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 Resting your pipes

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eon

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Location : Minnesota
Registration date : 2011-02-02

PostSubject: Resting your pipes   Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:24 am

There is something about resting the weary bowls between the smokes that I have been thinking of for a while now and I thought I might ask the opinions of sharper, more experienced minds. Apologies if this is something fairly obvious to most of you.

We all know that, after a bowlful, pipes need to rest a day or two lest even the sweetest smoke will turn them sour and foul. We also know that briar is a porous matter and that, like everything else, it tends to expand when heated. A number of clever techniques have taken advantage of the fact. For example, one, first suggested by Gregory Pease, involves exorcising fruity ghosts and foulness out of old estates. Another was used by William "Ashton" Taylor to treat the briar after carving. In the former case, bowls are heated in an oven and then filled with pellets of active charcoal. As the pores in the wood expand in the heat, the stubborn residues trapped inside the wood will be drawn out by the charcoal. Taylor used a very similar method to oil-cure his briar by heating it first for eight hours and exposing it to a mixture of oils that seeped into the wood. The bowls were then dried in similarly hot conditions for days with the oil drawing impurities from the wood, giving his virgin bowls a distinctively clean, nutty taste.

I know many a pipesmoker, including myself, often sniff at our bowls before filling to check if the odours of previous smoke have dissipated. The longer a pipe gets to rest, the sweeter the smell. For all I know, this suggests that the residues inside the bowl have had sufficient time to evaporate. Now, I have recently practiced leaving recently smoked pipes on a towel to sit on a heater or simply placed them under a warm desklamp. Not surprisingly, such pipes aquire that sweet smell much quicker than others. This had me thinking about the whole issue of contracting and expanding briar and how letting the wood remain warm after the smoke would allow more foulness (which is to say, moisture) to escape than simply replacing them on the cold piperack. It might seem like excessive hassle to some and, in fact, I agree. But I guess this is also about learning more about our little furnaces than reinventing the tried and tested method of two days o'rest.

It should be noted that I live in a cold country and that people from warmer climates need hardly worry about such things (nor would they have radiators, for that matter). In any case, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on this.


Last edited by eon on Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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dougc905

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Age : 55
Location : Brampton, Ontario
Registration date : 2009-01-12

PostSubject: Re: Resting your pipes   Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:16 am

Sounds like a fascinating experiment!

Do you run a pipe cleaner through the stem before setting the pipe aside? Having the moisture absorb into the cake in the bowl sounds good, but not into the briar in the shank. Also, the stem will oxidize more quickly at the higher temperature - maybe wiping the stem with a cloth impregnated with Briar Pipe Wipe as part of your initial setting aside would be beneficial.
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eon

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Location : Minnesota
Registration date : 2011-02-02

PostSubject: Re: Resting your pipes   Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:32 am

Thanks, I was not really aware that heat would speed up oxidation though it makes a lot of sense. I do run a cleaner or two before setting pipes aside. I have only a few vulcanite stems anyhow but will be sure to take extra care in wiping the exterior of these beforehand. Haven't used Briar Pipe Wipe before though. I normally coat the stems with a drop of olive oil after cleaning any oxidation which seems to work well enough.

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CLRV

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Age : 34
Location : Tulsa, Oklahoma
Registration date : 2010-12-30

PostSubject: Re: Resting your pipes   Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:52 pm

I wonder if placing silica balls in the pipe would accelerate the resting process. If we're worried about moisture, I can't think of something more suited to the job.
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Harlock999

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Location : Los Angeles
Registration date : 2010-10-23

PostSubject: Re: Resting your pipes   Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:03 pm

My first pipe was an Ebay estate, and it smelled so sweet! It probably hadn't been smoked in years. When I first smoked it, I was little taken aback by the smell, it just wasn't what I expected. Now I love it!
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R.A.

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Location : Raleigh NC
Registration date : 2011-02-10

PostSubject: Re: Resting your pipes   Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:42 pm

I can relate Harlock, I have bought several Ebay estate pipes and can tell the have not been smoked in years and the smell is great, such a warm sweet nostalgic appeal.

Like an old ceder chest, I grew up in a house built in the early 1900's the smell of old wood etc, one of the bonus to having an old pipe collection is the inviting smell.
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