Some thoughts on acquiring pipes

Bach6032

Well-known member
#21
@StevieB Amen!

To steer myself back to the topic that @DannoH launched, over the years my preference has narrowed to rusticated traditional shapes. I have a couple of hand carved "fancy" pipes but prefer the tried-and-true shapes. The texture of a rusticated finish appeals to my sense of touch. And cobs. I like cobs. They, too, seem to combine tradition and texture. Let's blame my earlier rant on caffeine deficiency.
 

Sasquatch

Wizzard
Staff member
#22
LOL @StevieB the reviewer I have the most in common with on TR has a brain injury. Just my luck! (Glad to hear you are recovering, that's a hard road).

It's probably telling that my favorite moments at the Chicago pipe show almost all occur in the dark corners of the grotto or private rooms, places people are smoking and drinking and playing guitars and having fun. In 2018 I spent about 10 minutes on the show floor, and mostly that was saying "Hi" to people I hadn't seen yet. Then it was straight back to my corner with @Kilted Pipe Guy for more scotch and general bs. It's sort of pathetic that a pile of us will non-figuratively get on an airplane for 4 or 8 hours just to sit and smoke with someone. But it is a special event. Nobody in the real world wants to talk about pipes at all, let alone fancy or plain ones, big or small, smooth or rough.

So we make do here. And posts like Danno's, about the journey, resonate for many of us, being on a similar journey ourselves. For some of us, it's just a thing we do, for others, a spiritual event, for some of us a sort of quest, a lusting after deeper experience - "the perfect smoke". I used to hope to come across a tobacco that would really speak to me, become "my blend". It sort of did, but only sort of, I like Club Blend more than.... a lot of things. But I'm pretty happy smoking lots of other stuff too, and moving away from aromatics and into the wider world of varietal tobacco opened my palate and my mind.

I read a story on another forum, a guy found a Dr Grabow at a gas station or a truck stop... something like that. He was so surprised he just... bought it. And some Carter Hall or something, whatever they had. And lit it up and puffed all the way home. He hadn't expected or wanted to buy a pipe that day, but finding one in the wild overcame his sensibilities. I can totally appreciate it.

I scour eBay for bargains. Mis-named dunhills, auctions with bad photos, pipes no one has ever heard of. And I've bought lots of loser pipes doing this, but the winners are that much sweeter when you do get them.
 

WalkinStick

Not a daisy at all
Sales
Patron
Old Ted Award Winner
#23
I read a story on another forum, a guy found a Dr Grabow at a gas station or a truck stop... something like that. He was so surprised he just... bought it. And some Carter Hall or something, whatever they had. And lit it up and puffed all the way home. He hadn't expected or wanted to buy a pipe that day, but finding one in the wild overcame his sensibilities. I can totally appreciate it.
That’s funny, because that’s sort of how it happened for me. My wife was working the counter in a pharmacy when we were like 18-19, and they had some Grabows behind the counter and a handful of OTC’s.

My first briar pipe was one of those blister pack Grabows that came on a card. I remember seeing it and thinking “Huh. I didn’t think anybody smoked pipes anymore.” So I bought it.
 

StevieB

Well-known member
#24
LOL @StevieB the reviewer I have the most in common with on TR has a brain injury. Just my luck! (Glad to hear you are recovering, that's a hard road).

It's probably telling that my favorite moments at the Chicago pipe show almost all occur in the dark corners of the grotto or private rooms, places people are smoking and drinking and playing guitars and having fun. In 2018 I spent about 10 minutes on the show floor, and mostly that was saying "Hi" to people I hadn't seen yet. Then it was straight back to my corner with @Kilted Pipe Guy for more scotch and general bs. It's sort of pathetic that a pile of us will non-figuratively get on an airplane for 4 or 8 hours just to sit and smoke with someone. But it is a special event. Nobody in the real world wants to talk about pipes at all, let alone fancy or plain ones, big or small, smooth or rough.

So we make do here. And posts like Danno's, about the journey, resonate for many of us, being on a similar journey ourselves. For some of us, it's just a thing we do, for others, a spiritual event, for some of us a sort of quest, a lusting after deeper experience - "the perfect smoke". I used to hope to come across a tobacco that would really speak to me, become "my blend". It sort of did, but only sort of, I like Club Blend more than.... a lot of things. But I'm pretty happy smoking lots of other stuff too, and moving away from aromatics and into the wider world of varietal tobacco opened my palate and my mind.

I read a story on another forum, a guy found a Dr Grabow at a gas station or a truck stop... something like that. He was so surprised he just... bought it. And some Carter Hall or something, whatever they had. And lit it up and puffed all the way home. He hadn't expected or wanted to buy a pipe that day, but finding one in the wild overcame his sensibilities. I can totally appreciate it.

I scour eBay for bargains. Mis-named dunhills, auctions with bad photos, pipes no one has ever heard of. And I've bought lots of loser pipes doing this, but the winners are that much sweeter when you do get them.
:hahaha-024: Don't worry, the psychologists say I'm doing fine, just 'keep him away from weapons' in his mental state :roflmao:
 

crash71665

Well-known member
#25
That’s funny, because that’s sort of how it happened for me. My wife was working the counter in a pharmacy when we were like 18-19, and they had some Grabows behind the counter and a handful of OTC’s.

