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Pipes That Don't Meet the Standard?!?

HDXR

Ride more, pose less.
Sales
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#62
I have a Rattray's 110th Anniversary pipe that I want to say retailed for around $175 - caught it half price a couple years ago. Big classic billiard - maybe a stack since the bowl is 1.80 deep. Anyway, it gurgled a bit no matter what I smoked in it. Sent it to Norwood's and Kenneth opened up the stem a bit. Smokes like a dream.
 

Wooda

Well-known member
#65
I've been giving this a lot of thought since the OP.

I have no qualms about passing a pipe along as long as I tell the new owner about the issues I had smoking it. Everyone smokes differently, and pipes that were a hot soggy mess for me we're cool and dry for the next gent.

If a pipe was a true turd from the get-go, I toss it in the wood stove
 

Russ H.

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#67
I have only had a few pipes that didn't make the cut. Those were Petersons, and an Alpha made over seas(NOT in the USA Carolinas).
When I say dawgs-I mean hot, wet smokers that always smoked this way. The Alpha is long gone. I actually cut the pipe in half. It was so full of fills, and a total mess. No matter what I put in that pipe it smoked hot, wet, and tasted like plywood--that smell that glued plywood has--the pipe never had a good flavor.
I actually after cutting it in half to this day wonder if it was actual briar, or some kind of strange wood. It's the only pipe I ever cut apart. I was that frustrated with it that I thought I needed to figure out what was going on. I did--poor drilling, and a piece of wood that had massive fishers/worm pathes all through it. To this day I have never had another pipe that bad, and if I did--into the fire box it would go. I would NEVER pawn something that bad off onto an unsuspecting person. It would be so wrong on my part to do that.
 

craig

Well-known member
#68
I have a blakemar bent egg 9mm filter, it was a good smoker but never made me go WOW.

however, I tried it with a savinelli 9mm balsa filter and put some rich dark honeydew through it and it made me go wow!.

it doesn't smoke to the very bottom just yet but with each smoke it is getting closer.

I would say to you all who have pipes that don't have the wow factor try a few different tobaccos and see what happens.
 

Jhelms

Well-known member
#69
I have bought very few new pipes in recent years. I buy old to very old well-used estate pipes and refurbish them. My thought process tells me that if someone has kept and smoked a pipe for a number of years then it must have been good. I take them, clean them thoroughly, sweeten them, polish them up and make them mine. I have had pretty good luck with this approach and am happy to say I have not gotten a poor smoker that way. When I did buy new pipes I rarely got bad ones but when I did, I would give them to a not so close friend. I provide it with a disclaimer that "I didn't like the pipe, so I am giving it to you. If you don't like it you can throw it in the trash or give it to someone else." I have no guilt doing this...not from giving to an unexpecting pipe smoker or from "my" throwing away a piece of briar that took many decades to grow.
 

Russ H.

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#70
I wanted to kind of re-visit this thread. When we talk about a pipe, or pipes that we say "does not meet the standard" I guess we need to ask, or define what attributes, or reasons a specific pipe may not meet our personal expectations. Each person is different with what they can put up with in a pipe.
Some basic things that may, or may not not be to ones liking:
-The weight of the pipe in general--too heavy to be clenched, and perhaps you are a clencher.
--The button area seems wonky to you--too thick, sharp, etc.--it just doesn't feel right.
--Stem material that you don't like--tto hard, or too soft.
--Balance of the pipe in general. If you are a clencher perhaps it just feels like it hangs wrong--therby tiring your jaws.
--Draw is restricted too much, and you prefer a more open draw--perhaps some are opposite on this--too open where tobacco crumbs enter the passage.
--Then perhaps over time you simply loose interest in a specific pipe. There really isn't anything wrong with it--you simply have lost interest in it.
Then we have more major things that could stand out:
--The pipe seems to gurgle--no matter what you try there just seems to be too much moisture that builds up--even though you have slowed your pace.
No matter what--you just cannot seem to overcome this issue with the pipe itself.
--The pipe smokes extremely hot--you smoke it slow, or at least think you do, but the bowl gets screaming hot, and you cannot overcome this issue.
--The pipe seems to be very fussy to the point that you have tried all kinds of stuff in it, but it either imparts flavors, or doesn't impart flavors you expected.
This issue is one that you just cannot seem to find that magic combo of tobacco in that pipe that you like. It's been a struggle wth the pipe so you are
pretty much ready to not smoke it anymore as other pipes seem better with your favorite blends.
In the end it has been said many times before--smoking a pipe is 75% technique, and 25% equipment--you can adjust those numbers--I'm just throwing it out there. Many times one person may not find any magic in a specific pipe. Take that same pipe--clean it up a little, and give it to another person, and they may just love it. We've had discussions before about the mental aspect of pipe smoking. When a pipe aesthetically grabs us--then we get this mental picture of just how much we're gonna love that pipe. Then we add tobacco to the chamber, and fire it up. Then, and only then will the end user of that specific pipe be able to define whether it's a great pipe, good pipe, mediocre pipe, or perhaps one that was a giant let down.
We all have different likes, dslikes, and kind of little quirks in our ritual of smoking a pipe. When it comes to defining specific standards--well we all do this a little differently sometimes. Some people are really picky, and others are fairly utilitarian with their pipes. Some are willing to put up with pipes that misbehave a little, or a lot. Others like myself--not so much. I like a nice cool, dry smoke being able to enjoy what specific blends have to offer without lots of heat, and gurgle. As they say--the miles will vary as per the individual when it comes to pipe smoking. The biggest thing is that one gets great enjoyment from it without over complicating things, and can find some relaxation in doing it.
 

