Grading/Pricing/Orders

You can find below a short description and explanations for my pricing and rules I am trying to observe generally.

I am always pricing my pipes according the final result in 2 groups: standard shapes and free (or artistic if you prefer) shapes. A pipe from free (artistic) group, having really complicated shape can be placed in lower grade because it has small dots or twisted grain from one of its side, for instance.

GRADING:
 

GRADE 

Description

Price range EUR 

AA

Exceptional grain, smooth, pure and at my opinion great shape.

From 350, price depending
of the final evaluation.

A

Smooth pipes without any dots or other defects on the briar and executed very well.*

280-300 Shape depending.

B

Smooth pipes, some very small dots on the finish are acceptable without reflecting on the function,
or the grain is not perfect.  Most of the pipes I am producing are in this category.

250-280, shape depending.

R

Fully or partially rusticated or sandblasted pipes.

180-200 shape depending.

 
* I am exceptionally critical for my work, so the high grade pipes (A) pipes are very rare and the AA grade pipes are exception.
Briar.
During the years I’ve used many sources for briar - Italian, Greek, Spanish, Algerian; sometimes in bulk, sometimes at small batches. Finally managed to develop a good relations with Greek cutter, so this is my primary and preferable source now (hopefully forever). The briar from this particular mill has all the qualities I need; also I can discuss particular cuts, blocks, etc. I am receiving the briar in “ready to work” state, but this is not perfectly real in all cases, therefore I am seasoning the material. Sorting it carefully first and storage/seasoning it for a good period of time, at least 3 months.
Shaping.
Almost every time I am shaping prior drilling. I prefer this method. 
Mouthpieces:
I am making all mouthpieces/stems out of German ebonite, preferably or occasionally from Acrylic rods. I am not using any pre-made stems of any kind. Regularly all tenons are made from Teflon or Delrin rods, but sometimes are turned from the same rod like as the stem, depending of the shape.
By the way, no putties of any king, never. I hate putties almost as much as pre made stems. I will leave a small dot or little defect as it is but will not use putty; or will make a kind of incrustation/inlay.
Inlays:
Lately I like to use Tagua nut for some rings or inlays on the stems and /or on the shank. I am using also very frequently box wood, zebra wood (Zebrano) and olive wood. Experimenting with silver right now.
Pre-carbonization - occasionally. However, lately I changed my opinion regarding the pre-carbonization and I am applying pre carbonization more often. Some pipes just need to be finished somehow more.