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 Ideal Button Size/Shape?

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ontariopiper

ontariopiper

Age : 48
Location : St George, Ontario CANADA
Registration date : 2015-03-10

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PostSubject: Ideal Button Size/Shape?   Ideal Button Size/Shape? EmptyTue Sep 08, 2015 8:33 am

Hi everyone.

I've rebuilt/repaired a few stem buttons on the batch of estate pipes I'm working through right now, and am wondering if there's such thing as an "ideal" button shape and size?

There seems to be a fair bit of variation across different makes/brands of pipes. How much does the shape of the button depend on the style of stem (taper, saddle, fishtail, etc.)? Some buttons have a very defined rear edge (at or close to 90 degrees from the stem), and others I've seen have a gentler slope. Others still look more like round or oval shapes stuck on the end of the pipe stem.

Obviously a P-lip stem is very different from a fishtail stem, but in general terms, is there a more or less "standard" button height and depth?

If you make your own stems, what sort of button do you use and why? As a smoker, what type of button/stem do you find most comfortable?

Thanks for any and all input. I'm hoping this generates some interesting discussion. Very Happy

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juanmedusa

juanmedusa

Age : 39
Location : Falls Church, Virginia
Registration date : 2013-07-06

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PostSubject: Re: Ideal Button Size/Shape?   Ideal Button Size/Shape? EmptyTue Sep 08, 2015 9:48 am

I imagine this will generate some interesting discussion but I'm hardly the guy to answer this question. I will follow along though. Good luck.
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RDPipes

RDPipes

Age : 66
Location : East Texas
Registration date : 2011-12-15

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PostSubject: Re: Ideal Button Size/Shape?   Ideal Button Size/Shape? EmptyTue Sep 08, 2015 9:50 am

True there are many different shapes and sizes but, as a general size the bite zone is about 5/32" and the button approximately 1/8" larger 1/16" on either side and the slot no more then 3/8" in length. There are slight variations but, there not usually more or less then a 32nd generally speaking. Here's a chart, I couldn't post a minute ago. scratch

Ideal Button Size/Shape? Img10


Last edited by Cartaphilus on Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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ontariopiper

ontariopiper

Age : 48
Location : St George, Ontario CANADA
Registration date : 2015-03-10

Ideal Button Size/Shape? Empty
PostSubject: Re: Ideal Button Size/Shape?   Ideal Button Size/Shape? EmptyTue Sep 08, 2015 10:06 am

Cartaphilus wrote:
True there are many different shapes and sizes but, as a general size the bite zone is about 5/32" and the button approximately 1/8" larger 1/16" on either side and the slot no more then 3/8" in length. There are slight variations but, there not usually more or less then a 32nd generally speaking.


Thanks very much, Cart! This helps me a lot.

I've been trying to figure out what makes one pipe more comfortable in the mouth than another. Some of my estate pipes feel a bit unstable/flimsy when I hold them in my teeth. Based on your input, I'm guessing it's the bite zone rather than the button that is the issue, though the two seem to go hand in hand.

I'll pull out the calipers and start measuring. Maybe I can identify a pattern.
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Richard Burley

Richard Burley

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

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PostSubject: Re: Ideal Button Size/Shape?   Ideal Button Size/Shape? EmptyTue Sep 08, 2015 12:20 pm

Some estate bits have been thinned a great deal in order to remove tooth impressions, apparently. I have a couple like that.

My favorite bit, one that has come close to ruining me for others, is on a Jesse Jones billiard that Kyle sent me. It's absolute perfection, just the right thickness, all edges on its perfectly sized button softened, with the button face concave. Only four of my pipes have one similar, an older Dunhill, an older Upshall, an Il Ceppo, and a Ser Jacopo. All are inferior to the Jones.
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ontariopiper

ontariopiper

Age : 48
Location : St George, Ontario CANADA
Registration date : 2015-03-10

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PostSubject: Re: Ideal Button Size/Shape?   Ideal Button Size/Shape? EmptyTue Sep 08, 2015 12:27 pm

Richard Burley wrote:
Some estate bits have been thinned a great deal in order to remove tooth impressions, apparently. I have a couple like that.

