Some thoughts on acquiring pipes

DannoH

Well-known member
Patron
#1
I've been nurturing a pipe obsession for about 25 years, and have been reflecting on the journey. I wanted to share a few thoughts here, in an attempt to give back a bit to the good folks who make PSD what it is - my virtual home.

I started like many of us do, with a cheap briar (which I still own, of course) and a forgettable bulk mixture. I remember feeling on the edge of something profound with that first purchase, but had no idea what sort of ride that initial step would entail. My interest in all things pipe and tobacco blossomed quickly and I bought indiscriminately, horse trading and reading everything I could find. I pored over pipe history and lore, traveled to pipe-making meccas, and generally enjoyed the hell out of all of it.

In time, my tastes narrowed and my interests focused, and I went deep on the Danish designs and philosophy, seeking out pipes from the acknowledged masters. I was interested in Brit wood, too, so that was another rabbit hole to fall down. It was all very engrossing, and expensive.

About 6-8 years ago, I realized that I most often reached for 'boring' pipes, largely billiards, and that I was growing in admiration for the quiet lines of well-cut traditional shapes. I purged a good deal of my Danish and European accumulation, and focused on adding quality pieces that underwent increasingly stringent vetting before purchase. I also realized that I really enjoyed buying pipes from artisans, especially ones that I had met and gotten to know. This has continued to the present.

In the past few years, I have purged another half of the pipes I had on hand, and the focus since has been on artisanal pieces, mostly billiards or Canadians or some variant of those. I don't buy indiscriminately anymore, and it's easy to convince myself not to pick up another pipe, unless @Sasquatch texts me with a tantalizing pic of something fresh off the buffing wheel (this happen more often than I'd like to admit). Looking over my racks, I don't see anything that 'needs' replaced or turned over. The standard is high, and that stringency is reflected in what I own. I'm happier with fewer high quality pieces these days, but I still have too many. So it goes.

I guess I wrote all this to say that I have greatly enjoyed the journey, and I hope everyone who picks up a pipe does, too. I've learned so much, made some great friends, and witnessed my own growth as consumer and person through it.

This should be fun! So, enjoy it. All of it. There are worlds of interest in the humble tobacco pipe.

Obligatory pic of representative pipes in my sweaty little hands these days (all BST):
BST_2020.jpg
 

gnossos

the pineapple on your pizza
Patron
#2
I think I just like pipes in general and they all have their moments, but I may be on a similar journey. We'll see.

I definitely spent the last year or so looking at more danish inspired pieces and actually buying them to try them out myself, and I do like most of what I got, but there are a few that did end up feeling more like art than like a pipe. It's kind of a balance, and you need both elements. If one is missing, it's not a great pipe to my mind, no matter how pretty. Some that I have feel like a well worn in leather boot or like sinking into a comfy chair, others feel like art objects. I like art objects, but it's not why I buy pipes.

I go in phases though, the danish style pipes i have tend to have larger bowls, and I've been into smaller bowls lately. So I've been more focused on the classics I have that have smaller bowls.

If I had to pick one, the classics would get the nod every day of the week, however.

I like that middle BST in particular, for the record.
 

BlueMaxx

"Foo Was Here"
Patron
#5
I went hog wild when I came back to the “hobby” of pipe smoking...now I am looking at a boat load of pipes that are still new and unsmoked and a drawer full of estate flea bay buys.
I am going to purge very shortly.
It is so easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole with pipes....

I have found that the pipes I keep coming back to are keepers, the rest is just insanity.
I also found I am more of a smoker than a collector.
 

Drydock

Well-known member
#6
I prefer smaller-bowled pipes. I still find simple pot-shapes to be outstanding as a daily driver. I have 3 pots that see rotation: S&R, a vintage Tinskey & a ltd. ed. Comoy. They are as different to one another as pots can be. And I suppose, essentially all artisan.

My 'flake pipes' (ha!) are old Kriswells and one badly off-center drilled Bernadotte. Smokes great. Over Christmas I added the wonkiest, knobby-kneed Peterson tankard. Love it for it's gawkiness & small size. I'm glad it has a good personality, because looks it has not. I have an Italian exception to the small rule: a thick, stubby beast with a chimney stack.

Except for a long, slender Tinskey Rhodie & a straight, squat S&R bulldog I've culled most of those shapes.

*

I collect one shape: Peterson B35. They're large beasties & I honestly don't smoke them. But it's the shape I'm obsessed with. Similar to @BlueMaxx, as my scattershot beginnings have become more focused: there are a variety of decent pipes I own that need to find new homes.
 

