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 What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?

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AJ

AJ

Age : 71
Location : East of the Rocky Mountains
Registration date : 2012-03-18

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyMon Aug 14, 2017 1:11 am

KevinM wrote:
Speaking as a puffer, not a carver -- my best smokers share some similarities:  they have good, seasoned briar ... They feel light for their mass ... When empty, the draft hole offers a teeny bit of resistance, but no whistles and certainly not wide open ... The bowls are in the size three or four neighborhood ... The walls are on the thick side ... the chambers have vertical walls ...  overall the pipes are slightly chunky ... The designs (whether artisan or factory produced) are functionally traditional.  One of my most dependable smokers is a Pete second I bought new fifty years ago.  It's a chunky billiard, remarkably light, with a number of pinhead flaws in the bowl which no one attempted to cover up, but otherwise the grain is decent. I long ago bit through the stem and cover the damage with a rubber bite dohicky. I'm sure if anyone found it on a tag sale they wouldn't offer more than $2. But it smokes dry, cool and tasty.

Welcome to the discussion. You've brought up three elements of a pipe that has an effect on how a pipe smokes. The first one is chamber wall thickness and the second is the shape of the walls of the chamber. I believe you were referring to the inside of the chamber. Do you prefer a pipe with thick walls? Why or why not? What is your opinion on the shape of the inside of the chamber? Do you think a straight walled chamber makes a better smoker than a conical shaped one? Another thing mentioned is the density of the briar. How to you think this effects the quality of the smoke?

Should anyone with some knowledge about these elements, that Kevin has intoduced into the discussion, I ask you to please share it with us. If you want to address some other element just jump right in. Smile

AJ
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Lonecoyote

Lonecoyote

Location : The Seventh Planet From The Sun...Uranus
Registration date : 2016-10-15

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyMon Aug 14, 2017 3:59 am

So, what I've found over the years of enjoying pipe smoking is.... if I'm going to smoke a Flake blend I usually choose a pipe with a thick wall and a chamber diameter of 7/8". A number of reasons why: smokes cooler, less re-lights and burns evenly......much more uniform and too me definitely more flavorful without the harshness. Beside all of the above a thick/chubby wall pipe does not get as hot as a thin wall pipe and cools down faster. Some of my thin wall pipes can get extremely hot to the touch, even with a slow cadence. The very thin wall pipes I own do not get smoked that often due to the reasons stated above. Basically smoke them with my aromatic blends that need too be sipped.

Conical shaped chamber pipes give me an easy comfortable draw, but if the draft hole is not properly drilled you have a loud " gurgler " on your hands. Harder too clean properly at the bottom of the chamber, especially if the conical shape ends with point opposed to oval. Also the cake forms more to the top of the pipe with a conical shape. When it's time to give the pipe a proper cleaning with a reamer, it does not clean the lower portion of the chamber properly, my opinion. Then you have to use a pipe tool and scrape away at the bottom without gouging out the lower walls. If you have the time and patience and use a pipe knife one can accomplish a proper cleaning. For me it's worth the effort.



KEEP ON PUFFING!!!
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Richard Burley

Richard Burley

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

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyMon Aug 14, 2017 10:02 am

May we make a distinction here between a good smoker and a "great" smoker? I believe that good smokers' attributes have already been covered. Virtually all my pipes are good smokers, mostly because I toss the ones that aren't. Let's say I've retained, roughly, 50 out of 100 or more. Out of those 100, I've only encountered one that I would consider a "great" smoker, and I no longer have it due to stupidity. (I lost it.) It was a Jean Lacroix Diamante straight billiard, about a group 4 in size.

Why this pipe would smoke better than my Charatans, Dunhills, etc. is way beyond me. I can only say that this pipe seemed to breathe. It was a smooth, and the briar seemed to exude an oil or wax or something that you could feel and see. It almost oozed. And the pipe was always "sweet." Think patina. Then think apesh*t patina. I've had other pipes do this over time, but not to the extent that this one did. And no, other Jean Lacroix pipes I own are merely "good" pipes. So it's a mystery to me.