My favorite bit, one that has come close to ruining me for others, is on a Jesse Jones billiard that Kyle sent me. It's absolute perfection, just the right thickness, all edges on its perfectly sized button softened, with the button face concave. Only four of my pipes have one similar, an older Dunhill, an older Upshall, an Il Ceppo, and a Ser Jacopo. All are inferior to the Jones.

That's very interesting stuff, Richard. I don't have any pipes with a concave button face like you describe. Does it make a big difference in comfort? Also I'd love to see a pic Smile
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Richard Burley

Richard Burley

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

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PostSubject: Re: Ideal Button Size/Shape?   Ideal Button Size/Shape? EmptyTue Sep 08, 2015 1:12 pm

ontariopiper wrote:
Richard Burley wrote:
Some estate bits have been thinned a great deal in order to remove tooth impressions, apparently. I have a couple like that.

My favorite bit, one that has come close to ruining me for others, is on a Jesse Jones billiard that Kyle sent me. It's absolute perfection, just the right thickness, all edges on its perfectly sized button softened, with the button face concave. Only four of my pipes have one similar, an older Dunhill, an older Upshall, an Il Ceppo, and a Ser Jacopo. All are inferior to the Jones.

That's very interesting stuff, Richard. I don't have any pipes with a concave button face like you describe. Does it make a big difference in comfort? Also I'd love to see a pic Smile

Well, it's quite noticeable. As for comfort, that's a relative thing. I don't clench my pipes with my teeth unless there's a rubber thingy on the bit, so comfort this versus comfort that is probably moot, since the rubber would cancel out any advantage. All I know is that I like it. I'd post a pic, but that requires effort and is probably beyond my camera's and my own capabilities.
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ontariopiper

ontariopiper

Age : 48
Location : St George, Ontario CANADA
Registration date : 2015-03-10

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PostSubject: Re: Ideal Button Size/Shape?   Ideal Button Size/Shape? EmptyTue Sep 08, 2015 1:40 pm

Thanks very much for posting that chart, Cart! That's great info.

I had a chance to measure the "bite" thickness of some of my pipes, and found that most are in the 4mm-4.5mm range. These I find comfortable. The estate pipes I thought felt flimsy measured out at 3.6mm-3.8mm. And the few thicker stemmed pipes I have all have bite thicknesses of 4.7mm - 5.2mm.

So it seems that I, at least, prefer a stem with a bite of about 4mm. Who knew that my teeth could tell the difference in stem thicknesses to the tenth of a millimeter?!?

I also had a look at the buttons on each of the stems I measured. "Comfortable" for me seems to be about   1.5mm larger than the bite measurement. Other than that, the actual shape of the button didn't matter much.

Interestingly, I also found a fairly wide range of bite and button measurements across the 8 Brigham pipes I measured. Some of this will surely be due to differences in wear and use, but perhaps these "factory pipes" aren't nearly as uniform as I had thought.
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monbla256

monbla256

Age : 74
Location : DFW Metroplex, Texas
Registration date : 2012-01-15

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PostSubject: Re: Ideal Button Size/Shape?   Ideal Button Size/Shape? EmptyTue Sep 08, 2015 2:37 pm

I haven't measured as closely as Ron has, but the three most comfortable buttons I've encountered on OEM bits, not counting any hand cut replacement bits, would be the OEM fishtail bits on the three 1940's Barlngs, my GBD Virgins, again fishtails, and the three Hardcastle's fishtails I have. I feel this was the "norm" produced at the time of their production, early '70s, as many bits became thicker and the buttons the same in proportion during later years of production. I have replaced one of the bits on my Bulldog Barling with an exact duplicate and always send the OEM '40s bit along when getting a replacement done for another pipe for them to make for the pipe having a new bit made . When I find what works for me, I STAY with it !! Twisted Evil Twisted Evil
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Stick

Stick

Age : 50
Location : 'Blighty'
Registration date : 2014-02-19

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PostSubject: Re: Ideal Button Size/Shape?   Ideal Button Size/Shape? EmptyTue Sep 08, 2015 2:46 pm

ontariopiper wrote:
Richard Burley wrote:
Some estate bits have been thinned a great deal in order to remove tooth impressions, apparently. I have a couple like that.