My first briar pipe was one of those blister pack Grabows that came on a card. I remember seeing it and thinking “Huh. I didn’t think anybody smoked pipes anymore.” So I bought it.
I was in a pharmacy yesterday down from the office to pick up a couple of things and noticed they had a Grabow and a MM in the package you described. They had a couple tobaccos so I got a pouch of Captain Black while I was there. The interesting fact is that I can buy 2oz of St. James Flake for cheaper than 1.75oz Captain Black...
 

Peacock

There is no spoon.
#26
I was in a pharmacy yesterday down from the office to pick up a couple of things and noticed they had a Grabow and a MM in the package you described. They had a couple tobaccos so I got a pouch of Captain Black while I was there. The interesting fact is that I can buy 2oz of St. James Flake for cheaper than 1.75oz Captain Black...
State taxes are wild. I’ve seen tins at Rich’s downtown that are upwards of 7 years old but are they worth $30? Seems like more and more states are blocking interstate ordering, too.
 
#27
I have found that learning guitar has been a great diversion from PAD. Not only have I not bought a pipe since I started playing in early November, I haven't even thought of it despite seeing many nice pipes in that time. I just hope I don't start buying guitars like crazy once (if ever) I become good enough to tell the difference between guitars. lol
 

cossar

Well-known member
Patron
#28
This is a great thread. It is satisfying to read your stories, and many of them resonate with me. I don't really know why I picked up a pipe to begin with, but it grew into a love for this ancient and vanishing world of tobacciana.

I feel like I'm trying to catch a wave that has already broken, but still enjoying the ride while I can. And it's disgusting to be a part of it with you all.... Damn autocorrect I was trying to say special. Oh well, still applies.
 

Alex

Well-known member
Patron
#31
Loving this thread. I wish there were more pipe smokers around me. I’m a bit of the odd duck in my social circle. Imagine the oddity of being in a motorcycle club and sitting at the clubhouse, or a bar, or stopping to get gas and taking a break on a long ride, with a pipe in my mouth. People just don’t expect to see a guy in club Colors and motorcycle leathers with a pipe in his mouth. But I will say this...the guys in the club have learned to like it when I light up because they love the smell. Imagine that. 😁
 

BlueMaxx

"Foo Was Here"
Patron
#32
Loving this thread. I wish there were more pipe smokers around me. I’m a bit of the odd duck in my social circle. Imagine the oddity of being in a motorcycle club and sitting at the clubhouse, or a bar, or stopping to get gas and taking a break on a long ride, with a pipe in my mouth. People just don’t expect to see a guy in club Colors and motorcycle leathers with a pipe in his mouth. But I will say this...the guys in the club have learned to like it when I light up because they love the smell. Imagine that. 😁
Friday night ZOOM chats are the wave of the future....a good way to chat with others of like minds....well maybe not FrankHall like minds :poke:

:hahaha-024:
 

Russ H.

Fight The Good Fight
#36
As far as getting new pipes, or new to you pipes--well I've sold off a bunch years back, and have once again piled up a batch of pipes. I could part with a lot of them, but there are a bunch I will not let go ever--My Sasquatch BST's,, My Maddis pipes, My JT Cookes, and a few Boswells that I have a sentimental attachment to. My advice is purchase the very highest quality pipes you can--jut a few that are great smokers, and then concentrate on great tobaccos. Now--that's all easy to say until the PAD bug bites, and see yet another pipe that grabs you, and you tell yourself--I gotta have that pipe. I can of worse things to collect than pipes. I enjoy my pipes. Smoking them, looking at them, holding them, and admiring the work, and effort that went into each one.. The aesthetics, tactile feel, grain, stem work, the taste of the tobacco as I smoke them, and the relaxation I get as I do it, or break mentally when I can do it at work.
Owning just a few pipes, and plenty of tobacco--that's a good plan, but for some of us--it won't work. A bazillion pipes, tampers, and knowing I won't run out of tobacco is comforting to some folks--like myself. Years ago when my Wife who has passed figured out I had a ton of pipes we sat down, and cleaned house with the ones I really had no attachment to. I sold them, and spent the money on pornography related items------------Just kidding:lol2::roflmao:
I decided after that I would concentrate on really great pipes, and tobacco that I enjoy. I put a lot of thought into pipe purchases these days.
 

