The tamper that you see above is merely the first of many shape variations that will be created with numerous materials. This first Universe will give you an idea of what to expect.
The Universe has been a long time in coming. It's a convergence of a number of design concepts that I have developed over the years that can be traced back to the Tribune, the first external pick tamper that I created in early 1999. Over the years my ability to hand carve aluminum has increased steadily, and in the past year that ability has advanced in what has been more of a quantum leap. Also in the past year, with the Lau Series, I created a design concept where the metal and non-metal materials were melded into a single continuous shape with no specific demarcation in terms of shape/contour between the different materials. Taking that one step further, with the Universe the sandwiching of the non-metallic material has created a single unified shape further ehnhanced by angled transitions. With this design the top portion of the tamper will offer an external pick (or a blade) that will be sure to please many Ming customers. While I have always offered external pick tampers, so often I receive inquiries as to whether acrylic pointy ends can be used as a pick. While the answer to that question is no, the working top of the Universe is most defefinitely intended for use as a pick. With future pieces you will see external picks of varying lengths and shapes, many a good bit longer than on the tamper that you see above.
As it turns out, in some ways I have come full circle back to my Tribune of more than a decade ago. The difference here is that I have found a way to maximize both the functional and artistic/aesthetic aspects. With the Universe there is no compromise in any respect as to either.
So, stick around and you will see the creation of what I think will be some very fun tampers. Some will be on the more funky side such as this alpha piece with its reverse curves and slewed orientation between top cap and tamp end, while others will be more conservative and sedate. One thing that I can promise you is that the Universe will never be boring.
[Note: That dark spot by the bottom of the tamp on the right photo is a relfection. Also, the top and bottom aluminum sections both have the same finish, very shiny aluminum. Any differences are due to reflection]
UPDATE 1/27/10: Very soon on this web site the new Universe logo will appear. If you click on that logo you will be able to view a gallery of the Universe tampers created to date.