May 24th, 2013
It's been a pretty quiet month here - Those of you who follow my Facebook personal account will know I've been working on some articles for an upcoming sci fi magazine, which has been a wee bit distracting from the pipe work. However, I've got a small update posted tonight - Two new Ligne Bretagnes and one new, very beautiful and very unusual Talbert Briar Fantasy Bulldog. I'd hoped to have another Talbert Mushroom to go with it, but once again, those who follow my business Twitter feed know that that project went a bit south last night when the custom Sargasso green stem snapped during bending, sending me back to making a whole new stem from another material. Look for that one, plus some other new goodies, to be posted before the month is out.
May 7th - A small update to kick off the month of May - I've just posted three new Ligne Bretagnes and one Ligne Bretagne Collector to the catalog. Check them out! I know there are quite a few people out there specifically who look for LB Collectors, as they're pretty rare things (I make less than a dozen a year, on average). One of the standard LBs, the Oom-Paul, is also a bit unusual in being a system-style expansion chamber pipe. That's it for the moment, but lots more going on behind the scenes here...
April 30th - And one more update to close out April... Three new Ligne Bretagnes, including one Fat Dwarf variant that I suspect will probably sell very quickly, and the first Goblin of 2013! I couldn't believe that I hadn't made one yet this year, but then I've been working on getting more Talberts on the site so there is always a trade-off.
April 25th - Finally, another update! I've been really busy this month on a multitude of projects - We've had a seriously sick cat, I did a magazine article, a magazine comic strip, a lot of computer futzing, and more. I've also been working on a few orders so the site has been pretty dead. However, I'm back with five new pipes today and at least one more update to come before month's end. Today we have four new Ligne Bretagnes, one of which is one of the large-size Canadians that I thought I was all out of - I found three more stummels of the shape while digging through a crate for something else. Also, there's a new Talbert Briar, an ODA "Warped Poker" which I posted sneak preview pics of on Facebook something like two weeks ago (It's been a month...). It's another all-natural, unstained and unfinished, with a beautiful spalted maple bowl rim.
There are a couple of other pieces of news. One is that shoppers will now see a new Paypal "Bill Me Later" button on each catalog page under the Shopping Cart button.
For fifteen years, buyers have been asking me if we could take payments on pipes, but we've always been too small a business to be able to extend credit terms. Now, finally, buyers can get interest-free payment plans of up to 6 months from Paypal - Pay what you can, when you can, with no interest applied during the six month term. But DO pay it off in full before the six months is up, or Paypal will backcharge you for the full 6 months of interest, as with most other "Nothing down, no interest"-type payment plans. It's an ideal solution for microbusinesses like ours because we get paid, the customer gets the credit terms they want, and we don't have to worry about handling the credit line or chasing down payments. It should also be a big help for anyone wanting some of the more expensive Talbert Briars.
Also, I've posted a new article to our Pipe Blog, but it's nothing about pipes! Instead, I'm veering off topic for a comprehensive review and commentary on a pair of mechanical keyboards that I worked with this month. When you do as much writing as I do, you need a pretty serious writing tool, and I jumped at the chance to compare these higher end typing machines. Which one won? Let's just say it's the classic case of the hot girl that's hard to live with, versus the plain girl who's cozy as can be.
Finally, for Mac users who like to follow our updates, I suggest checking out the free app Monotony, which allows one to add RSS feeds to their popup OSX Notification Center in the top right. That's pretty much the ultimate convenience - No need to wait for an email, just watch the update notices appear by magic right along with your calendar dates and other notifications.
April 1st - Happy April Fool's Day! No jokes here, though - I've just posted five new pipes instead, two Talbert Briars and three Ligne Bretagnes. The LBs are more variations on those slightly bent Canadian shapes I've been making lately, while the two Talberts are both artistic derivations of the basic bent billiard design. For a bit more on this "artistic derivation" thing, I've also written an accompanying pipe blog article to go with the new Talberts, which explains in a bit more detail the design process behind them, and my feelings about the differences between doing original freehand designs and spinning personalized interpretations of classical shapes.
March 21st - Good heavens, it's been a long time since the last update! Our Facebook and Twitter followers know what I've been up to - Working on a variety of special order projects to try and get some handle on my backlog. One of those was the Pipe & Pint Anniversary Pipe, which came out pretty nicely in my opinion:
Anyway, I've just posted the first site update in over a month. There are four new Ligne Bretagnes, three of which are long-shanked Canadian bents. I'm on a run with this shape, and have several more in process which I should be posting in the very near future. Also, there's a new Talbert Briar, the "Black Gold" bulldog, which has quite a story behind its creation!
