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 Straightgrain VS Sandblasts

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BoB's Team

Age : 107
Location : @ The Gym
Registration date : 2007-12-15

PostSubject: Straightgrain VS Sandblasts   Mon Apr 21, 2008 10:40 pm

It's really hard to pick a favourite finish for me! There's something magical about straightgrain that looks painted on by an artist's brush.Yet there's also much to be said for the deep and craggy sandblast.It feels great in your hand and the designs in the blast can be equally interesting.

I got to thinking about which I like better this evening while purchasing a Jody Davis canadian with a truly killer blast and yesterday when I purchased a Peter Matzhold with stellar 360 degree straightgrain.

What's your favourite & why?...


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PostSubject: Re: Straightgrain VS Sandblasts   Mon Apr 21, 2008 10:49 pm

A good rustification is better than a shallow or uneven sandblast. Straightgrains look better but the rough finishes feel better in the hand. Ruthenberg does great blasting at the most reasonable prices around. Now if I can only persuade him to use a burgundy finish like Castello, Ser Jacopo, Caminetto, and now Dunhill.
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PostSubject: Re: Straightgrain VS Sandblasts   Mon Apr 21, 2008 10:57 pm

I like both! Provided it's good straight grain on the smooth and the blast.

I confess of late I have become biased towards pipes of both varieties being "virgin" ie. without stain, because I enjoy watching them naturally color from smoking.
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Location : Fort Gratiot, MI
Registration date : 2008-04-07

PostSubject: Re: Straightgrain VS Sandblasts   Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:00 am

I love the old Dunhill Shell crosscuts with deep, swirly grain and pockets of birdseye.
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Puff Daddy

Age : 54
Location : South of heaven
Registration date : 2007-12-09

PostSubject: Re: Straightgrain VS Sandblasts   Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:32 am

Man, how do you pick? Those are all lovely!

I'd have to say that picking is a matter of affordability. With the exception of a couple carvers, blasts are significantly less expensive. Those straight grains are real sirens that call to you in the wee hours, but my wallet clearly claims that it didn't hear a thing Evil or Very Mad

These are horrible times and all sorts of horrible people are prospering, but we must never let this disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to annoy and hinder them at every turn.
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The Duke

Age : 59
Location : Randolph County, NC If you don't know, you wouldn't understand.
Registration date : 2007-12-17

PostSubject: Re: Straightgrain VS Sandblasts   Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:34 am

Smooth finishes are beautiful to look at. I love to look at most anything wood with a beautiful grain. For smoking qualities I have tended to gravitate towards blasts and rusitcations. Mainly because they are easier to hold. I have a Stanwell smooth finish danish egg that is absolutley beautiful but it is so smooth that it easily slips out of the hand. Fortunately it is light and comfortable enough to clinch most of the time.
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Location : Wisconsin
Registration date : 2007-12-28

PostSubject: Re: Straightgrain VS Sandblasts   Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:45 am

Tough question, I would have to say I am now much pickier with blasts. I look for deep craggy straight grain blasts. I have a a few that have a shallow blast that the grain shows through that are kinda cool. Simple economics prevent me from being as picky with straight grains. I have to settle for some that are very good but they might have a small pit or the grain falls off in places. I look for under graded pipes in smooth straight grains and have done pretty well with that. The style that interests me right now is the Castello epoca. I really like the carving, you can see the knife marks, kinda like a raw sculpture. Shocked
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Location : Arlington, VA USA
Registration date : 2007-12-12

PostSubject: Re: Straightgrain VS Sandblasts   Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:40 pm

Simply put, both are beautiful and desirable. But for different reasons and different purposes.

For me, it comes down to my intentions for the pipe. Some pipe shapes demand a smooth finish to reinforce the shape and the proportions. Because there is a relationship between finish and shape, if I intend the pipe to be a permanent fixture in my collection - and not purchased primarily for smoking - I will choose the best possible grain.

With those pipes that are "shaped like pipes," and by that I mean pipes that are hand-friendly and that I will smoke, I am attracted to blasts.

Obviously there are greater and lesser blasts. Not every great blast is deep and craggy. IMHO, some wonderful blasts are those that simultaneously reveal vertical straight grain through contrast staining coloration and curtain (ring) blasts through blasting. An exaggerated blast can obscure the vertical grain distribution, and that vertical grain distribution can reinforce shape design elements and proportional design decisions.

The fractile geometry of a blasted briar surface efficiently distributes heat; this is a wonderful finish for a pipe that is intended to be a workhorse in the rotation. Because smooth pipes have significantly diminished surface area, when compared to a sandblasted finish, they can get hot, especially with a dense piece of briar that efficiently conducts heat to the surface. Aside from weight, it is difficult to forecast a "hot" pipe, though the chances improve significantly with a smooth pipe. That's why I tend to make my rotation workhorses blast pipes.
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John Offerdahl

Location : Smyrna, Georgia
Registration date : 2008-01-29

PostSubject: Re: Straightgrain VS Sandblasts   Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:09 pm

An interesting question, and one which has sparked a lot of debate. I can't personally say that I favor one over the other at all; rather, I find each finish to be special and unique. A straight grain represents not only the utmost perfection of the briar surface but also of the briar growth; even a couple of small imperfections fail to detract from the beauty of it. A properly done sandblast, while traditionally the mark of a piece of wood which was somehow less than perfect, is, in and of itself, a work of art. The good blast allows the grain of the wood to still shine, yet also has a craggy texture that is both a tactile and visual pleasure. I would take the sandblast over a poorly grained smooth piece, of course.
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Wet Dottle


Location : Littleton, CO
Registration date : 2008-02-27

PostSubject: Re: Straightgrain VS Sandblasts   Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:22 pm

I'm more a shape gut than a finish guy. What I mean is that the finish matters, but the overall feel must be right or no deal. Under the right circumstances I like both equally (smooth and nonsmooth), but it's easier to dislike a blast or rusticated pipe than a smooth. In my collection there are more smoth pipes that all the other finishes combined.

But it's not that simple. Among my favorites are Larry Roush's rustications and Brian Ruthenberg's blasts, which I prefer over many smooth pipes. So... I don't know.
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Location : Hudson Valley, NY
Registration date : 2008-03-12

PostSubject: Re: Straightgrain VS Sandblasts   Sun May 11, 2008 7:22 pm

Personally, I love a deep, ring grain blast. Sigh.
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