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 What's the Trick to Savinelli Balsa Filters?

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smoker13



Age : 63
Location : Western Mass
Registration date : 2016-01-12

PostSubject: What's the Trick to Savinelli Balsa Filters?   Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:54 am

I love Savenelli pipes and their little brother Rossi pipes as well.

I've got a couple Cornos that come without filters. I'm basically a non-filter type smoker. I bought a beautiful Savinelli Tundra rusticated bent pot recently that did come with a filter. It smokes beautifully, just beautifully, and it came non-coated and I patiently broke it in nicely and it's just a gorgeous smoker.

A few minutes ago I opened it up to get rid of the filter. I figured I'd toss it and that would be it. But when I saw how much crap it had trapped I realized how much it had probably had contributed to the quality of the smoke I'd gotten, so for the first time in my life I'd decided to use a filter. So I found that packet of balsa filters that came with the pipe (along with a bunch of others that came with a Sav pipe from a decade ago!) and went to replacing it.

No problem, I thought, just put it in, positioning it like the old filter I took out. But when I put the pipe together, I couldn't draw air. I re-did the procedure, and somehow did it right, or so I thought, because now I could draw air. But now I couldn't for the life of me pass a pipe cleaner through. I couldn't pass TWO pipe cleaners through, either end, so 4 tries met with a solid thud stop right where the filter was.

So to all you Savinelli smokers who use the Balsa Filters, PLEASE give me a hand and teach me how to put these 6mm filters correctly into the pipe.

I've got another Sav filter pipe coming in a couple days, an Alligator bent pot, so I really need to get this down!

Your help is greatly appreciated.

Many Thanks! - S13
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juanmedusa

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Age : 36
Location : Falls Church, Virginia
Registration date : 2013-07-06

PostSubject: Re: What's the Trick to Savinelli Balsa Filters?   Thu Feb 11, 2016 11:38 am

The 6mm and 9mm Savinelli filters obstruct pipe cleaners. It's unavoidable. I have thought about taking a very small drill bit and drilling through them. Especially the 9mm since it seems a bit bigger and round. I would do this more for the purposes of improving draw with them. I still doubt I'd be able to use a pipe cleaner.

The effect on draw and inability to use a pipe cleaner are the main complaints I've heard from those that have abandoned their use. Other than being unnecessary that is. But it's up to you if you choose to use them.

I think using those is like packing a bowl. You can be told so many things but really you just need to keep at it and figure out what works for you. If nothing works then abandon them. Both the 6 and 9 version can be smoked without filters and if you choose you can try adapters to take up the space in both versions.

Good luck.
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DrumsAndBeer

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Age : 45
Location : Northern, CA
Registration date : 2012-04-04

PostSubject: Re: What's the Trick to Savinelli Balsa Filters?   Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:33 pm

Question for you -

How long did you smoke the pipe before replacing that first filter? I am wondering if you waited too long to do so and you have some build-up obstructing the airway.

As John mentioned, the balsa's don't allow for cleaner pass through, as they sit between the draft hole airway and the stem airway. I have a few 9mm filter pipes and I use 9mm balsa's in them, however I change the filter media after a few smokes and I make sure to clean the filter chamber out with a Q-tip soaked in Bacardi 151.

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lb



Registration date : 2011-10-30

PostSubject: Re: What's the Trick to Savinelli Balsa Filters?   Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:53 pm

this is what i do. i cut the 9mm longitudinally and that makes two filters instead of one. that also will give you room for the pipe cleaner to pass most of the time. if it does not pass , you can work it with a small blade in the middle of the flat part resulting from the initial longitudinal cut. not only you are going to have a more open draw , but also can use a cleaner and cut the price of the filters by half.  try it , it works fine with me.
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Richard Burley

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Location : North Coast NY
Registration date : 2011-04-09

PostSubject: Re: What's the Trick to Savinelli Balsa Filters?   Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:12 pm

No, to using pipe cleaners while there's a filter inside. Re the balsa filters, if I remember correctly, they will jam the airflow if inserted too far either way--either too far into the mortise, or too far into the tenon. Try to get them to "float." (It's been so long since I used them--take this with a grain of sodium chloride.) They aren't really filters; they just absorb moisture, restrict the airflow somewhat, and I assume swell up. Needless to say, I don't use them, but I can see their usefulness for some smokers.
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juanmedusa

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Age : 36
Location : Falls Church, Virginia
Registration date : 2013-07-06

PostSubject: Re: What's the Trick to Savinelli Balsa Filters?   Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:33 pm

lb wrote:
this is what i do. i cut the 9mm longitudinally and that makes two filters instead of one. that also will give you room for the pipe cleaner to pass most of the time. if it does not pass , you can work it with a small blade in the middle of the flat part resulting from the initial longitudinal cut. not only you are going to have a more open draw , but also can use a cleaner and cut the price of the filters by half.  try it , it works fine with me.

Sounds interesting. I've also thought about just cutting the ends at an angle. 45 degrees. That way the filter couldn't sit flush to the airhole on either side. That of course wouldn't double the quantity of filters like your method. Or allow a cleaner.
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smoker13



Age : 63
Location : Western Mass
Registration date : 2016-01-12

PostSubject: Re: What's the Trick to Savinelli Balsa Filters?   Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:41 pm

What I can't figure out is, there was a filter in the pipe when I got it new. I broke in the pipe, smoked it maybe 5 times and passed a pipe cleaner through with no problem whatsoever at least ten times or more. So Savinelli factory folks know the secret of how to install the filters so that you can still get an open air channel to smoke and pass a pipe cleaner through without a hitch.....why can't I?

