Kurt Balleby: Smooth Bent Brandy with Elk Antler (1921)

Product Number: 002-294-0107

Besides his recognizable Bulldog and Rhodesian renditions, this style of bent Brandy, and/or Billiard, is among Kurt Balleby's most prolific designs. What makes his versions unique are the roundedness of the bowl — often accentuated by cheeking about the transition — that the shank's underside extends into the heel, and the consistent sinuosity of shank and stem found across Balleby's renditions. Those design cues are reflected in this example, which is elevated further by other artisanal elements.

As mentioned, the underside of the shank extends through the heel, seemingly perching the bowl above, and Kurt has lent further prominence to this motif by shaping hard ridgelines along the shank's lower flanks. These ridges help define the silhouette's undercurve and also merge well with the tightly defined transition to contrast against and accentuate the soft curves of the bowl — made more evident in comparison to the shank's hard lines. Other than those ridgelines, this shape is defined by softness: The bowl is voluptuous and curvaceous, and the S-curve in profile adds a serpentine disposition, while also balancing the bowl's mass when clenched.

Dressed in a ruby stain and smooth finish, the briar's stunning flame grain is highlighted in immaculate array, and the vertical striations perfectly follow the shank's slight upward curl and the bowl's subtle taper, such an alignment bespeaking Balleby's shaping acumen and attention to the briar's natural trajectory. A slender accent of elk antler adorns the shank end, beautifully integrated as it continues the hard lines of the shank while adding elegant contrast to the color palette via its pale hue, bespeckled by rust-tinged portions that match the stummel's stain. Furthermore, Balleby reserves date stamps only for those pipes that he deems especially excellent, with this being one such piece: stamped "1921" as the 19th Balleby pipe fashioned in 2021.

-Truett Smith
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.42 in./137.67 mm.
  • Weight: 2.24 oz./63.50 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.21 in./56.13 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.83 in./46.48 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.75 in./19.05 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.72 in./43.69 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Bent Brandy
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Denmark
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