American Estates: J. Alan Smooth Volcano (357) (2009) Tobacco Pipe
Product Number: 004-009-18222
Jeff Gracik is one of the most accomplished, well known artisans in the pipe making world as the man behind J. Alan pipes. His start on his journey into artisan carving began with naught but the drive to craft a pair of smoking pipes for himself, two blocks of briar with their respective pre-formed stems, and hand tools which were borrowed from his in-laws. These first two pieces were made on the floor of said in-laws' kitchen, over the course of his Christmas break from graduate school, the process igniting a passion within him that has persisted ever since, his talent since then not only fostered through practice, but through study under Todd Johnson, Tonni Nielsen, and Jody Davis, furthering his knowledge of the craft in all its aspects, all while coming into his own as an artisan and developing a unique, organically inclined shaping style.
This Volcano rendition additionally demonstrates his ability to render shapes of a more structured leaning, though he still imbues it with plenty of naturalistic elements, not the least of which is its geological silhouette. In profile, this pipe really does take on a look like that of a volcano, or perhaps a mountain range, with the arcing stretch of shank and stem like a larger expanse of mountains reaching out from behind the one represented by the bowl. This piece is surrounded by a wrapping ridgeline which starts at the base of the saddle stem's underside, pushing into the stummel and curving through the fore before making its way back to the base, this firm ridge denoting an inward taper of the entire form. From out of this briar basin pushes a rounded extension of the burl that lifts the entire piece upward a bit and adds some slight softness to the composition that contrasts the rigidity of the ridge and its sibling. That's correct, there's a second, smaller ridge that sits atop the space in between itself and the first one, firming up the wide expanse of the upper shank and providing the aft wall of the bowl a base from which to erupt and taper to the rim. The fore of the bowl takes on a taper as well, with both being quite curvaceous and sloping upward to the rim's dipped, dynamic surface. Certainly volcanic in appearance, this piece wears a vibrant mahogany stain that unveils wrapping streaks of dense flame while both the top and bottom showcase some incredible birdseye.-John McElheny
Measurements & Other Details
Minor Rim Darkening Mild Chamber Carbonizing Scratches Around The Bowl
J. ALAN PIPES
- Length: 5.19 in./131.83 mm.
- Weight: 2.29 oz./64.86 g.
- Bowl Height: 1.76 in./44.70 mm.
- Chamber Depth: 1.58 in./40.13 mm.
- Chamber Diameter: 0.73 in./18.54 mm.
- Outside Diameter: 1.90 in./48.26 mm.
- Stem Material: Vulcanite
- Filter: None
- Shape: Volcano
- Finish: Smooth
- Material: Briar
- Country: United States