Bård Hansen

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From Jan Andersson's excellent book, Scandinavian Pipemakers

In 1999 Bård Hansen (b.1968) visited the town of Lillehammer. Two years earlier he had started smoking a pipe and now wanted to see where his pipes were made, even if he knew that the factory was closed long ago. To his disappointment nothing was left of the factory, but Bård was lucky in another way. He met Hans Tandberg, who had been working as a pipemaker in G. Larsen's factory for many years. When the factory was closed in 1979, Hans Tanberg bought machines and material from the factory and started making pipes himself. But by ow he ws old and wanted to retire, so he wanted to sell it all. Bård was interested in buying and an agreement was reached, but on one condition--Hans Tandberg had to teach Bård how to make pipes. Suddenly Bård Hansen was not only the owner of complete machinery for a workshop, he also had learned the basics of pipe-making and had a lot of material, including briar and ebonite.

The first workshop

Bård built a workshop in his flat and when this new century began, he was ready to make his first pipe. The Lillehammer pipes had a solid reputation in Norway--they were almost an institution--so when people heard about the pipemaker in Bergen, using machines and material from the Lillehammer factory, the interest was great. Bård called his pipes Tabago (Editor's note: unfortunately this brand name had been was used previously for pipes made in Denmark. See Tabago for details --sethile (talk) 11:26, 8 June 2015 (CDT)) and at first the pipes were mainly sold locally. But word spread and it did not take long before he started getting orders from other parts of the world as well.


In 2006 Bård was invited to move his workshop to a place called Bryggen, situated in the harbor of Bergen. The word brygge means quay and that area in Bergen is very special. Th the late Middle Ages the Hanseatic League established a thriving center of international trade there, and the characteristic rows of buildings with seaward facing gables represent a building tradition dating back 900 years. In 1980 these old wooden buildings were placed on UNESCO's World Heritage List. Today, many artisans have their workshops there and Bryggen is frequented by tourists. Bård has his workshop in one of these historic buildings, a workshop he shares with a club of knife-makers. These are inspiring surroundings with a complementary community of artisans.

Stems from briar and rings from silver

Bård's pipes are stamped Tobago and Made in Bergen. Most pipes are small-to-medium in size, as Bård himself prefers that size of a pipe. And so do most of his fellow countrymen. All pipes are smooth, never sandblasted or rusticated. Perfect or almost perfect pipes are left natural while others are stained, some of them completely black.

Briar stem detail from [Bård's Bård's Websote

A specialty of Bård's is pipes with stems from Briar. Now and then pipes made that way have been seen, but Bård is the only pipemaker in Scandinavia regularly making this type of pipe. They have a somewhat thicker bit (about 5.5 mm) and, if you are used to carrying the pipe in your mouth most of the time, they may feel a little uncomfortable. But as Bård says, "Who would bite into these beautiful wooden pieces?"

Rings from silver are quite frequently found on Bård's pipes and they line up perfectly with the rest of the pipe. Bård was trained as a silversmith by the knife makers in his workshop and engravings of the customer's choice are quite often performed.

Pipe with Reindeer Antler ring and briar stem, from [Bård's Bård's Websote

Apart from silver rings, no adornments are used on the Tabago pipes with one rare exception. Some pipes have a ring from reindeer antler instead of silver, and those pipes usually have a stem from briar as well. They are mainly made for customers in Iceland. The atmosphere there is highly sulfurous, which wares heavily on ebonite and silver.

Balance and Rhythm

Bård makes 100 - 150 pipes a year and, apart from Norway, the Tabago pipes are sold in many countries in the European Union as well as in the USA. Bård has two criteria for his pipes, balance and rhythm, and he explains what he means in the following words: "A balanced exterior adds to the calm I wish for you as a pipe-smoker. Rhythm ensures you have an interesting pipe."

Contact Information:

Bård Hansen
Hans Hauges gate 23 (Office)
5033 Bergen

Phone: +47 41 02 08 80
E-mail: tabago@pipe-maker.com
Website: http://www.pipe-maker.com/