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Ligne Bretagne Pipe #1767lb

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What a trial this pipe was! Some pipes really put up a fight, and this one certainly did. The horn stem is one of the most beautifully-grained ones I've seen, further spiced up with the addition of an acrylic swirled ring , and we picked out a really nice looking Prince bowl to go with it, but... holy frijoles, the thing might as well have been morta or solid rock, as hard as it was! Sandblasting it made it... shiny. Sandblasting it some more *started* to show a little surface texture, and in the end, I think we spent more time sandblasting this thing than we did shaping it! The reward for all that work was that it finally did show a really nice ring grain pattern, but we never were able to get a really deep or dramatic blast out of it, thus the marked-down grade for what really has the grain and detailing of a grade 3 pipe. It'll be a great bargain for somebody, though, with the added benefit of being pretty nearly indestructible, as far as I can predict, given how hard it was. If I had to pick something for someone to smoke all day long, it would be this.

The smooth rim is polished and lightly tweaked with contrast staining to bring out the very-tight bird's-eye all around the top. We knew we needed something dramatic for the bowl, stain-wise, for it to stand up to that amazing stem grain, so eventually we decided on a two-toned effect, since we haven't done any in a while. I'd previously done these two-toned effects by hand, just carefully blocking with the sandblasting gloves and trying to spray carefully, but Emily got all proactive this time and made a "soft" mask that could sit around the bowl about midway down to protect the shank from blasting and give a better faded effect, in a more accurate circle. I'm pleased - The result is way more precise in its fade than my previous pipes with this look.