Briar, where art thou?

With so many pipe makers popping up out of the wood work (pun intended), briar is becoming more expensive, and more scarce. There are not that many briar supplier, and they at times become overwhelmed with orders.  It is not uncommon for me to wait 3 to 6 months for a briar order.

FBPbriar.1

When I give estimates of how long customers have to wait for a custom pipe, I usually take into account my briar supply, and the time it takes to get new briar, if needed.  However more often than not, my estimates get sabotaged by how long it takes for me to get briar.

Pipe making is not an exact science.  Many things can go wrong when I’m working on a block of wood.  Being human, mistakes are made when sanding, or cutting, or drilling.  Sometimes a piece of briar will look perfect from the outside, but when you cut into it many faults are revealed, which makes the block unusable.  One of the worst cases of unusable blocks was when I went through 6 blocks to make a pipe.  Bad blocks are just part of the pipe making process.

I hate waiting for stuff that I ordered as much as the next person, however with pipe making, waiting is sometimes unavoidable.  Making hand shaped pipes is not a quick process.  There are many steps involved, and when you have many orders to finish, the wait can be long for the customer.

Alex

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