Bill Shalosky: Smooth Blowfish (UBER) (276)

Product Number: 002-720-0016

It is a hallmark of an experienced artisan to know how to handle unexpected outcomes: understanding the risks associated with choices made, knowing what choices to make to offset as many risks as possible, and knowing what to do in the event that a different result is produced than was anticipated. Pipemaking, specifically, presents its own share of uncertainties: often, despite being shaped by steady, experienced hands, a particular block of briar can present a flaw that prevents the maker from staying the course, and a different route must be explored. This could be considered a pitfall, though for the diligent, steadfast, and capable artisan, it's a promise — that one day, hands will happen upon a special block, and a "perfect storm" of nature and artistry occurs.

That day came for Bill Shalosky after completing hundreds of pipes, nearly 300 of which were under his own name. In the midst of shaping this magnificent Blowfish, Bill meticulously inspected the grain pattern before realizing that his exacting standards had finally been met: this would be the first piece in his body of work to be worthy of his highest grade stamp, the "UBER." And so what did Bill do? He ordered the stamp, specifically for this piece.

Everything here, of course, is of the highest order: the shape itself being defined by asymmetrical, curved flanks which lend the form a degree of implied motion as if through water, while the beautifully-turned stem keeps it visually balanced, with an asymmetrical base which sits parallel to the contour of the rightward-ebbing shank-face. The grain is nothing short of breathtaking, with the entire right flank dominated by some of the most well-defined birdseye I've seen on a briar, save for where there's the lightest kiss of delicate plateau. If you follow Bill's work, or would like to add to (or even start) your collection, this isn't one to miss; who knows if it will be another 300 pieces before the next time Bill picks up the "UBER" stamp?

- Daniel Bumgardner

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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.74 in./145.80 mm.
  • Weight: 3.40 oz./96.39 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.12 in./53.85 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.69 in./42.93 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.79 in./20.07 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.96 in./49.78 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Blowfish
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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