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Large Lovat

Large Lovat

5 3/4" long, 2 1/4" tall, .875" bore and 1.8" stroke. 46g. Handcut Cumberland vulcanite stem with Delrin tenon. At least  group 5, maybe group 6. Light for its size.

If you read my blog post last week, The Billiard, you will recognize this shape as in the area where names get fuzzy. A while back a customer sent me a photo of his favorite pipe, which he said was a 1961 Dunhill group 6 LB Billiard, and asked me to make the same shape to exactly the same dimensions. While it is policy never to argue with a customer over what something is called, and while I'm not the expert to say where Saddle Billiard ends and Lovat begins, I'm calling it a Lovat. He had absolutely no interest in a smooth, and I knew what would happen it I blasted this grain (see The Briar Imp), so it sat until I felt like tackling it.


So, one for the grain hounds. I don't often see grain this strong, so I tried to stain for as much contrast as possible. Years ago I spent some time researching the aniline black stone dye that Tom Eltang used for his "golden contrast" finish. One of my first paying orchestra jobs in college was playing second clarinet in the Washington-Idaho Symphony. The principal was the chairman of Organic Chemistry at Washington State, and we were good friends so I figured he would be a good person to ask. He said it was nice to chat but when it came to anilines I had "no business messing with that shit."


My enthusiasm was somewhat dampened. However, I dug up a couple of papers on aniline black processes, and asked my mother-in-law, who happens to be a chemist, to help me make sense of them. "You will NOT have these chemicals in the same house with my grandchildren," she said.


Yes, ma'am. I reckon the fact that Tom developed sensitivity and stopped using the process says something. So, I've done the best I can with what I have.


FWIW: I make the buttons on my pipes relatively prominent because I, and some others, like them that way. For some, my buttons are too tall. The good news is, I can easily convert the former button to the latter, it's the work of a moment and I don't mind at all. The reverse, not so much. So, if you like less prominent buttons, let me know, and the pipe will so arrive.

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