PKT

Well-known member
#9
I began collecting pipes over 50 years ago and now own about 130. I have never sold one but have given a number away either to new smokers or to friends who have liked them. I like and smoke them all. I gravitate toward larger bowls and earlier on to makers where I lived (Wilke and Bessai) or to certain makeres (Savinelli and Charatan). Recently I have become enamored of pipes that will color over time (Meerschaums and natural finishes). I remain entranced by all things smoking and being part of the pipe smoking community. I can honestly say I have enjoyed talking pipes and tobacco with every pipe smoker I have met in the journey.
 

Sasquatch

Wizzard
Staff member
#10
To offer something more serious to this thread, my journey, like Danno's, has been all over the map. I bought my first pipe before I could vote. And smoked it pretty unsuccessfully mostly. But I always thought I was on the edge of something enjoyable, I don't know about profound, but enjoyable. I smoked Captain Black and a local "Honey N Nut" mixture. When I was 20 I spent a year in England, and I went to a tobacconist... it was dazzling, all these tins. I had no idea what to get, so I said "Well, I'm in England, give me something English." and he gave me Standard Mixture Medium. I nearly ran back to my dorm. When I opened the tin I was greeted with a smell something like a leather sock, it was disgusting. I was convinced that the tobacconist was having one over on me. But my friends said, no, indeed, this was pipe tobacco. Yuck!

It has become closer to profound. The nerdy side of me got excited 15 years ago when I picked up the pipe again "for real" and learned how to smoke properly, and bought some better pipes, and began having genuinely pleasurable experiences with it. This led me to the rabbit hole of pipe making - learning how to make a pipe that smoked nicely, what separated a bad from a good pipe, this was years of playing, thinking, talking, and making. The whole time exploring a wider world of tobacco; I did give up on a pipe tasting like a peach and embraced the smoky side, and glad I did.

I need this place because no one I know thinks I'm sane, no one I know cares a rat's :ass: about pipes or tobacco. I do this alone, in exclusion of other people, by and large, and flying in the face of the anti-smoking society I live in. I smoke in secret. "Mommy, what is that man doing?"

He's smoking. (and the look from the mother was like, why couldn't you have just flashed us like a normal pervert?)

Yes, I'm smoking. I cracked an old tin of Squadron Leader and I'm burning in a TVF that's probably older than my dad. How many bowls has this pipe seen in its day? How wonderful....

I love pipes. I love wood, I love carving. Making pipes and being a deeper part of this community has meant a ton to me. I feel honored any time anyone buys a pipe, there's a world of pipes out there to choose from. Just to be a grain of sand on this lovely beach is enough for me. I go to sleep thinking about my briar, and my big bag of Hal o the Wynd. "I wonder if I could somehow make Danno an even PLAINER pipe....." is my last thought before I drift off.

I love that society thinks we're weirdos. We are weirdos. What else? But we are digging into traditions and experiences that will eventually (soon?) be forgotten. No more Syrian latakia. We've had some. Our kids won't. This is twilight, a long, glorious twilight, for a whole generation, I feel. So be it. I'll be in the garage. Smoking. And making something stupid that regular people don't care about.
 

Russ H.

Fight The Good Fight
#11
@Sasquatch nailed my situation. A lot people around where I live know I smoke a pipe. I've heard it all--Russ--that's an odd hobby you got there-collecting pipes. I learned at a young age from family who eventually either have passed, or gave it up. I have had the attraction to pipe smoking since being very young, and sadly just like @Sasquatch I spend most of my time smoking all by myself, and alone unless my Son-In-Law has time, and we sit together , and smoke. One great thing though is when there is a gathering at Boswell's, and I get to sit all day with the guys, and smoke, and enjoy awesome company. I truly enjoy smoking my pipes, and could care less what the public thinks of me as they look at me while smoking a pipe. Just Sasquatch said--I got to smoke many blends that our kids will never be able to even if they wanted to. I too love the fact that society thinks I'm weird because I smoke a pipe, and by God I enjoy it.
 

