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monbla256

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Age : 72
Location : DFW Metroplex, Texas
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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:59 pm

I think it was back in the late 70's when I began to notice "pre-carbonizing" coatings in Petes, I bought several Pete's at that time and I guess I had smoked to many Lat and Oriental heavy 'bacs to discern any "flavor" in them as I broke them in. I have bought Sav's and others since then which had these coatings and can say I have not discrened any "flavors" in them either. Guess all the years of consuming 'bac has killed my palate Twisted Evil It wouldn't stop me from buying a good pipe from any of these firms today, in fact the two Sav Hercules's I have bought in the past 2 years were coated and I found them fine. Everyone's got their OPINION Twisted Evil
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Wayne_Teipen

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:00 pm

sisyphus wrote:
Rad Davis, Grechukin, Ailarov, Teipen, Maurizio Tombari, and I could go on, as could you. The issue seems as split amongst the guys making them as it is in the pipe forums.

I really don't want to re-ignite this discussion but I need to clarify that I started carbon coating all of my chambers since the summer of 2012. I use unflavored gelatin, water, and activated charcoal. I find it completely neutral as it should be. I started coating my chambers first and foremost as an insurance against burnouts from inexperienced pipe smokers. Like it or not, not every pipesmoker knows how to properly and carefully break in a pipe. That includes some very experienced pipesmokers and collectors. Haven't you guys ever seen one lighting their pipe with a torch lighter? Artisan pipes also tend to burn clean to the bottom without moisture unexpectedly. I've seen even experienced and good pipe guys try to light the end of a pipe that is nothing but ash thinking it couldn't possibly have smoked so well that the finish didn't require several lights. If you've smoked a good artisan pipe you know what I'm talking about. That's how burnouts in the heel of a pipe typically happen and it can even happen to guys that know what they are doing.

I also think a bowl coating all but eliminates break in. I also like the aesthetics. This coating is easily removed with hot/warm water and a paper towel and a little elbow grease although I don't recommend it as it nullifies the warranty against burnout.

Interestingly enough, I've only had one pipe returned with the start of a burnout in the heel. The owner sanded out my bowl coating. There are no defects in the briar.
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:39 pm

Oh no! :rampage: Laughing It lives again! Razz

Wayne that's a good point. I do have to say, though, if someone's gonna insist on smoking a pipe hard, whether it be via cigar-flame lighters, puffing like the midnight train to Georgia, or a bad habit I even sometimes am guilty of, "Going Beyond The Dottle..."...nothing short of an asbestos coating will really do much but stave off the inevitable. I'm almost thinking now that bowl coatings, provided they're in the hands of a carver who cares, are doing what a loving mother does before she sends her kid off to school, zipping up tight the jacket, confirming the lunch is in hand, and that a hat is worn.

Fair game, if that's the case.

Going Beyond The Dottle is a game that I have to occasionally remind myself NOT to do. We've all been there, having a fantastic smoke, refusing like a belligerent kid to return to whatever it was that we distracted ourselves from, and the excuse is trying to find tobacco from where there is none. If I taste even the faintest hint of briar, I stop. I might have already gone too far. Absentmindedness or rebellion aside, I have instead paid more attention to how the tobacco reacts both under tamp and flame, and if I quit a little early and notice a couple of leaves left over--that's better than threatening a favorite pipe.

Gelatin, eh Wayne? Can you mix up cherry-flavored for Rob if he orders a pipe from you?

Cool
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Wayne_Teipen

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:38 pm

Sure. If someone is determined enough to burn out a pipe, they can whether it has a coating or not. I made this analogy in the comments of Greg's article:

I wrote:
Saying a precarbon coating doesnít protect the briar is like saying wearing a coat in the winter canít protect against hypothermia. Sure, you can still get hypothermia while wearing a coat but it lessens the risk.

If carbon coating doesn't offer some protection from burnout then neither does cake formation. Heck, we might as well just keep our pipes sanded down to raw briar like we do our meers, right?

