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Savinelli Prestige Collection 2019 Sandblast pipe Limited Edition
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"A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it,
bearing within him the image of a cathedral."

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery
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COLIN'S BLOG: ACROSS THE COUNTER

Colin Wesley - always ready to chat .... across the counter!

Sandblasting

The what, the why, the how.

The what
Sandblasting had been in use for many years before Alfred Dunhill decided in 1917 to use it on wood - briar wood.
Defined as a stream of sand projected by compressed air, sandblasting was being used for engraving, cutting or polishing glass and stones. It was also the last resort for cleaning machinery that was very dirty and dogged up with gunk - which it just blasted off, leaving a clean smooth surface.
How, or why, Dunhill thought that this cleaning and engraving process could benefit his pipe production no one knows. But that was part of Alfred Dunhill’s intuition. He saw, and did things that no one had seen or done before.
The story is that at some time he had noticed that when a few briar blocks had been left close to a heating boiler for some time, the soft wood in the grain had shrunk exposing the relief pattern on the block – the “Shell”.
Some writers debunk this theory but concede that it was better marketing than to openly say that it “was a powerful, industrial process known to remove dirt and grit off metal” that was used to bring out the relief patterns of the briar blocks. Alfred Dunhill no doubt felt that the fable would be a better marketing tool.
Irrespective of how it all started Alfred Dunhill was the first Pipe maker to “sandblast” his briar pipes, leaving the grain in beautiful, hard-grained relief. At first these were often more expensive than the smooth pipes.
In the factory the craftsmen, being unused to the new machinery, produced some rather crude examples of the various standard shapes – No 59 (billiard) 137(Dublin) and others. They were so crude that in the early catalogue they were shown as “example lll” or “example X” so as not to confuse or disappoint, buyers of the original smooth shapes when they received their “Shell” briar. The shell briars were rugged, and they had character, but they lost the symmetry of shape admired by the Gentry of the time.

The why
The common conception of why a bowl should be sandblasted is because it is flawed. Not so says one scribe.
He makes an interesting case. Up until the 1930’s and early 1940’s nearly all smooth pipes were stained Burgundy or dark Brown. These stains could cover most sand spots and other small flaws hiding in the grain pattern. In those days, the sawmills were just cutting briar blocks at will, with no consideration of the grain pattern. A high percentage of the blocks had either mixed, or cross grains, which when covered with the dark stains made it almost impossible to see any flaws.
However tastes change.
More and more pipe smokers wanted to see more grain of the briar pipe, leading up to the naturally light stained smooth pipes we see today. But it became impossible to hide the small sand spots and the other little flaws. So it was back to sandblasting which shows the grain in relief, and incidentally reduces the weight of the pipe.
Today we also have rusticating, and machine-carved finishes to offer.
The point being made is that it is not that the quality of the briar has decreased but that the standards for acceptance of a smooth pipe have gone up (and the prices), and that the good qualities of a sandblasted pipe are becoming more appreciated.

The how.
Sandblasting is generally done using a compressor to build up pressure.
The size of the sandblasting machine to be used will depend on the size of the job to be done. However a compressor which can be large, noisy and expensive is needed.
There are three ways to set this up.
The first, the only one I have actually seen, is a glass box fixed in place fitted with a nozzle pointing down on the inside. The operator pushes his gloved hands into the box, holding the pipe under the nozzle. He then releases the blasting material through a foot pedal and manoeuvres the pipe with both hands under the nozzle blasting off the soft wood.
The second way is similar except the operator holds the pipe in one hand and a spray pistol through which he releases the blasting material by pointing and pulling the trigger of the pistol.
The third way is automated. Many bowls are put in a wire barrel or a rotunda, which is sprayed with blasting material for several hours. The constant tumbling of the revolving bowls against each other tends to smooth over the sharp edges of the sandblasting. The pipes end up with a soft, comfortable feel in the hand. This method would usually be used to produce lower priced sandblasted pipes.
In these days with the demand for high quality sandblasted pipes (particularly from the US and Scandinavia) the sawmills are cutting more briar blocks of straight grains which come out as “Ring grains” when sandblasted. This limits the truly artistic individual makers of these beautiful pipes, like the late Bruce Weaver.

Some of the attractions of a sandblasted pipe are:
The feel – appreciate the natural wood
The appearance of the grain pattern – in relief
The lightness – always a benefit to the pipe smoker.

You’d like to try a sandblasted pipe?
To experience the lightness and the feel?

From 24 June to 8 July, 2021: Less 25%
Sandblasted Pipes
Dunhill (Cumberland, Shell, County)
Marca (Dry, Snug, Mignon, Duo)
Stanwell (Black & White, Hans Christian Andersen, De Luxe, Vario Sandblast/smooth)
Savinelli Collection 2019 Sandblast
Lorenzo (Lectura sandblast/carved)
Prices from R600.00

Have a look
See what appeals to you
Enjoy the feel

Colin Wesley

No.497 June 17-30, 2021

All previous blogs are archived in the Library, by date and by subject.
A visit will allow you to choose from any of the more than 400 blogs to read or re-read at your leisure.