My favorite bit, one that has come close to ruining me for others, is on a Jesse Jones billiard that Kyle sent me. It's absolute perfection, just the right thickness, all edges on its perfectly sized button softened, with the button face concave. Only four of my pipes have one similar, an older Dunhill, an older Upshall, an Il Ceppo, and a Ser Jacopo. All are inferior to the Jones.

That's very interesting stuff, Richard. I don't have any pipes with a concave button face like you describe. Does it make a big difference in comfort? Also I'd love to see a pic Smile

I'm with you Mr Burley Sir. I have a concave button face on a Growley and I really like it. It feels right if you make contact with the tongue and looks aesthetically pleasing too as it adds another interesting line to the pipe. Highly recommended!
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RDPipes

RDPipes

Age : 66
Location : East Texas
Registration date : 2011-12-15

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PostSubject: Re: Ideal Button Size/Shape?   Ideal Button Size/Shape? EmptyTue Sep 08, 2015 3:32 pm

monbla256 wrote:
I haven't measured as closely as Ron has, but the three most comfortable buttons I've encountered on OEM bits, not counting any hand cut replacement bits, would be the OEM fishtail bits on the three 1940's Barlngs, my GBD Virgins, again fishtails, and the three Hardcastle's fishtails I have. I feel this was the "norm" produced at the time of their production, early '70s, as many bits became thicker and the buttons the same in proportion during later years of production. I have replaced one of the bits on my Bulldog Barling with an exact duplicate and always send the OEM '40s bit along when getting a replacement done for another pipe for them to make for the pipe having a new bit made . When I find what works for me, I STAY with it !! Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

I don't want to take credit for the chart sir, I got it off a website and I'm unsure who really complied it but, they must have had a few nice pipes. Wink
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Dutch

Dutch

Age : 54
Location : On the road.......
Registration date : 2010-11-06

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PostSubject: Re: Ideal Button Size/Shape?   Ideal Button Size/Shape? EmptyTue Sep 08, 2015 5:43 pm

op, I enjoy using the rubber pipe bits as well. Once I became accustomed to using them, I couldn't do without them on every pipe I own. I am aware that part of this is a mental issue though.

I do like a thinner stem, but for me, the main issue has been the width of stems being too narrow to hold the rubber pipe bits in place. Some extremely short stems have such a drastic taper, that it can be impossible to get a rubber bit to stay in place.

Also, thickness can be an issue if the stem is too thick to begin with, and the rubber bits just compound the problem, and make the pipe even more uncomfortable to clench. Most of the time this is never as issue, but I have a Castello that I am very disappointed in the thickness of the stem at the button.

One brand of pipe that stands out when it comes to stem work is Barling's. The stem on a Barling's straight billiard I own, is about as close to perfection as you can get, inside and out.

I also like the concave shaped stem that Jesse Jones crafted on my straight brandy. In fact, I can't find anything at all I don't like about that little pipe. I have over 200 pipes in my collection, and I would place that one in the top three.
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riff raff

riff raff

Location : Western Maryland
Registration date : 2011-05-24

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PostSubject: Re: Ideal Button Size/Shape?   Ideal Button Size/Shape? EmptyTue Sep 08, 2015 9:53 pm

I'm very particular about my buttons and like a slim button.

I'm out of town tonight, so no access to my pipes or micrometer. But, that chart confirms my thoughts.

Howell - I have two, his buttons are terrific (and one of the slimmer brands on that chart).

My Castello is a little "clunky" compared to my Dunhill (both new production), again the chart confirms that SOTP assessment.

My older Comoys also have very slim buttons. I'll have to measure them when I get home.
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Ocelot55

Ocelot55

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

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PostSubject: Re: Ideal Button Size/Shape?   Ideal Button Size/Shape? EmptyTue Sep 08, 2015 10:32 pm

RB and Dutch, you guys are making me blush. Embarassed

My button style has continued to evolve. I make most of my stems bewteen .14-.16" thick right at the bite zone, and the total width of the mouthpiece under .7"

I do know that there is no right answer. Everyone has their own preferences. The measurements I use seem like the best average size for the demographic that buys my pipes.
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