Anyhow, what I'm saying here is that that the pipes I own pretty much smoke the same. They're good smokers, but I can't really point to those that smoke better than the others. I have a lone meerschaum that I'm on the verge of tossing, but that's an exception. I drilled out my Dunhills slightly and a few others, which improved them, so airflow is important. Really good wood is important, but I tend to think that's a thing of the past. Today's wood is OK, but it tastes different when breaking in or gets hot. Not green, neccessarily, just different.

Personally, my biggest problem is the way I pack the pipe. And cleanliness. I can't believe I bought a pipe from a fellow BoBster here, a very knowledgeable fellow, and the draft hole was almost completely obscured with hard, crusty tars. Gee whiz, I can't imagine why he wanted to sell the pipe. Smoked like crap! 5)

Let me add this to my pretty much useless commentary: why do cobs smoke so well? Do they follow the rules of fluid dynamics, construction, age of cob, etc.? Is the greatness of a briar dependent on the extent to which it mimics a cob? Just joshin'...I think.  scratch
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AJ

AJ

Age : 71
Location : East of the Rocky Mountains
Registration date : 2012-03-18

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyMon Aug 14, 2017 10:42 am

Richard like the other posters you have brought to our attention another element that needs to be considered. When you described the great smoker you lost you said it seemed to breathe and exuded something akin to wax from it's surface. I wonder if it could have been made from oil cured Algerian Briar? The Edward's pipe I own are made from oil cured Algerian Briar and they smoke sweet. There's one I thought was emitting something from within the briar after it warmed up. Do pipes made from oil cured Algerian Briar smoke sweeter and is this due to the oil curing, the type of briar, or both? Alfred Dunhill used to make his pipes using this formula and turned out some outstanding pipes. You also mentioned the fine smoking cobs and wondered if pipe maker's were incorporating their characteristics into briar pipes to make the smoke better? Another interesting point that I'd like for some pipe maker comment on.

Thanks Richard for your contribution. Smile

AJ
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KevinM



Age : 77
Location : Connecticut
Registration date : 2012-02-26

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyTue Aug 15, 2017 6:33 pm

Hi, AJ - In reply to your Qs:

Walls -- I think more wood equals better smokes given good porosity, which is why I have better luck with pipes that feel light for their mass. I'd say porous briar does a better job of absorbing heat, not transferring it to the smoker's palette. So, to me, thick walls are a promise of a cool, tasty smoke.

Bowl Configuration -- I prefer straight walls. Especially in the second half of the bowl, they spread out the heat and deliver a cooler, dryer, tastier smoke. Conical bowls concentrate smoking residue at the bottom. The remedy is to dump when enjoyment stops. Holmes saved dottles for the next morning's smoke. Not me though. I do like a nice Dublin and own a few with a non-conical bowl, though most Dublins have a cone.

Density -- I think I answered this in the "Walls" response. Porous briar, IDed by a lighter feel, is a very good sign to this piper. Dense briar is more likely to have hot spots.

The above is my .02 and other pipers are free to agree or disagree. The size of the drill is often presented as the secret to a good smoke. But my sense is that good drilling, while an important quality in any briar, won't compensate for bad wood. I definitely do not mean to contend that a well wrought artisan briar is not worth it's price to the appreciative piper. I'm addressing the pertinent question, "What should I look for in a new or new-to-me briar before reaching for the plastic?"
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Ozark Wizard

Ozark Wizard

Age : 56
Location : Mark Twain National Forest, MO
Registration date : 2014-10-11

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyTue Aug 15, 2017 9:32 pm

My preferences lean toward smaller chambered thick walled bowls. Cooler in the hand, better absorption, and less chance of getting ashy at the end. Light in weight is nice, but if it has a long stem then it doesn't matter that much, it won't be clenched anyway. Straight drilling is a given. 1/8th bores are good for me, at least up to the button.

