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Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby HowlinWolf » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:37 pm

Hi Jason -

Pulling on a pipe as hard and as often as you would a cigarette is a recipe for overheating.

Packing too loose can be another culprit, and the way the pipe keeps going out might be a symptom of that. Don't mash the tobacco into the pipe, but try to gently eliminate the many small air gaps that cause a hot pipe. It's not at all unusual to have to relight a pipe, but frequent relights and the pipe is too hot is a different matter.
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby HowlinWolf » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:07 pm

Yes. This sounds like "duh" advice, but
when you're thinking of buying a new pipe pay close attention to its dimensions. Just because you have a mental image of the pipe's size, that don't necessarily make it so.

I was ready willing and able to pull the trigger on a new pipe tonight.
I pulled out the calipers and found that the Apple shaped pipe I wanted is
fatter than the Savinelli #320 :o
taller than the Peterson #406 Hungarian / Oom Paul
as long as the Peterson #408

The long and short of it :roll:
WAY bigger than I had pictured it being.

Oh, well. :cry:
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby ArbroathSmokie » Tue Feb 25, 2014 1:26 pm

I've already been stung with regards to pipe size. This mainly down to lack of experience with pipes. Wish I'd of read this first Howlin:)
“A pipe in the mouth makes it clear that there has been no mistake–you are undoubtedly a man.”
-A. A. Milne
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby HowlinWolf » Tue Feb 25, 2014 3:42 pm

ArbroathSmokie wrote:I've already been stung with regards to pipe size.

Definitely happened to me A LOT! After a while you (almost) become immune to it, like beekeepers or snake handlers.
This time I decided to be more "proactive" about it and I'm glad I did.

The first "enthusiast grade" :roll: pipe I bought was a Peterson #317, online mail order. The little 1" squares in the picture made no cerebro-visual impression on me at all. (in fact they still don't)
I was expecting it to be "average size" - whatever that is.

Well, if you're not familiar with it, the Peterson #317 is a small pipe. A very small pipe. The entire bowl is more or less the size of the last joint on your thumb.
I opened the box and thought WTF is this dinky little thing?!
But I still have it, and like it a lot.
It's been pretty much the opposite ever since: when it's a different size than I expected, it's bigger.

A hand holding a Peterson #317:
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c266/rat-7/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zps49d45bd0.jpg

For me, looking at a picture like the one below somehow doesn't make me realize that the pipe is that small, but it is.

Image
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby ArbroathSmokie » Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:05 am

didnt think pipes came that wee. normal sized pipe in the hand off a giant?
“A pipe in the mouth makes it clear that there has been no mistake–you are undoubtedly a man.”
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby SteveH » Thu Feb 27, 2014 8:34 am

I've got a Dr Plumb 'Dinky' of similar dimensions. I don't often smoke it, though.
Image
The Dinky, with a normal-sized pipe for comparison. (Yes, I'm still in my dressing-gown at 20 to nine. Shameful, I know.)
I was on a boat once with four pipes, but nothing to light them with, so I threw one overboard, and the boat became a pipe lighter.
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby ArbroathSmokie » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:15 am

Nothing wrong with a gentleman in his leeeisure wear:)
“A pipe in the mouth makes it clear that there has been no mistake–you are undoubtedly a man.”
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby HowlinWolf » Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:50 pm

Update and correction: I have photographic evidence that the Pete #317 is even smaller than Dinky :lol: :lol:

A #317 is this big:
http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c266/rat-7/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zps49d45bd0.jpg

vs.

A Dinky is this big

SteveH wrote:I've got a Dr Plumb 'Dinky' of similar dimensions. I don't often smoke it, though.
Image
The Dinky, with a normal-sized pipe for comparison.
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby SteveH » Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:42 pm

OK, you win! Can you get those tiny petes with ordinary fishtail stems? I hate P-lips!
I was on a boat once with four pipes, but nothing to light them with, so I threw one overboard, and the boat became a pipe lighter.
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby HowlinWolf » Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:10 pm

SteveH wrote:OK, you win! Can you get those tiny petes with ordinary fishtail stems? I hate P-lips!


After a number of years I ended up replacing my P-lip stem with a Peterson fishtail replacement. P-lips I can put up with, but the stem on the #317 is OC on the petite side, which made the bite part almost-round to accommodate the P-lip’s airway upturn. I never liked that. I got my replacement stem from Pipes and Cigars years ago.

It’s a popular misconception that all System pipes have a P-lip, and that’s it, but you can get them with a factory fishtail stem. For instance, smokingpipes.com has shape #317 fishtails in several different finishes in stock right now.

