Chris Asteriou: Smooth Elephant's Foot with Bamboo (1002/20) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-540-0152

We have seen a lot of wonderful pipes from talented Greek carver Chris Asteriou, with his diverse portfolio replete with both artisan renditions of English shape-chart classics and organic pipes inspired by Danish masters. However, according to our archives, this is the first Elephant's Foot we have ever received from Chris. Not only that, but he has incorporated bamboo in the design, a less common choice for him but one with which he demonstrates superlative skill. Based on these factors alone it is quite a rare pipe, but the superior craftsmanship and obedience to grain with which it is crafted make it even more remarkable.

Originally designed by the late Swedish carving legend Bo Nordh, the Elephant's Foot shape is a difficult one to execute well, with both quality and grain orientation making or breaking the design, but Asteriou has clearly picked a perfect block of briar and made excellent use of it. The grain here runs horizontally down the flanks, with birdseye fore and aft, and is illuminated by a bright stain and a smooth finish. Two ridgelines define the center of the shape, running parallel to each other all the way around the flanks, heel, and rim. Between those two borders stunning cross gran sweeps in tight striations all the way around the circumference without interruption. The forward and aft aspects of the bowl display bulbous curvature packed with dense birdseye, while straight striations shoot up the shank.

While many carvers use bamboo with longer sections, Chris has incorporated a gnarly shank extension with five knuckles of tight-knit bamboo, providing plenty of texture and detail for finger pads to explore and the eye to admire. The piece curls upward just slightly and is topped with a vulcanite ring, giving way to one of Chris's meticulously hand-cut vulcanite saddle stems. Slightly narrower in proportion than some Elephant's Foot designs, this one fits perfectly in my hand in several different positions. It doesn't want to leave my hand, actually, but I will set it free, soon to be the crowning jewel of a lucky collector's rotation.

- Joel Balyeat
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.73 in./145.54 mm.
  • Weight: 1.90 oz./53.86 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.25 in./57.15 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.61 in./40.89 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.77 in./19.56 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.84 in./46.74 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Freehand
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Greece
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