|Teddy Knudsen, pipemaker, Århus
Teddy has been a professional pipe maker with his own workshop since 1970.
From the very start of his career, his pipes has been in high demand especially in Germany, Switzerland, USA and Japan.
Many of his pipes are sold before they are even made.
Teddy specializes in his own style, a style recognizable to collectors as distinctly his.
He works as much as possible with the wood's own grain.
The pipe's shape and the wood grain always complement each other in harmonious pipes where the shape of the pipe blends perfectly along with the grain pattern of the wood - almost as if Mother Nature herself had decided how the pipe should look.
When making pipes, Teddy works in several stages .
He finds that it is better to work a little on the pipe and then let it rest for a while. He often has several pipes in different stages on the workbench. There are pipes that just need a little more sanding by hand and then the final staining. Others need mouthpieces and still others that need to be worked on a lot before they really take shape. Teddy only works on a pipe when he get the inspiration for it. He has pipes that has been in the process for the past three or four years. He knows that they'll be beautiful pipes and he never forget how he wants them to look.
I could rush the process but then I wouldnt be making the best pipes possible." - he says.
Teddy selects his briar very carefully from his supplier Mimmo on the north western coast of the Italian mainland, in Taggia.
He drives there to handpick the blocks, typically buying 200 blocks per year. Only three to five percent of these ends up in the trash and only about 20 are sandblasted. All wood is air-dried in his shop, sitting on shelves until it is dry enough to work with.
Most of Teddy's pipes are very lightly stained due to the high quality of the wood - which means that most of the pipes are so 'clean' that he don't need to hide anything with a darker stain. The light stain that he use leaves the wood with the same color as when it just leaves the ground.
Teddy is using a sanding disk to form the pipe first the front and bottom of the pipe, then the sides. After that, he drills the tobacco chamber - from 19 to 2 1 mm in diameter. The mortise is also drilled at this time, with special care to get both the tobacco chamber and mortise aligned in a straight line. The air hole is always drilled to 3.5 millimeters, but not until the shape of the pipe is finally formed.
Teddys mouthpieces are very distinctive and are one of his trademarks. At least four hours is spent on getting the right shape and balance in a mouthpiece.
He start with hand files and then go over to various grits of sandpaper and finally end by using a buffing wheel.
Teddy use only solid ebonite of the highest quality. Any decoration-such as bone, Pokkenholt, horn or cultured amber is glued to the ebonite.
It is important to form both materials as one piece.