Jess Chonowitsch famous as an artisan tobacco pipe maker with a long time experience, staring from repairing pipe into the skilled tobacco pipe maker.
Jess is the son of the famous Danish tobacconist and pipe-maker Emil Chonowitsch. He grow up in Copenhagen, the father working for Poul Rasmussen – Poul famous as a second pipe-maker in Denmark – at the pipe workshop in Hornemannsgade.
Poul passed away in 1967 due to the weak hearth; he is one of a pioneer of the future of Danish handmade tobacco pipes.
From his workshop has come many of most skilled pipe artisans likes Emil Chonowitsch, Björn Bengtsson, Tom Eltang, Anne Julie (widow of Poul), and Jess Chonowitsch.
For Jess, tobacco and pipe is not something new, his parent has own tobacconist’s shop in Copenhagen for almost 20 years (starting after the end of World War II).
When Emil retired, he is looking for something else to do, and he joint with Poul Rasmussen.
After Poul passed away Emil start again to open his own workshop, he buy and renovate an old school building in a small village south of Copenhagen, and he start his own workshop.
Later on after several year Jess working with W.Ø. Larsen, and then with Sixten Ivarsson, Jess joint with his father workshop to make his own pipes.
Emil’s pipes were highly regarded and he gained an international recognition, he continued making pipes until 1992, and passed away in 1996.
During working with his father, Jess has earning many experiences, and he is very creative, full imagination and more skilled.
Due his experience during working with Poul, and then with his father, Jess got a knowledge how to repair the pipe, put a new mouthpiece (stem), cleaned pipe, polishing and make a repaired pipes as a new again.
Actually he learns by doing. Jess is a specializes in exclusive freehand style pipe artisan, and he often uses bamboo. He also created some beautiful sandblasted pipes beside the smooth one.
Another experienced he got when he is working for W.Ø. Larsen pipe factory, after Poul Rasmussen passed away. Because Jess looking for more knowledge about making beautiful pipes, then he move work with Sixten Ivarsson.
According to Jess, Sixten is the most creative pipe-maker at that time, so he get lucky has working with them that Jess learned to use his creativity to discover new model of tobacco pipes.
After two years working with Sixten Ivarsson, in 1970 he started his own workshop along side with his father.
At that time his father made many of the machines he used to make classical shapes he learned from Rasmussen.
Due his long experienced, this time he find his work more easier, but still seriously in working to maintain his reputation as world class artisan pipe-maker.
He made many different shapes and sizes of tobacco pipes, and also some of the pipe has an accent on the middle between the stummel and the stem, it makes the pipe more beautiful.
In addition to smooth pipes, he creates some beautiful sandblasted pipes. His customer spread all over the world.
Jess is a masters technical perfection on pipe-making he keep a balance of the design and the finishing, the result is the pipe is look perfect beautiful and the customer will got a good feeling of satisfaction.
For a pipe that he used the material of briar wood for the pipe stummel, he seriously watching carefully about the drying that wood.
He controls the humidity over an 18-24 moths period, reducing it very slowly.
He selected the Briar wood from Corsica and Greece.
The tobacco pipes release by Jess are stamped with a special “bird” stamp and the name “Chonowitsch” at the top of a circle, Denmark at the bottom, and Jess in the center.
For the pipe that uses bamboo material of shank, it a straight stamp in order to keep the fibers in the bamboo did not crush. There is no nomenclature is used in the pipes.
Pics: JC – Lars Kiel