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dshpipes

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Age : 33
Location : Durham, NC
Registration date : 2011-03-06

PostSubject: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:45 pm

If you've spoken to me at all, you know how staunch a proponent of the uncoated chamber I've been. Well, recent events have changed that. Let me explain.

First was Todd Johnson's youtube video demonstrating that a bowl coating actually offers a great deal of protection against burn out.



After watching this video, I was swayed, but not entirely convinced. I mean, the distance of the briar slabs from the candle flame was very small and the temperature at the tip of a candle flame is approx. 1300 deg F, much hotter than your average smoldering tobacco (tobacco combusts around 550 F). Even though this video clearly illustrates that a bowl coating helps protect briar against burnout, I doubt that temperatures would often get high enough to burn through a chamber with reasonably thick walls. "Nah, uncoated is still better," I thought.

Enter Abe Herbaugh. I had the immense pleasure of meeting Abe this weekend at the Smoker's Haven Event in Columbus, OH. Not only is Abe a great guy, but he makes an incredible pipe. Well, I couldn't help myself and picked up a Danish Billiard from his selection of pipes, even though it sported a bowl coating. This is the first pipe that I've purchased since I bought a Rad Davis around Christmas of 2011 and the first pipe in a long time to break my rule of "must be bare to buy."

Well let me tell you how surprised I was when I lit this pipe. From the first bowl, it smoked like it was already broken in. I've been a major proponent of breaking in a pipe from bare briar to really get the tobacco and the briar to meld together, but if I can get a smoke this good right off the bat, I wonder if there's a need to start off bare. After the first bowl, which I filled to the top and smoked to the bottom, there was a substantial amount of cake clinging to the heel of the chamber. I've always had a very hard time getting cake to build effectively in the heel of chambers with bare walls. After the second and third bowls, the cake had established itself very evenly all around the chamber, including in the heel.

I've been in awe of this discovery. Although, admittedly, this isn't the first time it's happened to me. I dismissed the first time as a freak circumstance. A few years ago, I purchased a pipe from Thomas James Richards which behaved almost exactly as Abe's pipe did.

Now that I've experienced this twice, I find it to be less likely a freak accident. As a matter of fact, this weekend I learned that Abe and Tom use the same recipe for their bowl coatings. This is the bowl coating recipe that Nate King and Premal Cheddha use as well.

You mean a bowl coating actually does what artisans say they do?! I'm shocked. Razz

Well, gentlemen, I'm a convert. With generosity, the recipe was shared with me and, once I complete a brief period of experimentation to get my recipe spot on, bowl coating will become standard on DSH Pipes. A bare chamber will remain an option, of course.

This decision has not been reached hastily. I've spent plenty of time weighing the pros and cons of bare over coated chambers. Recent evidence and experience have proved enough for me to undig my heels and accept that this new direction will be best for the pipes and for those who will enjoy them.

I want to thank TJ, Premal, Abe, Tom, and Nate for showing me what can be achieved when a pipe maker takes bowl coating seriously.
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Ocelot55

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Location : Columbus, OH
Registration date : 2012-03-28

PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:59 pm

Good Lord, I'm happy I was sitting down for that one!! Shocked


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Brewdude

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Age : 65
Location : Near the Emerald city
Registration date : 2011-05-04

PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:45 pm

Glad to see you offering both coated and non-coated David. Some don't.


Cheers,

RR
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dshpipes

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Age : 33
Location : Durham, NC
Registration date : 2011-03-06

PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:54 pm

Brewdude wrote:
Glad to see you offering both coated and non-coated David. Some don't.


Cheers,

RR

We've all got our preferences and, now having been on both sides of the fence, I see no reason not to accommodate. Smile
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Harlock999

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Location : Los Angeles
Registration date : 2010-10-22

PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:57 pm

With all due respect to the O.P, I think Todd Johnson is overrated and overpriced.
I don't care who he "studied" under. Learning pipe making from Tom Eltang is cool, but it's not as if he learned fresco techniques from Michelangelo.
Mr. Johnson came across as being rather precious, and somewhat pretentious in his P&T interview a few years ago, (in my opinion), and it seems that he holds some influence over emerging pipe makers.
As for bowl coatings...
I think new pipes are prettier without them.
I would choose uncoated, if possible, because then I would not have to wonder about who's recipe was used to protect my pipe from myself.
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Puff Daddy
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Age : 53
Location : South of heaven
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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:34 pm

Disclosure please. The bowl coating in question is what? Suspect

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dshpipes

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Age : 33
Location : Durham, NC
Registration date : 2011-03-06

PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:36 pm

Harlock999 wrote:
With all due respect to the O.P, I think Todd Johnson is overrated and overpriced.
I don't care who he "studied" under. Learning pipe making from Tom Eltang is cool, but it's not as if he learned fresco techniques from Michelangelo.
Mr. Johnson came across as being rather precious, and somewhat pretentious in his P&T interview a few years ago, (in my opinion), and it seems that he holds some influence over emerging pipe makers.

