Smio Satou: Smooth Bent Dublin Sitter with Bamboo and Tsuishu Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-142-0442

Widely considered one of the great Japanese pipe makers, Smio Satou has been plying his craft for decades. In some ways, pipe making is in Satou's blood, as his father worked for the first briar pipe factory in Japan and even repaired pipes for General MacArthur following World War II. Satou worked at Tsuge for over 25 years, and over his long years of service, he carefully refined his shaping and finishing style. Now mostly retired, Satou continues to craft pipes mostly as a hobby, producing somewhere around forty pieces a year.

This bent Dublin Sitter is a fine example of Satou's style, showcasing his impeccable shaping, gorgeous finishing work, and refined use of accenting materials. The bowl, hearty and muscular, is compressed vertically, which lends the bowl an oval appearance, especially when considering the rim. The bowl rises from its flat, sure-sitting heel and flares into a broad, softly inflated rim. The shank curls from the low-set transition before giving way to three knuckles of bright, warm bamboo, which itself gives way to a slender, demurely curved saddle stem. The shank-and-stem arrangement in its entirety is possessed of a winding fluidity that keeps the composition rather gestural in profile.

The gorgeous ruby-hued stain that dresses the stummel is overlaid with Satou's signature urushi finish. Applying said finish is a tedious, time-consuming process that requires the careful application of over a dozen layers of lacquer. The process, as seen here, results in a finish that's especially durable and glossy. Grain-wise, the stummel displays fine tendrils of flame grain as they flow across the flanks of the bowl to a rim populated with birdseye, all underneath the lacquer's eye-catching sheen. Perhaps the most notable part of this pipes is the tsuishu accent along the stem base. Similar to urushi, tsuishu requires many hours and involves the application of thin layers of multi-colored lacquer, which eventually accumulate into the small but vibrant adornment seen along the stem base here.

--Davin Hylton
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 6.64 in./168.66 mm.
  • Weight: 1.94 oz./54.88 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.65 in./41.91 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.22 in./30.99 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.78 in./19.81 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.74 in./44.20 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Bent Dublin
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Japan