I have pretty simple needs as far as function goes. Aesthetics are another matter.........
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AJ

AJ

Age : 71
Location : East of the Rocky Mountains
Registration date : 2012-03-18

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyTue Aug 15, 2017 11:33 pm

Kevin your statements about the thickness of the chamber wall, wood density, and chamber shape have logic on their side and certainly have merit. But as in the other replies your comments give rise to another question concerning the density of the briar used. Does the age of the briar when harvested have anything to do with the density of the wood when it has been cured and made into a pipe? I have my own opinion about this but I'll withold it and maybe you or someone else can give some facts relating to this. Here's another question: How long should the briar be cured for optimim benefit and which method is best, dry curing or oil curing? Smile

AJ
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AJ

AJ

Age : 71
Location : East of the Rocky Mountains
Registration date : 2012-03-18

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyWed Aug 16, 2017 12:02 am

Welcome to the discussion OZ. Your comments are born out in the pipes you make. I not sure about the density difference in the pipes you made for me, one is made from Osage Orange and the other from Walnut, but there is a difference in their weight and a pronounced difference in the way they smoke. The one made from Osage Orange is lighter and by far the better smoker.

You mention your preference to a straight wall chamber and Kevin pointed out some disadvantages of the cone shaped chamber but it seems to me both have their good points. Certainly the straight wall chamber gives a more consistant quality to smoking regardless of blend while I believe a good argument can be made for the cone shaped chamber's ability to concentrate the flavor. Kevin pointed out that the cone shape concentrates heat thus allowing the outer wall to overheat. This is a logical statement but doesn't the botton sides of the bowl end up being thicker because of the cone shape and won't the extra thickness insulate the smoker from any additional heat?

We've got a good discussion going. Let's keep it going because some good information is being shared. Smile
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Lonecoyote

Lonecoyote

Location : The Seventh Planet From The Sun...Uranus
Registration date : 2016-10-15

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyWed Aug 16, 2017 3:29 am

Yup, I've come too the conclusion I much prefer smoking a pipe with a thick wall. Especially for Flake or Ribbon cut blends, not only do they smoke cooler, I've noticed the blends have a more richer/complex flavor in most cases.

I own a number of Oom Paul pipes and all but one ( my Mastercraft I recently restored, has a very thin wall ) are excellent smokers due to the thick wall and deep chambers. The Mastercraft is the ONLY Oom Paul I need to keep my cadence at a slow pace, more for my sipping blends. Still the Mastercraft gets extremely HOT to the touch, at the point you can not handle the briar. Besides the walls being thin on the Mastercraft, the draft hole is @ 1/8 " with a much restricted type of puffing experience! I'm seriously debating on opening the draft to 5/32", I'm sure that will help make the resistance too where I prefer it also. But need a CLEAR HEAD to open the draft due to the angle of the original draft hole drilled. ALL of my other Oom Paul's I can smoke like a FREIGHT TRAIN with no bite or harshness, especially the oil cured Algerian briar bowls.

We've discussed this prior and will say it one more time..." the aged briars, especially Estate pipes and light weight briar bowls smoke the best for me "!

A number of pipes that I purchased in the past ten years are rarely smoked because I believe the briar was not aged long enough or properly. Still moisture heavy in my opinion. They now sit in a dry box in a corner of a closet where I have a dehumidifier running 24/7, and God willing I will smoke them again in 2021. Will post an update after my resting/drying period. So, if you don't hear from me in 2021 that means I'm looking down on all of you... 5)  5)

