Former: Smooth Bent Apple Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-017-0435

Hans "Former" Nielsen is truly a master among masters, with the Danish artisan starting his career in the pipe-making world at the age of 15, working in repairs at Poul Rasmussen's pipe shop in Copenhagen for two years before joining the W.Ø. Larsen workshop part-time. After his service in the military, he began full-time work at Larsen, becoming a professional at age 21 and advancing steadily to a supervisory position, coming to oversee the work of other future masters such as Teddy Knudsen and Tonni Nielsen, working in the workshop for ten years. When Former finally broke into the pipe world under his own name, it is no surprise that his work was superlative, as he had learned the intricate inner workings of pipes as a teenager, and his entire adult life had been consumed with carving. His experience readily shows in his work, and with pieces such as this bent Apple that immediately remind one of the understated grace which suffuses the world of Danish crafting.

Immediately I am stricken by the bowl, as its plumpness is both subtle and evident, with a low-set waistline reminding me of the Tomato, especially considering its squatness, and all but the slightest of tapers to the rim. The rounding of the form at the fore end ebbs softly into the heel, though it doesn't stop there, instead continuing through the heel. The heel here takes on a rather unique shape, however, eschewing the more often seen flat or subtly rounded style in favor of a profile that dips far down below the transition and further reinforces the visual weight held by the bowl. The transition is quite wide and flows with the briar out into the shank, bereft of cheeking in a way that makes me think of the entire piece as a naturally unbroken whole, despite the half-saddle stem's step down to the bit from the top of the base. The shank itself is possessed of an extremely subtle taper to the end, accentuating the litheness of the rear of this pipe and drawing attention to the bowl, though this further emphasis on the bowl is balanced by the shank and stem's compressed, ovoid shaping. A warm, deep, chestnut-hued stain dresses the briar here, keeping the palette reserved and timeless while still displaying an incredible wealth of handsome grain. Said grain takes the form of wrapping flame pushing through the flanks of the shank and encircling the bowl, while the underside reveals a vast ocean of tightly-packed birdseye.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 5.83 in./148.08 mm.
  • Weight: 3.30 oz./93.55 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.96 in./49.78 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.49 in./37.85 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.82 in./20.83 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 2.23 in./56.64 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Bent Apple
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Denmark
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