Unfortunately for the carver, when a pipe burns out the blame typically get's placed on their craftsmanship or use of substandard briar. It's rare for a pipesmoker to admit their own carelessness. It may be a small percentage that will burn out their new pipe but I can tell you that even one pipe really hurts financially to have to replace. Pipemaker's can't afford to make pipes for free. That's why you don't see many pipemaker's smoking their own pipes unless they are rejects.
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Wayne_Teipen

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:39 pm

Oh, and I suppose any flavor of gelatin can be used in the bowl coating. You may just be on to something there, Kyle. Watch for a new line of fruity flavored pipes from me in the near future. Laughing
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monbla256

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:46 pm

Wayne_Teipen wrote:
Oh, and I suppose any flavor of gelatin can be used in the bowl coating. You may just be on to something there, Kyle. Watch for a new line of fruity flavored pipes from me in the near future. Laughing
Now THAT"S interesting ! I wonder if that's what Savinelli has done with the new "Chocolate" line they just brought out? Flavored the coating as they are pre-carbonised bowls ! Smokingpipes has 'em if anyone want's to check 'em out Razz
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Planemech



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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:26 am

The only good bowl coating was the old Dr.Grabow pre-smoked pipes! Twisted Evil
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:47 pm

Back to the meat of the matter...Wayne, it sucks, but it's true: you're going to get the finger pointed at you if the pipe fails. Granted, there's that rare, rare instance a flaw is hidden just between the walls of the pipe that only a little heat and a few smokes exposes, but the guy who bottoms-out a pipe, creating a nice "ash funnel" is not likely to realize his error.

I think my original recent assessment sticks, it's independent carvers sending their loved ones out with a little bit of protection and care. If pipe work in factories is paid piecemeal or in quota, though, I can see a bowl coating protecting someone's job (or going home early on Friday) if no one is noticing, too. I've always been "meh" about bowl coating, they can be dealt with, so I really don't care.

Cake and pre-carb aren't the same thing, though, which is why I don't think one can be compared to the other. They both try to achieve the same job, even temporarily in the case of pre-carbonization, but to my observation, a natural buildup of cake is more porous, harder, more absorbent and structured very differently. An equal-thickness of pre-carbonization mixture wouldn't hold up the same as cake, nor perform the same--and that's assuming each batch of pre-carb a carver uses is the same batch to batch, or even the formula from carver to carver. In reality, all those factors of difference compiled will not yield exactly the same results, any more than one smoker will smoke identically to the other. It could be theorized the pre-carb acts as a place for cake to "grip" and begin to form, but as the briar is toasted (gently) the first few smokes, this same end is had.

That said, unless someone is really going to flip their lid at the taste/placebo of a pre-carb bowl, it just isn't a big deal. I'm never going to jump to the side of the fence that says they're unquestionably necessary, because they really aren't, but nor do I care if they're there. If I buy a pipe from you, Wayne, and you don't coat it, I won't grab torches and a posse to get you--but if you forget and send one out to me with pre-carb, I won't grab torches and a posse, either. Laughing

Pre-carbed bowls are paramount to steadfast, harmless superstition, and the passionate responses to it all mirrors this, by my reckon.

Cool
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Wayne_Teipen

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:34 pm

Here's an interesting video experiment that Todd Johnson recently did that you guys might find interesting. I think it speaks for itself.

CLICK
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:42 pm

Wayne_Teipen wrote:
Here's an interesting video experiment that Todd Johnson recently did that you guys might find interesting. I think it speaks for itself.

CLICK

That is very interesting!

Is this coating of sodium silicate, pumice, and activated charcoal a bowl coating used by some carvers?

If so, are all pipe manufacturers using this particular stuff?

An experiment I'd like to see is something similar, but exposing each piece of briar, exactly in this video, to standard pipe smoking temperatures as would be experienced by a normal smoking experience...given the thought of re-lights, type of tobacco, rest times, etc...and see what the results are.

Cool
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Wayne_Teipen

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:56 pm

Kyle Weiss wrote:
Wayne_Teipen wrote:
Here's an interesting video experiment that Todd Johnson recently did that you guys might find interesting. I think it speaks for itself.

CLICK

That is very interesting!

Is this coating of sodium silicate, pumice, and activated charcoal a bowl coating used by some carvers?

If so, are all pipe manufacturers using this particular stuff?

An experiment I'd like to see is something similar, but exposing each piece of briar, exactly in this video, to standard pipe smoking temperatures as would be experienced by a normal smoking experience...given the thought of re-lights, type of tobacco, rest times, etc...and see what the results are.

