Smio Satou: Smooth Bent Dublin Sitter with Bamboo Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-142-0440

One of the great Japanese masters of the art of pipe making, Smio Satou has been carving pipes for many decades, having worked for Tsuge for 25 years and finding great success as an independent artisan in his own right. Pipe making is something of a tradition for Satou, as his father actually worked for one of the first pipe factories in Japan during the late 1940s, repairing pipes for General Douglas MacArthur following the end of World War 2. His lengthy career has seen the development of a distinctive and iconically Japanese shaping style which prioritizes balance, flow, and crisp line work to place the focus on the shaping of the pipes he crafts. This bent Dublin is a lovely example of that shaping style, as well as Satou's talent for carving pipes that include bamboo, something he's become renowned for.

The bowl here immediately catches one's attention, its build possessed of a measured flare to the inflated rim, something iconic to the Dublin shape but that here takes on a forward-urging arc through the fore wall. The flare terminates at a firm ridge that adds a touch of extra structure to the front half of this piece, and further structure is fostered by the flattened, sure-sitting heel upon which the bowl rests. The transition here is rather wide, leaving plenty of room to drape a digit, and the stem ebbing out of it is trim, taking on a gentle upturn before meeting a single knuckle of bamboo which extends its length at a slim band of black vulcanite. Underneath this knuckle of bamboo is a natural divot that issues out from a large nodule which Satou has continued into the stummel, making for a pipe whose elements are unified and harmonious, acting like natural extensions of one another. Married to the dense grass is a demurely curved stem with a flaring expansion ring at its base, the inflated area of the black vulcanite stylistically mirroring that of the bamboo's knuckle to further unify the components of the pipe. Dressed in a silky auburn stain, this piece's finish is the result of a unique process that combines both staining and painting the briar with urushi lacquer that strengthens the surface and makes for a glossier appearance, all while defining the grain extremely well. This particular piece showcases flickering flame grain wrapping around the entirety of the bowl and flowing through the shank, while the rim and flattened heel are covered in birdseye.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.44 in./138.18 mm.
  • Weight: 1.26 oz./35.83 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.48 in./37.59 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.11 in./28.19 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.72 in./18.29 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.50 in./38.10 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Bent Dublin
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Japan
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