J. Alan: Smooth Tomato with Bamboo (2006) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-376-0395

Jeff Gracik is the American artisan behind J. Alan pipes, and his achievements have made him one of the most easily recognizable, well-regarded carvers in the United States, if not the world. His journey into pipe making began with a pair of briar blocks purchased while he was studying for his graduate degree, hand-carving them to make use of them himself and fitting the two stummels with preform stems. This first step ignited within him a passion for the art of carving, leading him to study under some of the world's most talented artisans, laying the foundation for his current career as an artisan.

The Tomato is a shape that thrives through its bowl shape, and this piece is a wonderful example of that, with a bowl possessed of a rotund, low-set, slightly tilted waist and an arcing taper to the rim, both of which contribute to a comfortable feel in hand. Despite the appreciable length of this piece at nearly six and a half inches long, the bowl stays at the forefront of the visual focus here easily, thanks to its striking breadth. Broader than it is tall, this bowl lends the pipe a sense of proportion which doesn't simply favor the fore, but which affords the entire composition a sense of compactness that belies its true dimensions. Its walls stand atop a lifted heel and take on a slight forward cant as they taper upward, the tilted waist lending the aft wall a higher contour than the fore and pushing the chamfered chamber forward a bit.

The bowl is paired to a trim shank that tapers out of a wide transition, which, though not cheeked, offers a good deal of separation between the bowl and shank and highlights the presence of the bowl's waistline. The slim shank is paired to two knuckles of bamboo, the right side continuing a pair of divots in the organic material, one pushing into the base of the stem and the other into the shank itself. A ring of black vulcanite marks the junction to a demurely curved saddle stem of matching material, its flared base continuing the natural rhythm of the bamboo's knuckles as its arcing bit offers a comfortable smoking posture. Dressing the briar here is a vibrant ruby contrast stain that unveils a dense array of swirling birdseye on either flank of the bowl, the midsection revealing a tightly-knit pattern of cross grain, the tones of the briar contrasted strikingly by the pale colors of the bamboo.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 6.44 in./163.58 mm.
  • Weight: 2.20 oz./62.37 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.75 in./44.45 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.47 in./37.34 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.83 in./21.08 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 2.13 in./54.10 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Tomato
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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