Cool

Yes, many artisan and factory pipe makers use this recipe including Todd. I would guess it's one of the most common. I don't use it preferring food grade ingredients but that's just my preference. It would be interesting if an experiment could be conducted using actual pipe smoking simulation. Unfortunately, it would be too difficult to control the variables. I would be interested to see the same experiment using several of the more common carbon coating recipes to see how they stack up against each other.
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:06 pm

Has this been presented to Greg, considering his recent articles at pipesmagazine.com? Just wondering.

Todd normally leaves my pipes "bare," but that may have been back when he simply didn't use bowl coatings. I'd still opt out, as I really do like to see how the briar tastes...that's just me, though.

Very eye-opening, that experiment, and a great argument for those that swear bowl coatings are purely cosmetic and/or useless. Until a really good control experiment can show it's superior, that video has shown me that yes, bare briar can, in fact, burn under direct flame, but doesn't state bare briar is guaranteed to burn out in pipe form without a bowl coating. As you said, and even I alluded to, it's protection for the carver to their work more than anything.

It doesn't address the possibility of it as a cover-up of an inner-chamber flaw for more mass-produced pipes, though--my faith in small, independent carvers isn't an issue in that regard.

Cool
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the rev

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:14 pm

it seems pretty clear to me that the coating does provide significant protection. Is it un needed? depends upon the smoker. But I think, that like Todd says, this provides me a level of comfort that I am helping to protect the pipe just a bit until a proper cake can be developed

rev
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:28 pm

Well, for what it's worth, I understand bowl coating a little more...a few questions remain unanswered, but I'm seeing a bit more reasoning here.

Maybe this discussion will help a few absolute "coating haters."

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the rev

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:43 pm

Kyle Weiss wrote:
Well, for what it's worth, I understand bowl coating a little more...a few questions remain unanswered, but I'm seeing a bit more reasoning here.

Maybe this discussion will help a few absolute "coating haters."

Cool

I doubt it, once you "know" the truth all of the fact confirm it

rev
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:53 pm

Well, sort of. 100% of burnouts cannot be prevented by 100% bowl coatings. That would be fact. Someone mentioned hypothermia and coats...there's just too many variables. Sensible precaution? I'll buy that. Requirement? Meh.

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the rev

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:56 pm

my point was we usually make up our mind first, and then interpret the "facts" based upon our "truth"

For instance in this case I can imagine an anti bowl coating person saying

1. well that is an open flame, and you don't smoke with an open flame so the test is meaningless

2. if you smoke correctly and break in your bowl correctly it will never face that kind of intense heat so that is a moot point

3. Todd clearly had a point to prove so he created an experiment that only proves his point of view

4. How do we know that it was just a bowl coating and not something far more?

ect.

And neither am I immune to these kinds of thoughts. I like to think I am open to change, I have done so many times in my life. But I dig my feet in pretty damned hard.

I do believe however that if you look at this video objectively, it shows that there is in fact an increase in protection for the bowl, whether you think it is necessary or not

rev
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:12 pm

A nail can only be hammered so far. Beyond that, it goes from productive form to a battle between the hammerer and the wood. Objectivity could have many viewpoints of a scenario like that. There still exists a nail, a hammer, the wood, the builder, and...hopefully, when all is said and done, something to show for it all.

So, yeah. Laughing Never been a fighter, except in the ring with myself. The rest is just a curiosity to me. So are bowl coatings.





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the rev

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:28 pm

you had me at hammer
flower
rev
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:39 am

the rev wrote:
you had me at hammer
flower
rev

Laughing Good'nuff. You're alright in my book, Rev. I love you

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Hermit

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:46 am

I won't refuse to buy a pipe that has a coated bowl,
but I strongly prefer nekkid wood. I've only smoked pipes
for about five years now, but I've broken in a lot of pipes. Laughing
If I get a coated bowl, I try to remove as much of it as I can.
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glpease
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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:01 pm

the rev wrote:
my point was we usually make up our mind first, and then interpret the "facts" based upon our "truth"

For instance in this case I can imagine an anti bowl coating person saying

1. well that is an open flame, and you don't smoke with an open flame so the test is meaningless

2. if you smoke correctly and break in your bowl correctly it will never face that kind of intense heat so that is a moot point

