Former: Sandblasted Lovat Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-017-0427

Hans "Former" Nielsen is one of precious few artisans whose reputation truly precedes him, as his mastery of the craft is so firmly implanted on the consciousness of the pipe world, that merely his name brings with it a sense of reverence. A veritable living legend, Former boasts 60 years of experience in carving pipes, something that only a select handful of makers can attest to, and it shows in his shaping, his finishing, and in his very low annual production rate. Getting his start as a pipe repairer at Poul Rasmussen's Copenhagen shop, Nielsen made his way to the W.Ø. Larsen workshop, working his way up to a supervisory position where he oversaw the work of now legendary artisans Jess Chonowitsch and Teddy Knudsen, before, after 10 years with Larsen, beginning to make pipes on his own.

This Lovat is an excellent example of Former's work, the Danish artisan's skill in rendering clean-lined shapes from briar on full display, as well as his firm grasp on classic shaping. The bowl here is plump and pert, standing atop a sweeping heel and flaring out gently to a mid-set waistline, its upper walls possessed of a gentle bit of taper toward the rim. At more than two inches tall, said bowl displays a wealth of substance throughout its expansive form, the briar's supple curvature lending plenty of comfort in the hand. A slight forward cant lends the bowl a touch of dynamism as it rests on the end of a wide transition, leaving plenty of room to drape a digit, before giving way to a lean, round shank. Compared to the bowl, the shank holds less of the visual weight here, though its strikingly lengthy build does well to balance the bowl's, keeping the proportions bowl-forward without encroaching into the realm of the neoclassical. Paired to the shank is a trim saddle stem of jet-black vulcanite, its stark color matching the dark, inky stain of the sandblasted briar. The stummel's understated finish reveals some truly incredible grain beneath, with dense, rippling growth rings and visible flame grain grain wrapping around the bowl and through the flanks of the shank, while the underside is awash with tightly-packed birdseye. A smooth finish across the domed rim lends the composition some contrast and allows further birdseye to peek out in dark ruby hues.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 6.45 in./163.83 mm.
  • Weight: 1.70 oz./48.19 g.
  • Bowl Height: 2.19 in./55.63 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.86 in./47.24 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.77 in./19.56 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.69 in./42.93 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Lovat
  • Finish: Sandblast
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Denmark
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