Royal Oak Briars "Huntsman" Commission

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ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,104
88
Maryland
Well, I completed my first pipe commission this week with James Aydlott, who makes "Royal Oak Briars". James has been showing his creations on the Bulldog Lovers Facebook page for several months. I was very impressed with his shaping and stems. I didn't initially realize he was Royal Oak Briars that are also sold on Micheal Lindners site. I love Micheal Lindners pipes and met him last year in at the NYC show. James has been working in Micheals shops and in the past two years started his own line.
James did a Comoys 498 creation that I loved and thru Facebook messages, I learned he was starting on a homage to the Comoys 499 Extraordinaire. Since that is my #1 pipe, that immediately piqued my interest. I let James know that I was interested and I was able to see the pipe unfold and offer some tweaks. We went with a polished bowl top and a golden tan stain. Below are some pictures of the pipe in the early and latter stages.







And the finished pipe.















And a shot with my 1930's Comoys Extraordinaire 499

The pipe is drilled perfectly with an open draw. I smoked it for the first time yesterday, on the eve of my 35th High School Reunion, which was nice. It was smoked once again this morning. I am very impressed with the stem work, it seems James has learned his lessons well from Micheal Lindner. The button end is beautifully funneled and the tenon also has a concave detail that I like. He nailed my weight requirement at 59 grams. My Comoys is 68 grams, but I wanted a 7/8's scale version.
James does apply a bowl-coat of a gelatin/activated charcoal substance. As someone who primarily purchases estate pipes, I hate breaking in new pipes. This is my second pipe with a bowl coatings of this nature, I'm a big fan. I purchased a pipe made from a prestigious maker earlier this year, someone we see a lot on this forum. That bowl was uncoated and breaking it in was a very frustrating experience (and it's unlikely I'll buy another from this maker). James pipe was like an old friend from the get-go.
Another aspect of James pipes is his blue acrylic dot in a copper ring. As an Ashton fan, I love that detail. Most artisan pipes lack a stem logo, to me, that was another appealing aspect of the Royal Oaks Briars line.

 

papipeguy

Preferred Member
Jul 31, 2010
15,800
2
Bethlehem, Pa.
That's a real beauty, Al. Isn't it fun watching the process of your pipe being made? Enjoy it and I hope to see it in person someday.

 

pitchfork

Preferred Member
May 25, 2012
3,800
3
Congrats, Al. That's a gorgeous Rhodesian -- glad you're happy with it (I would be!). I hadn't noticed the concave button-end before, but that's a really cool feature.
I've been watching the Royal Oak line for a while now - I love the style -- but I just haven't seen one that I had to have. Maybe a commission is the way to go.
Again, happy smokes with that one.

 

lordnoble

Preferred Member
Jul 13, 2010
2,678
0
That is an amazing pipe. I love the color you chose and that blast is beautiful.
As your fellow Mod, I'm calling you out, Al. I'm with pitchfork on this one. That's a Rhodesian. If it were a bulldog, it'd have a diamond shank and stem. So there! :nana:
I'll be interest to see what other customs you get from this talented maker.
-Jason

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,104
88
Maryland
Easy, I only mentioned seeing James work on the "Bulldog Lovers" facebook page. That pipe is without a doubt all Rhodesian. (31 out of 51 one of my pipes are Rhodesians).
James made this standard Rhodesian as well, alongside mine. I believe it is still available.


 

pitchfork

Preferred Member
May 25, 2012
3,800
3
Ahem... For the record, I wasn't making a point about Rhodesian vs. bulldog.
I know -- and I'm sure Al knows I know -- that Al/ssjones knows his bulldogs from his Rhodesians.
Are there any Mods around here or what?

 

philobeddoe

Preferred Member
Oct 31, 2011
4,511
16
East Indiana
Al, I'm glad you're happy, I purchased a blasted, bamboo shanked Dublin from James at the Columbus show and I've been very pleased with it as well. I would not hesitate to recommend Royal Oak briars to anyone.

 

lochinvar

Preferred Member
Oct 22, 2013
1,304
6
I picked up a 498 rendition he did, and it is a heck of a nice pipe. I really love his blast, its as nice as the Dunhill and Comoy blasts from the '30s. I may contact him in the future about a 3 Rhodesian matching set (Comoy 498, 499 and GBD 9438) as he really has an eye for perfectly proportioned Rhodesians.

 

antbauers

Preferred Member
Jul 12, 2013
675
0
+1 lochinvar

&

+1 to the rhodesian mob
Very nice Al. I would have love to have a smooth version. I agree that more artisans should have a stem logo. I always thought I was alone on that. To me it's like the cherry on top of the sundae.

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,104
88
Maryland
I hope lochinvar won't mind me posting his 498 Royal Briars pipe, I also own this Comoys shape and he really did nail it. I love the finish and color on this one as well. After receiving my pipe, I went back to Lindners site and found that it was gone, which is probably a short term good thing...




 

misterlowercase

Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
4,296
1
An absolute cracker of a pipe Al, it came out gorgeous and it was cool to see the birthing process!
Another aspect of James pipes is his blue acrylic dot in a copper ring. As an Ashton fan, I love that detail. Most artisan pipes lack a stem logo, to me, that was another appealing aspect of the Royal Oaks Briars line.

Al
I agree 100%
I love stem logos!
To me it's like the cherry on top of the sundae.
+1
Glad the whole commission process went so swimmingly and the results are so very good!
Enjoy it well!

:puffy: