At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Monday, November 25, 2013


At present, my fingers feel sore. And tired. No, I did not do anything nasty over the weekend, how on earth could you think that? For crap sakes, stop thinking about procreative behaviours! You've probably been reading too much stuff about sex-obsessed celebrities over the weekend, and it has profoundly influenced how you view the world and the people who share this planet with you. Most of whom, according to the American media, are sex-obsessed celebrities.

Sex-obsessed celebrities are the source of overmuch that is evil, depraved, ribald, lewd, lascivious, and unbearably naughty.

Stop thinking about sex-obsessed celebrities.

Instead, think about two Tilsheads, three Charatans, a Preben Holm, an old Larsen, a carved French horn, a Hardcastle with misaligned holes, a Dunhill shell, a Sasieni eight-dot, GBD, Savinelli, six Petersons (of which three had overmuch silver), and several no-names or off-brands, as well as a meerschaum and something made out of Rosewood.

My fingers feel tired.

On the other hand, there are now more happy pipe-smokers in Marin County than there were last week.

Stop thinking about procreation!

I am not a celebrity.

It will probably take a few days before the skin on my fingers feels quite normal again. Bleach, alcohol, lighter fluid, abrasive compounds, cleaners, soaps, and pressure, combined with files, reamers, knives, small chisels, and a long hard screw-type device.
Poking, prodding, rubbing.

Stop thinking about sex. Absolutely NONE of this is sexual!

*      *      *      *      *

Instead, let your mind dwell on buffing wheels and warm wax.

You do not need to know why I used lighter fluid.

It's a little trick I came up with myself.

The bleach is easily explained, though. Immersing a green and puke-brown pipe-stem in bleach for an hour or two lifts the oxidation right off. Carbon rubber is cured with sulfur as part of the manufacturing process, and tends to oxidize over time, yielding a thin layer of bitter green - brown - yellow - whitish crap on the outside surface. Prior to buffing the stem, a bleach bath will allow you to rub off much of the muck with your fingers. Now note that the oxidation is not just on the surface, but actually goes into the material a little way, which means that dissolving it will leave a slightly pebbly feel.
Ideally you would also use a very fine sandpaper to level the outside back to uniformity -- don't worry, we're talking mere micro-fractions of depth and removal -- but a good hard buff with red, followed by the white with a touch of added wax, will do the job nearly quite as well.

The first step after rinsing off the bleach is to run bristly pipe-cleaners through the stem to remove all traces of crap and green inside the draft. These also function somewhat like an abrasive or a polish, smoothing out the surface inside the bore. It is essential that you do this immediately, before that stuff gets a chance to harden up.

If you do not do it rigorously and quick, it may be impossible to even get a smooth pipe-cleaner through later.

Manhandling an entire packet of bristly pipe-cleaners ALSO plays a number on your fingers, much like bleach, alcohol, lighter fluid, oil, abrasive compounds.......

The final act, once reaming, cleaning, swabbing, sanding, and several other things have taken place, is to first hard-buff the stem -- probably a good idea to put masking tape over the shank before doing so, so that you can really go berserk with the wheel at this stage -- then carefully work-over the entire pipe with both hard and soft wheels.

There's something infinitely sensual about briar; the shape, appearance, graining, and feel of the wood all eventually speak. Surface tones and translucence, contrasting hues, fine lines, sharp edges, plus rounding, curves, and elegant angles.

I'm rather proud of my steady hands; haven't had a piece of briar fly across the room in years.

Still, after doing two dozen pipes, there is a tension and sensitivity to my fingers that will take a day or two to dissipate.

It was pleasantly invigorated, though. Textures, shapes, grains, and finger-feel are all energizing, the visual and tactile stimulation creates sparkle in the mind.

Last night I dreamt in both two-tone and tan blast.

Gotta stop thinking about......

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All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


  • At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sounds like a busy weekend. You must do good work.
    What is your thought on acrylic?

  • At 10:11 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Not too fond of acrylic. It has its place, but feels too hard against the teeth.

    And, if coloured, just looks wrong.


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