Jerry Zenn: Smooth Rhodesian with Bamboo and Horn

Product Number: 002-788-0025

While bamboo has been used in pipemaking since the mid-1900s, its role has changed over the decades. In the beginning, bamboo acted as a way to save on briar during shortages, with uniform sections simply added onto briar stummels. Sixten Ivarsson expanded upon this idea, incorporating the organic medium into the overall composition, not simply as a mere, practical extension. This innovation has only grown throughout the artisan world, with carvers now shaping entire designs around unique sections of bamboo — Roman Kovalev of Doctor's Pipes comes especially to mind with his pioneering use of crazy, wildly shaped bamboo sections. In recent years, Jerry Zenn has utilized similarly eccentric knuckles in his work.

Here, the Taiwanese carver offers one such piece fitted to a wide-set Rhodesian bowl with beadlines oriented low, just above the transition. The bamboo section used is gnarled and craggy, forsaking any semblance of concise knuckles for a texture covered in wildly spaced nodes. In profile, it's clear that the bamboo's shape informed Zenn's design choice — the flare of the shank extension acting as a foil for the bowl's steep taper above the beadlines. Furthering the organic motif, Jerry has capped the shank face with a trim rim of horn within which fits a metal tenon for durable reinforcement. It's a compact piece overall, lightweight and pocket-sized, and showcased a vivid grain orientation underneath and traditional auburn stain.

-Truett Smith
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 4.18 in./106.17 mm.
  • Weight: 1.12 oz./31.75 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.35 in./34.29 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 0.97 in./24.64 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.76 in./19.30 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.84 in./46.74 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Rhodesian
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Taiwan
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