Danish Estates: Jess Chonowitsch Rusticated Bent Billiard with Mammoth Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 004-001-32373

Jess Chonowitsch is a name that is instantly recognizable in the realm of Danish pipe making, if not the greater pipe world as a whole, and is synonymous with superlative quality, exceptional shaping, and unparalleled smoking properties. This reputation has not been earned easily, and is the result of a career more than five decades in the making, getting his start repairing pipes for Poul Rasmussen before moving on to work at the W.Ø. Larsen workshop after Rasmussen's death. Rather than staying at the venerable firm, Chonowitsch found himself in the workshop of Sixten Ivarsson, the father of both modern artisan pipe carving and Danish pipe design and, after two years, after Chonowitsch learned the importance of mouthpiece design and fit and finish, he began making pipes in a small workshop together with his father, becoming an artisan in his own right.

It's not often that we receive rusticated pieces made by Jess, and this bent Billiard is an excellent example of his style and has been finished with my favorite of his rustication styles: a carved series of concentric rings that ripple up the bowl and shank, showcased beneath a deep, inky stain. There's a remarkable amount of body to the build of this piece, despite measuring in at less than six inches long, as its form takes on a sinuous curvature that makes the most of its reach, starting with an arcing length of jet-black saddle stem that's poised for comfortable smoking at the end of a sharply upturned shank, the junction being marked by a broad fitment of domed mammoth bone. This domed presence not only serves to provide some separation between the stem and stummel, but offers a sharp contrast against the hues of the briar, given its pallor, wresting some of the visual weight away from the tall bowl. The transition itself is wide enough to drape a thumb, and the angle of the shank works in concert with the curves of the bowl to give it a unique shape that draws the eye, it and the junction effectively balancing the presence of the bowl.

The bowl itself rises to over two inches in height and sits on a very slightly lifted heel, forming a low-set waistline as the walls curve through their upward growth, taking on a taper to the domed rim immediately afterward in a Brandy-like fashion. The aforementioned rustication not only provides some fantastic traction in the hand, but lends this pipe a look akin to those pieces that have been treated with extremely craggy sandblasts that unveil dense ring grain, a lovely compliment to the briar that makes this rare offering eminently charming.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

Minor Rim Darkening Mild Chamber Carbonizing Charring Around The Airway

  • Length: 5.91 in./150.11 mm.
  • Weight: 2.05 oz./58.06 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.20 in./55.88 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.91 in./48.51 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.85 in./21.59 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.66 in./42.16 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Bent Billiard
  • Finish: Rusticated
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Denmark
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