Commissions are a fun journey. When someone asks us to make them a particular pipe, it is always new. We find out what shape the person wants, the kind of finish and accents they desire, and then the adventure begins. Finding a block that has the size and grain orientation suitable for the shape and then the rough cutting is the birth of the pipe.
This particular commission is a small bent apple with a sandblasted shank and a smooth bowl with an orange accent ring and a slightly longer ebonite stem. In order to find a block with no blemishes to be finished as a smooth, it can burn briar dust. going through two blocks that have minor pits on the bowl that will dedicate them for full sandblasts, it is time to try another block.
After rough shaping up from 36 grit to 150 grit we can see the grain and any blemishes. After drilling and tweaking the shape, we will know if this block will become the pipe that this person is searching for. So far it looks promising, but the journey is not complete until the bowl coating is dried and the tobacco is lit.