Kurt Balleby: Sandblasted Bent Bulldog with Boxwood Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-294-0105

Kurt Balleby is one of the most well-respected artisans in all of Denmark, and for good reason. Since his start in 1983 working with Kai Nielsen and Preben Holm, he has not only received tutelage from masters of the craft, but has developed an exacting process of quality control and a unique shaping style. In 1989 Balleby invested the money he made working for others in a workshop all to himself. This bent Bulldog rendition is distinctly Balleby, and contains a myriad of subtle (and not so subtle) shaping cues that make it is one of his signature designs.

While we've seen this design from Kurt quite a few times, each new iteration is slightly different in its own way. A svelte saddle stem with an expansion ring at its base is married to a languidly curved shank, itself adorned with a trim band of boxwood at the end, beginning this pipe in an understated, classy fashion. That being said, the shank is one of my favorite parts of this pipe as, despite how subtle its line work is, the softly inflated ridges that frame the flanks throughout its travel naturally lead the eye to the underside and transition, and its ovoid shape gives it a kind of low-profile appeal, though it somehow retains a noticeable mass. As the shank curves into the cheeked transition, the wideness of the shank's build overlaps it a bit, fostering a look like that of the briar being cradled by itself, something even more prevalent when viewing the underside, as the ridges that begin at the shank end wrap under the bowl and curl up into the fore, supporting the heel. The effect of this is such that the ridges look to be lifting the heel itself, not only pushing the bowl higher into prominence, but giving the pipe a deliberate build, as if each element was crafted to fulfill specific purposes, and each one is acting in harmony with each other.

The bowl features a very low waistline for a Bulldog, with dual beadlines wrapping around it and marking the steep, slow taper to the rim, granting the hand a wonderful surface to grasp. The rim itself is finished smooth and is very very slightly inflated, with a chamfer into the chamber that should allow for easier loading of tobacco. The trim ring of boxwood gracing the face of the lenticular shank contrasts the shallow sandblast and deep walnut stain of the rest of the stummel wonderfully, the former unveiling some wonderful growth rings across the briar's surface, as well as visible, raised flame grain. The result of all of this work is a pipe that is absolutely filled to the brim with enchanting detail, both visual and textural, and that is sure to become a prized piece in any collection or rotation.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.16 in./131.06 mm.
  • Weight: 1.68 oz./47.63 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.90 in./48.26 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.68 in./42.67 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.83 in./21.08 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.79 in./45.47 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Bent Bulldog
  • Finish: Sandblast
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Denmark
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