PS
Need to add, all pipers need to own/try a Cayuga pipe. I've purchased mine from Paul's Pipe Shop in Michigan. Paul is no longer with us, what a gentleman he was! Remember, pipe smoking is NOT healthy for you and maybe that's why Paul lived to be almost 100!! Dan, his son runs the shop and every January he has a 45% off ANY pipe he sells in his Dads honor, so now you have no excuse. Cayuga pipes smoke very cool and are highly recommended by those who smoke them. Below is a link, so take a look when you have time.

http://iapscnet.startlogic.com/store/cayuga.html

KEEP ON PUFFING!!!
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KevinM



Age : 77
Location : Connecticut
Registration date : 2012-02-26

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyWed Aug 16, 2017 12:07 pm

Best time to harvest briar? -- I have no idea re: harvesting, but I do think that post-harvest, older is always better. And I agree that briar continues to season, even after it's turned into a pipe. I bought two of the briars SP was selling awhile back, saying they'd spent the past 100 years in a St. Claude attic. I chose those two pipes,a straight and a bent billiard, because they were slightly chunky. Wow!! Instant satisfaction! No break-in needed! Inexpensive, too.

Dublin conical bowl? -- Yes, that conical bowl shape could be said to have a bit of extra briar at the bottom. But I would contend it does no good down there. Look at the bull dog or author shapes. They have extra wood ideally placed to absorb extra heat as the smoke progresses down the bowl. That's why they smoke cool, seems to me.

Nowadays, I smoke but one or two bowls a day, usually on my West-facing deck watching the sun go down. So I have some time to contemplate questions like these. It's nice to have the opp to share with other pipers. It's hardly a topic I can share with the passing dog walkers. I'm making no claims to being Right for one and all. But them's my notions for the time being.

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Ocelot55

Ocelot55

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

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyWed Aug 16, 2017 3:06 pm

A lot of ground has been covered so far, but as a pipe maker and someone who restores and resells pipes for a living, I'll put in my two cents. These are lessons I've learned over the years. Maybe they'll help contribute to the conversation.


1. Briar-You must have good briar. Age does not equal good briar. In fact some of the worst briar I've had was 70+ years old. More important is how well the briar was cured. There is a lot of crap in freshly harvested briar that must be extracted, saps, tannins and what not. Who knows if the old briar has been cured properly. Storing the briar is sub par conditions also hurts. Old briar becomes brittle and hard with age. This makes it difficult to work with. I get my briar from a reputable source and always test taste the briar from each batch.

2. Engineering-turbulence in the smoke stream creates condensation and makes a pipe smoke wet. A straight consistent diameter from bowl to bit with no kinks or burs will smoke good, even if the diameter is 1/8". The problem is comfort at the button and how to make bent pipes smoke well. A simple 1/8" hole would be thick at the stem, so the height of the draft hole needs to compress as it reaches the button. But in order to maintain consistent airflow the width of the orifice must expand. This becomes the slot and it must be as smooth as possible to reduce moisture condensation. So why do most modern artisan pipe makers use 5/32"? The reason is quite simple. When your draw is wide is creates a larger margin of error for bowls that are packed less than optimally. This is great for new smokers just learning, but a lot of old codgers who have smoked tight drawing pipes can't expect to pack the wider drawing pipes in the same fashion for a similar smoke. I have a lot of pipes in my personal collection that require different packing styles because of draw differences. The mortise and tenon should have minimal head space. All sharp corners the smoke travels over or through need to be smoothed out. The kind of chamber also affects the smoke, but as of yet, I don't know if I have a preference or if one shape or size is better or worse than another, just different. I'm pretty sure that thick walls and heat distribution make only a marginal difference. These idiosyncrasies take time to understand for each pipe.

