Article Kiekmo Hamburg "The Pipemaker of Ottensen"

“The Filou with the rasp"

Kai Gaeth’s passion became his job: High quality Tobacco pipes,crafted in a small work-shop in Hamburg-Ottensen.


In a well hidden backyard of the Mörkenstraße, in the middle of the bustling and fashionable inner city district the world seems to have fallen out of time: No stress, no hassle, even clocks seem to tick a little bit slower. And right here, behind dusty windows, Kai Gaeth makes the dreams of pipe connaisseurs come true.


The 45-year-old carpenter started his special business 1 ½ year ago, turning his private passion into a part-time job. After his day time work and whenever he found time, the talented craftsman took off to his oasis of peace and silence, building with his bare hand lovely individually designed pipes. "Unlike many of my colleagues, I do not use a lathe, I work instead only with a file and a planer. It takes longer, but I just love the direct contact with the wood", Gaeth describes his work. “I am creating like this, special collector's items, each one a unique piece.”


“The first pipes I built were all for the garbage can”


Until the beginning of his tobacco pipe career the friendly man from Ottensen was not even a pipe smoker himself: "But already as a young boy, I found the shape and feel of my grandfather’s pipe simply fascinating." Meanwhile, and with a good glass of red wine, Kai Gaeth likes to test the quality of his work from time to time himself.

"Everything I know today, I taught myself little by little. Eventually, with dedication and patience, I reached the current level of excellence. "My first pipes were all for the garbage can", Kai laughs, and then he immediately starts a short teaching lesson in how to choose the ideal working material. "Not every wood is suitable for the construction of a pipe, because it gets warm when smoking. Among other things, I use bruyere wood from the Heath, which works very well."


“The Filou with the rasp makes all wishes come true”


From the untouched piece of wood to the finished work of art, and depending of the customer’s wishes, the birth of a high end pipe takes at least one and a half days' working time. Prices range from 150 euros for the standard model to 500 euros for more exclusive pieces.



Most of Kai Gaeth’s clients come from Kais personal network or simply find him and his homepage on the Internet at the Ottenser Pfeifenbauer. By the way, the stereotypical pipe smoker no longer exists: "Whether young or old, for me and many others smogging is an peaceful oasis to our hectic times. It has a decelerating effect and always brings with it a certain sailor's romance".


Anyone who wants to get a personal idea of ​​the original Gaeth products should stop by the Mercado on the Ottenser Hauptstraße. Here, in the wine shop Ca 'Vino, a few copies displayed.

Further information, inquiries and appointments with pipe maker Kai Gaeth:


Craft made in Hamburg

10 Masters of their craft


9. FEBRUAR 2018



This article was created on editorial level by Tabitha Wedemann

Although real craftsmanship is increasingly becoming a rarity, still many craftsmen are hiding in Hamburg's backyards and studios, to those forging, carpentry and sewing is simply in their blood. Some of them are the last of their kind but it´s them, who retain with their crafts the centuries-old traditions and therefore a piece of Hamburgs history. We show you, wo in Hamburg noch immer der Hammer hängt!(???)


Craft made in Hamburg


In the past decades real craftsmanship become increasingly a rarity.

In 2016 only one single courageous hamburger woman got educated as a bookbinder. At the same time there was no plasterer at all getting an education in our city.

About a quarter of all  German trainees work in the same three jobs: office clerk, retail clerk or as a medical assistant.

In the meantime many craft professions are  to such an extent unpopular, that a slow extinction seems to be inevitable. And that regardless of the fact, that there are so many fascinating, unique and  traditional Erwerbsbranchen. But there are still some Hamburger that swim against the current. Just because they are the last of their kind, they deserve all our homage and recognition!

1. Pipe Maker

We have to admit it: Some kind of sailor's romance is quite in our noses while smoking pipes. For a long time it was considered as a  passion for dignified, older gentleman. Nowadays it is not just a relic from the resolution of our grandfathers  apartment. Smoking pipes is quite swell - that´s what Kai Gaeth thinks, too.  He is the pipe maker from Hamburg Ottensen. In his small studio in a backyard of the noisy Mörkenstraße, the skilled carpenter manufactures his own tobacco pipes by hand. By doing this he made out of his passion a sideline.

He is manufacturing without any lathe, but with file and slicer. That takes longer but the direct contact to the wood, which he loves, pays him off. Kai manufactures real collector's items, those ones who  are usually only in puff away dreams  of Hamburger pipes admirer. The high quality of his pipes is the result of hard work. From the blank to the finished masterpiece he spends at least one and a half days in his studio. After these efforts, he tests his unique items himself while drinking a glass of red wine. He absolutely deserves it.Who wants to get a picture of Kais tobacco pipes, can take a look into the Altona  Mercado. In the wine shop Ca Vino you will find a small selection of his pipes. 



Kai Gaeth


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Dear Mr. Gaeth,


After my visit in your workshop, I was already convinced that you produce exclusive tobacco pipes. But after having received two of your tobacco pipes, I was overwhelmed and it has exceeded all my expectations. Thank you very much indeed.


Bobby Chang

Board - Chinese Association in Hamburg e.V.