Todd Johnson: Sandblasted Long Shank Acorn (Hoplite) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-194-0159

One of the most recognized and respected artisans in America, Todd Johnson is a 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 fellow pipe makers, specifically Tom Eltang, who invited him to his workshop. Additional training at the hands of the legendary Lars Ivarsson provided Johnson with a powerful arsenal of knowledge and skill 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.

Throughout Johnson's portfolio, long-shanked renditions of classic shapes are quite well represented, with myriad examples showcasing the artisan's talent for extending profiles while maintaining proportional balance. In addition to his affinity for long-shanked shapes, Johnson's vast body of work includes a great deal of Acorns, and this particular pipe showcases the overlap of these two categories, though it's certainly not the first time he's crafted a piece like this. I'm immediately struck by just how large this pipe is, not just in terms of length, though it does push past seven inches handily, but with regard to the scale of the bowl, which is well over two inches tall and a solid two inches in breadth. All of this robustness lends it a commanding presence in hand, though never one that's overbearing, thanks to the contours that comprise the walls. Its hearty build sits atop a characteristically pronounced heel, and the walls which gently flare upward terminate in a plateau-crowned rim that's not commonly seen on bowls of his that share this specific style of shape.

The shank here flares into the bowl, before tapering slightly and flaring out once more, lending the transition a pinched look that, though the shank is significantly less robust than the bowl, draws the visual weight toward it. The proceeding flare is one which poises the shank in an interesting manner, lending the top an appreciable degree of lift that's maintained through its travel to the end, while the underside showcases just a slight bit, dipping near the middle and lifting a touch at either end, granting it a lilting flow. The shank end itself expands more dramatically than the briar before it, and creates a firm ridge just before taking on a domed arc into the face, which has here been recessed in the middle to accept the base of a demurely curved saddle stem. Said face is additionally finished smooth, providing some textural contrast with the incredible sandblast that dresses the rest of the stummel, unveiling an extremely dense array of rippling ring grain around the bowl that's granted even more definition thanks to the deep auburn stain of the briar.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 7.20 in./182.88 mm.
  • Weight: 2.50 oz./70.87 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.25 in./57.15 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.69 in./42.93 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.80 in./20.32 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 2.00 in./50.80 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Acorn/Pear
  • Finish: Sandblast
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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