Note:
By law, no South African citizen, living in South Africa can buy a tobacco product via the internet or postal system.  In fact, you may not receive a tobacco product through the post.
In addition we may not receive payment through the internet for tobacco products.
We may only supply tobacco products within the trade – not to private individuals. The fine is substantial
Contact us for help in getting tobacco to your area.

 

Gift Ideas

Man Cave

 

You may have been spending loads of time in your
'Man Cave' during lockdown!

Now why not visit our 'Man Cave'?
There are plenty of reasons to do so

We offer a wide range of gifts for everybody
- with a focus on men’s gifts

 

All purchases can be made online
with the exception of tobacco and related products

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SUBSIDISED SHIPPING - UP TO 10% OF VALUE

Gifts Grooming Walking sticks links

Here's an extensive list of 'Man Cave' products with items suitable for ladies too


White Poker Dice in wood box. Poker and Lie Dice RulesBackgammon Set & Chess Set in Black PU Carry CaseGames

Poker and Lie Dice

Backgammon, Chess, Draughts/Checkers, Dominoes

 

 

Taylors Shaving CreamsTaylor's Gift Set
Men’s Grooming products

Taylors Shaving Creams, Taylors Aftershave
Razors, Shaving brushes & Gift Sets

 

Brown leather belt with ratchet fitting

 

 

Brown leather belt
with automatic ratchet fitting

 

Manicure Set

Galileo Thermometer, Cylinder shape, Height 24cm

 

 

Manicure Sets

 

 

 

Galileo Thermometer

 

 

Victorinox Pocket Tools

Swiss Army KnivesBiltong knife, My First Knife

Cross Pens

 

Writing instruments - Cross

 

 

Playing Cards
Large Index Playing Cards

Playing CardsCanasta , Large Index

South Africa Big 5, South African Birds & others

 

 

Hand Warmer

 

Hand warmers
Cuff Links, Justice Scales


Cuff links - Business Card Holders

 


Synthetic leather covered Hip Flasks with engraving plate

Polished Stainless Steel Tankard

 

Tankards - Hip flasks

 

 

Ceramic Mug in a Tin

 

Walking sticksCeramic Mugs in Tins

 

Walking sticks - Seat sticks

Giftsand games Men's grooming Walking Sticks

 

 

 

Note:
By law, no South African citizen, living in South Africa can buy a tobacco product via the internet or postal system.  In fact, you may not receive a tobacco product through the post.
In addition we may not receive payment through the internet for tobacco products.
We may only supply tobacco products within the trade – not to private individuals. The fine is substantial
Contact us for help in getting tobacco to your area.

Subscribe to keep up to date with our fortnightly articles and specials.
These alternate between pipe and cigar smokers' interests. You can choose your preferences.
You will also be automatically be entered into our competition draw.

PS If you can’t visit a Wesley’s Bricks and Mortar, remember that
if you’re not completely happy with your mailsale choice, you can always return it for a full refund.

Refund Policy (Website customers - you’ll like this!)
Because we always guarantee our products – anything that isn’t completely to your satisfaction can be returned (in original condition and packaging) for a full refund.

TRAVELLING TIME – (CAR, PLANE, TRAIN, BUS)
Many places where normal smoking is not allowed also restrict the use of e-cigs.

“Snus” is the answer


The question is - What is Snus?

Use SnusSnus portion packsSnus portion packsSnus portion packsSnus portion packsSnus portion packsSnus portion packs


Subscribe to keep up to date with our fortnightly articles and specials.
These alternate between pipe and cigar smokers' interests. You can choose your preferences.
You will also be automatically be entered into our competition draw.

PS If you can’t visit a Wesley’s Bricks and Mortar, remember that
if you’re not completely happy with your mailsale choice, you can always return it for a full refund.

Refund Policy (Website customers - you’ll like this!)
Because we always guarantee our products – anything that isn’t completely to your satisfaction can be returned (in original condition and packaging) for a full refund.

WINNERS
NB. All prices on this site are in South African Rand (ZAR)
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Buying from outside South Africa


New Tobacco Control Legislation

        Prohibitions in respect of tobacco products

(5) (a)  No person shall sell, offer to sell, supply, distribute or buy any tobacco product through the postal services, the internet or any other electronic media.
      (b) The prohibition contained in paragraph (a) does not apply to any commercial communication between a tobacco manufacturer or importer and its trade partners, business partners, employees and shareholders.

Until we have obtained clarity on these points we have removed the “BUY NOW” option
from all pure tobacco products on the
website.
If this affects you, please contact us regarding a stockist of these tobacco products in your area.

TOBACCO SALES TO OVER-18’S ONLY

ALL IMAGES AND CONTENT © Colin Wesley 2021

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