3. Complex variables -The biggest problem when trying to craft a well made pipe is the immense number of variables involved. The briar, the engineering, the shape, bowl size and shape, packing technique, different blends are all commonly talked about. But the largest variable is what the smoker brings to the experience. How fast do they smoke? What is their body chemistry from day to day? Did they eat or drink something before or during? What are the ambient conditions such as temperature, RH, wind? Going down that rabbit hole drives me crazy, but it can make all the difference and most of it is not under the control of the manufacturer.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but I hope this helps drive the conversation. There are a plethora of other factors involved in what makes a pipe more enjoyable to smoke, but they may be outside the scope of this discussion.
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http://www.jonespipes.com
monbla256

monbla256

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

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyWed Aug 16, 2017 5:55 pm

Ocelot55 wrote:
A lot of ground has been covered so far, but as a pipe maker and someone who restores and resells pipes for a living, I'll put in my two cents. These are lessons I've learned over the years. Maybe they'll help contribute to the conversation.


1. Briar-You must have good briar. Age does not equal good briar. In fact some of the worst briar I've had was 70+ years old. More important is how well the briar was cured. There is a lot of crap in freshly harvested briar that must be extracted, saps, tannins and what not. Who knows if the old briar has been cured properly. Storing the briar is sub par conditions also hurts. Old briar becomes brittle and hard with age. This makes it difficult to work with. I get my briar from a reputable source and always test taste the briar from each batch.

2. Engineering-turbulence in the smoke stream creates condensation and makes a pipe smoke wet. A straight consistent diameter from bowl to bit with no kinks or burs will smoke good, even if the diameter is 1/8". The problem is comfort at the button and how to make bent pipes smoke well. A simple 1/8" hole would be thick at the stem, so the height of the draft hole needs to compress as it reaches the button. But in order to maintain consistent airflow the width of the orifice must expand. This becomes the slot and it must be as smooth as possible to reduce moisture condensation. So why do most modern artisan pipe makers use 5/32"? The reason is quite simple. When your draw is wide is creates a larger margin of error for bowls that are packed less than optimally. This is great for new smokers just learning, but a lot of old codgers who have smoked tight drawing pipes can't expect to pack the wider drawing pipes in the same fashion for a similar smoke. I have a lot of pipes in my personal collection that require different packing styles because of draw differences.  The mortise and tenon should have minimal head space. All sharp corners the smoke travels over or through need to be smoothed out. The kind of chamber also affects the smoke, but as of yet, I don't know if I have a preference or if one shape or size is better or worse than another, just different. I'm pretty sure that thick walls and heat distribution make only a marginal difference. These idiosyncrasies take time to understand for each pipe.

3. Complex variables -The biggest problem when trying to craft a well made pipe is the immense number of variables involved. The briar, the engineering, the shape, bowl size and shape, packing technique, different blends are all commonly talked about. But the largest variable is what the smoker brings to the experience. How fast do they smoke? What is their body chemistry from day to day? Did they eat or drink something before or during? What are the ambient conditions such as temperature, RH, wind? Going down that rabbit hole drives me crazy, but it can make all the difference and most of it is not under the control of the manufacturer.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but I hope this helps drive the conversation. There are a plethora of other factors involved in what makes a pipe more enjoyable to smoke, but they may be outside the scope of this discussion.

I think you've hit the proverbial nail on the head Occelot. You find much of the engineering/manufacturing qualities you mention in many of the brands of pipes made back in the pre-80's . The only other thing I would add would be the shape of the bit and how it fits ones teeth. For me a wide thin fishtail has been my bit of choice as well as a Pot shape which seems to respond to the majority of types of 'baccy I smoke as well as how I smoke 'em. I'm also partial to the use of Algerian briar but most of mine are from the era I mentioned. I'm not all that familiar with some of the newer pipes made with this briar. JMHO  Twisted Evil
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AJ

AJ

Age : 71
Location : East of the Rocky Mountains
Registration date : 2012-03-18

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyWed Aug 16, 2017 8:04 pm

I thank Ocelot55 for taking time from his very busy schedule to join in our discussion. His knowledge and experience is generously demonstrated in his work and creations. His sharing that knowledge with us is greatly appreciated.  Smile

AJ

                        Who's gonna be next?
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Ozark Wizard

