J. Alan: Sandblasted Liminal Billiard with Silver (2129) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-376-0416

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.

The Liminal Billiard is one of Gracik's signature shapes, and, if your experience with this profile is anything like mine, you're left wondering: "What is so liminal about this Billiard?" Liminality, and the quality of being liminal, directly relates to an object or idea's transitional nature, being or existing in the interstitial area between two more defined ideas, objects, or spaces. With regard to this pipe, its liminality is cultivated at the intersection of multiple styles and design choices, most notably in its stylistic roots, where it seems situated squarely in between the Danish and Anglo-French schools of pipe design. Though there's plenty of supple roundness to appreciate at the bowl, it remains rather stolidly built, infused with a subtle bit of Danish-style taper, but not so much that it flaunts a completely Nordic influence. In addition, this pipe has been crafted on the intersection of Billiard and Lovat, with a shank that, were it longer, would immediately give reason to categorize this with the Canadian family's round-shanked, saddle-stemmed member. However, if it were shorter, this pipe would more closely resemble a stack, all thanks to Gracik's fantastic sense of proportion, crafting the saddle stem with an extremely trim base and accenting the junction with silver: further emphasizing this stylistic intrigue. Furthermore, at less than five inches long, but slightly more than four and a half, this pipe toes the line between more standard Billiards and Nosewarmer varieties, all while showcasing a distinct, plump muscularity. This Liminal Billiard is an excellent display of Gracik's talent, displaying his skill in walking an unmarked stylistic line between a variety of Billiard interpretations, bearing fruit within a narrow liminal space that boasts all the charm of its intersections. Dressed in a jet-black stain and a crisp sandblast, there's plenty of handsome grain to appreciate here, the bowl draped in dense ring grain.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 4.77 in./121.16 mm.
  • Weight: 1.79 oz./50.80 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.98 in./50.29 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.65 in./41.91 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.83 in./21.08 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.65 in./41.91 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Billiard
  • Finish: Sandblast
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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