The formulas and processes behind achieving great contrast stains are closely-guarded secrets amongst artisan pipemakers. This should come as no surprise, given how much time, energy, and resources go into the trial-and-error process of developing and perfecting them. And of course, the reason why artisans go through all this trouble is very simple: because the results are worth it. We can see that clearly in this sandblasted Gregor Lobnik bent Apple, which is kind of the point. For, despite being sandblasted, and devoid of any manner of gloss finish, the briar's flame-grain does, indeed, present itself with surprising clarity. Dusky, finely textured, smoky, warm, and subtly earthy, the resulting look is rich, exotic, and above all else, beautiful.
- Eric N. Squires