Danish Estates: Kurt Balleby Smooth Asymmetrical Bent Egg (0) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 004-001-32357

Kurt Balleby's impressive tenure as a pipe maker began in 1983, with the Danish artisan finding himself working alongside Preben Holm and Kai Nielsen before investing in his own equipment and starting a workshop for himself in the basement of his home in 1989. Since then, Balleby has grown into an artisan in his own right, with an impressive body of work that spans many shapes, though all with a similar style: focusing on classic shaping in the tradition of the Danish school of design. A man of exacting standards, each pipe he produces passes through a total of 150 production steps, ensuring that the quality of his work is excellent each time and limiting his annual production rate to no more than 250 examples per year. The quality of his work and the dedication to his signature style can be seen here in this asymmetrical bent Egg, a shape that we've never seen from him before.

I'm immediately reminded of the Blowfish when I look at this piece, and nearly all of this is owed to the bowl, as, much like the Blowfish, it has been carved to showcase twin panels, with one on either side of the bowl, though these are significantly more rounded here. The ridges which split this bowl are oriented on the right flank, and the space in between them is impressively thin, with the right flank itself displaying a more structured look due to the nearness of the ridge to the start of its rounding. The left's begins a slow, gradual curve in the briar from the line to the bowl's widest point, offering a look in profile more like the bent Egg shape we're used to seeing, the combination of supple contours and firm, structured lines creating a lovely confluence of surfaces that feel excellent in the hand. A lifted heel supports this bowl and pushes it into prominence, affording it a touch more visual weight and lending the underside of this piece a handsome undercurve, working in concert with the uplifting shank to magnify the smooth elements of this piece. Said shank is rectangular in shape, with a rounding to its top that smooths out a little bit of its firm lines, though, in totality, its own paneling works to reinforce the panels at the bowl, and its slight twist as it travels toward the stem highlights the asymmetrical elements of the pipe. The stem, of course, compensates for this twist by curling in the opposite direction to ensure comfortable smoking, its cumberland hues matching well with the vibrant auburn stain of the stummel which reveals peppered whorls of birdseye on either flank.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

Minor Rim Darkening Mild Chamber Carbonizing Light Oxidation

BALLEBY (arched)
  • Length: 5.32 in./135.13 mm.
  • Weight: 1.70 oz./48.19 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.08 in./52.83 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.69 in./42.93 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.82 in./20.83 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.69 in./42.93 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Bent Egg
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Denmark
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