As far as TJ goes, people are free to think of him what they will as he is free to do as he may. The thing that impressed me here was the experiment itself and not who it was conducted by.

Harlock999 wrote:
As for bowl coatings...
I think new pipes are prettier without them.
I would choose uncoated, if possible, because then I would not have to wonder about who's recipe was used to protect my pipe from myself.

Totally hear you, Harlock. I've had the exact same feeling. This particular recipe has really impressed me. It's not sodium silicate and is actually an edible mixture, albeit lacking in flavor. Wink

I like this coating because it

a) Eliminated the long break-in process and
b) Was completely flavorless

I completely respect both POVs. On my pipes, I'm going to default to bowl coating in the future, but if someone doesn't want one, I'll leave it off and that won't void any warranties.

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dshpipes

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Age : 33
Location : Durham, NC
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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:36 pm

Puff Daddy wrote:
Disclosure please. The bowl coating in question is what? Suspect

Puppy dog tails and sugar cubes. Razz

It's just gelatin and charcoal.
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Puff Daddy
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Age : 53
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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:40 pm

Hmph... No elvish magic dust? How disappointing.

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Harlock999

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Location : Los Angeles
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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:47 pm

Well David, you're obviously approaching this after thoughtful consideration, which is not surprising, as your pipes are evidence of the significant care you bring to your craft.

Chris.
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dshpipes

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Age : 33
Location : Durham, NC
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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:27 am

Puff Daddy wrote:
Hmph... No elvish magic dust? How disappointing.

For you, I'd make it from unicorn horn. Wink
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dshpipes

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Age : 33
Location : Durham, NC
Registration date : 2011-03-06

PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:56 am

Harlock999 wrote:
Well David, you're obviously approaching this after thoughtful consideration, which is not surprising, as your pipes are evidence of the significant care you bring to your craft.

Chris.

Thanks, Chris! It means a lot to me that you would pay me such a compliment. Smile

I try to approach every aspect of this in a way that delivers the absolute best experience to the smoker because, as a smoker, that's what I'd want from any pipe maker.
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:07 pm

UberHuberMan wrote:
Puff Daddy wrote:
Disclosure please. The bowl coating in question is what? Suspect

Puppy dog tails and sugar cubes. Razz

It's just gelatin and charcoal.

...but not all bowl coatings are so simple.

The bowl coating in the video:

TJ's Vid wrote:
This is an experiment wherein two pieces of briar were cut from the same block and exposed to an open flame. One was coated with a mixture of sodium silicate, pumice, and activated charcoal. The other was left as "raw briar."

That's the problem I have with bowl coating, beyond it covering up the wonderful "new pipe experience" a seasoned smoker can have, test-driving the taste of new briar: not all coatings are equal. Which means, not all of them are necessarily effective, consistent or will perform as expected.

Funny, I'm jumping more and more into the non-coating crowd, mostly because I'm a follower and Greg Pease told me to. But seriously, I've noticed something very important that seems to get missed--it's a bold pre-conclusion: pipe carvers are coating people, pipe smokers are non-coating people. If you happen to be both, the carving influence takes over. Which is fine...

...as was mentioned, just offer both options. Adult mountain bikes don't come with permanently affixed training wheels, even though it may be fact some adults never learned how to ride a bike. Questions such as, "Is this your first pipe, or a gift for a new smoker?" If yes, coat the bowl. Why not? Or just coat one being sent to Greg Pease to make him flip his lid. Laughing I'm thinking about sending him a small tub of black tempera paint and affixing my own label, "bowl coating," just because. I might need to enlist the help of The Shadow for that action, though.

Dave, just keep making great pipes, and when I get one from you, leave 'er insides nude just like she oughta be.

Cool
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Slide



Age : 55
Location : Benton, Louisiana
Registration date : 2011-11-23

PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:44 pm

Kyle Weiss wrote:
Or just coat one being sent to Greg Pease to make him flip his lid. Laughing I'm thinking about sending him a small tub of black tempera paint and affixing my own label, "bowl coating," just because. I might need to enlist the help of The Shadow for that action, though.

