Smoking Tools Woven Together by Designers and Craftsmen



The Existence of “People Who Create the Ideas of” Craftsmanship


I enjoy cigar. I also have a number of cigar bars I am familiar with.


My encounter with that cigar ashtray, and cigar cutter used to cut the mouthpiece end of a cigar was when I sat at an acquainted cigar bar. The cigar bar manager said to me,


“Please, try out this cigar cutter. Mr. Urayama,”


When you cut the mouthpiece end of a cigar, you usually feel a pulse push back into your hand upon cutting the center of the mouthpiece. I was surprised when I tried out the cigar cutter handed to me.


On a well-cut cigar, smoke rises from the mouthpiece end as well


There is no pushback. When did it get cut off? The mouthpiece was cut with absolutely no stress at all. Yet still, when the handle of the cutter, or scissors, met in perfect alignment, it delivered an indescribable pleasure to my hand.


(Above) “Katana” creates absolutely no stress when cutting the mouthpiece
(Below) A Hoyo De Monterrey cigar freshly cut with the “Katana”. A clean cross section


The ashtray was also nothing like one I have seen in the past. It appears to be made of iron. It was a deep oval-shaped dish.


Cigar ashes must not be tapped restlessly like cigarettes.
This is because the ash at the tips that has already burnt functions as a filter.


The common cigar ashtray is large and flat. This is because it is necessary for the ash of the tip in the ashtray to always float in the air. That is why it must be a large plate.


Cigar ashtray made of Nanbu Ironware


And yet, this ashtray.


This ashtray is compact, and the center of the oval is deep. The ash does not scatter and is collected to the center of the oval.


With this ashtray, even when outdoors, you won’t have to worry about your clothes getting dirty by a scatter of ashes caused by a sloppy wind. It seems it is made of iron, so it won’t break even if dropped.


A cigar cutter made by a craftsman of hair-cutting shears in Seki, named “Katana”


The manager brought me my iced coffee and cheese cake.


“The scissors are handmade by a craftsman of hair-cutting shears in Seki City, Gifu Prefecture, and the ashtray is also handmade by a craftsman of Nambu Ironware in Iwate Prefecture.”


“I’d love to meet those craftsmen. Please introduce them to me.”


“Actually, both the ashtray and cigar cutter were not thought by the craftsmen.”


“What do you mean?”


“There is a person that thought of the shape and functionality. A designer, I should say. The people who brought to life the requests of the designer were the craftsman of hair-cutting shears in Seki City, and the craftsman of Nanbu Ironware.


I decided to meet the designer Nobuo Inoue.



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