Davide Iafisco: Partially Rusticated Blowfish Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-702-0129

Davide Iafisco boasts a unique shaping style, one which makes itself known in every pipe that he crafts, something influenced by the Italian artisan's wide-ranging stylistic influences and his own singular approach to design. Among these influences are Claudio Cavicchi, Teddy Knudsen, Todd Johnson, Chris Asteriou, and Adam Davidson, attending Adam and Jeff Gracik's pipe-making seminar in 2015. Iafisco's first inspirations came by way of the classic Anglo-French school of design, though he quickly branched out, and using these artisans as benchmarks and guides for his own work, developed a sharp eye for drilling, and a keen sense of line that saw him start work for Luciano as one of their principle carvers. Now Iafisco makes pipes under his own name, leveraging his more than a decade's worth of experience to bring us expertly executed pieces such as this Blowfish.

I'm certainly reminded of various American Blowfish renditions that I've seen while looking at this, though, appropriately, I'm also struck at its similarities to Davide's own imaginings of the shape, and the way that his iterations have evolved. The bowl, of course, showcases its dual asymmetrical panels quite proudly, the right smaller and more self-contained than the left, which instead is the result of a single ridgeline interacting with itself and others multiple times. This interconnectivity is an extremely difficult thing to achieve, and even more so if, like Iafisco has, you've carved the main ridge to visually push out from the briar, in this case forming a kind of collar that curves around the flanks near the transition. The shaping here is the result of a plunging curve of a raised ridge starting at the shank face and wrapping up and around the side of the bowl, conjuring images of gills or of a wavering fin propelling its owner through the water.

A second ridgeline begins on the opposite side of the shank face, though it's not raised, and follows the same descent as its sibling, meeting the framing panel present on that side of the bowl at a single point. I feel a kind of intentional understatement at work here, the effect of which is most readily seen when this pipe is looked at from above: There is a defined curve from the fore of the bowl's left flank, conveniently framed by that panel's ridge, which follows an implied line from the shank which is also curved, giving this pipe a great deal of dynamic "swimming" momentum. A vibrant contrast stain dresses the stummel in walnut and mahogany hues, with the veritable ocean of birdseye displayed on the left flank of the stummel leaping out thanks to its lighter colors, while the right panel has been lightly rusticated, hollowing it out a bit and allowing for a comfortable finger index point. The stem here is a sleek saddle of cumberland that fits into a brass-reinforced push-style mount, with the domed flare of the shank mirrored in the firm expansion ring present at the base of the stem.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.50 in./139.70 mm.
  • Weight: 1.65 oz./46.72 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.48 in./37.59 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.24 in./31.50 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.78 in./19.81 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.54 in./39.12 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Blowfish
  • Finish: Partial Rusticated
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Italy
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