Tom Eltang: Rusticated Poker with Bamboo Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-299-1370

Tom Eltang's obsession with fine pipes began when he was only six years old, gazing into the windows of his local tobacco shop to look at the pages of a magazine that exhibited pipes with brilliant stains. Eltang made his first pipe at age 11 from a Pipe-Dan kit he had been gifted, later apprenticing under a local carver named Flemming before, at 16, beginning an apprenticeship, and his career in earnest, under Anne-Julie, widow of Poul Rasmussen. There he learned about balance and composition and also laid the foundations for his own contrast staining technique, likely inspired by the pipes he saw in the magazine when he was a child. He went on to do repairs for Pipe-Dan, learning the pitfalls of a pipe's internal engineering, as well as the best way to make them function, before taking a job with Stanwell after a short stint on a cargo ship. While with Stanwell, Eltang traveled around Germany, shaping and finishing pipes for events, honing his ability on a sanding disc a great deal and further cementing his ability as a carver. It wasn't until after his tenure with these enterprises and a brief fur sorting job that Eltang was finally able to make his own pipes full time, fulfilling his childhood dream at last. This pipe is from Tom's legendary line of "smoking machine" Pokers, the design a signature for him, meant to champion practicality and excellent, consistent smoking.

Eltang is no stranger to fitting his pipes with bamboo extensions and, in fact, this addition to his Pokers is undoubtedly the most prevalent in his usage of the dense grass. The saddle stem that begins this piece is attached to the grass with an extended tenon, the organic material flanked by two trim bands of black vulcanite at both ends, with either side continuing divots in the bamboo's surface for a further melding of the natural with the man made. The shank is petite, transitioning swiftly into the bowl, its cylindrical shape resting on a slanted, flattened heel which allows stable sitting and gently cants the composition forward, imbuing it with a gentle momentum and palpable dynamism. The chamber which the bowl holds is capacious, the rim that leads into it both domed and chamfered at the edges, hinting at a slight softness that exists in contrast to the rather structural profile of the rest of the piece. The bowl wears Tom's signature rustication, with craggy divots on either flank and horizontal striations on the fore and aft, all stained a dark hue, while the rim, shank, and heel are kept smooth, their lighter stain contrasting the reserved colors of their surroundings, the entire palette contrasted further by the two pale knuckles of bamboo extending the shank.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 4.96 in./125.98 mm.
  • Weight: 0.80 oz./22.68 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.12 in./53.85 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.66 in./42.16 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.71 in./18.03 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.14 in./28.96 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Poker
  • Finish: Rusticated
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Denmark
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