Danish Estates: Tom Eltang Smooth Shield with Bamboo (Snail) (5) (05) (Unsmoked) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 004-001-34901

Tom Eltang's influence on the world of pipe making is unquestionable, and his name is often brought up by younger pipe makers as a pivotal influence. With almost 50 years of experience and a prolific work ethic, the Danish artisan produces shapes both classic and unique with equal skill and brings that talent to bear here with a stunning Shield. The shape was first made by the late Swedish carving legend Bo Nordh, whose devotion to and skill in reading briar grain were remarkable. Tom's renditions of the shape are wonderfully realized, with his keen attention to detail readily visible in those he produces.

The Shield is essentially a slightly modified Elephant's Foot, and making one necessitates finding a perfect block of briar for the shape, reading it correctly, and shaping it with enough skill to bring out the grain on a versatile arrangement of surfaces. Tom has done so masterfully, using a deep chestnut contrast stain and smooth finish to show off horizontal grain that runs through most of the length of the pipe. Tight striations race across the entire paneled circumference of the bowl's flanks, foot, and rim, and they continue up the shank, while the ample rounded fore and towering aft surfaces of the bowl are both resplendent with tight clusters of birdseye.

The gently upswept shank is seamlessly joined with two knuckles of bamboo, introducing a striking bit of organicism to this pipe, as well as a good deal of texture, thanks to the natural material's rhythmic expansion at its knuckles. The length of bamboo is flanked on either side by thin bands of jet-black vulcanite which match the stem, and Tom has done well here to meld the organic with the man-made, extending divots in the bamboo's surfaces at these twin bands. A trim saddle stem flares out gently at its base to match the rhythm of the knuckles before its demurely downturned bit takes hold, offering a comfortable smoking posture. The fit and finish of this pipe are exemplary, and Tom has awarded it his prestigious Snail grade, an honor reserved only for pieces with outstanding grain quality and orientation.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details


(Snail stamp)
TOM ELTANG(arched)
  • Length: 6.05 in./153.67 mm.
  • Weight: 1.66 oz./47.17 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.12 in./53.85 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.52 in./38.61 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.75 in./19.05 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.51 in./38.35 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Freehand
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Denmark
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