I picked this Nachwalter pipe up for a good price from Mike at Briar Blues many years ago now. It seems that the older I get the faster time seems to spin. It is a nicely shaped Dublin. The pipe came with a cloth pipe sock in black velevet. (I am not sure this was one Mike threw in or whether it came that way from Nachwalter). The workmanship on this pipe is very nice. I have smoked it quite a bit over the years since I got it. It has been through at least two moves during that time and has survived both of them with a time of storage between them both. This is a third review I am writing today since I had the day off. The length of the pipe is 5 3/4 inches and the bowl height is 2 ¼ inches. The outer diameter of the bowl is 1 ¾ inches. The chamber diameter is 1 inch and depth is 1 1/2 inches. It is a large bowled pipe and is light for its size. It sits well in the nook of the hand formed by the thumb and index finger on either hand. The stamping is on both sides of the shank. It is stamped on the left side in an oval. The outer ring of the oval is stamped THE BRIAR WORKSHOP on the top of the oval and DESIGNERS/PIPEMAKERS on the bottom side of the oval. In the centre of the oval it is stamped CORAL SPGS over FLA. USA. On the other side of the shank it is stamped in script Elliot Nachwalter and under that is stamped his signature.
The pipe has a smooth finish and the staining choice highlights the great grain. The bowl is surrounded by flame grain/straight grain. The top of the bowl cap and the bottom of the bowl and shank has some beautiful birdseye grain. This pipe is larger than it looks and with the 1 inch diameter bowl, holds a lot of tobacco. Regardless of the size it fits well against the thumb and rests comfortably in hand. The stain appears to be made up of several coats. There seems to be a dark understain that makes the grain stand out. Over this is a coat of reddish brown, it is not an oxblood but more of a mahogany looking stain. The rim is crowned, almost a reversed chamfer. The inner edge is beveled into the bowl and the out edge is sharp to the sides. The crowned top gives the pipe slightly curved top look from the side.
The stem is a well-made taper crafted from ebonite or vulcanite. It is a softer feel in the mouth and on the teeth than acrylic. The stem tapers gradually back to the button and is just the right thickness at the portion that rides in the mouth – not too thick or too thin. It is also durable and is made of quality material as it has not oxidized in the years I have had it and appears to have remained black for the previous owner as well. The snowflake logo that is on Nachwalter pipes is faded slightly but the impression is still visible on the left side of the stem. The tenon is an integral part of the stem and is chamfered/ countersunk and well-polished. The button is well shaped – thin at the edges with a very slight rise to the centre top and bottom, forming an eye shaped end view. The lip on the button is very slight but still fits well behind the teeth for a comfortable feel. The draught hole in the end of the button is also funneled to deliver a mouthpiece that has the same diameter from start to finish. Comfortable and well executed. A pipe cleaner passes easily through the pipe with no obstruction.
Internally, the pipes made by the Briar Workshop that I have had over the years, have all had exceptional mechanics. The bowl chamber on this one is large – drilled to a 1 inch diameter. The inner edge of the bowl us beveled to the rim. The outer edge is sharp and clean. The outer edges are slightly sanded so that the edges where the top and sides meet are not sharp but gently rounded. This pipe was purchased as an estate but I don’t believe that the bowl was coated with any bowl coating. When I bought the pipe it was still barely smoked and the walls on the lower part of the bowl were still clean briar. The cake built up on the bowl very easily. The draught hole is centered at the bottom of the bowl and seems to have a slight funnel leading into the shank and stem. There is a very easy and open draw to the pipe. The fit of the stem to the shank is excellent – smooth and tight with no light showing at the joint. The tenon fits well in the mortise and seems to sit deep in the mortise against the bottom. The airway is in the centre of the mortise and aligns with the airway in the tenon. The edges of the tenon have been polished and rounded and the airhole countersunk so that it meets the airway in the mortise. The pipe does not whistle or gurgle when smoked. Looking at the airways with a flashlight it is clear to see that they are smooth and polished with no rough edges.
I have smoked this pipe many times since I received it from Mike at Briar Blues. Because of the large bowl I do not reach for it as often as I used to because I tend to favour smaller bowls at present. I have found that it is a good flake pipe. It is one I used when I folded and stuffed flakes. It smokes cool and easily and delivers good flavor with the Virginias that I choose to smoke in it.