3. Todd clearly had a point to prove so he created an experiment that only proves his point of view

4. How do we know that it was just a bowl coating and not something far more?

Points 1-3 are valid observational criticisms. Number 4 is not. The test is not meaningless, but under real-world conditions, the results would not be nearly as dramatic, so #2 has some validity. The test is not meaningless, it simply proves something that may not actually be germane to the real world. And, yes, this test proves only one point of view. There's value in that point of view, but it's not really the issue. This coating can, and clearly does, make briar more fire-retardant. It does not prove the necessity of the stuff. Briar pipes have been made for over 160 years, and the return rate for burnouts is remarkably low. Still, no one is suggesting that it's "wrong" for a pipe maker to want to provide an extra layer of protection to his work. Some do, many do not. Of the many millions of pipes that have been made, only a small percentage have been coated.

Quote :
And neither am I immune to these kinds of thoughts. I like to think I am open to change, I have done so many times in my life. But I dig my feet in pretty damned hard.

Me too. And, my mind HAS been changed with respect to organic coatings. Whereas I once despised all bowl coatings, over time and experience, I've come to feel that organic coatings seem to offer no harm, and have no problem with pipes that use them. I've also learned that silicate based coatings do not taste good to me. Others feel differently, and that's fine. Tastes are subjective.
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glpease
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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:05 pm

Forgive the length of this, but I'm lacking the time and energy to edit at the moment, so it's just on the fly.

As I wrote in my articles, in the organic coating arena, I've not experienced anything objectionable once the pipe had been smoked a few times, and most of them seem to be quite neutral, or at least unobjectionable from the start. I have no issue with organic coatings. (I'm sure someone can concoct a recipe that would change my mind, but I would cast some doubt on the benefits of doing so...)

In the 33 years I've been actively buying, selling, trading, collecting and smoking pipes, thousands of briars have gone through my hands. (My collection is currently in the range of 300; I'm desperately trying to focus it, with little luck.) I think my sample size would be considered by most to be sufficient to draw some reasonably valid conclusions. Taste is important to me. Every pipe that has become one of my absolute best smokers has been either uncoated in the beginning, or coated with an organic substance. Every silicate coated pipe I've ever smoked has never developed into one that I fully enjoy, except in those cases where I've gone back to zero, removing the whole mess, and starting from scratch. In one case, not enough to be considered a reasonable sample (you can draw infinite many lines through a single point), what I found under the coating of a pipe that had been smoked for years by its previous owner was green-tasting wood - briar that had never been sufficiently dried. An anomaly, I would hope. But, it would seem to support the idea that silicate coatings effectively seal up whatever is behind them once they've hardened into their anhydrous state.

The breaking in of a pipe, the part that actually forms a protective layer between briar and tobacco, is first the result of heat hardening, in a sense annealing the surface of the briar. This does not fireproof the wood by any means, but raises its combustion temperature by altering the physical structure of the wood. It's this physical change that allows the further development of cake to proceed with less risk of damage. An organic coating does not serve the same purpose, though it very likely does assist in the cake's adherence in the early bowls. The heat-treating will still take place through the coating, of course, so the coating in all likelihood does no harm. (Some pipe makers in the past who have "flame treated" their bowls knew the benefit of this heat-hardening phenomenon. So did ancient hunters and warriors who heat-treated wooden spear and arrow points.)

If a pipe burns out, assuming (a big assumption, apparently, at least according to some pipe makers), the thing is smoked carefully and gently during the break-in, it's because of a flaw in the briar. A coating ain't likely gonna stop it. (The only two pipes I've ever owned that burned out both had cavernous voids or soft spots just beneath the surface of the wood, something the maker could not have known about. AND, they were both coated with silicate coatings.)

Will silicate coatings offer more protection? Apparently, yes. But, at what cost?

A pipe maker once said to me, when I was discussing the taste of his coatings with him, that he KNEW it didn't taste great, but "most people can't tell the difference." I considered this a disservice to the smoker, and thought it a bit disdainful of his customers. If a pipe maker's goal is to produce the best smoking, best tasting pipe possible, if even a few report that the coating interferes with the enjoyment of the tobacco, I would think it would be in his ultimate interest to consider something else.*

One of my past favourite makers, at the coaxing of his importer/representative, decided at some point to begin using a silicate coating. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, and acquired a couple pipes with his new formulation. Compared with his previous work, they don't deliver the groceries. I no longer acquire his work. Maybe it's just his specific recipe. Maybe it's the silicate. (I've got enough evidence to know which side of that coin is likely to turn up when tossed.)

