Adam Davidson: Adam Davidson and Todd Johnson Two Pipe Set (with Stand) Tobacco Pipe
Product Number: 002-437-0132
Todd Johnson and Adam Davidson both are master pipe making artisans who have made an indelible impact on the American school of pipe design. Even among other masters, their works stand out, and, likewise, the pair have developed a number of signature shapes which display their individual styles with unique gracefulness. This two-pipe set is a rare one, as both artisans seldom collaborate with other carvers, let alone each other, though it's one which doesn't necessarily come as a surprise. In Adam's early days as an artisan, he actually received instruction from Johnson, and the two have influenced each other for years, maintaining a longstanding friendship.
The concept of this set is an exciting one, showcasing two of the duo's signature shapes, Johnson's Samurai Volcano and Davidson's Fig, though each one is carved by the other, making this set something of a simultaneous homage where both artisans pay tribute to one other at once. In addition, this set comes with a handmade stand crafted by renowned accessory maker Scott Tinker, able to display both with ease and in standout fashion thanks to its magnetic retention system. The expansive base of this stand is made from a light, pale wood with a dark strip of burl in the center, separating the two pipes and allowing the darker hues of the pipes' stummels to stand out strikingly. A pair of burl strips are inlaid into the underside of the stand and act as feet, letting the set stand sturdily.
Johnson's rendition of the Fig shape is a far more vertical interpretation of the shape than those from Davidson, maintaining the reach of the shank but giving it a highly dynamic lift as it pushes out from the transition. Said transition still leaves plenty of space to drape a thumb, and the shank itself takes on a robust flare out toward a face covered in plateau. However, this face has been carved out almost completely, leaving a thin strip of craggy peaks at the very edge and allowing the broad base of the stem to nestle in, as if the briar itself were retaking the vibrant ruby hues of the Bakelite saddle. In addition to the shank's posture, the bowl, too, has been altered, being much larger than Davidson's Figs and possessed of a highly gestural forward lean, where the entirety of the briar is curved to push the rim forward and further highlight its muscular flare. This flare starts at a flattened foot which allows the entire piece to sit sturdily with or without the stand, an example of Johnson's expertise in balancing his pipes. The rim is capped with a smattering of sanded plateau, giving it an organic look and showcasing dense swaths of birdseye from beneath the stummel's vibrant mahogany contrast stain, all while streaks of flame grain follow the shaping of the bowl. This piece is doubtlessly a fine one, and Johnson has graded it as such, having stamped it with his esteemed "Phalanx" grade, owed to its exceptional shaping and grain.
Comparatively, the Samurai Volcano here is much more subtly stylized, maintaining many of the shaping elements which Johnson's signature displays, though with a more defined and firm sense of line throughout. While Johnson's own imagining of this shape features sharper elements, there's still a generally detectable rotundness about them, with soft, gradual contours though the bowl and a usually somewhat slender shank. Here, the shank and bowl are in more even proportion with each other, and the bowl itself displays a slightly more sleek taper up toward the rim. Supporting this bowl is the form's iconic ridgeline-wrapped base, the undulating line surrounding a significant outward push at the middle and affording the composition a touch of handsome curvature, where the aft side of the ridge extends down and creates an area of visual intrigue that draws the eye and centers the bowl's visual weight. From here, the walls of the bowl begin their upward taper and start a defined forward lean which terminates at the fore of the rim, with said rim looking impressively sharp in silhouette and being smoothly sloped into the ample chamber. A tight transition gives way out back to a rising shank that flares out toward a base marked with a firm ridge, outlining an asymmetrical face whose semi-ovoid shaping is covered in a smooth finish. An inlaid band of brass allows the black vulcanite saddle stem to pressure-mount with ease and allows for easy disassembly, the smooth briar here and at the rim contrasting the crisp, contrast stained sandblast across the rest of the stummel: revealing dense ripples of ring grain cascading down the bowl.-John McElheny
Measurements & Other Details
- (Todd Johnson Freehand Smooth)
- Length: 5.82 in. Weight: 3.65 oz.
- Chamber Diameter: 0.80 in. Chamber Depth: 2.03 in.
- Outside Diameter: 2.12 in. Bowl Height: 2.68 in.
- Stem Material: Bakelite
- Length: 4.90 in./124.46 mm.
- Weight: 3.20 oz./90.72 g.
- Bowl Height: 2.45 in./62.23 mm.
- Chamber Depth: 1.70 in./43.18 mm.
- Chamber Diameter: 0.80 in./20.32 mm.
- Outside Diameter: 1.83 in./46.48 mm.
- Stem Material: Vulcanite
- Filter: None
- Shape: Freehand
- Finish: Sandblast
- Material: Briar
- Country: United States