Pedro

Well-known member
#15
To offer something more serious to this thread, my journey, like Danno's, has been all over the map. I bought my first pipe before I could vote. And smoked it pretty unsuccessfully mostly. But I always thought I was on the edge of something enjoyable, I don't know about profound, but enjoyable. I smoked Captain Black and a local "Honey N Nut" mixture. When I was 20 I spent a year in England, and I went to a tobacconist... it was dazzling, all these tins. I had no idea what to get, so I said "Well, I'm in England, give me something English." and he gave me Standard Mixture Medium. I nearly ran back to my dorm. When I opened the tin I was greeted with a smell something like a leather sock, it was disgusting. I was convinced that the tobacconist was having one over on me. But my friends said, no, indeed, this was pipe tobacco. Yuck!

It has become closer to profound. The nerdy side of me got excited 15 years ago when I picked up the pipe again "for real" and learned how to smoke properly, and bought some better pipes, and began having genuinely pleasurable experiences with it. This led me to the rabbit hole of pipe making - learning how to make a pipe that smoked nicely, what separated a bad from a good pipe, this was years of playing, thinking, talking, and making. The whole time exploring a wider world of tobacco; I did give up on a pipe tasting like a peach and embraced the smoky side, and glad I did.

I need this place because no one I know thinks I'm sane, no one I know cares a rat's ::ass:: about pipes or tobacco. I do this alone, in exclusion of other people, by and large, and flying in the face of the anti-smoking society I live in. I smoke in secret. "Mommy, what is that man doing?"

He's smoking. (and the look from the mother was like, why couldn't you have just flashed us like a normal pervert?)

Yes, I'm smoking. I cracked an old tin of Squadron Leader and I'm burning in a TVF that's probably older than my dad. How many bowls has this pipe seen in its day? How wonderful....

I love pipes. I love wood, I love carving. Making pipes and being a deeper part of this community has meant a ton to me. I feel honored any time anyone buys a pipe, there's a world of pipes out there to choose from. Just to be a grain of sand on this lovely beach is enough for me. I go to sleep thinking about my briar, and my big bag of Hal o the Wynd. "I wonder if I could somehow make Danno an even PLAINER pipe....." is my last thought before I drift off.

I love that society thinks we're weirdos. We are weirdos. What else? But we are digging into traditions and experiences that will eventually (soon?) be forgotten. No more Syrian latakia. We've had some. Our kids won't. This is twilight, a long, glorious twilight, for a whole generation, I feel. So be it. I'll be in the garage. Smoking. And making something stupid that regular people don't care about.
👏👏👏 I felt very identified ... I don't have anyone around me who smokes a pipe either. Only my grandfather smoked, but he died several years ago and we could not smoke together ...

I usually smoke alone and I have no one to talk about tobaccos, pipes, etc ... For the people around me the pipe is the same as the cigarette, so there is not much space for dialogue

My family and friends who have seen me smoke find it eccentric, strange, typical
of old people...and some believe that I do it "because I am a psychologist” ... Once my sister-in-law asked me If I did it to "stand out" ... 🤦🏻‍♂️ Others are not so surprised, since I tend to have less common interests or more solitary and obsessive hobbies (such as aquarism).

For all the above, it has been very pleasant to find this space to talk, share impressions, learn, ask questions that in another context no one would know how to answer them and they would not care either!

Knowing that other people also enjoy smoking a pipe, that they also relax and share the " ritual "is satisfactory and enhances personal enjoyment (and makes it more meaningful)...

Despite not knowing each other and having very different realities, sharing this hobby generates a feeling of familiarity that is difficult to explain ...
 

WalkinStick

Not a daisy at all
Sales
Patron
Old Ted Award Winner
#16
It’s funny how many of us who are deep into this still get excited about it. I love it.

I started up with pipes on a whim, and was the only person I knew who had any interest in them whatsoever. I stumbled upon the old board, and started collecting almost immediately. @Spillproof and @jpberg took me under their wings and sent me down rabbit holes that I’m still traversing.

I was a kid when first started hanging around the forum and learning, and I still feel like one whenever I come across something rare or old because I know there’ll be someone else here who’ll get just as excited about it as me.

I’d like to think that I’ve narrowed my preferences down over the years, but I still buy pipes from time to time knowing that they probably won’t work for me. Same with tobacco. Part of the fun of this whole thing has just been trying new things, even if I end up not liking them. I know by now that I should stick to light billiards in the 4.5-5.5” long range, but I’ll be damned if that stops me from buying a blasted acorn with bamboo or a Dublin with a crazy colored stem when the mood strikes.

I've learned so much, made some great friends, and witnessed my own growth as consumer and person through it.

