Tom Eltang: Smooth Elephant's Trunk (Snail)
I had the privilege of watching Tom breathe life into this pipe when I visited his workshop in Denmark this summer. He was rather proud of the piece, in particular, I think, because it was a new shape for him. That in and of itself is a pretty amazing accomplishment seeing as how after more than a generation at the craft Tom Eltang has introduced to all of pipedom dozens of signature shapes, whether they're branded as his own work or as templates for the likes of Stanwell. I wager that Tom was also excited about this pipe because really it's quite marvelous. It's a beautiful, almost sculptural composition that's both trim and grand; and what's more, it looks like a Tom Eltang pipe. Of course, as you can plainly see (courtesy of both our photography and video, I hope), the form of the pipe was no doubt, at least in part, dictated by the block's wealth of naturally incredible grain, some of which are tiger stripes that make up the shape's thin, gently sloped side panels. However, the bird's eye grain to be found here is nothing short of immaculate; from the scoop that makes up the dorsal side of the ramped shank to the cambered canvas of the pipes' belly, there's enough swirling, mottled, marbled bird's eye here to satisfy those pipe guys in especial who drool over such detail.
-- Ted Swearingen