In discussing this with a friend who makes pipes, I had him do two pipes for me; one coated (silicate), one nekkid. After twenty bowls, the uncoated pipe was delivering a wonderful rich smoke. The other one, not so much. After going back to bare wood and starting over with it, it quickly matched the uncoated one. Again, only a single data point, but not an insignificant one.

The video is interesting, and quite dramatic. A real world test, though difficult, if not impossible to accomplish, would yield results that are much less dramatic. Covering your car with space-shuttle tiles to keep it from burning up during reentry would accomplish the job. Most of us tend to drive at somewhat lower altitudes.

If pipe smokers subjected their pipes to that level of abuse, they'd be replacing their uncoated briars every week. The fact that pipes have been made from briar for over 160 years might suggest that the problem isn't as significant as some would make it seem. That I collected data from quite a few makers and sellers indicating that burnout rates are less than 1 in 1000 of uncoated bowls (in some cases, much less) suggests that the whole "protection" argument might be something of a red herring. But, if it offers comfort to the maker to coat their bowls, and those coatings don't make the pipes taste funny, no harm, no foul. And, maybe, the organic coating does offer some very slight prophylaxis, as well as a more effortless establishment of an early cake, but it's not going to help if the wood is flawed, or if the smoker puffs on his new briar like a Hoover.

It has become sparklingly clear that this is a very contentious issue. Ridiculously so. It has also become clear that amongst the many pipemen I've discussed this subject with over the past decade or so, the vast majority who are concerned with the way their pipes taste prefer uncoated bowls, though more recently, in a few cases, I've convinced them that organic coatings should not be so quickly disparaged, even though I myself was once one of their detractors. I don't ever have to buy a coated pipe, so, really, it doesn't matter to ME, personally, what someone uses. (Yeah, I know. I don't ever have to buy another pipe of any sort again, but sometimes, I just can't help myself.)

My goal in smoking a pipe is, and always has been, to derive the greatest possible enjoyment from the experience. My goal in writing about pipes and tobaccos is to offer whatever experience I may have gained over the years to others in the hopes that it might present a bit of direction towards achieving similar ends. Lord knows, I don't do it for the money...

*If a chef chose cheaper cuts of meat because "most people can't tell the difference," the protests would be heard loudly and clearly, and no one would defend his choice.
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:15 pm

I dunno, I used to drive my VW GTi fast enough to warrant tiles for atmospheric re-entry, but that's beside the point. Laughing (...or was that to try and reflect a cop's radar gun? No matter...)

Greg, any time you want to un-focus a few of your collection my direction, Mission Control Weiss has cleared the airspace for landing.

Though I have to say, this isn't a case of "cheaper meat" because the consumer won't be able to tell the difference, it's more packing the meat in some kind of brine to plump up the product, or adding color to enhance the redness...I know, I know, I'm picky. Smile As a self-proclaimed "taster" of all things I seek pleasure, I don't generally like "complicated" versus "simple." Bowl-coatings are seemingly like the screens on new cars, the ones that can tell you your gas mileage, show you images from a camera behind you, maybe even play the latest movie--meanwhile, the rules of the road suggest it's better to actually look over your shoulder and/or keep your eyes on the road, without distraction, to drive properly.

The day I get a car that beeps at me because something tripped the sensors, a car that was too close while driving, the curb while parking, etc, is the day I get out my screwdriver and do some of my own forced simplification--much like sanding out a coated, new briar's bowl.

Cool


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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating   Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:20 pm

Quote :
*If a chef chose cheaper cuts of meat because "most people can't tell the difference," the protests would be heard loudly and clearly, and no one would defend his choice.

Laughing

A friend's grandfather (an immigrant from Serbia) had a butcher shop in the Serbian neighborhood of Akron, many years ago. Central Europeans have an unimaginable number of ethnic specialty sausages, and he was naturally adept at making the Serbian ones to everyone's satisfaction.

One year, when it was time to make whatever kielbassa-like sausage it was to celebrate Easter, he decided to use only prime cuts in place of the usual scraps & trimmings.

Everybody hated it.

What a Face
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