Ozark Wizard

Age : 56
Location : Mark Twain National Forest, MO
Registration date : 2014-10-11

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyWed Aug 16, 2017 8:26 pm

Could material porosity have something to do with a pipe being a good smoker? Case in point being, I have yet to get a cob to gurgle or give me a sour smoke, but some briars I could burn mummy dust and it can bubble halfway through the smoke. Same with stems. Acrylic spits first, then Vulcanite, then wood, depending on the wood's porosity. One of my favorite pipes that I can load anything into is a MM Diplomat cob with a maple wood stem. Granted, it needs a long rest between smokes, sometimes up to a week, but always a great experience. I can take SG St. James Flake straight from the tin, and once I get it burning, never a sound, no moisture. I could never get away with that with any briar I've ever had or have...

Explanations?
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AJ

AJ

Age : 71
Location : East of the Rocky Mountains
Registration date : 2012-03-18

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyWed Aug 16, 2017 8:32 pm

For the benefit of the newer pipe smoking members Monbla256, like the other long time pipe smokers on this forum, is a storehouse of information about older pipe manufacturers and the smoking qualities of their pipes. Over the years I've found him to be very willing to share his knowledge with those that take the time to ask him. He has given me some great tips on some fabulously smoking pipes that didn't cost tons of money. His statement about the shape of the bit is another important element to be considered especially for those smokers wearing dentures. I think this is one of those complex variables mentioned by Ocelot55. Thanks Michael for  your contribution to this discussion. However should you remember something else that's been hidden in your mental file cabinet feel free to just jump in and share it. Smile

AJ
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AJ

AJ

Age : 71
Location : East of the Rocky Mountains
Registration date : 2012-03-18

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyWed Aug 16, 2017 8:38 pm

Ozark Wizard wrote:
Could material porosity have something to do with a pipe being a good smoker? Case in point being, I have yet to get a cob to gurgle or give me a sour smoke, but some briars I could burn mummy dust and it can bubble halfway through the smoke.  Same with stems. Acrylic spits first, then Vulcanite, then wood, depending on the wood's porosity. One of my favorite pipes that I can load anything into is a MM Diplomat cob with a maple wood stem. Granted, it needs a long rest between smokes, sometimes up to a week, but always a great experience. I can take SG St. James Flake straight from the tin, and once I get it burning, never a sound, no moisture. I could never get away with that with any briar I've ever had or have...

Explanations?

Our resident Wizard has brought up another intriguing element that needs to be discussed. Surely someone here can give us some insight into his question about porosity. Thanks OZ . Smile

AJ
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KevinM



Age : 77
Location : Connecticut
Registration date : 2012-02-26

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyWed Aug 16, 2017 9:19 pm

Aye, the Wizard's point about porosity is apt. It goes to the (debatable) point that you can't pronounce a pipe a "good smoker" until you smoke it. Or can you? I like a pipe to smoke dry, tasty and deliver a neutral smoke. I've previously mentioned characteristics of favored pipes on my racks that regularly deliver, and I posit a cause /effect relationship between their characteristics and consistent delivery of satisfying smokes. To me, a promising pipe feels light in the hand -- porosity of the briar. I estimate porosity by dandling the briar. (Some pipers have said this is nuts, just a guess.) Monbla identifies other observable characteristics that contribute to successful pipe choices. Artisans, on the other hand, often attribute the secret of their craft to technical matters -- the "engineering" of the pipe -- much of which, unfortunately, is unobservable and, therefore, not helpful to a buyer. But these complementary POVs make for very interesting and generally useful discussions.
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AJ

