to maintain my site - It's a big bloated monolith of a program and way more than I need, and WordPress offers all those tantalizing add-ons such as easy mobile versions of sites. Not going to happen anytime soon, but don't be surprised if the Talbert website doesn't sneak in a big "Version 4.0" revision somewhere down the line.
Older news posts can be found here: