“Attractive, well made but affordable Danish freehands and fancy pipes” (c) pipedia. That’s perhaps the best description of the main idea of Karl Erik Ottendahl (1942 – 2004) pipe making.
A pipe smoker since 14 y.o., Karl Erik moved to Kenia in 1962 during the war in that country and for the next 3 years among other deprivations he was unable to procure pipes. Under such unfavourable conditions he had a time to convert his small hobby into a professional pipe carving experience and since 1965-66 Karl Erik started selling pipes to Copenhagen pipe stores.
Kark Erik’s approach to producing pipes was in many cases untypical and many things were made in his own specific way. He tried to expand the production (up to 15 craftsmen), but finally decided that it’s much more comfortable to make pipe by own. Briar was supplied from different countries without any preferences, but it had to be well cured briar. The stems and sandblasting were usually ordered from Stanwell. Initial carving and drilling were made on machines, but fine shaping and finishing – ony by hand. And you’ll never find two exactly the same pipes, there was no copying. So Karl Erik pipes became very soon popular both between collectors and just “generic smokers”, who wanted to have a pleasant and practical Danish freehand for a reasonable price.
That’s interesting that Karl Erik’s old lathe was obtained by Tom Eltang, who had an idea to equip a small workshop and make a series of good and interesting pipes for a reasonable price. This series was named “Sara Eltang”.
The pipe bears the old stamping with the grade 3 thus it was made the most probably before 1990.
The pipe markings are “Karl Erik \ HANDMADE IN DENMARK \ 3”. The length is 13.2 cm (5.2″), bowl’s height is 5.1 cm (2″). External diameter of the bowl is 4.4 cm (1.73″), internal diameter is 2.2 cm (0.87″). The depth is 4.5 cm (1.77″) and this pipe weights 52 gr. Briar, vulcanite stem, 9 mm filter. The bowl had a few small chips carefully and reliably patched during the restoration.