This should be fun! So, enjoy it. All of it. There are worlds of interest in the humble tobacco pipe.
I need this place because no one I know thinks I'm sane, no one I know cares a rat's :::ass::: about pipes or tobacco. I do this alone, in exclusion of other people, by and large,
These quotes jump out at me, because they pretty well sum up my acquiring of way too many pipes.

It’s fun, and I’ve made real friends in the process. Y’all get it too, or you probably wouldn’t be here reading rambling monologues about stuffing burning leaves into pieces of wood.
 

gnossos

the pineapple on your pizza
Patron
#17
I've always enjoyed pipes. The smell of Captain Black on the wind was a rare treat and I was always glad to see someone smoking one.

Pretty much forgot about it til I was older and then one day went to Peretti's and bought a meer lined bent billiard and a cavendish blend of some sort.

Found my way to internet pipe chat via pipes.org and well that was the best worst thing to happen because now I have too much crap. It's pretty good crap, though, and the people are nice enough.
 

Peacock

There is no spoon.
#18
This is one of those special threads. I don’t have anything meaningful to contribute other than offering thanks to all the great people on this forum. I haven’t been seriously at it for long enough to really know what I like but I have gone from $20 eBay pipes (so, so many) to that Robert Perkins y’all pressured me to buy off SP for $80 and realizing just how much nicer artisan pipes smoke to commissioning my first pipes this year.

I enjoy that there’s constantly so much to learn - history of brands, refining my palate, trying new blends, jumping on hype trains, restoring/maintaining pipes - the list goes on. But I especially enjoying sharing all of that with you bunch of weirdos. Thanks for sharing your story and prompt @DannoH

And as an aside, I told @Sasquatch yesterday he needs to write a book because his writing is so damn enjoyable... and I’m not kidding.
 

Bach6032

Well-known member
#19
To offer something more serious to this thread, my journey, like Danno's, has been all over the map. I bought my first pipe before I could vote. And smoked it pretty unsuccessfully mostly. But I always thought I was on the edge of something enjoyable, I don't know about profound, but enjoyable. I smoked Captain Black and a local "Honey N Nut" mixture. When I was 20 I spent a year in England, and I went to a tobacconist... it was dazzling, all these tins. I had no idea what to get, so I said "Well, I'm in England, give me something English." and he gave me Standard Mixture Medium. I nearly ran back to my dorm. When I opened the tin I was greeted with a smell something like a leather sock, it was disgusting. I was convinced that the tobacconist was having one over on me. But my friends said, no, indeed, this was pipe tobacco. Yuck!

It has become closer to profound. The nerdy side of me got excited 15 years ago when I picked up the pipe again "for real" and learned how to smoke properly, and bought some better pipes, and began having genuinely pleasurable experiences with it. This led me to the rabbit hole of pipe making - learning how to make a pipe that smoked nicely, what separated a bad from a good pipe, this was years of playing, thinking, talking, and making. The whole time exploring a wider world of tobacco; I did give up on a pipe tasting like a peach and embraced the smoky side, and glad I did.

I need this place because no one I know thinks I'm sane, no one I know cares a rat's ::ass:: about pipes or tobacco. I do this alone, in exclusion of other people, by and large, and flying in the face of the anti-smoking society I live in. I smoke in secret. "Mommy, what is that man doing?"

He's smoking. (and the look from the mother was like, why couldn't you have just flashed us like a normal pervert?)

Yes, I'm smoking. I cracked an old tin of Squadron Leader and I'm burning in a TVF that's probably older than my dad. How many bowls has this pipe seen in its day? How wonderful....

I love pipes. I love wood, I love carving. Making pipes and being a deeper part of this community has meant a ton to me. I feel honored any time anyone buys a pipe, there's a world of pipes out there to choose from. Just to be a grain of sand on this lovely beach is enough for me. I go to sleep thinking about my briar, and my big bag of Hal o the Wynd. "I wonder if I could somehow make Danno an even PLAINER pipe....." is my last thought before I drift off.

I love that society thinks we're weirdos. We are weirdos. What else? But we are digging into traditions and experiences that will eventually (soon?) be forgotten. No more Syrian latakia. We've had some. Our kids won't. This is twilight, a long, glorious twilight, for a whole generation, I feel. So be it. I'll be in the garage. Smoking. And making something stupid that regular people don't care about.
@Sasquatch < I smoke in secret. "Mommy, what is that man doing?" He's smoking. (and the look from the mother was like, why couldn't you have just flashed us like a normal pervert?) >

Good Lord...if ever there were words that resonated with me, there they are.

The PSD fills a void that no doubt is shared by many--perhaps nearly all--of us.

