Tao: Smooth Billiard with Horn Stem Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-748-0044

Jens "Tao" Nielsen's adult life began as a sailor, traveling around the world and from port to port, witnessing many people of many walks of life and experiencing the greater world in a way that many of us may only dream of. After his compulsory military service, Nielsen met his future wife and ended his days on the high seas, finding himself working in the pipe shop of Wilhelm Jørgensen, with whom he stayed for three years before meeting Erik Nørding who offered him an apprenticeship. Jens stayed with Nørding for two years before Poul Ilsted came along and, later, the two decided that they wanted to produce their own pipes in their own style and, together with another carver, founded the Svendborg pipe factory. After Ilsted had departed, Tao, too, left, opening his own pipe shop in Svendborg Harbor before moving to Gammelnyby and establishing his own workshop there.

Tao draws from his experience as a sailor when crafting his pipes, focusing on making pieces that are both compact and functional, modeled after the pipes he witnessed other seamen smoking while abroad, something clearly reflected in this classic Billiard. Measuring in at just a touch under four and a half inches long, this piece lands squarely in Nosewarmer territory, though retains a pleasingly plump build that pairs a robust, muscular stretch of shank and a trim, tapering stem to a supple, rounded bowl. Said bowl stands atop a rounded heel and takes on a gentle forward cant as it grows upward, possessed of a low-set waistline that informs a slow, arcing taper to the rim. The shank and stem combination starts its travel out at the wide transition, leaving plenty of room to drape a thumb, with the shank taking on a slight bit of taper toward its end that's then accelerated by the stem's swift diminution. As a result, the presence of the bowl is emphasized, while maintaining balanced proportions through the stummel.

The finish of this piece is nothing short of stunning, dressing the briar in a vibrant, ruby-auburn contrast stain that unveils some incredible grain, with flickering flame pushing through the shank and enshrouding the bowl. The underside and rim are populated with pinpricks of birdseye, and the stem is made up of both genuine horn, and a band of brindled vulcanite comprising the base. This duo of materials offers a variety of contrasting colors and visual textures, the vulcanite complementing the stain of the briar, while the horn stands out in striking relief, calling back to the horn stems of vintage classic pipes.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 4.49 in./114.05 mm.
  • Weight: 1.98 oz./56.25 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.92 in./48.77 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.60 in./40.64 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.76 in./19.30 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.62 in./41.15 mm.
  • Stem Material: Horn
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Billiard
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Denmark
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