Smio Satou: Smooth Bent Dublin with Bamboo
360 degrees of flame grain is the ideal for a briar cut along a vertical-grain orientation. As with most things, the ideal is met perhaps 0.1% of the time, on average. Smio Satou, however, is anything but an average pipemaker. In fact, even for the upper echelons of pipe-artisanship, it's surprising how frequently he presents us with a briar bearing a full panoply of flame grain, and, as is also found in this case, no lack whatsoever of beautiful birdseye as well. This doesn't just happen, of course. Even with the most select source briar, a pipemaker can never tell when paring it down to that just-right shape, one carefully composed in the expectations that will make the most of the grain, will reveal some unacceptable flaw or "wash" buried within the material. For all Satou's skill, and the fineness of the materials he makes use of, I can't help but expect that the consistency with which he produces such pieces as this bent Dublin lays, in part, with a lot of others he starts never making it out of his workshop, only the cream of the crop ever seeing the light of day.
- Eric N. Squires