Yeti: Sandblasted Natural Acorn with Mammoth and Bakelite (715) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-660-0164

With a history over 100 years old, Bakelite is an old, vintage material. Developed by Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland in New York in 1907 and patented in 1909, Bakelite is a hard, heat-resistant synthetic plastic, and for decades, it was used for a variety of products, from knife handles and telephone casings to jewelry and pipe stems. It's a material recognized for its retro aesthetic, and in the chemical industry, Bakelite is a historic material, setting the stage as the world's first synthetic plastic and inspiring investors to fund the development of others — a precedent awarded in 1993 when Bakelite was designated as a National Historic Chemical Landmark.

While its everyday popularity has decreased in favor of other materials, Bakelite has seen a resurgence among artisan pipe makers in recent years as a stem material. It falls somewhere between vulcanite and acrylic, offering many advantages of both yet without the drawbacks for which pipe smokers sometimes criticize each: Like vulcanite, Bakelite is somewhat softer than acrylic but doesn't oxidize like vulcanite, and it's available in the complex, shimmering color patterns often associated with acrylic but with even greater depth and visual nuance. From a pipe-making perspective, though, Bakelite is as ornery to craft as it is to source; supply is limited and often relegated to vintage selections, with pipe makers like Micah Cryder of Yeti sometimes repurposing old Bakelite from vintage wares to be used to make pipe stems. Plus, Bakelite is a dense material, requiring more energy and dexterity to file compared to vulcanite. For these reasons, while its popularity has grown comparatively in the last decade, Bakelite's use within pipe making remains quite rare. That is, of course, outside of Micah's portfolio.

Micah wasn't the first to re-popularize Bakelite as pipe stems, but his work is largely responsible for its increased popularity. He's among the most prolific advocates of the material, and, nowadays, it's safe to say that a larger percentage of his pipes feature Bakelite stems than any other material. Micah enjoys pipes with eye-catching color palettes, and his use of vivid Bakelite has helped inform that signature aesthetic, as evidenced by this Acorn's cool, winterfresh-blue Bakelite stem. Such a bold accenting hue pairs well against the stummel's natural tanblast and the complementing ring of mammoth at the shank end, and the shape itself matches the color palette's extroversion: The bowl swells upward before reducing inward — similar to a Bulldog bowl but with a more gently defined midsection — and the rim comprises an extra-craggy array of plateau. In fact, the briar's plateau was so textured and dramatic on this briar block that it resulted in a deeply concave rim that calls to mind that open maw of a Venus flytrap. Such a demeanor matches with the Acorn's inherently organic motif, and yet the streamlined stretch of shank and stem ground the shape in traditional pipe design for a composition that beautifully merges evocatively stylistic elements with more reserved, timeless appeal.

-Truett Smith
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.55 in./140.97 mm.
  • Weight: 1.80 oz./51.03 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.90 in./48.26 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.53 in./38.86 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.79 in./20.07 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.85 in./46.99 mm.
  • Stem Material: Bakelite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Acorn/Pear
  • Finish: Sandblast
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: United States
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