Nicknamed "Benner", Bent Nielsen was born in 1944 in the northern part of Jutland. His parents moved to the Roskilde-distric when Benner was young, and has called that are home ever since. He currently lives in Tune, a small village south of Roskilde.
Benner started working as a carpenter, but met Karl Erik in the early '70s, who hired Benner to help meet the huge demand for fancy pipes. He worked in Karl Eric's workshop for 7 years, and made a lot of the fancy pipes being sent to the USA at that time. He was later working for the pipe maker Zetterwig when he was contacted by S. Bang to assist with making pipes for the German market. Benner made a set of pipes to show the German importer only to discover they were looking for classic shapes, not the fancy shapes that Benner had made. In response Benner took on the new challenge of making classic shapes. This served him well as it turns out, as Benner is known more for his classic shapes than the fancy pipes of the early 70's.
After providing pipes for the German market for a few years, Benner started making pipes for Pipe-Dan, where he met Tom Eltang. At the end of '70s, Benner went through a difficult time in his life, which included a divorce. He left pipe making, sold his machines, and returned to carpentry, which he did for 30 years.
Pipe making had its hold on Benner, and he kept making pipes in his spare time in Karl Erik's workshop. He eventually wanted his own workshop again and bought a lathe from Tom Eltang. He eventually bought the other machines he need, rebuilding many of them. With his full-time job he had little time to work on pipes, and the few he made were sold locally.
At the beginning of 2011 Benner retired from his carpentry work, which gave him more time for pipe making and a larger audience for his pipes. In addition to Briar, Benner makes pipes out of olive wood. He buys the olive wood from Crete when he visits on a yearly vacation. Benner bought a lot of the briar he uses when Karl Erik died in 2004. His stems are made from acrylic, cumberland, ebonite, or artificial amber and the pipes are stamped Benner, sometimesHandmade in Denmark, with the letter B on the stems.
The source for this article is Jan Andersson's excellent book, Scandinavian Pipe Makers