American Estates: J. Alan Smooth Sphinx with Horn (1446) (2018) (Unsmoked) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 004-009-11966

Jeff Gracik of J. Alan pipes is a master of understatement and subtlety. Like musicians, pipe makers must know when not to overdo it, because appropriate minimalism and graceful simplicity are as important to design as are fancy flourishes and dramatic execution. This Sphinx is an example of Jeff's restraint as well as his acumen. Seemingly simple, it is misleading, because every curve, every surface, every angle, every ridge and line and incline combine for a unified composition of remarkable stature. The Sphinx is originally from a Bo Nordh design, defined by a crisp ridgeline wrapping the far side of the bowl.

Here, though, Jeff has moved that ridgeline to the near side, maintaining the bowl curvature throughout except for one simple ridgeline curving from the rim, down the left forward side, and below the transition, where it disappears seamlessly from the piece, leaving only a subtle nub beneath, providing a lower profile similar to the Acorn shape. The transition from bowl to shank is flawless, and the shank gradually expands toward the horn accent, which itself continues that expansion in a reserved but clear nod to Danish design. The grain is wonderful, oriented on the bowl to provide visual support of the organically shaped bowl, with angled flame grain symmetrically situated and birdseye fore and aft. The finish, too, is remarkable. Jeff uses a five-day process to achieve the contrast finish he uses, and that time and effort are reflected in the overall quality of this piece. Unbelievably, it's unsmoked.

- Chuck Stanion
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Measurements & Other Details


A (In Script)
  • Length: 5.18 in./131.57 mm.
  • Weight: 1.18 oz./33.57 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.50 in./38.10 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.06 in./26.92 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.73 in./18.54 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.54 in./39.12 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Freehand
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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