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Dunhill airways

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Puff Daddy

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Ok so here's the deal. I have these 2 Dunhills, a 1964 6120 and a 1977 51033. Both have gaps in the shank between the end of the tenon and the end of the mortise - as in you put the stem in and there's still a gap in there of about 1/8th of an inch where stuff can accumulate. The Lat man remedied the 51033 with a delrin insert that is a perfect fit for the gap, and the 6120 will end up going the same route. Once the insert was put in the pipe smoked wonderfully. It tended to gurgle before and tasted off because of the hard, old build up that had taken hold there over the years.

Is this not unusual with Dunhills?
 

Dock

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Puff Daddy":a365x2yw said:
Ok so here's the deal. I have these 2 Dunhills, a 1964 6120 and a 1977 51033. Both have gaps in the shank between the end of the tenon and the end of the mortise - as in you put the stem in and there's still a gap in there of about 1/8th of an inch where stuff can accumulate. The Lat man remedied the 51033 with a delrin insert that is a perfect fit for the gap, and the 6120 will end up going the same route. Once the insert was put in the pipe smoked wonderfully. It tended to gurgle before and tasted off because of the hard, old build up that had taken hold there over the years.

Is this not unusual with Dunhills?
:darklord: This may rub some here the wrong way but,I've never been overly nuts about how any of my Dunhills smoke! Most of the 10-12 I own were picked up at flea markets and antique stores for very little money.Only once did I spend considerably for a smooth Collector XL.After smoking it a half dozen times I sold it to another member of my pipe club.It's smoked hot & soggy and the draw was piss poor.I appreciate the blasts they produce on their shells and they did make damn fine lookin' bulldogs and churchwardens but I've found far superior smoking qualities in their english cousins the GBD's and Charatans.
Best,
Dock
:pipe:
 

JoelS

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While certainly not a representative sample, the one Dunhill that I had demonstrated exactly that same problem. It smoked wet, and unpleasant. I ended up trading it off.

I have another english made pipe that I acquired recently that also had that as one of its "issues." I ended up making a delrin mortise plug and that took care of that particular problem quite nicely.
 

Mikem

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My Dunhill Shell Rhodesian has the same 1/8 gap you mention but I don't recall any gurgling. On a whim I checked a couple of other pipes, Don Carlos, Ardor, Radice, Cavicci, Comoy and several Brissett's and they do not have the gap. I wonder if this is just a manufacturing process of Dunhill's much like what Peterson does with their mortise and tenons?
 

glpease

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Puff Daddy":ibdr3pvr said:
Ok so here's the deal. I have these 2 Dunhills, a 1964 6120 and a 1977 51033. Both have gaps in the shank between the end of the tenon and the end of the mortise - as in you put the stem in and there's still a gap in there of about 1/8th of an inch where stuff can accumulate. The Lat man remedied the 51033 with a delrin insert that is a perfect fit for the gap, and the 6120 will end up going the same route. Once the insert was put in the pipe smoked wonderfully. It tended to gurgle before and tasted off because of the hard, old build up that had taken hold there over the years.

Is this not unusual with Dunhills?
It's not unusual at all, and in fact, is pretty much the norm with most of the classic marques. Gaps are far more common than flush-fits. The notion of fitting the tenon to the mortise floor is a relatively modern one, and one that none of the early makers thought to do. And, in fact, while pipes with these gaps may gurgle, the malady can be corrected using other techniques, as well.

The gap results in an expansion chamber, in which the smoke will cool, causing moisture to condense. The real culprit with the gurgle isn't the gap so much as it is the inlet to the tenon. If it's smaller than the airway through the shank, the velocity at that point will be higher for a given flow rate, so as the moisture condenses, it can be sucked up into the tenon, causing the gurgle. A simple technique of funneling the tenon's inlet can minimize or even eliminate the gurgle, but it will leave the moisture in the chamber, requiring more thorough cleaning between smokes.

One could make an argument either way whether or not the gap is beneficial to the smoke, or detrimental.

On one hand, the expansion affords some cooling of the smoke stream, and with some of the moisture condensing out, the smoke could be somewhat more concentrated, or rather, less dilluted by the moisture. And, since water vapor carries significantly higher heat energy due to its higher thermal mass, the smoke might be perceived as cooler in a pipe with a signficant gap. Further, some of the tars with a higher melting point may also be deposited, making for a "cleaner" smoke.

