American Estates: Todd Johnson Churchwarden Elephant's Foot (Hoplite) (2006) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 004-009-18818

American artisan Todd Johnson is as much an artist as he is a pipe carver and, in the time since he began to make his art in the spring of 2000, he has advanced to the upper echelons of the craft. True, his background in woodworking has helped him to achieve what he has to date, but the man himself credits Tom Eltang, who, in the winter of 2001, took the young Todd under his wing and showed him the ways of shape first, drill second freehand work. Additional training with Lars Ivarsson further honed his skill set and deepened both his understanding of and appreciation for classic Danish shaping. Now, Johnson possesses a shaping style that is all his own.

Originally crafted by Bo Nordh, the legendary Swedish artisan behind a wealth of modern classic shapes, the Elephant's Foot is a profile made specifically to showcase the most of a briar block's birdseye grain. Though the stummel of this piece is slightly different from the original shape, with a significantly thinner shank and a more extensive heel, the most striking departure this pipe makes from its archetype is the addition of a staggering ten knuckles of bamboo. This bamboo extension rises skyward out of the shank and is paired to a flaring saddle stem of cumberland, extending the reach of this piece to nearly 12 inches. Though the stummel's hold over the visual weight is undeniable, the gestural stretch of bamboo through the aft pulls the eye toward it, and here we can see one of the dense grass' most interesting features: its asymmetric meandering from right to left. This curve is expertly balanced by Johnson with a subtle curve in the stem that brings it back in line with the chamber. Said chamber sits inside of a paneled bowl, with the fore and aft panels resembling a shield, while the flanks see a panel wrapping around the bottom and rising to the other side. The crisp edges here outline a sweeping, handsome shape that flares to its rim, the walls showcasing a deep chestnut stain that reveal dense swaths of birdseye across the fore wall, a kiss of plateau near its top adding a bit of textural contrast.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

Minor Rim Darkening

TODD M (arched)
JOHNSON (arched)
  • Length: 11.90 in./302.26 mm.
  • Weight: 2.50 oz./70.87 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.14 in./54.36 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.69 in./42.93 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.76 in./19.30 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.88 in./47.75 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Freehand
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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