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 Pipe Chamber Diameter

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U-235

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Registration date : 2013-10-29

PostSubject: Pipe Chamber Diameter   Fri May 23, 2014 12:05 pm

Usually, the first thing I look for when I purchase a pipe is a large chamber diameter (at least 7/8ths of an inch). However, it seems that most pipes on the market have a chamber diameter that is smaller. Is there any advantage to using a pipe with a wide bowl versus using a pipe with a narrow bowl? Do certain tobaccos smoke better in narrow bowls than in wide bowls? Regardless of the tobacco I smoke, I usually smoke it somewhat dry and completely rubbed. If it is a moist flake, I rub it out and let it air dry 20 to 30 minutes.
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KevinM



Age : 75
Location : Connecticut
Registration date : 2012-02-26

PostSubject: Re: Pipe Chamber Diameter   Fri May 23, 2014 1:38 pm

While it is possible to smoke anything in any size bowl, my rule of thumb is that smaller bowls are suited to finer ribbon cuts, and larger bowls are friendlier to coarser or less rubbed out cuts. There are qualifiers:  you may find that a narrow but deep bowl is just the thing for a fold 'n' stuffed flake.  Also, I have a Dublin that measures a full 1" across the bowl, and it's very good, especially in the first half of the bowl, for delivering max taste from an English or aro, no matter what the cut.

Some pipers will tell you that if it's taste you're after, the wider bowls, slowly smoked, are better for everything.

Others will choose bowl size relative to the amount of time allocated to the smoke, regardless of taste considerations.

Many moons ago, I bought my first pipe -- a handsome, smooth, bent Dr. Grabow in a smallish size 2, I'd guess. (Still have it.)  I proceeded to self-teach the manly art of pipe smoking.  I wondered if smoking hot and needing relights every few puffs was normal. This introductory lesson went on for about a year. But eventually, I figured out the Universal Old Truth -- if something is hard to do, you just may be doing it incorrectly.  So I learned the little trick of rubbing out coarse tobacco, snd things settled down, though it took a little while to break the furious puffing habit I'd acquired.

So experiment a little and you'll soon discover what works best for you.
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U-235

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Registration date : 2013-10-29

PostSubject: Re: Pipe Chamber Diameter   Fri May 23, 2014 5:32 pm

Thanks Kevin for your reply. I have read some other threads on the topic and it seems to boil down to experimenting as you said. I thought that maybe there was a correlation between smoking a certain type of tobacco and bowl size. On Tobacco Reviews, the author of a review usually mentions the pipe used - which is what sparked my inquiry. But anyway, I have tons of tobacco and several pipes of all shapes and sizes so I have a lot of experimenting to do. I better get busy! Smile 
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Cartaphilus

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Age : 64
Location : East Texas
Registration date : 2011-12-15

PostSubject: Re: Pipe Chamber Diameter   Fri May 23, 2014 6:35 pm

I see you enjoy Esoterica blends, I find that Dorchester and Dunbar smoke much finer in a 3/4" of smaller bowl. For some reason the flavors and subtle nuances get lost in the larger bowls for those tobaccos. All others I do prefer a larger bowl. Wink 
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U-235

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Registration date : 2013-10-29

PostSubject: Re: Pipe Chamber Diameter   Fri May 23, 2014 7:16 pm

I am just starting to notice those subtle nuances. I notice the difference in the second half of the bowl if I smoke it too fast. The higher temperatures definitely effects the flavor. I notice Virginias are quite particular. Maybe it's the high sugar content. It's as if I am stoving the bottom half of the bowl as the temperature gets to hot. One of my favorites is Dark Flake Unscented and this tobacco is a little more forgiving.
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Cartaphilus

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Age : 64
Location : East Texas
Registration date : 2011-12-15

PostSubject: Re: Pipe Chamber Diameter   Fri May 23, 2014 7:51 pm

U-235 wrote:
I am just starting to notice those subtle nuances.  I notice the difference in the second half of the bowl if I smoke it too fast.  The higher temperatures definitely effects the flavor.  I notice Virginias are quite particular.  Maybe it's the high sugar content.  It's as if I am stoving the bottom half of the bowl as the temperature gets to hot.  One of my favorites is Dark Flake Unscented and this tobacco is a little more forgiving.

Yes sir, Esoterica blends need to be sipped to enjoy fully for me.
Although they don't burn as hot as some of the darker VA's do.
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Fr_Tom

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Location : Diocese of Northern Indiana
Registration date : 2013-05-29

PostSubject: Re: Pipe Chamber Diameter   Fri May 23, 2014 9:02 pm

U-235 wrote:
I have tons of tobacco...

I am predicting some cellar envy is going one with some of the brothers (and sisters) right now.

I will admit I had never paid much attention to the bowl dimensions having an impact. I was convinced to give it a try just for the sake of science. I do find that a wide bowl seems to bring out the flavors in Virginia and oriental blends for me. I have found a couple of blends that are significantly better for me in one pipe over another.

You never know until you try.
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PostSubject: Re: Pipe Chamber Diameter   Fri May 23, 2014 11:23 pm

There is a substantial psychological element to pipe smoking, and I think we pipe smokers are inherently romantic and therefore susceptible to suggestion. The choice of a chunky cob or pot over a delicate churchwarden or clay already sets the scene for how we perceive the tobacco.

My personal opinion is that these sorts of psychological influences far outweigh any objective differences in pipe shape or size.

The one objective way in which a tobacco will taste different relates to condensate, that is, moisture, tar, nicotine etc. Tobacco itself readily absorbs this material. So if the the smoke is passed thru a long thin column of tobacco it will absorb more tars etc as a matter of fact. I think therefore that the old codger preference for tall thin bowls when smoking strong English flakes has an objective basis. If the smoker wants that last third of the bowl and all its richness then it is there for the taking. If not he can pitch the bowl early leaving that tar soaked dottle for the ashtray. This would be wasteful with a squat bowl, which in any case, is likely to deliver a stronger smoke in the first part of the bowl because less tar has been absorbed by tobacco at the heel.
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Fr_Tom

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Location : Diocese of Northern Indiana
Registration date : 2013-05-29

PostSubject: Re: Pipe Chamber Diameter   Sat May 24, 2014 6:18 am

Here is a nice set of observations on this phenomenon.

http://pipesmagazine.com/blog/out-of-the-ashes/shapes-of-things/
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KevinM



Age : 75
Location : Connecticut
Registration date : 2012-02-26

PostSubject: Re: Pipe Chamber Diameter   Sat May 24, 2014 8:21 pm

Nicely done, Mr. Pease. And thanks To Fr. Tom for the link. I'll take the opportunity to repeat the great benefit of keeping a smoker's diary. Entries can be little more than Tweets -- just pipe, tobacco and some cryptic way of grading. Over time, you'll be able to ID which combinations of your pipes and tobaccos please you most. If you're anything like me, the system will be much more reliable than unaided memory. Well worth the modest amount of time invested.
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