Doctor's: Sandblasted Pot with Bamboo and Boxwood (Double Flash) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-630-0132

The usage of bamboo became commonplace during World War II, as briar was scarce, forcing carvers to find new ways to use less of the precious burl. Though the dense grass' inclusion into the canon of pipe making was brought on by scarcity and necessity, it has been redefined through the lens of artisan making as an organic and effective accent, with carvers such as Roman Kovalev of Doctor's Pipes using it to great effect in their work. Kovalev sets himself apart from others, however, not just in his ability to utilize dramatically curved lengths of the material, but in the way he drills their draft holes. His process isn't really drilling, however, as he specially shapes a length of thin metal rod, tempers it for strength, then heats it, rotating it in a lathe to slowly burn the hole through the bamboo millimeter by millimeter. This process can take many hours, but results in a smoother path and, thus, smoother airflow. He uses this technique for every bamboo fitment that adorns his pipes, including that of this straight Pot.

I'm endlessly astounded by Roman's ability to craft pipes that are simultaneously robust and compact, as they aren't simply short and stout. They instead present with great substance at the bowl, keeping the shank and stem low-profile and sleek, though with compositional importance that is striking enough to balance the visual weight at the transition. Such is the case here, as the usage of bamboo creates a locus of immense visual and textural intrigue that draws the eye without detracting from the bowl's presence. Said bowl is appropriately squat, rising to just over an inch and a half in height, and quite broad, taking on a slow taper to the rim from a low-set waistline. This waist serves the additional purpose of offering the fingers an indexing point for comfort in the hand, and this is aided by Kovalev's deft eye for and skill in carving subtle, supple curves. The shank proper is extremely trim, meeting a band of jet-black vulcanite soon after it ebbs forth from the transition, after which the bamboo takes hold. Despite the short length of this bamboo, we see a full five knuckles worth of natural rhythm in it, with each one flanked by organic nodules which enhance its textural appeal. Four of these are embellished by seamlessly integrated boxwood, with the pale wood here matching a flared disc at what would be the shank face, matching the expansion ring of the saddle stem.

Kovalev takes no half-measures in his work, something proven by his process for working bamboo, but magnified by his commitment to excellent finishing. I say this because, upon purchasing a sandblasting machine and being dissatisfied with the results, he built a machine of his own in order to achieve the results he desired. He calls this proprietary method of blasting the "Aeroblast," and one of these exemplary sandblasts dresses the stummel of this Pot, unveiling cascades of rippling ring grain that drape the surface of the bowl. The rim has been left smooth for contrast and displays swirling veins of birdseye, with the entire stummel stained a warm auburn hue which stands apart from the pale colors of the bamboo and introduces further handsome contrast. There's an immense amount of substance present in this piece, sure to make it a worthy addition to any collection.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 4.10 in./104.14 mm.
  • Weight: 1.33 oz./37.65 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.67 in./42.42 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.46 in./37.08 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.85 in./21.59 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.63 in./41.40 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Pot
  • Finish: Sandblast
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Russia
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