Abe Herbaugh: Smooth Volcano with Horn Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-614-0142

I don't think that I can overstate just how much I love the work of Abe Herbaugh, as it seems that each time I encounter it I'm met with something new, something novel, something which pushes the boundaries of artisan pipe making in fun and interesting directions. His ten years of experience as a luthier granted him a bit of a boon when starting off on his journey as an artisan carver, as it gave him access to tools and had developed within him a good eye for line and shaping, it just needed to be retrofitted to account for the unique requirements of pipes as opposed to guitars. His first pipes we carved as an autodidact, learning the craft from trial and error before receiving tutelage from Premal Chheda, something that accelerated his pace of learning quite a bit. A native Virginian and long time resident of neighboring West Virginia, Herbaugh now carves pipes in Vermont.

There's quite a bit of Japanese influence here in this Volcano, as the shaping of the stummel is quite fluid and full of supple curves and organicism, though I can't seem to pinpoint any specifics, because Herbaugh has created something here that is completely his own as a whole. I'm stricken immediately by just how much intentional asymmetry he's managed to pack into this piece, something that not only displays his incredible skill quite readily, but also creates a look that's more akin to the squatter volcanoes of the world, one which reflects the inherent unevenness present in mountains which have been carved out of raw earth for hundreds of millions of years. Not only this, but it gives this piece the appearance of a volcano that's already erupted, with a short fore wall, extended slope of an aft wall, and a right flank that's wrapped with a ridgeline, as if the mountain had split, or there was magma readily flowing from its mouth.

Underneath is a base that's shaped as a teardrop, and from here we can see that the angle of the shank favors the left, curving out and away from the bowl before meeting an extension of horn which fits the stem via a brass-reinforced push mount. I find, personally, that the best angle for smoking here is achieved when one twists the stem in its mount to be level with the rim when the rim itself is level, and doing this magnifies the outline of the shank and stem in profile, like the combination were, themselves, the outline of a larger mountain. Not only this, but, when raised to the mouth in this position, it allows the bowl to fit fantastically in the hand, the ridge indexing to the finger quite well while most of its mass curves slightly to the left, feeling natural as it is cradled and ensuring a natural smoking posture. The briar here is dressed in a vibrant mahogany contrast stain that unveils dense streaks of straight grain rushing toward the rim at the bowl, amplifying the lift of the heel and slight forward cant present there for a momentum-rich composition with a base that's completely awash with birdseye.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.86 in./148.84 mm.
  • Weight: 1.38 oz./39.01 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.38 in./35.05 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.29 in./32.77 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.74 in./18.80 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.82 in./46.23 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Volcano
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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