Takeo Arita is the second-generation pipe maker in his family. His father, Shizuo, taught him all that he knows about pipes, and they share the same tools in Tokyo, though Takeo does much of his detail work in his home. His pipes are some of the most beautiful in the world, and each design is an extraordinary sculpted piece.
From his architectural background, Takeo pays close attention to every line on his pipes. Though some shaping is done on a sanding disk, the majority of the process is done through rotary tools, hand files, and sandpaper. His drilling technique is rather unique: many pipe makers drill before they shape and quite a few shape before drawing lines and using a lathe for the chamber. Takeo shapes his briar and then holds a hand drill to make the tobacco chamber by eye - which takes extreme care and practice. His stems are all hand cut from solid vulcanite rods, and his tenons are turned and polished from the same material. Mastodon ivory, boxwood, bamboo, and silver often adorn most of his pieces, and the finishes are either mirror-smooth or delicately dimpled with a rotary tool for rustication (which preserves the lines – another reason why he doesn’t sandblast). Grading is typically X, Y, Z (being the best), though his highest grade is the Kamon. As a generally affable and talented pipe maker, his work speaks volumes for extraordinary skill.