I don't understand rusticated pipes

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

Log in

Search on Site

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

Recent Posts

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

hakchuma

Preferred Member
Jan 13, 2014
771
0
To me it would seem they would be using lower quality briar and rusticate the pipe to hide flaws in the briar? Is it possible manufacturers are doing exactly that? Hiding poor quality briar under rustication and providing no cost savings? How long have rusticated pipes been around? I don't remember my dad having any when I was a kid.
I like to look at and appreciate the natural beauty of the grain while I smoke. But that is my opinion. What do you think about it?

 

freakiefrog

Preferred Member
Dec 26, 2012
745
0
Mississippi
In some cases yes there are flaws in the briar that keeps that block from being a smooth finish. However we pipe smokers are tactile folks we like the feel of the tobacco in our fingers, the way a tamper or lighter fits our hand and its the same with a pipe. Rusticated pipes offer a different felling in the hand so it gives a different smoking experience just like the different shapes do. Smoking a small straight billiard is totally different than smoking a big Danish free-hand or even a Calabash or Oom Paul.. Different strokes for different folks.

 

tbradsim1

Preferred Member
Jan 14, 2012
7,482
109
Russification does hide flaws, but there is also a reason for it, more surface area and most of the time a cooler smoke than a smooth pipe. Notice I said most of the time, also to some people better grip for us old Farts with Arthritics.

 

phil67

Preferred Member
Dec 14, 2013
2,052
1
There are also some individual pipe makers who do a fantastic and artful job of rusticating their pipes and are not doing so to hide any flaws.

 

blueeyedogre

Preferred Member
Oct 17, 2013
1,539
0
I prefer rusticated or sandblasted over smooth every time. I just think it looks better and smokes cooler.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,450
240
I have both on the rack. I'll take a "rusti" in the woods in the fall and winter more often than not as I'll most likely be wearing gloves as I smoke. The rusticated is easier to handle.
That said, as a hobby woodworker, I prefer the feel of a smooth finish in my fist.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,743
435
Rustication and/or sandblasting are used for several reasons. The goal is to make a saleable product. Briar, being a natural product, often has flaws. Even the top graded plateau has flaws, such as sand pits. If the flaw is too large or too deep to allow for reshaping to entirely remove it, the carver may opt to use rustication or sandblasting to salvage an otherwise excellent piece of wood. So it's not always a matter of using inferior grade wood. Some stummels lack particularly interesting grain and the addition of a sandblast finish increases the visual interest. Also, as has been stated above, the increased surface area aids in heat dispersion.

I appreciate the look of a well executed sandblast. It makes the pipe a much more sculptural object, one that is more interesting to turn and look at.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,313
547
Though it varies a lot, some rustication provides a significant price break while still providing a

good shape and feel for a briar pipe. A case in point would be the Stanwell brushed black and brushed

brown pipes (retailed by P&C for example). This is obviously a finish that is pretty much assembly line,

but it is handsome and serviceable, and provides a pipe -- for another example -- in a shape 86

designed by Sixten Iversson for $49.95 new. Other rustication can be quite expressive and interesting.

Does it cover flaws? I hope so. I hope they aren't rusticated over beautiful grain that should be exhibited.

But so what? Do you scorn a brilliant mathematician because he isn't an accomplished poet? Appreciate

what you have in hand. Rustication, I often like it.

 

billypm

Senior Member
Oct 24, 2013
302
1
A piece of briar with a flaw or sand pit in it is not necessarily inferior in any way. The wood may be the same age, cured the same way and have all the same smoking qualities of a flawless piece of straightgrain. It's just simply got a flaw in it. I say rusticate and/or blast that puppy-- it'll smoke great.

 

iamn8

Preferred Member
Sep 8, 2014
4,253
1
Moody, AL
There are many stunningly beautiful blasted pipes. Check out Cooke. Nothing inferior about that briar. I began with the same opinion until I recogized the artistry of Cookes pipes. Here are two of his pipes, if you ignore size, you can see the artistry.



 

jarit

Senior Member
Jul 2, 2013
333
1
I've always (well, not always, but for about ten years now) thought that the the finish of the pipe is purely a question of economics. No sane pipemaker will rusticate a well grained, flaw-free stummel because it will fetch a higher price as smooth. Good briar is not cheap, and if all the blocks with visual flaws would be cast away, I imagine the price of briar pipes in general would rise steeply.
This example is of factory made pipes, but I think the basic the same briar economics pertain to artisan pipe makers as well. Pricing is from more expensive to less expensive:
- ]If the stummel has a nice grain and no visible flaws it will become a smooth pipe. Typically: nicer the grain, the lighter the stain. (1.)
- If the stummel has a nice grain, but has sand pits and/or other flaws it will be sandblasted as this removes the flaws (often in the softer part of the briar) but exposes the grain. Again, if the blasted finish is free of visual flaws it will most likely get a lighter colour finish than a piece that does have blemishes.
- If the stummel has no real grain, or is partly bald, there's no point sandblasting it, and will be rusticated. This can be anything from a five minute dremel job, to intricate and imaginative carvings.
Fun thing is that pipe smokers have differing preferences. Some like blasted, some craved, and some prefer a smooth finish. Some like all.
(1). Some lower tier pipes get their sandpits and filled with putty and finished with dark coloured stain/lacquer to further cover them. They will be revealed sooner or later. These pipes do not age well.