Keep talking Laughing

I foresee a tobacco that he wants you to try out in your future. It will be some kind of stealth perique bomb. You tongue will be burned beyond repair Laughing

You can send the leftovers to me...
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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:52 pm

Seemingly overlooked (?) in this is whether the briar involved is properly boiled out and properly seasoned. There is briar (some of it pretty) that's probably better off coated. This on the basis of a bunch of respectable midrange new ones from back when seasoning wasn't much of a consideration but production numbers was.

What a Face
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monbla256

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Age : 71
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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:56 pm

As 'ol Will used to say "...'tis much ado about nothing" Twisted Evil
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Puff Daddy
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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:56 pm

I always figured bowl coating was mostly there to hide stain streaks that work their way down into the chamber. You don't have to spend so much time and effort worrying about a sloppy looking chamber when you just coat every bowl.

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BriarBlues

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Location : Canada
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PostSubject: Bowl coatings - aka chamber coatings   Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:03 pm

Good Day All

This topic generates heated debate amongst carvers and collectors. Some people do not give a rodent's behind if a chamber is coated or un coated. There are others ( myself included ) that prefer a non coated chamber.

There are a variety of chamber coatings being used by carvers and factory made pipes. Some are good, excellent, fair, terrible, hideous, and un smokable. In other words ...not all are created equal.

Personally, if the chamber coating does not easily wipe out with a damp clothe, the pipe will not be bought by me. If the maker shares their recipe and certain ingredients are used, I will not make the purchase. I do not buy pipes from carvers whose recipes I know are hideous and taste bad.

Todd's experiments / videos were very interesting. To me they showed why the "savior from burn out" reason is not valid. It took 3 minutes with an open flame before the briar actually took flame. 3 minutes. No one draws their match or lighter into a chamber for 3 minutes!!! How many can inhale for 1 minute?

If you prefer to use a chamber coating find one that offers no taste cross over and does NOT absorb / mute flavor. Find one that has ingredients that are 100% edible and will wipe out with a damp cloth. Make sure you're very willing to share your basic ingredients with your customers. If ANY of the ingredients might be deal breakers, find a different recipe. What I am saying is that you need to read everything you can that has been written on the subject and find out which ingredients still the most emotion. If those stir negative emotions, avoid them. Why alienate buyers? Of course you can always lie, but trust me, that will come back and bite you in the ass!

Instead of applying the coating to each finished pipe, I strongly suggest you show the pipes without a coating and offer the coating as an option. Maybe like the undercoating offered by some automakers, to those that live in areas that have snow bound Winters and municipalities that salt streets.

As a pipe seller my advice to every newer up and coming carver is to read the above and take it to heart. I know that as a seller I can and will sell more new carvers pipes which arrive with no chamber coating than those with have a coating.

That being said, you need to know YOUR customers needs. Fill their needs IF you want a long career as a pipe carver.

Regards
Michael J. Glukler
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Growley

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Age : 42
Location : Fairhope, Al
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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:25 pm

Oh man, I love a good bowl coating discussion Very Happy
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dshpipes

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Location : Durham, NC
Registration date : 2011-03-06

PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:28 pm

Kyle Weiss wrote:
UberHuberMan wrote:
Puff Daddy wrote:
Disclosure please. The bowl coating in question is what? Suspect

Puppy dog tails and sugar cubes. Razz

It's just gelatin and charcoal.

...but not all bowl coatings are so simple.

The bowl coating in the video:

TJ's Vid wrote:
This is an experiment wherein two pieces of briar were cut from the same block and exposed to an open flame. One was coated with a mixture of sodium silicate, pumice, and activated charcoal. The other was left as "raw briar."

That's the problem I have with bowl coating, beyond it covering up the wonderful "new pipe experience" a seasoned smoker can have, test-driving the taste of new briar: not all coatings are equal. Which means, not all of them are necessarily effective, consistent or will perform as expected.

Absolutely agree. I've been solidly in the anti-coating camp for a long time, outright refusing to purchase a pipe with a bowl coating. I reached that point because I'd been bitten over and over again by bad bowl coatings. I can be pretty stubborn and am not likely to change my mind easily, which I think we're seeing a bit of now. Laughing

After watching the experiment, I started thinking about it, but had not planned on making the change. It was the experience I've had that prompted me to make the shift because, well, I had a great experience twice from two different makers with the same coating recipe of gelatin and charcoal.

