Todd Johnson: Sandblasted Bulldog Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-194-0173

It is no exaggeration when I say that Todd Johnson is one of, if not the most, highly regarded artisans in all of the United States, and that his name carries with it a weight that is nearly universally recognized in the greater pipe community. His fascination with pipes began around the same time he started carving: in the Spring of 2000, when he carved a walnut pipe for a friend's graduation, leveraging his skills and tools as a woodworker to do so. From there he was hooked, receiving critique and instruction from Trever Talbert before visiting Tom Eltang in the winter of 2001, Eltang teaching him his techniques for drilling and shaping, as well as imbuing him with a great appreciation for the Danish school of design. Johnson went on to earn a master's degree in aesthetics from Yale, something that, combined with the respect he has garnered for shaping styles from around the world, lends him an utterly singular outlook for the form his own pieces take.

It's very seldom that one can call a Todd Johnson pipe classically-oriented, reserved, or archetypal, and that's something which immediately stands out about this Bulldog: being one of the most reserved pipes I've ever seen from the artisan. In addition, this is the first example of the Bulldog we've ever received from Johnson, new or estate, making it a tantalizingly rare offering that's sure to appeal to fans of timeless Anglo-French pipe shapes. This pipe is a fantastic representation of all a Bulldog's iconic features, from the firm lines of the shank and stem to the high-set waist of the bowl, each aspect of this pipe's structure is rendered in exacting detail. The shank itself is possessed of a crisp diamond shape and pushes out from a wide, almost cheeked, transition, maintaining a consistent thickness as it reaches a slender saddle stem. Said stem continues the rigid lines of the shank through the base, and it holds the eye thanks to Todd's use of a vibrant cumberland that's heavily variegated with red tones, adding rich contrast to the composition and balancing the presence of the bowl.

The ridges which surround the shank mostly disappear as they reach the bowl, with the pair at the flanks and single ridge on top curling up slightly as they reach the transition, though dissipating swiftly afterward. On the underside, however, the ridge extends into the heel and continues through the fore wall, reaching almost a third of the way up before evaporating into the curves of the bowl. This sharpens the heel significantly and underlines the bowl with a bit of musculature, stylistically contrasting the supple contours of the bowl in hand. The walls flare gently up towards the high-set waist, here marked with a pair of beadlines, before swiftly tapering to a flat rim: the resulting shape reminiscent of the Pear and offering a wonderful feel in hand. Dressed in a crisp, inky sandblast, the bowl is surrounded by rippling growth rings on all sides, the dark tones of the stummel lent further contrast by a vibrant red stain marking the indents of the beadlines.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.23 in./132.84 mm.
  • Weight: 1.20 oz./34.02 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.85 in./46.99 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.41 in./35.81 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.82 in./20.83 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.46 in./37.08 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Bulldog
  • Finish: Sandblast
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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