Todd Johnson: Sandblasted Bent Dublin with Bamboo and Bakelite (Hoplite)

Product Number: 002-194-0131

For how often we've seen Todd Johnson experiment with alternative materials, from leather to mammoth bone to actual nautilus shell, we don't see the American carver work with bamboo very much, making this bent Dublin one of only a few we've encountered. Bamboo isn't a "new" pipemaking material; however, the manner in which it's currently used in pipemaking differs dramatically compared to decades ago. Originally used as a means of saving on briar during shortages, bamboo has since become an important compositional element in the artisan pipemaking world — with many carvers designing an entire pipe around the shaping cues of a bamboo section. While the five knuckles in this particular ferrule aren't as eccentrically shaped as other pieces we've seen from Johnson, it's clear he looked to the bamboo to inform the other elements of this pipe.

Though subtle, the bamboo's slight curve lays the foundation for this entire piece, necessitating that Todd gently bent the bakelite saddle stem. Such momentum of line, then, is realized in the bowl's dramatic forward canted — the aft line of the flared bowl almost at a 90 degree angle with the transition. Full of dynamism, the bowl tapers drastically from a domed, plateau-kissed rim into a slight heel spur, perching the bowl on the end. This spurs echoes the interrupting lines of the bamboo's knuckles, matched further by the saddle stem. Even the sandblast itself mimics the bamboo: The rippling ring grain calling to mind the rhythm of the evenly spaced knuckles. It's a lesson in design and compositional awareness, commended further by a tri-tone color palette that fits squarely into Todd's striking, evocative style.

-Truett Smith
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 6.37 in./161.80 mm.
  • Weight: 1.30 oz./36.85 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.78 in./45.21 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.50 in./38.10 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.80 in./20.32 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.90 in./48.26 mm.
  • Stem Material: Other
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Bent Dublin
  • Finish: Sandblast
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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