Kurt Balleby: 40th Anniversary Smooth Bent Apple with Mammoth (3/40) Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-294-0122

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, devising a method of production that involves 150 individual steps which ensure his pipes are held to an incredibly high standard, and he maintains a low annual production rate.

In 2023, Balleby celebrated his 40th anniversary as a pipe maker, a monumental achievement that he commemorated with a limited edition line of pipes, each stamped and serialized out of 40 total pieces. The pipe carved to observe this occasion is the supple and curvaceous bent Apple seen here, an excellent example of Balleby's firm grasp on the Danish style of carving. A shape which Balleby has carved several times in the past, this bent Apple is an excellent way to mark such an impressive milestone, displaying the progress he's made as an artisan with graceful panache.

A wide transition here gives way to a gently lifting shank, curling upward slightly to meet a pronounced accent ring of mammoth, the shank itself possessed of an ovoid shape which slenderizes the aft portion of the pipe nicely. Paired to the shank is a trim and demurely downturned stem of jet-black vulcanite, offering a comfortable smoking posture while maintaining the elegantly fluid lines of the shank. Returning to the transition, we see the flanks of the shank descent below the bowl, marked with a subtle pseudo-ridge whose presence is enhanced by the transition's own cheeked look. This subtle bit of cheeking underscores the plump curves of the bowl's flanks, amplifying the bowl's soft look and feel in the hand, while the twin lines of the shank flow into the fore wall and rise slightly upward. A lifting heel supports the bowl as a whole, its low-set waistline marking the start of an arcing taper toward the chamfered rim, and the outline here affords the pipe a wonderfully pronounced sense of rotund fullness. Dressing this pipe is a vibrant, contrast-rich auburn stain that reveals a dense array of wrapping flame grain through the flanks of the shank and bowl, while the underside is covered in a sea of birdseye.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.11 in./129.79 mm.
  • Weight: 1.70 oz./48.19 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.94 in./49.28 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.52 in./38.61 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.77 in./19.56 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.79 in./45.47 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Bent Apple
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Denmark
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