Abe Herbaugh: Smooth Fighting Fish Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-614-0131

When discussing accent stems — the theme of our annual American Pipe Making Exposition for 2021 — one often remarks on the use of alternative materials and split-stem styles, but such an approach is not the only manner in which a stem can accent a pipe. When Sixten Ivarsson first developed his "shape first, drill second" pipe-making technique, essentially beginning the artisan pipe-making movement, he was also among the first to consider a pipe's mouthpiece a part of the overall artistic composition — not merely an appendage necessary to a pipe's smoking function. Since then, artisans have expanded upon this idea, not only crafting stems with alternative materials but also cutting and filing them in creative ways to match the shaping of the stummel, even without any adorning accoutrements. Such is the case with this Fighting Fish design from Abe Herbaugh.

The stem is fashioned solely of vulcanite, like most traditional pipes; however, Abe shaped it in such a way that it continues the lines of the stummel and is inherent to the overall shape of the pipe. The shaping of the stem is actually a part of the pipe's overall profile. The stummel is reminiscent of a Blowfish, with a panel of cross grain wrapping across the top of the bowl, through the fore, and along the underside, poising birdseye along the bulbous flanks. The ridgelines of said panel flick outward, then, at the sides of the transition, forming the shape's often characteristic "fins" in intricate detail and bespeaking deft craftsmanship by the American carver. Those ridges extend through the shank's flare, which is continued by the stem's base, perfectly maintaining and furthering those lines. In silhouette, it's virtually impossible to discern where the stummel ends and the stem begins on this pipe, creating an illusion, of sorts, that intrigues the eye and cohesively unites the pipe as a singular composition. Furthermore, stunning grain abounds underneath a vivid contrast stain, with striations of cross grain contrasting by swirls of birdseye. It's a beautiful design marked by immaculate grain orientation equaled by the pipes overall shape and perfect for this year's Exposition.

-Truett Smith
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 4.61 in./117.09 mm.
  • Weight: 2.10 oz./59.53 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.89 in./48.01 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.26 in./32.00 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.70 in./17.78 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.65 in./41.91 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Freehand
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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