Former: Smooth Horn with Ivorite Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-017-0401

It's difficult to overstate just how big of an impact Hans "Former" Nielsen has had on the world of pipe making, not just as a legendary artisan, but as a teacher of other legendary artisans, something that few can attest to. Indeed, after leaving Poul Rasmussen's pipe repair shop in Copenhagen and joining the military, Nielsen spent 10 years working at the W.Ø. Larsen workshop, and it was there that he oversaw the work of names such as Teddy Knudsen, Tonni Nielsen, and Jess Chonowitsch. In his over 60 years of carving, Former has managed to attain a level of skill that few can even dream of, placing himself in a pantheon of mythic figures, simply by virtue of the nearly flawless work that he does. This Horn is a fantastic example of that work, as its entire construction speaks to exactness. I say this meaning: this is a perfect rendition of the Horn.

When I think of the Horn shape, I think of its gradual expansion — the soft, continuous flare that follows an equally soft curve up to the rim. I also generally think of ridgelines, something which Nielsen has completely omitted from this piece, making me re-think just how difficult it is to craft this kind of gradual expansion without any sort of flat surface to guide, or any ridges to provide reference while sanding. Former has done something here that I can only describe as a triumph, and its lack of dramatized proportions or sharp curves makes it all the more impressive. The only element here that is firm, or really anything less than soft and rounded, is a single point, peeking out at the fore of the inflated rim and acting as the terminus for an absolutely incredible strip of plateau that runs all the way from the shank end to the rim down the middle of the underside. Meeting the shank is the trim stem, with a base consisting of a broad ring of Ivorite which flares out into a ridgeline before stepping down to a cumberland saddle that arcs just slightly in the opposite curve of the stummel, creating a kind of balance between the two ends of this pipe that ensures your eye is drawn to every part of it.

The finish Former has chosen for this pipe is absolutely stunning in every way, with a warm, vivid contrast stain dressing the briar, bringing out the grain in hues of auburn and mahogany. This creates on excellent opportunity for the cross grain which runs almost exactly parallel to the curvature of the stummel to pop out, framing the shape preternaturally well. On the underside we can see pinpricks of birdseye peeking out from the sanded peaks of plateau, with slightly denser swirls flanking the entire strip, while on the top side there lies a basin that is completely full with the swirling grain.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 6.41 in./162.81 mm.
  • Weight: 2.88 oz./81.65 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.47 in./62.74 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.85 in./46.99 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.77 in./19.56 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.69 in./42.93 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Horn
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Denmark
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