Jerry Zenn: Sandblasted Tomato with Bamboo Tobacco Pipe
Product Number: 002-788-0043
One of East Asia's foremost pipe carvers, Jerry Zenn is a Taiwanese artisan who spent 25 years of his professional life as an automotive mechanic. The line drawn between the two may not be clear at first, though his experience with meeting exacting tolerances and ensuring proper fitment of parts speaks otherwise, as both are extremely important when crafting high-quality pipes. This Tomato speaks to that, as well as to his prominent Danish influence, and his penchant for crafting pipes that fuse supple curves with striking organicism.
The Tomato is one of my favorite pipe shapes, acting as a thick-walled smoking companion that promises comfort whenever it's used and presenting with a thoroughly plump form in almost every iteration of the profile. However, it is an extremely difficult shape to imbue with any kind of aerodynamic lines or implied momentum, as the round and robust bowl must retain its thickness. Zenn has managed to include both elements in this rendition of the Tomato though, and this leaves my eyes constantly wandering over the stummel. The bowl here is as you'd expect from a Tomato, being carved with a pronounced waist that informs a gentle, arcing taper to the rim, while keeping everything below it pleasingly rounded and hearty. Unlike many of its brethren, the waistline of this pipe is strikingly canted forward, raising the aft side of the bowl quite a bit and placing the fore in a position that looks as if it's ready to slice through the air while racing forward. The heel is lifted, though the position of the bowl's fore gives the impression that the waist and heel are one and the same, creating an economy of shape and style.
In comparison to the bowl's broadness, and in general, really, the shank is extremely trim, tapering immediately out of the wide transition to meet a trim band of black vulcanite. Paired to the shank, however, is a thick, flaring stretch of wonderfully asymmetrical and charmingly chubby bamboo. This length of the dense grass is anything but uniform, with myriad nodules dotting its surface and punctuating the flare it takes on to its boxwood-adorned face. Said boxwood comes in the form of a broad disc that expands further than the bamboo does, acting as a companion to the expansion ring that rounds the base of the saddle stem it meets at the junction. By accenting the aft portion of his pipe this way, Zenn has created a composition of wonderful balance, ensuring that the eye can roam over all of its construction without being pulled away by a single element. Not only this, but he creates a great deal of texture with the bamboo shank extension, and this is matched by a vibrantly contrast-stained sandblast across the stummel, revealing vertical growth rings on the flanks and giving me the impression that the bowl is breaking the sound barrier-John McElheny
Measurements & Other Details
- Length: 5.11 in./129.79 mm.
- Weight: 1.95 oz./55.34 g.
- Bowl Height: 1.59 in./40.39 mm.
- Chamber Depth: 1.26 in./32.00 mm.
- Chamber Diameter: 0.79 in./20.07 mm.
- Outside Diameter: 2.12 in./53.85 mm.
- Stem Material: Vulcanite
- Filter: None
- Shape: Tomato
- Finish: Sandblast
- Material: Briar
- Country: Taiwan