Clark Layton: Partially Sandblasted Chernobyl Fish Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-781-0049

Clark Layton carved his first pipe after a wedding where he spied a few friends smoking pipes they had made themselves. Using cherry wood and preform stems, he set about the shaping process and was totally enthralled, continuing to craft more pipes and learning from his mistakes with each iteration. After he had achieved drilling consistency, he started to work with briar. His background in woodwork and construction, along with advice and instruction given by Mark Tinsky and Premal Chheda, accelerated his pace in learning, and contributed to his efficiency with materials and time, imbuing within him a respect for the mediums he was working with. His work is Danish-inspired, though with a good deal of influence from the American revival and Japanese schools of design, the latter two seen in this Chernobyl Fish.

One of the first of its kind, the Chernobyl Fish is, at its core, a modified Blowfish with an enhanced sense of plumpness throughout its build, a prominent rounding of outline, and a partial sandblast with outcroppings of plateau which resemble irradiated mutation. Compared to Layton's other Blowfish renditions, this is quite different, eschewing the normally lengthy shank in favor of a shorter and more curvaceous extension of briar that is visually similar to the bowl, both in size and silhouette. Here, a sleek vulcanite saddle stem of variegated green hues fits into the rounded face through a push-fit arrangement that's been strengthened with a trim ring of brass, providing a good deal of visual separation between the two parts which maintains attention on the stummel. Additionally, this allows the ridges which wrap around the shank face to continue through the rest of the briar uninterrupted, framing the elements of the shape in a cohesive manner.

The rightmost of these two ridges starts at the transition and curves around the right flank of the shank and underneath, pushing out as it nears the bowl to create a gill-like collar that then wraps around the front and back into itself. The left creates a lengthy loop, pushing out both beneath and above the transition to define it more as it flows through the fore and around, starting again. A warm auburn stain dresses the right side of the stummel here, revealing some handsome birdseye throughout, with the top and bottom of the stummel wrapped by cross grain, and the left flank displaying prominent plateau and the aforementioned sandblast, its darker hues standing out in stark contrast.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.25 in./133.35 mm.
  • Weight: 2.30 oz./65.20 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.85 in./46.99 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.36 in./34.54 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.76 in./19.30 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.53 in./38.86 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Blowfish
  • Finish: Partial Sandblast
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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