The Briar Gods Hate Me (Pic Heavy)

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ivapewithfire

Member
Nov 26, 2014
269
0
West Virginia, USA
I ordered a pre-drilled pipe kit a couple of weeks ago.
It's the first one I've made/(am making) out of briar.
Things were going great until I cut into the block with my saw. There was a pretty big set of flaws, but there was still a lot of wood to take off.
As I got deeper into the wood and closer to the final shape, it seems like there was a colony of exploding termites that used to call the burl home.
Like I said, it's my first one so I have nothing to compare flaws in this one. I know that a lot of blocks have flaws but C'mon man. This seems crazy to me.
I'm posting a few pictures so that I can get the opinions of more seasoned pipe makers.
Is this "normal" or did I just draw the short straw on this one?
It's not a big deal. It's been a great learning experience. Even if it's not fit enough to smoke (it looks like some of the flaws come close to the inner bowl and I worry about a burn out), I'm getting to play with shaping and finishing. I know it will pay off with the next one, and there is no doubt that is going to happen.
As a matter of fact, I'll probably order another kit here shortly. I've seen a couple of recommendations in the forums for different vendors and think I'll order from one of them.
I've included some pictures below. If they scar your eyes, I'm sorry.







 

cmdrmcbragg

Preferred Member
Jul 29, 2013
1,740
1
Holy hell that piece was chewed up. I'd smoke it anyways, but with a leather glove on in case that piece goes up in smoke.

 

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ivapewithfire

Member
Nov 26, 2014
269
0
West Virginia, USA
Well that makes me feel better. I was hoping that it wasn't the usual experience.
Honestly, I don't blame the vendor at all. The outside block looks just fine. It's not like they x-ray them for grading (although that would be nice).
In a way it works out well. It's my first one, so I don't have any qualms about experimenting with finish.
I will however buy from a different source. So far vermontfreehand.com looks like my tope choice.

 

woodsroad

Preferred Member
Oct 10, 2013
8,419
526
I would imagine that experienced pipemakers can spot potential problems like this. That or they heat their shops with briar.
Either way, I like the pipe, flaws and all.

 

papipeguy

Preferred Member
Jul 31, 2010
15,781
14
Bethlehem, Pa.
It's probably the luck of the draw (sorry for the bad pun) but I also like the pipe. It has a sort of rustic charm. Let us know how it performs down the road.

 

mikestanley

Preferred Member
May 10, 2009
1,462
365
Akron area of Ohio
Having cut into a fair number of briar (for an amateur ) I can say "been there, done that". I suspect it's one of the many answer t the question "Why do pipes cost so much"? I've thrown a number of blocks into the fire pit. The pipe has a nice shape to it. You deserve a better block.
Mike S.

 

bulldogbriar89

Preferred Member
Oct 3, 2014
644
0
Wow, that thing is eaten up pretty bad. If I was you I would have returned it or seen if they would have replaced it.

 

tbradsim1

Preferred Member
Jan 14, 2012
7,798
1,478
It's a damn shame because you nailed it in the shaping. No ones fault, shit happens.

 

conlejm

Preferred Member
Mar 22, 2014
1,432
2
C'mon, it's a few minor fills away from being a Grade A pipe. A little wood putty, some stain, wax and you are good to go!
Seriously, you did a great job shaping that pipe; you just weren't given much to work with.

 

bulldogbriar89

Preferred Member
Oct 3, 2014
644
0
that is true with what con said with some putty and stain it might just look like the grain in the wood.I also agree with tbrads, you did nail the shape of that pipe.

 

jcochey

New member
Dec 27, 2014
9
0
I have had a few pieces end up that way as well. I had been saving a beautiful tight grained piece of briar for about a year and a half. About a week ago I decided it was time to make something nice out of it. I should have never cut into it. It was horrible and full of pits...

 

phil67

Preferred Member
Dec 14, 2013
2,052
2
Pre-rusticated!
I'm working on one myself and so far just two pin sized pits. But, I still have some sanding to do and they'll either disappear, get worse, or I'll find more. Just the luck of the draw when all is said and done. Either way, I'd much rather find the nasty flaws early on rather than later after work and time has been invested.

 

crazypipe

Preferred Member
Sep 23, 2012
3,485
0
Never wanted to make a pipe, but you did a good job.

looks like it will smoke just fine :puffy:

 

mephistopheles

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2014
545
0
Well, rusticated pipes are out for me after I've seen that Shake 'N Bake picture. :roll:
You really did a nice job shaping your pipe. Maybe try experimenting with a rustication pattern and see what you can pull off. I think you should send those pictures in and seek a replacement block as well. Regardless, it's a great first try. :clap:

 

ivapewithfire

Member
Nov 26, 2014
269
0
West Virginia, USA
First of all, thanks for the support.
I really was just looking for confirmation that this was just bad luck and not something that I'd have to cope with on a regular basis. I expected to have to work around a few flaws just because I wasn't going with the plateau briar. It was just a little more than I bargained for on this one.
I'm not quite done with pipe yet. I still need to even things up on it and finish it. I still want to get practice at staining and buffing. That way I'll have a little bit of an idea what I'm doing when I get my next block.
I'm not anywhere near skilled enough to do rustication yet, but may end up using this one to experiment with down the road.
I'll be sure and post pics (flaws and all) when I'm actually done with it.
PS I tried the shake and bake method posted above. While it did add a KFC kind of room note, it just left the pipe a little crumbly. I also get hints of bread and savory seasoning when smoking it :)

 
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