Hans “Former” Nielsen is one of the living legends of Denmark pipe making. He started at the age of 15 working in various shops for over 50 years. He studied the shapes and styles of pipes by repairing them. Starting fulltime with W.O. Larsen in 1962 as a pipe maker. Former showed his skills by replicating shapes that were in the catalog. Former's skill blossomed, and he went on to manage components of the factory, including quality control and teaching other carvers. He also had a workshop at home to keep up with demand for high-grade Danish pipes for export. Later he would go off on his own to produce these pipes under his own name. He wrote the book on many of the Danish classics. Many Former pipes are freely made forms that can only be shaped with a sanding disk. Reflected in his stampings, where “Freehand” will be entirely hand-made, and “Handmade” will be partial lathe-turned bowls. Always impressive, Former pipes are often smooth, though he makes lovely sandblasts. His stems are either black vulcanite or acrylic with beautiful accents of horn, boxwood, and silver on occasion.