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American Estates: Todd Johnson Smooth Blowfish Cavalier with Bocote and Mammoth (Hoplite) (2005) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 004-009-19261

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, reflected in this Blowfish Cavalier.

It's fair to say that Todd Johnson is a master of many things, but one thing he excels at is presenting us with whimsical, novel takes on classic forms, or even designs the likes of which we've never seen before. This piece bridges that gap quite efficiently, as it's a deviation from a familiar silhouette, but also one I've only ever seen before precious few times: its portmanteau of two ubiquitous artisan shapes both effective and arresting. The Blowfish here is present at the bowl, staying true to that profile's asymmetrical shaping through its two differently-sized panels that frame the flanks, with the left's being larger than the right's and slanted in a diagonal angle to the right. In addition, the left side panel has been gently hollow-carved at its ridge for further definition and to allow the rounded face it frames to further pop. The shank is a vertically oriented length of briar that's mid set at the bowl and pinches at the transition on the aft side, while the top and bottom-most outcroppings curve up and down respectively. The bottom bit of briar acts as the Cavalier's foot, comprising the aforementioned briar met with a flared extension of vulcanite topped with mammoth, allowing for stable sitting. The top leads to a mammoth ring, followed by a flaring accent of bocote, and a demurely curved stem of jet-black vulcanite, all of which combine with the stummel's warm chestnut stain for a look that's rich with contrast.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details


CONDITION:
Rim Darkening Mild Chamber Carbonizing Finish Discolored Cracked Accent

STAMPING:
TODD M (Arched,Inside Oval)
ƩTΩA (Inside Oval)
JOHNSON (Arched,Inside Oval)
2005
(Hoplite Helmet Stamp)
U.S.A.
  • Length: 8.10 in./205.74 mm.
  • Weight: 2.78 oz./78.93 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.05 in./52.07 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.80 in./45.72 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.75 in./19.05 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.58 in./40.13 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Cavalier
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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