Typically when an artisan hits a flaw that just won't do on a smooth briar, it goes off to the sandblaster, in the hopes that some proper ring grain, at least, may save the work they've put into the design and shaping. With this Particular piece, Tonni Nielsen evidently felt this briar was just too beautifully flame-grained for that... and I most definitely cannot blame him. It's gorgeous - simply spectacular; a piece that could have easily made a Viking grade, and an exceptional one at that. What to do, then? The answer, we find, is that he made a tiny, flame-grained little button of briar, no doubt a difficult thing to do with such a hardy and resilient material, to serve as something of a "beauty mark". It's an unusual step, certainly, and I've only seen it done on artisan-made briars very times before, but I have to say it was well worth the extra effort here.
- Eric N. Squires