J. Alan: Sandblasted Paneled Cherrywood with Ivorite (1817) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-376-0359

Jeff Gracik is one of the most accomplished, well known artisans in the pipe making world as the man behind J. Alan pipes. His start on his journey into artisan carving began with naught but the drive to craft a pair of smoking pipes for himself, two blocks of briar with their respective pre-formed stems, and hand tools which were borrowed from his in-laws. These first two pieces were made on the floor of said in-laws' kitchen, over the course of his Christmas break from graduate school, the process igniting a passion within him that has persisted ever since, his talent since then not only fostered through practice, but through study under Todd Johnson, Tonni Nielsen, and Jody Davis, furthering his knowledge of the craft in all its aspects, all while coming into his own as an artisan and developing a unique, organically inclined shaping style. That being said, Gracik is also quite talented in crafting pipes of a more structural, sculptural leaning such as this Cherrywood. Not only is this a profile we have never seen from him before, either new or estate, but it is paneled, something which Gracik seldom does, making this a truly special piece.

There is something drawing about this pipe, as if its form holds some kind of secret that must be discovered lest you be left obsessing over it for hours, desperately trying to uncover what lies hidden. I find that this secret lies in the way the panels here interact with each other, specifically with regard to the shank, formed in just such a way so that it mirrors the build of the bowl via its use of octagonal paneling. When I say this, I speak specifically of the way that the center aft ridgeline of the bowl intersects the shank, curving up into the transition and continuing, rather than fading and starting again, with the same occurring on the underside. Not only this, but the other six, positioned on the shank's flanks, ebb into the ridges positioned on the left and right aft sides of the bowl, maintaining their structure without dissipating, though doing so in such a subtle way that, even when touching it, it's difficult to detect — a testament to Gracik's deft craftsmanship. The bowl itself flares consistently from a flattened heel, such a feature allowing it to sit sturdily upright and showcase the sculptural, rigidly fluid curvature of the shank and stem's posture, all while canting the bowl forward and imbuing it with an exciting momentum. The stummel is dressed in a dark auburn sandblast, with the rim left smooth for contrast, and showcases a soft, textural surface all around, covered on many of its panels by blasted birdseye and visually contrasting the Ivorite fitment at the shank end beautifully.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.23 in./132.84 mm.
  • Weight: 1.52 oz./43.09 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.25 in./57.15 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.67 in./42.42 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.89 in./22.61 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.56 in./39.62 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Poker
  • Finish: Sandblast
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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