Current pandemic aside, with whom can we enjoy our hobby in person? Your post sparked a bit of reflection, after which it occurred to me that in all of my years of employment--in jobs in which I came into contact with legions of other people--I knew of not one other pipe smoker. Quite a few years ago that became a moot point because my last employer, one for which I'd worked for the last 36 years of my career, implemented a "No Tobacco on Property" policy.

Not one of my relatives smokes, pipe or otherwise. So it is a solitary pursuit, perhaps not unlike playing solitaire or putting a puzzle together, except that those activities somehow are more "acceptable." Mrs. Bach has asthma and for nearly all of our years of marriage made it clear that smoking was something to be done outdoors only, far from anyone who even could smell it at a distance [NOTE: a year or so ago I did something of a 'test smoke' in my office in the basement and, for some inexplicable reason, she's not protested; God help me if the mere utterance of these words jinxes this].

Laws and policies are squeezing us ever more tightly into corners. Where can a person enjoy a pipe? In a restaurant? No. Outdoors? Mostly no. Just this week (!) the city in which I live passed an ordinance prohibiting all tobacco use in all public parks. For several years, smoking has been prohibited within a certain distance of any door of many buildings. There are a couple of 'cigar bars' in the area but guess what? Only cigars are permitted. No pipes, no cigarettes, no anything else. Quite a few businesses in my area ceased selling tobacco products, period. They still sell alcohol of every description, for which I am thankful, but tobacco is now demonized.

I enjoy being that abnormal pervert, sharing thoughts and feelings and experiences with the rest of the perverts on the PSD. Thank goodness we have this. How much longer before the lords of the Internet censor forums like ours? How much longer before the words are spoken for the very last time "My grandpa smoked a pipe...."?
 

StevieB

Well-known member
#20
@Sasquatch < I smoke in secret. "Mommy, what is that man doing?" He's smoking. (and the look from the mother was like, why couldn't you have just flashed us like a normal pervert?) >

Good Lord...if ever there were words that resonated with me, there they are.

The PSD fills a void that no doubt is shared by many--perhaps nearly all--of us.

Current pandemic aside, with whom can we enjoy our hobby in person? Your post sparked a bit of reflection, after which it occurred to me that in all of my years of employment--in jobs in which I came into contact with legions of other people--I knew of not one other pipe smoker. Quite a few years ago that became a moot point because my last employer, one for which I'd worked for the last 36 years of my career, implemented a "No Tobacco on Property" policy.

Not one of my relatives smokes, pipe or otherwise. So it is a solitary pursuit, perhaps not unlike playing solitaire or putting a puzzle together, except that those activities somehow are more "acceptable." Mrs. Bach has asthma and for nearly all of our years of marriage made it clear that smoking was something to be done outdoors only, far from anyone who even could smell it at a distance [NOTE: a year or so ago I did something of a 'test smoke' in my office in the basement and, for some inexplicable reason, she's not protested; God help me if the mere utterance of these words jinxes this].

Laws and policies are squeezing us ever more tightly into corners. Where can a person enjoy a pipe? In a restaurant? No. Outdoors? Mostly no. Just this week (!) the city in which I live passed an ordinance prohibiting all tobacco use in all public parks. For several years, smoking has been prohibited within a certain distance of any door of many buildings. There are a couple of 'cigar bars' in the area but guess what? Only cigars are permitted. No pipes, no cigarettes, no anything else. Quite a few businesses in my area ceased selling tobacco products, period. They still sell alcohol of every description, for which I am thankful, but tobacco is now demonized.

I enjoy being that abnormal pervert, sharing thoughts and feelings and experiences with the rest of the perverts on the PSD. Thank goodness we have this. How much longer before the lords of the Internet censor forums like ours? How much longer before the words are spoken for the very last time "My grandpa smoked a pipe...."?
LOL, in my life I've had more than my share of being labelled. Younger days: about 20 face and body piercings. Nowadays: about 200 tattoos and a few chrome plated teeth. Teenage years/early twenties: drummer in rock/metal bands. Late twenties to mid thirties: recovering from traumatic head injury caused by motorbike crash; 3 month coma, 7 month bed-bound, fed through tube in stomach, couldn't speak, two years wheelchair (a wheelchair? darn, people would stare at me like it was 'catching' ;) ) so if people wanna think me strange for chugging on my pipe, I prefer that to when they thought me strange as I couldn't walk or talk :)
I love this place; so warm, welcoming, friendly... long live PSD :)