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imperfect Danish high grades

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vaperfavour

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the discussion in the take ze pipe apart thread prompts this , so here goes... I have seen, handled and own Danish high grades with flaws. bad drilling, not passing a cleaner, fills, stem buttons thicker on one side than the other, unusually heavy briar for size, extremely bad tasting briar and so on. I once bought a very expensive pipe from a reputable internet site, once I took it apart I was shocked. I returned the pipe, never to buy another. anyone else experience this?
 

howellhandmade

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I read the thread on removing the stem, and in discussing the topic of perfection in drilling I think it's important to separate straight and bent pipes. It will be obvious to some, but I have encountered pipe smokers who regard as poor craftsmanship what most pipe makers regard as unavoidable compromise in order to achieve design objectives. In order to get that lovely S-curve in the shank/stem that many of us like, there are two options -- either adopt a curved drilling (which has its own problems) or, as the vast majority of makers do, use straight drills but create an angle between the mortise and the airhole. The more bent the pipe, the greater that angle must be. For a given bend, more angle in the mortise/airway permits an entrance of the airhole into the bowl closer to 90 degrees.

So, is a bent pipe with an airhole drilling that enters high in the mortise end and is ramped down so that a pipe cleaner will pass imperfect? Some would say yes, but those people will be constrained to purchase pipes that are either not very bent, are drilled with a curved drill, employ an abnormally short or large tenon, or are drilled through the mortise face. A deep bend done with straight drills may require a combination of adjustments, including a forward-canted bowl.

I would say no. Bent pipes are popular, and each maker must judge for himself the market resistance to the various drilling solutions. I think more people are bugged by a deep groove drilled through the mortise face than by a carefully ramped airway, but that's just me. I don't find that a ramped airway, cleanly done and matched to a funneled tenon, has a negative effect on the smoking quality of a pipe, but, again, that's just me.

A straight billiard with a ramped airhole, that's a different story. A bent pipe with an airhole off center in the mortise left or right, also.



Jack
 

LL

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vaperfavour":4cknrws3 said:
the discussion in the take ze pipe apart thread prompts this , so here goes... I have seen, handled and own Danish high grades with flaws. bad drilling, not passing a cleaner, fills, stem buttons thicker on one side than the other, unusually heavy briar for size, extremely bad tasting briar and so on. I once bought a very expensive pipe from a reputable internet site, once I took it apart I was shocked. I returned the pipe, never to buy another. anyone else experience this?
I think we're back to that definition thing.

There IS a group of makers whose skill and attention to detail is breathtaking, without exception (that I have seen, anyway, and I've seen a lot).

There are also a number of guys who are riding on the coattails of the first group in terms of reputation.

Naming names and brands isn't proper on a forum, but I'm sure we could sort it out were we face-to-face and so inclined, VF. ;)
 

Sasquatch

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While there certainly are some limitations imposed by certain shapes, I expect the airway to connect to the bottom of the bowl with very little in the way of tolerance. If the airway is low, it plugs up, and the bowl should be drilled deeper. If the airway is high, you can't smoke the bottom, and the bowl should have been less deep or the airway aimed better. Being off center I likewise would not accept if it's more than a couple millimeters or about a 16th inch off. I have a pipe that is drilled just a tad off center and it smokes really well.

As to the "high grade" nature, I tend to think that in the handmade realm, there are some pipes that are really nice looking, but mechanically imperfect, and you should pay probably between 50 and 150 dollars for such a pipe. I have a Stanwell Queen, for example, that is a beautiful pipe but the airway was somewhat overdrilled and the driller also rubbed the side of the hole where the tenon goes in. 2 very minor flaws on a not-too-expensive handmade.

The opposite is available too... well drilled pipes that are otherwise a bit suspect in some way (maybe the stem doesn't line up exactly). Mario Grandi comes to mind. Their engineering is very good, and the overall quality of some of their pieces is... less good. :D


But if I laid down +500 dollars on a true high grade pipe, I would expect it to be basically perfect from a mechanical and asthetic point of view. After all, I can get that level of quality from Mastro de Paja for 150 bucks.

I don't mind the ramped airway in really bent pipes, but I actually prefer a Peterson System type of well or pit in the stummel. To me, passing a pipe cleaner is unnecessary if a pipe is accomodating in other ways.

Perhaps we need to proceed on a case by case basis, as Wittgenstein recommended so many years ago.
 

LL

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howellhandmade":y37i8dpk said:
I read the thread on removing the stem, and in discussing the topic of perfection in drilling I think it's important to separate straight and bent pipes. It will be obvious to some, but I have encountered pipe smokers who regard as poor craftsmanship what most pipe makers regard as unavoidable compromise in order to achieve design objectives. In order to get that lovely S-curve in the shank/stem that many of us like, there are two options -- either adopt a curved drilling (which has its own problems) or, as the vast majority of makers do, use straight drills but create an angle between the mortise and the airhole. The more bent the pipe, the greater that angle must be. For a given bend, more angle in the mortise/airway permits an entrance of the airhole into the bowl closer to 90 degrees.

So, is a bent pipe with an airhole drilling that enters high in the mortise end and is ramped down so that a pipe cleaner will pass imperfect? Some would say yes, but those people will be constrained to purchase pipes that are either not very bent, are drilled with a curved drill, employ an abnormally short or large tenon, or are drilled through the mortise face. A deep bend done with straight drills may require a combination of adjustments, including a forward-canted bowl.

I would say no. Bent pipes are popular, and each maker must judge for himself the market resistance to the various drilling solutions. I think more people are bugged by a deep groove drilled through the mortise face than by a carefully ramped airway, but that's just me. I don't find that a ramped airway, cleanly done and matched to a funneled tenon, has a negative effect on the smoking quality of a pipe, but, again, that's just me.

A straight billiard with a ramped airhole, that's a different story. A bent pipe with an airhole off center in the mortise left or right, also.
What he said. ^^^^

Some shapes are impossible to drill without using either a flexible bit or "pushing the limits" of what can be done with a straight one. Both solutions introduce collateral damage of a sort. Everything's a compromise.

The deeply grooved mortise wall I referred to in that other thread was a completely straight pipe, btw. The miss was to the side.

(P.S. -- one of the tragedies of the PipeWorld is that Jack likes clarinets and lathes as much as he does pipes. :( )
 

vaperfavour

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reading this I come to the realization that I don't have a howell inmy collection. I have to get one, asap!
 

Trout Bum

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LL":f1uwrn8x said:
vaperfavour":f1uwrn8x said:
reading this I come to the realization that I don't have a howell inmy collection. I have to get one, asap!
Whet your appetite here: :twisted:

http://jwh.fastmail.fm/gallerypages.htm/gallery.htm
I am unfamiliar with Howell's pipes -- this however, does not mean a thing. I just visited the above site; all I can say is, W-O-W. Oh no, here comes the PAD attack!!

....... MUST ........ HAVE .........THE.........BLASTED........BENT...........ACORN......NOW!!!........

Gonna just have to ride it out.
 

Wet Dottle

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Sasquatch":6kp24iwk said:
But if I laid down +500 dollars on a true high grade pipe, I would expect it to be basically perfect from a mechanical and asthetic point of view. After all, I can get that level of quality from Mastro de Paja for 150 bucks.
Yes, indeed. I have very good smokers that have all sorts of engineering crookedness. But they were cheap (well, some were not...) and I was willing to accept it. But now I'm with Sasquatch: if they are expensive they better be perfect. That means perfect symmetry, perfect drilling, perfect fitting, perfect finish. I don't care if they are made by hand or by machine, they have to be perfect, no excuses accepted.
 
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