Tao: Smooth Apple with Horn Stem Tobacco Pipe

Product Number: 002-748-0057

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 Apple. Measuring in at four and a half inches long, this piece lands squarely in Nosewarmer territory, though retains a pleasingly plump build that pairs a thick, tapering stretch of shank and stem to a supple, rotund 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 softly chamfered rim. The shank-and-stem combination's consistent taper starts at the wide transition, which leaves plenty of room to drape a thumb, and diminishes slowly toward the button, resulting in an aft section that is fairly svelte. 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 warm, vibrant mahogany stain that unveils some incredible grain, with the flanks of the bowl displaying a wealth of truly stunning birdseye. The density of the twin basins' grain grants the individual pinpricks of each an innumerable quality at first glance, holding the eye in thrall and reinforcing the visual weight of the bowl. The underside and rim are covered with wrapping cross grain, and the stem is made up of both cumberland and genuine horn, making for a striking bit of contrast that livens up the palette here.

-John McElheny
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Measurements & Other Details

  • Length: 4.50 in./114.30 mm.
  • Weight: 2.02 oz./57.15 g.
  • Bowl Height: 1.79 in./45.47 mm.
  • Chamber Depth: 1.48 in./37.59 mm.
  • Chamber Diameter: 0.78 in./19.81 mm.
  • Outside Diameter: 1.82 in./46.23 mm.
  • Stem Material: Horn
  • Filter: None
  • Shape: Apple
  • Finish: Smooth
  • Material: Briar
  • Country: Denmark
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