Tom Eltang: Partially Sandblasted Elephant's Foot with Horn Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-299-1276

The Elephant's Foot isn't a classic pipe shape. You won't find it on Dunhill's shape chart, and you certainly won't find vintage estate examples from the early-20th century. That said, the Freehand design has become a staple within artisan pipe making through the later half of the 20th century and into the 21st — similar to other artisan forms like the Blowfish and Nautilus shapes. The shape is attributed to Swedish pipe maker Bo Nordh, a revered pioneer in the pipe community whose reputation and prestige have remained evergreen even since his passing in 2006. He developed a number of signature shapes throughout his career, and the Elephant's Foot has become among the most popular, with many modern carvers applying their own artistic vision to the evocative form.

Defined by a conical bowl, the Elephant's foot is most characterized by panels along the flanks, most often oriented to display the briar's cross grain and leaving the wide fore and aft sections of the bowl emblazoned in birdseye. Turning the pipe upside down reveals the pipe's moniker: embodying its namesake's sturdy, stolid stature. It's a shape struck by contrast and crispness, with the flanking facets' cross grain stark against the birdseye and the angular bowl aligning with its accenting ridges yet contrasting the often sinuous gesture of the shank and stem.

This particular rendition from Tom Eltang extends that contrast even further with a dual finish: While the shape's characteristic grain orientation is maintained, Tom finished the rim and flanking panels smooth and sandblasted the fore and aft sections, completing the juxtaposition via a rich, auburn contrast stain across the smooth portions and a dark, almost-black stain elsewhere. Such a finishing choice draws even further prominence to the panels and cross grain as the bowl sits poised on the end of a gestural shank-and-stem combination. The stem is a touch elongated compared to the length of the shank, increasing the composition's implied momentum and graceful demeanor, and the majority of the shank comprises a generous military mount of horn, its complex patterns and varying hues adding further intrigue to the color palette and inspiring mesmerizing analysis.

-Truett Smith
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 6.55 in./166.37 mm.
  • Weight: 2.10 oz./59.53 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.65 in./67.31 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.94 in./49.28 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.80 in./20.32 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.78 in./45.21 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Freehand
  • Finish: Partial Sandblast
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Denmark
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