It’s been a while since I had the pleasure of describing Weaver pipes and I noticed some small, but distinct, changes since I had last run across them. So I gave BW a ring, and as anyone who knows Bruce will tell you that he is as likeable as all get-out, (I’d love to form something of a ‘Club Sardonicus’
with Bruce and Rad Davis, but I know that I would never get past the membership vote), and he drew my attention to this (very) righteous saddle-Billiard. Right after hanging up, I told Adam Davidson that I had just chatted with Weaver, and Adam said something to the effect of ‘Yeah, I looked at that the batch going up. I love what he’s doing with his blasting, and what a great saddle-Billiard.” Having something of a three-for-three consensus, I’d say that ‘great minds think alike’, but ‘great mind’ and ‘Bear’?! (shrug)
Adam hit a couple of nails right on the head, and a pulling a ‘great’ evaluation from Davidson is about as easy as it is to get a wig out of me. This is one superb, remarkably traditional, saddle-billiard, and one of the big points of the remarkable is how he addresses tradition. To digress, early into the most recent shaping trend, many Americans (as well as a few Danes) successfully identified ‘hot points’ which pushed all the right buttons with collectors, things such as more pronounced cheeks and deeper blasts. Then (at least in my observation) a raced started to create “More cheekier/deeper blasted than thou”. Does a Volcano, Cherrywood or straight Acorn really need cheeks? Does every composition call for blasts so deep that they resemble the cooling fins on a Harley V-Twin? Someone, and if that someone happened to be famed for crazy-deep blasts all the better, had to be the first to say ’Basta!’ (Enough!) This saddle-Billiard hews closer to (say) the Danes than it does the English, in there is a subtle cupping of the heel and a hint of reduction to the bowl, as it moves from base to rim. Still, that cupping is more restrained than most Danish interpretations. The blast and subsequent grain pattern is perfect for this form; a fine cross (with a nice preservation of vertical grain) on two sides, and birdseye on the other two. The shape is impeccable, and, as far as proportions go, the length of the stem from mount to button is exactly the height of the bowl. Rock on, Bruce.
--R. ‘Bear’ Graves