A lot of time when making a pipe, a little hiccup happens. You forget to clean the epoxy when gluing a insert, or a flaw suddenly emerge right where you don't need it, you take off just that little bit too much when turning a tenon, and so on, and so on. Little mistakes that can be worked around.
You also get pipes that just flow. You'll envision the pipe, cut, drill, shape etc. exactly how your idea was from the start right through to finish. Needless to say it doesn't happen very often!
Briar is a natural product and thus throw us these little curve balls.
But, a pipemaker have the chance, and most often, ability, to work with this imperfect block, trying to coach the best possible out of each individual one. We don't need to turn a 100 pipes in exactly the same shape and size. This is one of the reasons why a handmade pipe should, most often times in any case, be far superior to factory turned ones.
Then, you get those dreaded pipes where everything that can possibly go wrong, does. This was the case with the above pipe!
First off I had the briar shank too long. It just didn't look right. So I made it a bit shorter. And it still wasn't to my liking. The third try did it for me, eventually.
Then a ugly flaw reared its head on the stummel. I was doing my "fine tuning" of the shape, just had to get a hair width off that particular spot, touched the sanding wheel very lightly and delicately and wham, the flaw appears! My two workshop companions, the garage cat and my sheepdog, decided to leave the close vicinity of their boss very quickly!
Then I started on the stem. Using my usual bit for stainless tenons, doing everything exactly like normal, I ended up with a loose tenon! OK, Charl, no problem. So I do it again, much slower this time, making sure that everything is indeed like normal procedure. The hole ends up too big!
So I go and buy a new bit, drill another stem, and this one ends up too big as well. On the 4th stem, I decide to re-sharpen the old bit, drill the cumberland, and it fits like a glove!
The whole pipe probably took me 4 times the time that it should have. And, hopefully, the Pipemaking Demon will now be satisfied for at least another 20 or so pipes, before he strikes again!