Latest additions. DM 2009
You can’t really be there and not find something to add to the collection. Apart from the competition, I go to the national championships to learn a bit more about this hobby, meet carvers and others of like mind and look at pipes. I went early to avoid the crowds and get a good look at what was up for offer. There was quite a bit to see.
In my pipe club, which just happens to be the largest club in Denmark, we have a tame pipe maker. Benner. Also known as Bent Nielsen, he has been making pipes for years and apprenticed under Karl Erik Ottendahl.
Karl Erik, unfortunately, died in 2004 but Benner has rescued some of Karl Erik’s old stock which didn’t get sold while he was still alive. So, apart from his own pipes, Benner had a few Karl Eriks on show. I decided that I had to own this one.
A lovely pipe, just about big enough for my tastes, decorated with a box ring on the shank. Quarter bent and extremely light, the draft is wide open.
Now, with blood on my teeth, so to speak, I went off in search of other goodies. Once again, there was a lot to look at from all the various artisans at the show but having just bought the Karl Erik, I needed to go bargain hunting and tighten the purse strings.
Estate pipes are always available at these shows. Some are better reconditioned than others but as I am able to do a little work myself, I can allow myself to look at the entire spectrum. And I did. There were two or three stands with any number of pipes from every manufacturer one could think of and prices to match. But I found a real bargain.
A Stanwell Pipe of the Year from 1998. A ten year old beauty. I know what POY’s normally cost and to find this one at about a third of the original price was a true find. In fact I even haggled the price down a bit which is something I rarely do but may adopt in the future! This is a nice and relatively large Stanwell sandblasted POY. Well decorated with silver, (which really needed a good polish) and an oval mouthpiece, it was designed as a filter pipe but I have fitted a 9 mm plug and discarded the filter. Once again, a quarter bent but with a deep bowl that really takes a wad of tobacco. This is a pipe for relaxing with. Stanwell has been criticised for not being good at the art of sandblasting but that has been rectified of late. This example, however, is a gem from 1998. The rings on this pipe are even on both sides of the pipe and run almost diagonally upward from the stem to the front of the bowl. There is a true sunshine burst on the underside of the bowl which, although being slightly off centre, is delightful to behold. There are no teeth marks or other damage to the pipe so I believe I got an absolute bargain with this one.
Finally, of course, we got to the serious business of slow pipe smoking. The main event, if you will. My individual results were not spectacular, the pipe died on me after 50 minutes, but my team achieved a third place in the team event so all was not wasted. The competition pipe in Denmark is provided, as a rule, by Stanwell. This year was no exception. The championship pipe is a billiard, sandblasted and decorated with a silver plaque and badge. I usually have my championship pipes in my rotation but only as relief pipes for my more regular rotation. This is because I generally find them a little small, preferring a larger pipe and chamber. This one may get to see a little more tobacco than the others though. It is a nice little pipe and surprisingly comfortable to have between my teeth.
Three pipes then, and one very enjoyable day. I met old friends, made a couple of new acquaintances and generally had a good time among my peers and fellow pipemen. We smoked a lot of tobacco too! Indoors. Ha!
Now I’m looking forward to October. The international competition is in Hungary this year. It’s been a long time since I was there. I only have one pipe from Hungary.
But that’s another story.