michiganlover

Well-known member
#71
Then we have more major things that could stand out:
--The pipe seems to gurgle--no matter what you try there just seems to be too much moisture that builds up--even though you have slowed your pace.
No matter what--you just cannot seem to overcome this issue with the pipe itself.
--The pipe smokes extremely hot--you smoke it slow, or at least think you do, but the bowl gets screaming hot, and you cannot overcome this issue.
These are the only two reasons any pipe I have ever owned got put in a drawer to be forgotten about. I am not super picky when it comes to pipes (I am perfectly happy with a Cob most of the time), but if it gurgles constantly, or smokes hot consistently, that is a total no go, as my beloved cobs do neither. Any briar has to be at least as good as my cobs, otherwise what's the point?
 

Russ H.

Patron-Fight The Good Fight
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#72
I as many like my cobs, but am a Briar pipe man at heart. I love the material, and just simply love my Briar pipes. I honestly believe that for the most part with many of the pipes available today one would be hard pressed to get a total dud. I am lucky to have the pipes I have, and I do not own any that misbehave. pipe that gurgles no matter what i have tried, or gets scalding hot is of no use to me period.
 

Maddis

Sales
Sales
#73
I think it comes down to what a pipe is to you. If function trumps everything and a pipe consistently lets you down, what's the point of holding on? On the other hand, there's all kinds of reasons to like an object. I've held on to really poorly playing guitars for years because, well, damn, I bought this when I moved to Berkeley, and I met that girl, and... Ultimately I sell those guitars. If they don't sing and play, they must go away. However, not all that remain are perfect. In fact, none are.
 

Russ H.

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#74
I think it comes down to what a pipe is to you. If function trumps everything and a pipe consistently lets you down, what's the point of holding on? On the other hand, there's all kinds of reasons to like an object. I've held on to really poorly playing guitars for years because, well, damn, I bought this when I moved to Berkeley, and I met that girl, and... Ultimately I sell those guitars. If they don't sing and play, they must go away. However, not all that remain are perfect. In fact, none are.
This is a good way to look at things as far as pipes, and such. In the end each person defines why they keep, or get rid of an object--in this case a pipe.
I too fully admit that I have pipes that are not super great, but I hold onto them because they were gifts. They were given to me out of love, and care from those who wanted to give me something they saw as special. These pipes mean a lot to me because of that. Over all there are those who may see a pipe as a totally uttilitarian tool--it holds tobacco, and they smoke it with not really placing a high value to it on a personal level. Then there are others who look at the pipe differently. They see a deeper meaning to them as they are not just a utilitarian tool. There are many angles we could discuss. It all comes down to the individual, and what they see when they look at a pipe. This has been a nice discussion.
 

Second mouse

Well-known member
#75
After longer consideration: if the pipe is malfunctioning and not worth professional attention, dissect it slowly. Like my boss used to say, nobody is worthless; he/she can always be used as a bad example. Find out just why it didn't work. Carefully measure how closely the stem mounts (or doesn't), whether draft holes align, measure their diameters with known drill bit sizes, etc. Go progressively aggressive as needed: remove the finish, drill larger, even saw the offender open to reveal any secrets or insights it may have. Have fun/revenge/curious satisfaction with it before tossing it.
 

Russ H.

Patron-Fight The Good Fight
Patron
#76
I hinestly believe that in our modern world that many of the pipes available are not total t*rds.
I realize that some factory pipes may be so so as they do not have the time to dedicate to spending lots of time inspecting things.
Then we have the Artsan pipes where reputable names have a much better over all pipe as they do have the time to dedicate to making sure things are right.
I honestly think that things can go wrong, and maybe something can slip through once in a while, but one would have to really actually either not care, perhaps a novice maker, or try to make a dud on purpose ( but why?-total waste of tme, and materials.) to turn out a bad pipe that leaves one totally dicouraged to want to trash the pipe.
There are some really great pipes, and pipe makers out there today, and many, or most should meet the standards of even discriminating people.