AJ

Age : 71
Location : East of the Rocky Mountains
Registration date : 2012-03-18

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyFri Aug 18, 2017 2:21 am

Some many have made great contributions to this discussion for the benefit of all. However there are so many other elements that haven't been discussed. What is it about some pipes that seem to make certain genres of tobacco really shine and yet blends from another genre doesn't fair as well in the same pipe? Many of us have pipes dedicated not only to a specific genre but also to a specific blend. Because dedicating pipes to a particular genre and/or blend is a  common occurrence, it seems logical that there is something about the way the pipe is made or some material used to cause this phenomenon. What element of the pipe is at the root of this? Those of you that have dedicated pipes to specific genres and blends could in all likelihood give an answer so please chime in with why you think some pipes respond in this manner. Smile

AJ
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Lonecoyote

Lonecoyote

Location : The Seventh Planet From The Sun...Uranus
Registration date : 2016-10-15

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyFri Aug 18, 2017 4:03 am

A point I stated prior definitely works for me, so I will mention it again:

Whether it's a flake or Cube cut blends I find these tobacco's smoke best in a pipe that has a 7/8" chamber. The thicker the walls of the pipe, the cooler the pipe smokes and much more flavorful, no harshness or gurgle issues. Also, my pipe bowls that give the appearance of being heavy but in fact are really light in hand are my best smokers. Most likely porous briar, which makes for a superb smoking pipe.

In general my older Estate pipes I find smoke best for me, with the exception of a few pipes that were custom made and were purchased within the past five years.

You can take the most beautiful piece of flawless briar that's light in hand and make a stunning looker when finished. But, if the draft is not drilled properly, and the stem is not drilled and made properly your end result will be a pipe that might just be an okay smoker. If the mechanics of the pipe is off, even slightly you'll never achieve that superb smoke! Ocelot nailed it with his statement on " The Mechanics of a pipe "!



KEEP ON PUFFING!!!
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Zeno Marx

Zeno Marx

Registration date : 2010-06-26

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyFri Aug 18, 2017 1:26 pm

I have a tendency to go along with the thick wall idea, but then... If for no other reason, I find it aesthetically superior. However, I've had a couple pipes in my time with walls bordering on ludicrously and obscenly thick that didn't smoke any cooler than any other more normal looking briar configuration. If anything, they seemed to smoke hotter. But there's the rub of it, thick walls might intuitively supposed to smoke cooler, but maybe that's all psychological game play. Then, I've also had a pipe or two that had walls maybe 1/8" thick that smoked as cool and as dry as the best pipes I've ever owned. I described one of these anomalies in one of Banjo's Radice threads. There wasn't a single aspect (no hyperbole) of that pipe that would indicate it would be a dry, cool, and phenomenal smoker, but it was. Which leads me to believe that it has a whole lot more to do with how briar is cured or aged or whatever it is they do after harvesting. Which is also why, to me, you couldn't really find a bad smoking Dunhill pipe for a long time. They'd nailed the curing process, and all the other mishaps in the process of making a pipe were afforded much larger margins of error. Dunhill is far from my favorite pipe maker, but I'll be damned if I've ever had a less than great smoking one (stopped smoking and trading for them in the early 90s). If I've owned 25 of the darn things, all 25 of them have been top smokers. Even my all-time favorite, Caminetto, doesn't have a track record anywhere near that.

I still look for thick walls. It's what I'm drawn to in pipes. I just am. But I might be playing the fool in making it such a big priority.
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KevinM



Age : 77
Location : Connecticut
Registration date : 2012-02-26

What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyFri Aug 18, 2017 1:56 pm

Dedicating pipes -- I let the pipe decide. If it seems to like a Lat blend. That's what I'll feed it. Etc etc. But generally (uh-oh) I like flakes folded and stuffed in a tall, woodsy bowl. Unless I rub 'em out a bit and roll 'em into a ball in which case I'd reach for a pot. Ready rubbed hot burning Virginias seem to do best in smaller bowls. Coarse cuts get their first trials in a wide shallow bowl (pot).