February 14th - Happy Valentine's Day! It's been a while since our last update but I've been accumulating lots of pipes in the meantime, and have posted one of the biggest updates ever. There are three new Talbert Briars and six new Ligne Bretagnes up, including one LB Collector and several that have previously been see in Facebook and G+ sneak previews. Unfortunately, a couple of the Talberts have ALREADY sold - I posted the pages early, while still writing up the Ligne Bretagne descriptions, and two of them sold right off the page with no notice given. Do you guys camp on our catalog pages or what? :D Not that I'm complaining, mind...! Anyway, everything new is now posted and I'm working on more pipes yet, so with luck there will be one more update this month. In the meantime...
January 23rd - New pipes! In a big push to get at least something in all of our site catalogs, I've just added 6 new Ligne Bretagnes, including a nice selection of higher grade smooths this time around, plus a neat churchwarden. So, that gives us stock on the Ligne Bretagne page and the Talbert Briar page - Next I need to try and get some Goblins up. But before that, there will be more LBs, as I have another six or seven in process and close to finishing, and I hope to have them posted before the end of the month.
This batch of Ligne Bretagnes includes a little marketing test that I've recently been pondering about - Which would sell better, traditionally stained and polished smooths or unstained, matte-unfinished smooths. The new update includes two of each, and I'm curious to see which will go first.
I should also mention that this bit of pondering has been happening on our new Google+ Talbert community page. I will be the first to admit that I had basically written G+ off for dead, and had been considering deleting my account and biz page there, but the addition of the new "communities" feature has really livened things up. Instead of it being simply a depopulated Facebook, the communities are independent discussion and sharing forums within the network, dedicated to specific topics. In our case, the Talbert community is an offshoot of our G+ Talbert Pipes business page, and offers a convenient forum for back-and-forth interaction with fans of my work. I check it regularly so feel free to join up and leave any questions or comments you may have!
January 12th - Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a fun and enjoyable new year celebration, without too many dire hangovers or police interventions. It seems like a very long time since I last updated the website, which I see was in early December. I delivered all the Yule pipes to Pipe and Pint (Sold out in one day, too!) and then mainly settled into enjoy the holiday season with friends and family, along with doing some serious makeover work on the little web comic that I write and draw as my "spare time" fun (High point - Three different people have told me that my web comic's Christmas strip made them cry. This is not the sort of reaction I'm accustomed to getting in my work as a pipemaker). But, it's a new year and it's time for some new stuff in the catalogs! I've just posted the first Ligne Bretagne, a large-size straight billiard blast, as well as two new Talbert Briars, both of which are exceedingly fat and silly. That will be all the Talberts for the moment because Emily just informed me that we've run out of leather bags! So, no new Talberts until the bag shipment comes in. I'm sure I can find some other items to work on for the next couple of weeks, though...
December 4th - And one more little update to close out the month! I just posted three new Ligne Bretagne naturals to the LB catalog - Two sandblasts and one rusticated. Next up, Yule pipes!
November 27th - A small update tonight - I've just posted two new Ligne Bretagne cutty shapes (One smooth, one blast) and a very unusual Talbert Fantasy Bulldog in a new finish. I'll probably have another small update before the end of the month, but mostly I'm working on this year's Yule pipes at the moment, so that's kind of eating up the majority of my working time.
November 16th - It's been quiet here so far this month, but things are about to pick up again. For starters, I have just posted two new Talbert Briars and one new Goblin. One of the Talberts is the first of this year's Yule pipe set. It's also the only one I'll be selling here on our site - The rest will be sold through Pipe & Pint. I hope to get them over to their shop by the end of the month, if all goes well. There's a lot more info on this in the pipe's description, for those who might be interested.
Also, one other bit of info - Most of our traffic here still comes from our venerable email notice list, to which I send news of site updates, but we're also on the usual social networks. One of these, our Facebook business page, has recently been crippled by Facebook along with all the other business & fan pages on the site in an attempt to arm-twist extra money out of the userbase by making us pay for "promoted" posts. Small businesses like mine simply can't afford to pay out several hundred dollars per news update, so the effect has been that many of the folks who've followed our FB page haven't been seeing all of our updates. I use our FB business page to post sneak previews of upcoming pipes, special offers, and general workshop updates. If you have 'Liked' our Talbert Pipes Facebook page in the past and want to continue receiving our updates on your Wall Feed, there is a way to ensure you can continue to get all our posts. Just go to our Facebook page, click on the button that says 'Liked' as shown below, and be sure you have "Get Notifications" checked. With this checked, we bypass the promoted posts system completely and you'll continue to get all our FB updates on your wall.
Older news posts can be found here: