About Gert Holbek (tekst by Jacob Groth)

Gert Holbek is probably the oldest Danish pipe maker - after the death of Sixten Ivarsson, - since Gert Holbek was born in 1928. He is for sure the oldest active pipemaker and he is definitely the one who has been in business for longest time. He started with Poul Rasmussen in 1953.
After one year and more than ten thousand pipe repairs later (Holbek tells), he opened his own work shop and he has carved pipes ever since.

For a number of years he made about two hundred pipes per year, they were all sold through Pibe Dan, until the shop closed in 1991. Pibe Dan’s English catalogs from the 60’s would show his pipes and brought his name to both Europe, Japan and USA.
In the latest years the number of pipes has gone considerably down, but he can’t really leave the challenge of a beautiful piece of briar. The few pipes he is making are almost exclusively sold in Japan, where he has had many devoted fans for many years.

In spite of his almost 50 years in pipe business he is not very known among pipe smokers Denmark. For long periods Holbek worked primarily with industrial design and technical innovations. His sense of form and idiom can be recognized in the set of knife, fork and spoon, called Prism, that he draw together with a friend from childhood in the beginning of the 60’s. The set is still sold in large quantities all over the world.
Gert Holbek has also taken a number of patents and he “invented” 2211 – probably the best cleaning fluid for pipes because it both dissolve the residue, it disinfects and it impregnates the smoke passage in the shank and the mouthpiece.

The pipe design of Gert Holbek is distinctly his own. Even in a long distance, you can tell that this is a Holbek pipe.
Not much tells you that he originally started with Poul Rasmussen perhaps only that many of his pipes have rather tall and slender bowls. His very tall pipes, called chimneys, were created in collaboration with Pibe Dan.
The pipes are almost ascetic (his own word). You will never find a ring, a ferrule or any decoration on a Holbek pipe. His shaping has soft, but springy lines with soft passage between bowl and shank and the edge of the bowl is mostly concave.
The smooth pipes are mostly straight grain in a warm reddish- walnut finish.
Holbek always grinds the edge of the bite (the lip) slantingly.