Wolfgang Becker: Partially Sandblasted Wasp with Boxwood (Double Wolf Paw) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-554-0038

Wolfgang Becker has been crafting pipes since the 1980s, urged along his journey by an appreciation for the Danish greats. Becker learned more and more with each piece he crafted, his early years spent entirely as an autodidact, resulting in a personal style that is the fusion of Danish design's refined sensibilities, and Becker's own unique eye for shaping. Out of all of the pipes that Becker crafts, one stands out among them all as his ultimate signature, a shape that garners desire and longing from all corners of the pipe world: the Wasp. Originally conceived sometime between 1988 and 1989, the Wasp is a shape that Wolfgang has crafted many times, and that, in our archives, actually makes up the bulk of his portfolio, reaching such heights that he has even crafted an eight pipe set composed entirely of the shape. Each individual example is unique in its own way, and this specific iteration showcases that through its incredible finishing work.

The Wasp itself is defined by a few key features that are, of course, present here: a plump bowl, a pinched transition, and a flaring shank, the latter two reminiscent of the eponymous insect's own pinched waist and large abdomen, with the stem acting as a stinger of sorts. Asymmetry in the bowl, however, is key, and this iteration embodies that in a very subtle way, with the right flank possessed of a slight bit more mass than the left, pushing the briar out just a touch more. In concert with this, balancing the bowl's construction, the left flank rises upward more, specifically with regards to the rim, reaching a peak that is emphasized by the sweep of the heel. Not only is this effect pleasing to the eye, but it allows a much more natural fit in the hand, with the flank pushing out in just the right way as to fit the contours of the palm and fingers. The pinched transition gives the thumb a fantastic place to rest, as it widens the angle present there by a good bit, as well as creating an understated touch of negative space, pulling the eye's attention toward the transition itself, allowing for full appreciation of the painstakingly crafted form. A boxwood accent adorns the flared shank end here, and contrasts the color palette of the stummel and stem excellently, given its pallor.

Speaking of this pipe's dressing, the finish here is something we've seen only a few times from Becker: a partial sandblast. Though saying that almost feels disingenuous, as this specific style of partial sandblast we've only ever seen once, as it is split down the middle vertically, with the right flank blasted and the left being smooth. Becker has opted not to make this separation stark and crisp, but rather allow for the sandblast to creep over the edge a bit, cultivating a kind of organicism that elevates the overall composition through the fluid nature of the two textures and colors. The sandblasted half is dark, stained an inky, nearly black, walnut, while the left has received a deep chestnut, revealing a flow of flame grain that leads from the shank's flank to the fore of the bowl, ebbing into growth rings as it travels, with the rim speckled by beautiful birdseye.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.60 in./142.24 mm.
  • Weight: 1.81 oz./51.26 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.54 in./39.12 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.18 in./29.97 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.77 in./19.56 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 2.03 in./51.56 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Freehand
  • Finish: Partial Sandblast
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Germany
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