Former: Smooth Bent Apple with Ivorite Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-017-0437

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.

Though we've encountered a number of bent Apple iterations from Former in the past, this particular piece stands out thanks to its intense plumpness and impressively compact footprint. Coming in at less than five inches long, this pipe is possessed of ample substance throughout its build, though especially at the bowl, whose supple curvature contributes both comfort in the hand and a handsome silhouette. Sitting atop a rounded heel, this bowl grows its walls with a measured arc toward a low-set waistline, followed by a slow taper toward a slightly domed rim that's chamfered into the chamber. The thick walls which surround this chamber offer plenty of insulation for the fingers, and keep the composition feeling robust and reassuring when held. A wide transition gives way to a lifting, subtly tapering stretch of curling shank that pushes out to meet a thick ring of Ivorite at the junction to a trim, deeply curved saddle stem of cumberland: its base having been stylized with a stepped style of expansion ring. When all of these elements come together, it results in a fantastically rendered composition by Former, its fineness no surprise given the Danish artisan's history, and the grain revealed by the stummel's warm, auburn-tinged contrast stain only underscores its quality. The bowl here is wrapped in dense streaks of flame grain, while the top and underside are almost completely covered in broad basins of birdseye.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 4.78 in./121.41 mm.
  • Weight: 2.30 oz./65.20 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.98 in./50.29 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.61 in./40.89 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.77 in./19.56 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.89 in./48.01 mm.
  • Stem Material: Vulcanite
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Bent Apple
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Denmark
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