I'm going to try to find "the secret" but if I wreck 3 pipe cleaners with no results I'm just going to yank the idea out like I did the original filter and just smoke it without, although slicing the filter in half sounds intriguing....

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Brewdude

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Age : 64
Location : Near the Emerald city
Registration date : 2011-05-04

PostSubject: Re: What's the Trick to Savinelli Balsa Filters?   Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:42 pm

My second pipe, a Sav 316 Roma, came equipped with a balsa filter. Back then I was just getting into pipes so figured that was how it had to be smoked.

Came time to change out the filter, the replacement wouldn't quite fit. Couldn't get the stem to seal against the shank. So I lopped off a little of the length with a box knife. That worked fine.

Next time I went to replace it the points of the triangle wouldn't fit into the shank. So shaved them down a little with a sharp knife scraping rather than slicing. And that worked fine.

Finally got so fed up that I stopped using them altogether. I took the view that the filters were not manufactured to exacting standards, and found the pipe smoked just fine without one. And has been for going on about 20 years.

Frankly, I never found any advantage to the filters. They restricted the draw a little and did collect a bunch of gunk. But then again so does the entire airway all the way from the draft hole in the bowl to the end of the stem. And that can be cleaned. With the filter in, no way.

All to say, no filter for me.



Cheers,

RR
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Fazby

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Age : 60
Location : Chicago area
Registration date : 2010-04-22

PostSubject: Re: What's the Trick to Savinelli Balsa Filters?   Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:54 pm

I have never had a problem with the filters blocking the draw. Stops a pipe cleaner dead, though. While I don't use them with every smoke, I find them to be helpful with a tobacco that is a bit too moist. It helps tame it a bit. Same with the Brigham filters.

I tend not to reuse Sav filters. I pull out the Brigham filter and let it air dry. I have also used 6mm filters in 9mm pipes. Still sucks up some moisture, which is my intent.

I like the idea of cutting an angle on the end. Nice thought!
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MisterE
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Location : Mexico City
Registration date : 2009-08-24

PostSubject: Re: What's the Trick to Savinelli Balsa Filters?   Fri Feb 12, 2016 12:45 am

Just don't shove the filer too far into the stem insert. Leave a little space between the filter and the wall of the stem and you'll be golden.

_________________
Many of the greatest pleasures in life are illegal, immoral, or smelly.

-Yak
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smoker13



Age : 63
Location : Western Mass
Registration date : 2016-01-12

PostSubject: Re: What's the Trick to Savinelli Balsa Filters?   Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:10 am

OK, that's a given because I noticed that was how the original factory installed filter was put in. What I stupidly didn't watch out for was this: the balsa filter is triangular, so how is it place in regard to the planes? Straight side on bottom or top?
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smoker13



Age : 63
Location : Western Mass
Registration date : 2016-01-12

PostSubject: Re: What's the Trick to Savinelli Balsa Filters?   Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:15 am

HA! I GOT IT! You place it half in, half out, with the straight, flat side on the top. You can draw air perfectly and finagle a pipe cleaner right on through.

At first try with the pipe cleaner, THUD! You hit it You merely pull it out a little, then push it gently through with a little pressure to the side and you got it, no sweat.

I feel ridiculously triumphant!
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SpeedyPete



Age : 73
Location : Cape Town
Registration date : 2011-01-28

PostSubject: Re: What's the Trick to Savinelli Balsa Filters?   Fri Feb 12, 2016 1:55 pm

I do not use filters although I have a lot of filter pipes. I don't use adapters either.

I do sometimes insert a Sav balsa filter in a MM cob when I'm smoking fine / dry tobacco.

I cut my filters in half cross wise to save money.

Using a balsa filter in a Sav Dry System provides a really dry smoke.

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bent bulldog



Registration date : 2014-02-26

PostSubject: balsa filters   Wed Feb 17, 2016 6:09 pm

For years I was taught by every pipe shop that I ever visited that a high quality pipe never needed a filter. When Savinelli introduced the balsa system back in the 1980's I had gone to work at a Tinderbox in Portland, Oregon and had a long discussion with the Savinelli representative about the issue. He informed me that the Savinelli folks introduce the balsa system mainly to absorb excess moisture but the unintended consequence was that it also acted as a filter and as several of you have mentioned, unfortunately part of the flavor of whatever tobacco you are smoking stays in the filter resulting in not quite as flavorful a smoke compared to smoking without the balsa. So for years I have avoided the balsa system. I have several Savinellis in my rack and they smoke just fine without the balsa. When I talk to a new pipe smoker in my store and they ask about the advantages or lack thereof of a filter I will usually asked if they smoke the occasional cigar. The answer is usually "yes" and then I ask the obvious question, " Well I bet you don't expect your Arturo Fuente Hemingway to have a filter so why would you expect one in a pipe?". After all , the main reason for smoking both forms of tobacco, cigars and pipes, is about the flavor obtained without inhaling. This usually helps people understand why filters in pipes just are not necessary.
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