Naturally, straight or flame grain will then flow across the narrower width of the pipe. The shank of a Blowfish should exit fluidly at the bottom of the bowl, having no interrupted or abrupt lines. The stem then exits the shank in a similar fashion, but bends gently in the opposite direction. Therefore the vast majority are created as bent pipes, and many deeply so.
Shank extensions and embellishments of horn, exotic woods, and metals are often seen on these pipes. Due to the Blowfish requiring extraordinary grain quality, this is another pipe shape that can really strain the piggy bank, and is seldom found in anything but a smooth finish. The Brandy is one of the most popular pipe shapes in the world today, and it’s easy to see why. With easy-flowing lines and elegant proportions, the Brandy has been aesthetically groomed over the course of many decades to resemble its namesake, the brandy glass. While the shape of the bowl can vary considerably, Brandys are recognizable by their wide, rounded base, which tapers sharply to meet the comparatively narrow mouth of the chamber. More often than not, you’ll find them in a smooth finish since the shape flaunts the straight grain of a briar block extremely well. Handmade Brandys typically display an even more voluptuous base which tapers more dramatically, on account of not being limited to the abilities of a machine to form their shape. Shanks are usually round, can be straight or slightly bent, and are usually fitted with a tapered stem, bent from 1/4 – 3/4. Less common features include a flared shank and/or army mount stem. All in all the Brandy has a classic, sophisticated appearance with a wonderful feel in hand.
This well-known shape has been a favorite among many smoking pipe enthusiasts for the past several decades. Thanks to its unique bowl shape, the Bulldog is quite easily distinguishable from every other pipe shape, save for the Rhodesian, which is really a varietal of the Bulldog. The bowl of a Bulldog is essentially two cones adjoined at their bases, the top cone being abbreviated at the chamber, and the bottom cone blending into the shank. A hallmark almost always found on a Bulldog is one or more thin grooves cut into the circumference of the bowl. Each groove is usually slightly less than the width of a toothpick, and their number and placement may vary, though they are usually found near the junction of the two “cones.” Bulldogs that do not have grooves are few and far between. Along with the bowl’s unique shape and grooves, Bulldogs are typified by a diamond-shaped shank. With the hard edges of the shank and the round walls of the bowl, it is paramount that the transition of bowl to shank be executed with skill to avoid an awkward appearance. Like the shank, the stem of a Bulldog is also diamond-shaped, with both tapered and saddle-bit stems being equally acceptable. Bulldogs make excellent candidates for combination finishes such as “partially sandblasted” pipes due to their multiple distinct surface areas created by the hard lines of the pipe’s unique shape. The image of a Calabash pipe is, for many, inseparable from that of the legendary investigator, Sherlock Holmes. Often simply called a “Calabash,” the name is anything but arbitrary. The calabash gourd was the original medium from which these pipes were crafted. A gourd of proper shape and size was selected, then cleaned and dried carefully before being drilled and fitted with a bowl and stem. In recent times, however, pipe makers have begun to craft these pipes out of other materials including briar, without forsaking the classic shape and unique mechanics. Calabash pipes lay claim to a functional feature entirely distinct unto themselves. The bowl of the Calabash pipe is removable, held in place by a tension fit, or by “unscrewing” it from a threaded seat at the head of the pipe (a modern improvement). Historically the bowls were crafted in meerschaum, but are now also made from briar, ivory, or less commonly, boxwood or other suitable hardwoods. When the bowl of the Calabash is removed, one can see the cavernous interior chamber of the pipe, which allows for the smoke to become quite cool and dry before it is drawn into the mouth of the smoker. Calabashes may vary in overall size, but are easily distinguishable from other pipe shapes. The Calabash is typified by a very dramatic bend in the body of the pipe, nearly assuming the shape of a “U”, and has a drastic but gradual and uninterrupted taper from bowl to stem. The shank of the briar iteration cannot, for mechanical reasons, match the drastic bend of its gourd counterpart, but the spirit of the shape is usually carried through. A relatively long stem is often fitted to give visual balance to the otherwise top-heavy smoking instrument. Canadian is actually both a pipe shape, and a family of pipe shapes.
The Canadian family of shapes includes the Canadian, the Lovat, the Lumberman, and the Liverpool. The Canadian is also sometimes referred to as the Canadian Billiard, because it and its entire family are sub-styles of the classic Billiard shape. Maintaining the simple symmetry of the Billiard-style bowl, the Canadian sports a slender shank about twice the length of the bowl’s height, trimmed with a modest stem which accentuates the elegance of the pipe’s dimensions. What differentiates the Canadian from other pipes in the family is that the Canadian has an oval shank with an oval tapered stem. The Cavalier is based on the historical Tyrolean pipe, so named for its origin in the Tyrol region (modern day Italy, Austria, and Germany), but the pipe is of German descent.
The distinct feature of the Cavalier pipe is that its round shank extends well below the entirety of the bowl, eventually becoming the “foot” of the pipe. The bowl is usually Billiard shaped, if only a bit more rounded, and rests atop the shank like a rose bud on a thin branch.