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2001 Estate Talbert Briar Bamboo-Shank 

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 Price: $SOLD
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The quick story - I've recently gotten hold of a large cache of my older pipes as part of a generous gift to help us pay my wife's cancer surgery expenses. Over the next weeks, I'll be gradually posting them as I get them cleaned, inspected, etc. Many of these pipes are NEW and UNSMOKED and have been part of a display collection, sometimes for as much as 20 years!

And speaking of 20 years, well... OK, 2001 wasn't quite 20 years ago yet, but sometimes it sure feels like it. This is from my third year of fulltime professional pipemaking. Still rough around the edges, but as I've said before, there was no "pipemaking internet" to learn from back then - no How-To videos on YouTube, etc. You had to figure it out for yourself. However, each year of fulltime carving was worth about five years of part-time hobby carving, at least in experience and chances to screw up, so I was learning fast by that point. And I'm overall pretty pleased with this one, looking at it now. It has a distinctly Ashton-esque character to the sandblasting style, and overall the pipe looks like a slightly wilder version of something that might have come out of a classical English pipe factory. I mentioned in another catalog description how perceptions of bamboo have changed over the years - Back when I did this, the simple long pieces were the norm, usually with two knuckles max, and today's tightly-knuckled bamboo shanks with 15 knuckles crammed into an inch of length were nowhere on the horizon yet.

I think the thing I like most about this is the simple color harmony, though. I debated once again as to whether to re-sandblast this one, to remove the last of the rim darkening, but I opted not to because age and smoking have brought the bowl into a near-perfect color harmony with the stem and bamboo shank, and I'd hate to mess that up by returning the bowl to a tan color. I did a bit of internal tweaking to the stem to improve the airflow, then cleaned and re-carbonized the bowl, but otherwise kept the alterations to a minimum here, as it's a beautiful piece as it is. Also unusually lightweight for its size - It's a pretty big pipe overall, so be sure you like Group 5's before buying!