Kyle Weiss wrote:
Funny, I'm jumping more and more into the non-coating crowd, mostly because I'm a follower and Greg Pease told me to. But seriously, I've noticed something very important that seems to get missed--it's a bold pre-conclusion: pipe carvers are coating people, pipe smokers are non-coating people. If you happen to be both, the carving influence takes over. Which is fine...

I really hope that no one thinks I'm making this decision because I want to protect my pipes from the smoker or that I've joined the bowl coating camp because I've started making pipes and that's just what pipe makers do, because that's not it at all. I've been smoking pipes for much longer than I've been making them and I want to make great smoking pipes based on my experience of what makes a great pipe smoke well. I'm not interested in doing things a certain way because that's how they're done. They've got to make sense to me and be in the best interest of making a freaking awesome pipe.

In short, I want to create the best smoking instruments available and I wouldn't coat if I didn't think it was conducive to that end.

A bowl coating isn't necessary. However, I've recently discovered that this bowl coating actually improves the smoking qualities of a pipe. This is the sole reason I want to start using this bowl coating and not an untried recipe.

Kyle Weiss wrote:

...as was mentioned, just offer both options. Adult mountain bikes don't come with permanently affixed training wheels, even though it may be fact some adults never learned how to ride a bike. Questions such as, "Is this your first pipe, or a gift for a new smoker?" If yes, coat the bowl. Why not? Or just coat one being sent to Greg Pease to make him flip his lid. Laughing I'm thinking about sending him a small tub of black tempera paint and affixing my own label, "bowl coating," just because. I might need to enlist the help of The Shadow for that action, though.

Great points, Kyle! And I hope it's clear that I'm very happy to offer both options. I've spoken with pipe makers who will void their warranty if you remove their bowl coating. That's not my personal philosophy. I don't want to be in a battle vs my friends and customers over bowl coatings. If anyone doesn't want a bowl coating, I'll leave it nude with no loss of warranty.

I've been thinking about the best way to go about executing this new direction. As stated above, I want to do what's best for the smoker because, as a smoker, that's what I would want from any pipe maker.

Should I photograph without a bowl coating and simply give the option to every direct customer instead of adding the bowl coating first and removing it if requested? Should I add the bowl coating first and remove it if requested? It might be worth it to try the first option and see what people in general prefer. I'm not interested in dictating what kind of experience people should have if they know what they like. I think I'd have to coat every pipe that I sent off to a retailer, but it'd be reasonable to leave the chamber uncoated until that time. Just some thoughts.

Kyle Weiss wrote:

Dave, just keep making great pipes, and when I get one from you, leave 'er insides nude just like she oughta be.

Cool

You got it. Wink

Thanks a lot for your detailed and honest reply, Kyle. I responded firmly above, but I want you to know that in no way did your post upset me. I welcome questions and opinions because I want to have full disclosure, understanding, and comfort with this decision. I wouldn't have made the announcement otherwise.
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dshpipes

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:31 pm

Wow! So much has happened since I started typing my last post. Gimme a minute and I'll respond.
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:40 pm

Well, before you write another novel... Laughing ...if more makers would have a default "non-coating" for finished pipes, then when a purchase is considered/made, having the coating either added or left out as a "final option" for all smokers, I can't see this as harming anyone's experience one iota. This would be something standard for custom work, so why not? *shrug*

Customers, if for not being fickle, do like choice as a feature of their purchasing! Very Happy Hell, Dave, you could be the first to make that an up-front option, like color, shape and design.


Last edited by Kyle Weiss on Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Growley

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:41 pm

Gelatin...


Just sayin... Twisted Evil



Actually, I reference this more as a joke. My kids found out what Gelatin is made from the other day, and now they won't go near marshmallows. My entire family freaked out a bit. But, upon some further research, gelatin is actually fairly good for you.
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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:44 pm

That'd be tough if they're far away at the retailer's though.

What a Face
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Ocelot55

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PostSubject: Re: Bowl Coating Public Admission   Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:45 pm

Kyle Weiss wrote:
Well, before you write another novel... Laughing ...if more makers would have a default "non-coating" for finished pipes, then when a purchase is considered/made, having the coating either added or left out as a "final option" for all smokers, I can't see this as harming anyone's experience one iota. This would be something standard for custom work, so why not? *shrug*

Customers, if for not being fickle, do like choice as a feature of their purchasing! Very Happy Hell, Dave, you could be the first to make that an up-front option, like color, shape and design.

That's what I do. I personally like uncoated bowls because I like the taste of briar while I'm breaking in the pipe, but I've got nothing else against bowl coatings. I figure I'll leave them uncoated and if the customer wants a coating he/she can add one at no charge.
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