This thread started by crediting good smokers to good engineering and starting with a decent chunk of briar. I detect a wee shift toward good packing and smoking technique. Wholehearted agreement with all of these POVs. Smoking is a subjective experience. People tend to think their own experience is definitive. Not that it isn't, of course. Cool

A droll illustration of pipe smoker subjectivity -- go to Tobacco Reviews and check out Granger. Reviews cluster into one group that thinks Granger is excellence bought cheaply in a tub. Unless they compare it unfavorably with lawn clippings. Fwiw -- I've noticed many of the former report using a cob. It actually makes some sense. Enjoy.

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CharlG

CharlG

Location : Cape Town, South Africa
Registration date : 2012-01-26

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyFri Aug 18, 2017 2:45 pm

Such an interesting thread! Thanks AJ, for pointing me this way.
(Although, you had me do a double take with the 1/4" thing! Smile )
Todd, that Dublin of yours is very interesting! I don't think I've ever seen a pipe made with a bigger sized airway in the stem than the shank. The other way around, is of course more common (especially under the Danish).
Much better educated and more experienced people than me have posted so far, but here are a couple of my (very random) thoughts.
"Internals" (or engineering):
Important? Yip, most definitely! Although, I do think that there is a limit to both the smallest and biggest diameter airway that could work. (Calabash and RC's are very different and most often misconceived monsters!)
Button:
Not too wide or too narrow, not too high or too low, not too deep or too shallow. And more flat than rounded in the bite. Makes sense? Very Happy
Briar:
From a making point of view, like Jesse said, old briar is crap to work with. It's hard, leave toolmarks easily and, in my experience, have a musty smell that is transferred to the smoke. The cuts are also pretty bad in relation with what we can get today. In those days, of course, the cutters were more concerned with quantity, than quality.
I've tried a handful of briar cutters (Spanish, Algerian, Grecian and Italian). The processing is very very important. The briarmill have to do things right. Personally, and in general (as in most things in life), you get what you pay for regarding briar.
But what makes a great pipe? All the above could make a decent pipe, but not great. One of the wonderful things about us humans, is that not one is the same. I have friends that love filtered pipes, some that like small bowls, certain lengths, etc etc. The list goes on and on. What might be the perfect pipe for me, might be a dud for somebody else.


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AJ

AJ

Age : 71
Location : East of the Rocky Mountains
Registration date : 2012-03-18

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyFri Aug 18, 2017 5:10 pm

CharlG wrote:

What might be the perfect pipe for me, might be a dud for somebody else.

Thanks Charl for taking time for your busy schedule to post your thoughts on the subjuct. The above statement that's quoted rings true for many I think. I have an old Jobey bulldog that you can hardly fit a slim Falcon pipe cleaner through the stem. When one looks into the shank airway it may remind them of the inside of a cave with stalactites and stalagmities. By that I mean the airway isn't a bit smooth. There's enough headspace between the end of the tenon and the face of the mortise that one would think might allow the pipe to gurgle like a stream filled with large stones. But for some unknown reason, or at least unknown to me, the pipe really performs very well. It never gurgles and it handles GH & Co. Lakelands very nicely even when a bit moist. I'm sure many of the Brothers have similar stories they could tell about pipes they own. Could this mean that personal preference is the most important element in making a pipe a great smoker? Smile

AJ
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KevinM



Age : 77
Location : Connecticut
Registration date : 2012-02-26

What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 Empty
PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyFri Aug 18, 2017 7:39 pm

AJ wrote:
CharlG wrote:

What might be the perfect pipe for me, might be a dud for somebody else.

Could this mean that personal preference is the most important element in making a pipe a great smoker? Smile

AJ

It might seem like a non-answer at first hearing, but . . .
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RDPipes

RDPipes

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

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PostSubject: Re: What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker?   What Makes A Pipe A Great Smoker? - Page 2 EmptyFri Aug 18, 2017 7:48 pm

Even though I drill most my pipes a 9/64" draft I think Sas has said it all with nothing to add. Wink
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http://rdpipes.briar.club/
 
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