Todd Johnson: Smooth Bent Egg Tobacco Pipe
Product Number: 002-194-0143
One of the most recognized and respected artisans in America, Todd Johnson has is foundational pioneer of the modern American pipe making movement. Johnson began carving pipes in the spring of 2000, coming into the craft with a history of woodworking that afforded him a collection of useful tools and skills, though these skills were honed through teaching by Trever Talbert and, in 2001, Tom Eltang, who invited him to his workshop. Additional training at the hands of the legendary Lars Ivarsson provided him with a powerful arsenal of knowledge which he has used to create some of the most inventive and innovative pipes on the market, and has spread through teaching students of his own. This bent Egg demonstrates his keen grasp on the Danish school of shaping, complete with a fluid sense of line throughout and a gentle sinuousness that keeps the eye wandering about its curves.
The outline of this pipe is deceptively simple, its easy bend of stem and gently upturned shank leading to a softly contoured bowl with ample curves, though the measured flow of its silhouette speaks to a painstaking planning process that's resulted in a resounding success. The saddle stem's demure bend lends it not only a more comfortable smoking posture, but completes a gracile S-curve in concert with the shank and bowl, lending this composition a gestural poise and reinforcing the presence of the bowl slightly as it rises from the fore. A wide transition provides plenty of freedom to drape a digit and leads to the curved shank, one which takes on a gradual taper from its start to the stem base, further slenderizing the aft end of this pipe and placing visual weight on the bowl. Visual weight is a valuable commodity in any pipe and this is no exception, but despite the bowl ostensibly receiving the majority of it, I find myself consistently drawn throughout the build, able to appreciate each of its structural elements while the bowl remains center stage.
Examining the bowl, it's not hard to see exactly why it's the center of attention; each of its walls has been carved with a fastidious attention paid to curvature, creating a supple, plump bud that is massively comfortable in hand. In addition, the bowl is quite tall, rising to more than two inches in height and standing proudly atop a sweeping heel that accentuates the fore wall, creating a kind of upward momentum that terminates at the fore of the rearward-slanting rim. This defined point creates a key locus of visual intrigue that I really appreciate, but the most striking element of this bowl lies in its subtle asymmetry, with the right flank of the bowl being slightly inflated compared to the left and the left fore of the bowl pushing out just a touch more than the right. The result is a pipe that is rich with detail and readily showcases Johnson's ability, its stummel stained a vibrant auburn that reveals incredible birdseye on either flank of the stummel, while the sandy hues of the brindled stem provide complementing color.-John McElheny
Measurements & Other Details
- Length: 5.80 in./147.32 mm.
- Weight: 1.60 oz./45.36 g.
- Bowl Height: 2.35 in./59.69 mm.
- Chamber Depth: 1.94 in./49.28 mm.
- Chamber Diameter: 0.76 in./19.30 mm.
- Outside Diameter: 1.45 in./36.83 mm.
- Stem Material: Vulcanite
- Filter: None
- Shape: Bent Egg
- Finish: Smooth
- Material: Briar
- Country: United States