BlueMaxx

"Foo Was Here"
Patron
#37
As far as getting new pipes, or new to you pipes--well I've sold off a bunch years back, and have once again piled up a batch of pipes. I could part with a lot of them, but there are a bunch I will not let go ever--My Sasquatch BST's,, My Maddis pipes, My JT Cookes, and a few Boswells that I have a sentimental attachment to. My advice is purchase the very highest quality pipes you can--jut a few that are great smokers, and then concentrate on great tobaccos. Now--that's all easy to say until the PAD bug bites, and see yet another pipe that grabs you, and you tell yourself--I gotta have that pipe. I can of worse things to collect than pipes. I enjoy my pipes. Smoking them, looking at them, holding them, and admiring the work, and effort that went into each one.. The aesthetics, tactile feel, grain, stem work, the taste of the tobacco as I smoke them, and the relaxation I get as I do it, or break mentally when I can do it at work.
Owning just a few pipes, and plenty of tobacco--that's a good plan, but for some of us--it won't work. A bazillion pipes, tampers, and knowing I won't run out of tobacco is comforting to some folks--like myself. Years ago when my Wife who has passed figured out I had a ton of pipes we sat down, and cleaned house with the ones I really had no attachment to. I sold them, and spent the money on pornography related items------------Just kidding:lol2::roflmao:
I decided after that I would concentrate on really great pipes, and tobacco that I enjoy. I put a lot of thought into pipe purchases these days.
Well said...one of the advantages of the internet is it has allowed me to learn from others.
In the beginning I was all alone in this journey...
A smart man learns from his mistakes, a wise man learns from others.

I will add that all this lockdown/quarantine COVID BS has given me a little too much time to peruse all the internet offerings and has led to some purchases that I although I do not regret, would never do again.

Lastly, I should have bought stock in Ball jars two years ago...
 

Billy Joe

Thought he was passing through, but stayed.
Patron
#38
Great thread @DannoH.
I love to hear about everyone's journey. It is a testament to the power of the pipe that so many pursue it in basic isolation. Thank God that we have places like this, and some physical shows, where we can meet and interact. It certainly adds alot to my (considerable) enjoyment of all thing pipe!
 
#39
I first attempted to smoke a pipe at college. None of us were good at it, but we wanted to be. Still, we settled for a cigar most of the time. It was just easier. And smoking for us was all about community. All about taking the time to think and talk about life, and get to know each other.

I didn’t know this could exist after college until spending a bit of time in the lounge at Just for Him, in Springfield, Missouri (where they actually taught me how to smoke a pipe). On any given afternoon you can still find truck drivers, plumbers, students, doctors, and (if not too many people know) lawyers. Everybody is on equal ground. Everybody takes a lot of carp (in a good way).

I wanted to re-create the feel of Just for Him b/c St. Louis really didn’t have it, especially for people that didn’t want to drive out to Dengler’s in St. Charles where the St Louis Pipe Club met. This was the beginning of the Viking Pipe Club of Saint Louis. Founded in 2008, we are still meeting 12 years later.
Along the way I’ve found out that this is why I smoke a pipe: because the pipe community is one of the closest things to Rivendell that I’m ever likely to experience on this side of Heaven.

After a huge score at a local estate sale in 2009, I started Viking Club pipes, which I ran through 2014 as a side-hustle to my teaching gig. This experience gave me a lot. During the peak years I was selling over $30,000 worth of pipes per year (as far as the government knew) through my website and eBay. I was able to provide really great deals on pipes and tobaccos to friends and Viking Pipe Club members and the pipe community at large. I got to know hundreds of people in the pipe community at this time. It made possible the down payment on my house.

However (and I didn’t figure this out until after it was over) buying and selling pipes did NOT make me appreciate pipes more. I got to know a lot of people in the pipe community during those years, but I didn’t appreciate them like I do now. It’s hard to appreciate people fully when you’re working a deal with them. Not impossible It just takes so much effort and time and energy to, for instance, go to a show and sell all day, vs go to a show and appreciate the people and the pipes and the wares.

I also didn’t appreciate my collection at the time, or really even think about it. My collection was just whatever I thought was cool and had gotten a good enough deal on that I could justify keeping it. And since the pipes were easier to come by, I really didn’t appreciate them.
That’s why I LOVE the pipes that I have purchased from the carvers themselves. These were the exception to my collecting experience, because I had a relationship with the maker itself. It was more than a transaction.

In this way I have pipes from these North American carvers:
-Rad Davis
-Todd Bannard
-Robert Vacher
-C. Kent Joyce
-Jesse Jones
-Andrew Marks
-Tyler Huckfelt

Here are my rules for my collection these days:
1. If I’m going to keep a pipe it has to smoke good.
2. If I’m going to keep a pipe, it must be aesthetically pleasing to me in some way.
3. I do not sell pipes that were gifts to me.

So along with the carvers above, the pipes that get smoked the most in my collection are my small troop of Loewe pipes, Ferndowns, Dunhills and some random Italians. Add a Chonowitsch nearly given to me by a Viking Club member and a new (to me) Chris Asteriou bamboo, and I am pleased as punch with what I have these days.
But I’m always on the lookout.
 

WalkinStick

Not a daisy at all
Sales
Patron
Old Ted Award Winner
#40
Here are my rules for my collection these days:
1. If I’m going to keep a pipe it has to smoke good.
2. If I’m going to keep a pipe, it must be aesthetically pleasing to me in some way.
3. I do not sell pipes that were gifts to me.
That’s just about how I deal with mine too.
I am pleased as punch with what I have these days.
But I’m always on the lookout.
This is why I have so many pipes.