 

mikestanley

Preferred Member
May 10, 2009
1,316
17
Akron area of Ohio
Rad Davis did the most beautiful rustication

I've ever seen. I don't know if he still uses

It since he began sandblasting but if I come

across one I would buy it.

Mike S.

 

kane

Senior Member
Dec 2, 2014
429
0
Here are some examples of the artful use of rustication.

The two upper pipes are W.O. Larsens with rustication used to accent a smooth finish.

The two lower pipes are Ascorti New Dears with some high relief carved rustication.

In the case of the New Dears I'm not sure if it proper to call it rustication or carving, but it seems to fit the rough finish tradition of so many Italian pipes.







 

kane

Senior Member
Dec 2, 2014
429
0
Mike S,

what is the difference between rustication and sand blasting? I thought they were the same, rustication being the name given to a sand blasted finish.

 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
16,089
1,008
Rustication is when it is carved, sandblasts have a more natural appearance where the ring grain and birdseye are exposed with a sandblasting cabinet. Big Bruce Weaver collector myself, and love his blasts.

 

phil67

Preferred Member
Dec 14, 2013
2,052
1
Sandblasted means that the pipe is simply given a sandblast finish with a... sandblaster!

Rusticating a pipe involves various tools from altered drill bits to the use of wood chisels and multitude of various other means depending on what the maker wishes to achieve.
Sandblasting:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PmPBPBWmDM

 

wyfbane

Preferred Member
Apr 26, 2013
4,038
0
I have seen pipes that are jaw droppingly attractive sporting smooth, blasted, and rusticated finishes. I would go so far as to say that it is most difficult to make a jaw dropping rusticated pipe because you are working around an imperfection in the briar, the overall appearance comes the most from the artisan since the briar is more manipulated (can't see smooth flame grain/birdseye, can't see blasted ring grain, etc), and because so many people do have the bias you mentioned.

 

pipebaum81

Preferred Member
Nov 23, 2014
625
0
I appreciate a non smooth pipe for so many reasons one of which is the simple fact that it doesn't need polishing like a smooth finish does. I love both, dont get me wrong, but the dulled over smooth pipe asks to be shinned. I do so and then don't necessarily want to handle it right away, wanting to keep it pretty for at least a couple weeks.

 

tppytel

Member
Sep 23, 2014
156
0
what is the difference between rustication and sand blasting?
As noted above, sand blasting is exactly what it sounds like. But that only produces an attractive result if there's a nice grain pattern to work with, because the sand will blast away ridges defined by the grain. Rustication is done with various carving tools and thus can create patterns independent of the pipe's grain.
Both are ways to salvage bowls that have superficial cosmetic flaws that would be unwelcome in a smooth pipe. Neither indicate "low quality" briar - every briar block has minor flaws in it somewhere, it's just a question of whether they happen to show up right at the pipe's surface or not. Thus, top quality smooth pipes are harder to come by and command premium prices. This is especially true for classical shapes because the carver has limited leeway to reshape the pipe to work around flaws.
I don't buy the argument that blasting or rustication makes any significant difference as far as heat dispersion is concerned. In theory it should be true, but I doubt the effect is noticeable. But apart from being a little cheaper, blasting and rustication are often very nice looking. Cheap rustication is usually horrible, just a way to salvage a block with as little effort as possible. But better (more labor-intensive, hence more expensive) rustication like that on Ferndown's bark finish is more attractive than most sandblasts out there IMO. But sandblasting has degrees of quality too. Really good sandblasting requires both time and specialized knowledge and equipment, which is why many small artisan makers don't offer blasts at all. And blasts you see on inexpensive pipes (sub-$100) are generally shallower and less interesting than higher-end blasts.

 

kane

Senior Member
Dec 2, 2014
429
0
iamn8, those Cooke pipes are gorgeous. I would love to check one out in person, having only seen photos of his work. I do have an Elliot Nachwalter straight grain freehand that smokes nice, I believe there is some connection between Cooke and Nachwalter, though I know Cooke's work is unique.