Todd Johnson: Smooth Asymmetrical Horn (Phalanx) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-194-0166

Already a skilled woodworker, Todd Johnson tried his hand at crafting his first pipe in 2000 and quickly took to the form. Influenced initially by Trever Talbert, Johnson broadened his horizons with stints learning under both Tom Eltang and Lars Ivarsson. Therefore, the Danish style is readily apparent in much of Johnson's work; however, formal studies in Aesthetics at Samford University and Yale gave Johnson a more comprehensive perspective on art, igniting his unique, genre-breaking style. Although shape-chart standard Billiards and Dublins do appear in Johnson's portfolio, much of his work showcases imaginative Freehands that range from familiar to one-of-a-kind. Furthermore, Johnson constantly experiments with finishing techniques and accenting materials while also putting a premium on internal engineering, ensuring each piece is a superb smoker.

This Asymmetrical Horn by Todd Johnson shines from every angle, but is particularly alluring in profile. When viewed from the right flank, the profile appears two-dimensional, the crisp, consistent undercurve framing the seemingly flat flank from shank end to the rim. When viewed from the left flank, the profile appears three-dimensional, the crisp rim ebbing downward to a subtle mid-set ridgeline that flows upward from the shank, culminating in a rotund, protruding peak. This asymmetrical design gives this piece a binary aesthetic that is simultaneously sharp and supple, an endlessly intriguing architecture that crowns at the rim. The seemingly flat right flank of the bowl actually presents a concave curvature as it flares to a crisp ridgeline, while, in contrast, the left walls offer a shapely, convex bend that gently flows into an inflated rim. This visual and physical dichotomy is unified by three concentric ellipses: where the chamber meets the bowl, a chamfered inner rim, and the rim's outer ridge. From a top-down view, this repeated motif plays a subtle trick, hiding the outer rim's sharp fore and its distended left flank, while both are readily apparent when clutched in hand. This exquisite and thoughtful geometry serves to marry juxtaposed forms while they retain their perspective distinctness.

Moreover, the shaping also serves to exhibit a stellar grain pattern. On the right flank, flame grain fans outward from the inflection point of the undercurve, and the demure concavity of the bowl allows the wisps to meander upwards with intriguing undulations. The left flank showcases straight grain, most notably around the bowl's walls, the vertical tendrils serving to disguise the bulging peak and the faint ridges. The rim primarily presents a birdseye pattern, freckled whorls swimming in the vibrant hues of the auburn smooth finish. Out back, the shank face showcases a tad of texture via a kiss of plateau that surrounds the inset stem base, providing a visual transition between the warm tones of the stummel and the jet-black vulcanite. Overall, this piece's sublime asymmetrical shaping and the marvelous grain are outstanding illustration as to why Todd Johnson is one of the world's most esteemed pipe-makers.

--Zach Podl
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.62 in./142.75 mm.
  • Weight: 1.30 oz./36.85 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.83 in./46.48 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.61 in./40.89 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.77 in./19.56 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.79 in./45.47 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Horn
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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