I got at least a 20 minute smoke last night from rubbed-out Peterson Sherlock Holmes in my #317
and
a few years back I tried using the #317 at work as a coffee break pipe, but I couldn't finish a bowl of Dunhill Early Morning Pipe in only 15 minutes. (and EMP is finely cut, like Drum cigarette tobacco)

(What I'm driving at is that the #317 is not so small that you're going to get only an 8 minute smoke out of it.)
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby 4nogginsmike » Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:27 pm

Small or large pipes might be viewed best as options for the length of smoking, though at one point the British are said to have smoked smaller pipes due to the cost of tobacco. But if I could get myself to regard as acceptable a larger pipe partially filled, I wouldn't need smaller pipes. It would seem that the aesthetic of what I regard as a suitable pipe holds to the idea that it must be filled to the top, and I readily admit that that doesn't make sense. But wait, some claim that half bowls lay down cake unevenly and deplore the practice. I have never been one to find this to be true, and perhaps this claim is as silly as my demand that a proper pipe must be filled entirely.
Pipe smoking: the most cultivated taking of tobacco; a good friend and a sublime addiction; but give me a cigar, too. But so expensive: smoke up and smoke less.
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby JacintoCupboard » Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:20 am

I cannot, for the life of me, bring myself to relight a bowl that has gone cold. To me, a bowl transitions significantly as it burns; as tars and other juices settle in the lower reaches. I find that transition interesting and complex. But to effectively start a bowl at a later stage is, to me, like starting breakfast with a shot of whisky. When ACD had Holmes saving dottle for the following morning, he no doubt knew the sort of visceral response this would stimulate in readers.

The old fashioned 'small' bowls last me close to an hour more often than not. It is not unusual for me to get an hour 15. To be clear here, I am NOT trying to big note myself here. All I am saying is that even careless people like myself can get a decent length smoke from a smaller bowl.

Historically, even the most wretchedly poor could afford tobacco. I doubt there is a relationship between cost of tobacco and size of bowl. I think the reason is time. Men did not have hours on end to devote to smoking a pipe. I think the other reason is moderation. Having a giant bowl that held 2 hours worth of tobacco might well have been thought immoderate and vulgar. A small bowl is also practical if you were apt to be disturbed. No great matter to pitch a small amount of tobacco that had gone cold.
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby Ducksbreath » Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:31 pm

Lots of good advice and interesting discussion too. One point I'd like to add for Noobs, is that it depends if you are a (ex) cigarette smoker or not, i.e., have some kind of nicotine addiction/tolerance built up before taking up the pipe. Or if you are a (also) a cigar smoker.This relates to not feeling pressure to go for the Monster English Smoke and it relates to the big problem of smoking too rapidly.

So pipe tobaccos vary widely as to nicotine content/strength and body, as addressed on other threads. Anyway my point is, it can be a mistake to start out exclusively with mild aros, especially if you are used to fuller body (a cigar smoker) or more nic (cig or ex cig).

Pipe smoking really isn't about nicotine. The ultimate nicotine delivery system has already been developed, a manufactured cigarette, it's sole benefit being to enrich the manufacturer.

Still I wouldn't be afraid to try out some stronger/fuller bodied tobacs right from the beginning. Even though they may initially come off as overbearing, with smoking a pipe, you have control of smoking rate and temperature, and this can affect body and strength.
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby WigglePig » Sat Mar 22, 2014 8:32 pm

As a newbie I can wholeheartedly endorse that last comment; I have just taken up the pipe and have found Balkan mixtures to be quite excellent to smoke. They are quite strong-tasting but smoke well and pleasantly if taken slowly.
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby HowlinWolf » Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:46 pm

WigglePig wrote:As a newbie I can wholeheartedly endorse that last comment; I have just taken up the pipe and have found Balkan mixtures to be quite excellent to smoke. They are quite strong-tasting but smoke well and pleasantly if taken slowly.


Glad things are working out for you, keep it up! :)

My experience was different. Early on I bought a tin of (now discontinued :( ) Dunhill Durbar, which was a pretty heavy-duty Oriental-forward blend with an almost oily smoke.
Well, I'm not ashamed to say that being at the time only about two steps removed from Half and Half in my Pipe Trek, I pretty much flipped my sh#t at how intense this stuff was - and that was only the charring light :lol:

Most of the tobacco recommendations for noobs are for softer stuff because frankly we pipe smokers are a small community trying to recruit new citizens, and throwing what might be a doggy-paddle swimmer into the deep end of the pool ain't funny if he ends up deciding pipe smoking isn't for him as the result.
It's better to have him say: is there something with a more saturated flavor? "Come, Grasshopper, and learn."