On the other hand, there's almost certainly some flavour carried with the water vapor, especially in the form of solvated sugars and other soluble flavour/aroma molecules, and some of these "good things" may well precipitate out in the gap, as well.

In reality, I've got pipes made both ways. In many cases, I've "fixed" the ones with the gap if they gurgled. (In fact, I really need to finish an article for the Chronicles about one such modification.) I've got great smoking pipes from both "camps," so I'm not sure that, in practise, it really makes that much difference. In fact, the Castello stack I'm smoking right now has a gap of about 6mm, and it smokes wonderfully with fantastic flavour, but so did the Roush I smoked last night with no gap.

Just as with "opening," I think more is made of this than is warranted. If a pipe gurgles, it's a problem, but it can be fixed, and with LatL's mad skillz available for reasonable rates, there's no reason to put up with it. ;)

That said, in the interest of smoking science, I think I'll have George make a couple of delrin plugs for a couple of gapped pipes that I've corrected through airway mods, and see if they end up tasting different.
 

thomas james

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I have eight Dunhill grp 5/6 straight billiards. They do have a small gap between the tenon and mortise but so do my other pipes. My theory is that it is intentional to compensate for the different expansion rate of two dissimilar materials. My D'hills are excellent smokers; sweet and dry. No gurgles. Once a month I remove the stems on all pipes and clean that "area" out. Stems are not removed at any other times. My other "high" grades smoke just as well; as do a couple mid grades and a couple dirt cheap low grades. I DO like D'hill stem material much better than any other brand because of its high vulcanite content.

Bottom line,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,any properly cured briar that is drilled right should give a good smoke. This would include Petes, Savs and Stanwells. Pay more and you get more "pretty." Not more "better." It's about technique and the tobacco.

tj
 

glpease

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thomas james":a1jift6u said:
Bottom line,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,any properly cured briar that is drilled right should give a good smoke. This would include Petes, Savs and Stanwells. Pay more and you get more "pretty." Not more "better." It's about technique and the tobacco.
Truer words never spoke. With all the attention paid to the so-called "engineering" over the past few years, it seems a great many people have lost sight of the fact that the wood comes first.

I asked Alberto Bonfiglioli once, while enjoying immensely a pipe that I'd bought from him the day before, what he did to his wood.

"NAHTHING! Is good wood, and very old. At least 12 or 15 years." Alberto can not be accused of being overly concerned with internal construction, but his pipes sure taste good. ;)

So do my Castellos, all made from briar aged 10 years or more.

One of the best "cheap pipes" I ever had was a butt-ugly Savinelli Estella. The thing was so hideous to look at that I wouldn't dare smoke it in public, fearing the ridicule of anyone who would see it. Mothers would cover their childrens' eyes. Weaker men would cower and hide in the shadows to escape its vile visage. A butcher once mistook it for a piece of male bovine anatomy, petrified and fashioned into a pipe. It was truly architypically ugly. But, man, did it smoke...
 

Puff Daddy

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Excellent responses gentlemen! Many thanks!

Perhaps Dunhill should include a fitted delrin insert for these gaps and place them in the pipe, just as they do (did? Do they still do this?) with the metal tube, so each smoker can choose to use it or not based on personal preference.
 

Vito

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I acquired an Estella 515EX about 4 years ago as a gift from a friend in his 80s who had quit smoking many years ago and finally decided to get rid of his collection and I was the lucky recipient. There were some nice pipes in that collection—old Barlings, Ben Wades, and Charatans, among others—but none of them smoke any better than that great big honkin' Estella.

I'm partial to old Italian wood; maybe it's in the DNA. I own 7 Castellos, and they're all great smokers. But the crown-jewel smokers among all my briar pipes are my old Caminettos. I have 21 from the Ascorti-Radice era, and there simply isn't any pipe (other than my calabashes) that smokes drier, sweeter, or cooler. I read somewhere that Pepino and Gigi started with ebauchons that had been air-cured for 30 years. If that's true, I don't know the extent to which it accounts for the old Caminettos' fabulous smoking qualities, but they sure are great pipes. I smoke them more than anything else.

Vito :joker:

p.s. I haven't checked them all, but with the exception of the military-mount stems, all of the pipes I checked have a gap between the tenon and the end of the mortise.
 
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