Tom Eltang: Smooth Bent Egg Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-299-1332

Only a handful of artisans can boast the breadth and depth of experience that Tom Eltang can, or the wide ranging influence on other pipe makers that he's had in his many years shaping briar. At a young age, he began carving a pipe kit from Pipe-Dan before moving on to more than one teacher, one of which was Anne-Julie. In addition to this, he repaired pipes, started a pipe making company with a friend of his, became a sailor, was a traveling pipe maker for Stanwell, and even sold furs at one point. All of this before settling down and starting to make pipes on his own in the way we know and love. Throughout this, Tom developed a signature shaping style informed by his breadth of work and the Danish Functionalist style of design, something that we can see reflected in this bent Egg. There's great deal of elegance present in this piece, speaking to Eltang's mastery of subtle shaping, as we see supple, understated curvature suffusing its construction throughout, namely in the stummel.

When I mentioned Danish Functionalism here, I mean to point to this pipe's refined simplicity, as there's been no additional or unnecessary adornment or shaping which detracts from the, well, function of the piece, or distracts from the shaping of the pipe as a whole. At the stem we find a demure bend, starting just after the base and downturning to the button in a way that is almost ephemeral, with the entire length of vulcanite continuing the curvature that the shank starts just after the transition. Speaking of the shank, we see there a ginger upturn curving ever-so-slightly into the stem, ebbing forth from a wide, lightly cheeked transition that provides more than enough room to drape a thumb. The bowl is canted forward dynamically but gracefully, inflating to form a plump, mid-set waistline that gives the fingers an excellent surface to wrap around before compressing toward the rim, with the fore continuing visually, pushing that side of the rim into prominence. The bowl is further thrust into the limelight by way of a sweeping, slightly lifted heel, magnifying the height of this piece which, despite its excellent proportions, is actually quite large compared to much of Eltang's other work.

Tom is also well-known for his superlative contrast stains, one of which dresses the briar here, creating a light, auburn-hued backdrop to highlight the chestnut-tinged grain. On either flank of the stummel we witness birdseye, starting at the shank end, curving through to the bowl, making its way to the rounded flanks. The fore and aft of the briar, in contrast, features stacks of cross grain, curving in turn with the shape of the pipe and the grain, showcasing Tom's mastery of making the shape work with the grain.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.68 in./144.27 mm.
  • Weight: 1.50 oz./42.52 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.09 in./53.09 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.65 in./41.91 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.78 in./19.81 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.59 in./40.39 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Bent Egg
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Denmark
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