Finally Added an S. Bang Pipe to my Collection

Blog by Steve Laug

Several months ago now I was reading a post that Robert Lawing of Lawdog’s Pipes posted on Facebook regarding some pipes he worked on that were for sale. One of them was a beautiful S. Bang Squat Apple with a Boxwood shank extension. It caught my eye and I was very interested in adding it to my collection. I copied the photos that Robert sent me to look at. I wrote to Robert and we chatted and I soon was able to purchase it. I had him send it to my brother Jeff who later sent it to me with some other pipes that I would need to work on.Everything about the pipe ticked my boxes. The grain around the pipe, the shank extension and the size all were what I wanted. It was light weight and comfortable in the hand. The shape is quite uniquely Bang! I have had an eye on pipes from that brand for several years now and this shape is one that I have had an eye on. The angles of the pipe shape where the bowl and shank join combine a round apple like shape and the rounded rectangular shank and the Boxwood extension. The comfortably shaped, black vulcanite stem was a great contrast with the  Boxwood and the briar. The next photo that Robert sent was of the stamping on the underside of the shank. It reads S Band [arched over] Kobenhavn. Under that it is stamped Handmade [over] In Denmark [over] B. The stamping was clear and readable. To help me understand the stamping a bit more I turned to Pipephil’s site and read what it said about S. Bang pipes ( I have included a screen capture of the section below as well as the side bar information below the capture.Sven Bang opened his tobacco and pipe shop in 1968 in Copenhagen. He was more a business man than a pipe carver and began to hire pipemakers. About half a dozen succeeded each other in his workshop during the 1970’s (Ivan Holst Nielsen, Jan Wideløv, Phil Vigen…). At least Per Hansen and Ulf Noltensmeier stayed and when Sven retired in 1983 they took over the company (in 1984) keeping its name.

I knew from that the pipe I have was made for the European market and bore a B grading which is quite high. I also knew that it was made after 1984 when Ulf and Per took over the company so it was made by one of them. I am including two final pictures that Robert included for me below.To close my understanding of the pipe I turned to Pipedia ( I quote the section from the article where the company changed hands from S. Bang to Hansen and Noltensmeier in 1984. It is a great read so I have included it below.

Svend Bang retired in 1984. Evidently he felt a great deal of pride in the product that he initiated throughout his career and retirement and until his death in 1993.

Once Hansen and Noltensmeier took over the company (in 1984) they knew it was best to retain the S. Bang name – the two carvers always shared the same philosophy about that. Noltensmeier and Hansen were determined to maintain top quality at the expense of increased numbers. The only change they made concerns the stamping on the pipes changing from the English version “COPENHAGEN” to the Danish “KOBENHAVN”.

Still, they are two separate carvers, with their own styles and preferences. Each makes his own pipes – there is no “assembly line” construction at S. Bang. They bounce ideas off of each other, of course, and admit that when problems arise in a pipe, it is nice to have a partner to discuss them with.

Though they carve pipes as individuals, there are similarities in their work. All Bang pipes are made with black, hand-cut vulcanite stems.

The same engineering is used by both carvers as well. The shape and size of the tobacco chambers vary according to size and design of the pipe, but each carver follows the same design guidelines for choosing the proper chamber dimensions. The smoke channel is always engineered for optimum performance.

Bang pipes are noted for the high definition and fine contrast in the grain. They undergo a double staining process to achieve that effect. The technique makes the grain leap from the bowl of the pipe, making well-grained wood become extra ordinary. The same coloring, however, will produce different results in different pieces of briar, making each pipe truly individual.

Per Hansen is the designated sandblasting artist for the team. He personally takes those pieces that are to be sandblasted to Stanwell, and is permitted to use the sandblasting equipment himself. That is the only S. Bang process, though, that is not executed by the individual carver of each pipe. Everything else, including the famous S. Bang silverwork, is done in the shop by each of the carvers on his own pipes.

Now that I had read through the background it was time to enjoy the pipe itself. I loaded a bowl with Seattle Pipe Club’s Deception Pass and sat on my porch and enjoyed a bowl while watching the world pass by on the sidewalk in front of my home. It was a great smoking pipe that met all of my expectations. It is one that I will continue to enjoy for years to come. Thank you Robert for making this possible.




7 thoughts on “Finally Added an S. Bang Pipe to my Collection

  1. Paresh Deshpande

    Hi Steve,
    Heartiest Congratulations on your acquiring an S. Bang pipe. Absolutely stunning piece of briar and designing.
    It would be great if Dal, Jeff, you and self could meet up here in India…….
    Happy smokes!!!!

  2. upshallfan

    Congratulations. In the pipe world, that is like getting a Ferrari! A member of the Philly club used to only bring S. Bang pipes to their club meetings. I had an opportunity to examine several over the years, they are truly world class.

  3. Dal

    Beautiful pipe Steve. The grain is absolutely spectacular and I’m glad you’re enjoying it on your porch. Wish I could join you!

  4. Robert Lawing

    Hey Brother Steve, I am most happy it landed in your rotation. I hope the future smokes will find you in the best of health. I enjoy the blog a great deal and look forward to reading each posting. Robert “Lawdog” Lawing


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