About Kent Rasmussen
Kent Rasmussen belongs to the emerging "third generation" of Danish hand carvers, trained by the older masters like Lars, Teddy, Former, Tom Eltang, etc. These "professors" studied with the first-generation carvers, especially Poul Rassmussen, Sven Knudsen and Sixten Ivarsson. Other important carvers from this newest generation include Kurt Balleby and Nanna Ivarrson, students of Kai Nielsen and Lars Ivarsson respectively.
An artist and sculptor, Kent started making pipes about five years ago from kits in Arhus, Denmarks second largest city. He soon ran into a series of technical problems he could not resolve on his own. So he checked in the local yellow pages, and discovered that there was a pipe maker not two blocks away from his studio, a pipe maker named Teddy Knudsen. He became Teddys protege, consulting with Teddy as he accumulated and built machinery and tooling, searched for briar and vulcanite, and then carved and finished the pipes. The influence is unmistakable in terms of shape, quality and finish. Teddy regards him as superbly talented. Some of Kent's own techniques, like the fluted edges on some of his pieces made with a Dremel tool, and the hand sanding of the interior of the shank smoke passage are beginning to influence other pipe makers, notably Kurt Balleby. Even Teddy himself is now using a Dremel for fluting.
Kent has adopted the same tenon technology that Jess Chonowitsch introduced, which is a minor revolution in pipe making in itself. The bit is handcut from the best German vulcanite rod, as would be expected. But vulcanite tenons tend to distort or become loose over time, and can break if the stem is removed while the pipe is hot. The new technique is to make a separate tenon out of a Teflon-impregnated material called Delrin. After careful grooving on the stem end, the tenon is pressed into place with a small amount of methacrylate glue. The result is a tenon which is stronger than vulcanite, yet resilient and self-lubricating, assuring a good fit under all conditions. Best of all, the stem can be removed from the pipe at any time without risk of breakage.
Because he is still on the rise, Kent's pipes are very reasonably priced. But their quality is such that they will soon be worth far more. I call him the "Master of Balance" because he seems to conceptualize pipes as three dimensional objects in space, rather than as a series of shapes or planes. As a result, his pipes are balanced in all three of those dimensions.
I have visited Kent's studio as frequently as I can. Kent's work continues to improve, and he is continually discovering new shapes and forms. Where he will stop, no one knows.