Today s work consists of the first pipe of 2002. I m not exactly sure how it started but one year I was talking with collector Bruce Harris right after NewYear. I told him I had just made the first pipe of that year. He told me he d be interested in seeing it. He decided to take the pipe and I marked it first pipe of the year. Since then I ve always asked Bruce if he d like the first pipe. This year I contacted him before the pipe was made and asked him if he d like me to make something special. I had just put some pipes on the web for the Atlanta show and he told me he liked SB 316 and BT 74, why not do a cross between the two.
The understanding is whatever finish comes up is what he ll get , for it to be truly the first pipe.
I picked one of the widest medium blocks I had so as to get a good width for the volcano. The Plateaux was nice and even so I turned the block upside down to incorporate that feature into the design. I did nt even look at the graining as I was more concerned with the shape. When I turned the top part of the pipe on the lathe I saw a perfect radial straight grain running from the rim of the bowl down to the shank.I started getting excited! But there still was the other half of the pipe that was an unknown and the grain could have run off at any point. I rough sanded it and wet it to see what the grain was like. It continued perfectly. I carefully shaped the rest of the pipe. Got lucky as a couple of sandpits came out and the results are below:
At this point I mailed the pix to Bruce and said I think I might have hit a pipe of Gold Star quality, which is my highest grade. I said before I graded it I send it to him for his opinion. After seeing the pipe , he agreed. The next step was to make a regular stem for the pipe as you can t put a star in a military bit and to stamp the pipe. I did so this morning; the pipe now has two stems:
The pipe is also stamped underneath Pristine, First 02, Size 6 and has the new American date stamp which has American and /2 in an oval on the bottom of the pipe. All pipes since 200 have been dated in this fashion. A pretty good start to the new year !
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