Frank Axmacher: Smooth Koisi

Product Number: 002-815-0003

The first two pieces we ever received from Frank were distinct iterations of this "Koisi" shape. It's evident that the German carver has a penchant for this design, and it caters well to his creativity and shaping skill, as he continues to render it uniquely each time. In Japanese, "Koisi" means "river stone," and there's no question as to why Frank has named this shape such. With a tight, wasp-waisted transition, the shank and bowl resemble smooth stones, as if polished by years spent on the bottom of a riverbed. The unique, bulbous saddle stem completes the aesthetic with a similar pebble-like ball at its base, forming a conga line of rounded forms, each one slightly larger than the last.

A design such as this suits asymmetry well, and Axmacher has incorporated the concept in a way that also maintains a sense of balance. The shank's waistline is tilted drastically, almost vertical, while the heavier set bowl lazily drifts forward. The two sections are perfectly in line with one another when viewed from the smoker's perspective, yet they're oriented at different angles when observed in profile. Such a detail creates a paradoxically symmetrical asymmetry... or asymmetrical symmetry, if you prefer. Either way, the form is incredibly intriguing and elusive while at the same time being visually balanced and aesthetically delightful.

You'd probably never guess that such a non-traditional shape would also sit. Well, this one does thanks to the spur at the bottom of the shank and a small panel at the bowl's heel. The piece is also quite comfortable in hand, especially when holding it between fore and middle finger above and below the transition. It's all dressed in a traditional, warm walnut stain, allowing the straight grain and birdseye to attract all the attention.

-Truett Smith
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.40 in./137.16 mm.
  • Weight: 2.21 oz./62.60 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.54 in./39.12 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.25 in./31.75 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.86 in./21.84 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 2.09 in./53.09 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Freehand
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Germany
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