If my comments about Durbar have you curious, try Cornell and Diehl Rajah's Court. Closest match I've found.
(Trivia: a "durbar" was in fact the name for a Rajah's court. Neat, huh?)
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby ratatosk » Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:32 pm

HowlinWolf wrote:If my comments about Durbar have you curious, try Cornell and Diehl Rajah's Court. Closest match I've found.
(Trivia: a "durbar" was in fact the name for a Rajah's court. Neat, huh?)

Damn, I wish you hadn't said that, Mr. Wolf, now I've got to.... :roll: :lol:

But before I chase down Rajah's Court, did you include Robt McConnell's Original Oriental in your quest for a match? I've been smoking some and it's quite good, but I never tried Durbar that I can recall so I have no way of saying whether it is similar or not.
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby HowlinWolf » Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:00 am

ratatosk wrote:
HowlinWolf wrote:If my comments about Durbar have you curious, try Cornell and Diehl Rajah's Court. Closest match I've found.
(Trivia: a "durbar" was in fact the name for a Rajah's court. Neat, huh?)

Damn, I wish you hadn't said that, Mr. Wolf, now I've got to.... :roll: :lol:

But before I chase down Rajah's Court, did you include Robt McConnell's Original Oriental in your quest for a match? I've been smoking some and it's quite good, but I never tried Durbar that I can recall so I have no way of saying whether it is similar or not.


Sounds like a hot lead ;) thanks!
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby RoyOdhner » Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:36 pm

HowlinWolf wrote:

[i] You will be unlikely to get a really good pipe if you buy an entry level model.

I often wonder how "really good" a pipe has to be to successfully fulfill the task of burning tobacco ;) Any pipe that doesn't gargle, overheat, etc. has by definition successfully completed 99% of its mission. What the remaining 1% of the task is and how much $$$ one is willing to spend to achieve it is an entirely personal decision that the smoker should never be put in the position of defending unless he takes it upon himself to call high end pipe smokers pretentious snobs, or say that people who smoke $100 Savinellis, Petersons, Stanwell etc. are ignorant boors who have no conception of what smoking a pipe is really like. Whatever happens after statements of that sort are made, the person brought it upon himself.

I have about 60 or so pipes that "count" and about 10 or so rather sketchy ones that came in lots and "don't count." With less than a half dozen more pricey exceptions, all of them cost or originally retailed (inflation adjusted) for $150 or less. They all fulfill 99% of the mission task, and some of them are cute enough to grab that last 1%, too.
What my favorite pipes among them are tends to fluctuate arbitrarily. For instance, for quite a while I thought the sun rose and set on Savinelli's #316. Lately, not so much. Not for a justifiable performance reason, either. Fickleness, really.


My one and only Dunhill that I ever bought happened to be a lemon. I bought it in a pipe shop in London, and was so impressed with myself (being quite the pipe snob back then) that I ignored the gurgle. As time went by, the gurgle became impossible to ignore. I've got a $12 basket pipe that I bought in 1979 that smokes like a champ. I kept The Canadian (as I call the $12 pipe) just for sentimental reasons, but one day I smoked "The Canadian" and then the Dunhill, and it became impossible to ignore the flaws in the Dunhill. I still have The Canadian, but the Dunhill has long since been disposed of. Never could get my money back on the Dunhill. I still want a Dunhill and am not actually opposed to the price they command, I just haven't yet enjoyed the combination of having available funds and a nearby B&M that sells them so I can check the construction and engineering.

Please don't take "pipe snob" as being an insult. There are lovers of fine pipes and tobacco that truly appreciate the craftsmanship of an upscale pipe, and that's cool. Unfortunately, there are legions of pipe smokers who don't truly appreciate those things; they pay high prices for pipes because they believe that "real pipe smokers" smoke these pipes, but unfortunately they don't really appreciate the pipe. I was the latter, and I was quick to criticize people who smoked Dr G's or other "lesser" pipes. (I was the "pipe snob" that is the butt of pipe smoking jokes - obnoxious, critical, and ill-informed). Luckily I got into cigars for a while, and during the time that I strayed off the path I somehow managed to lose all my pipes except for an artisan-made pipe I bought at a booth in the Westgate Mall (Bethlehem, PA), a Pete Sherlock Holmes original, and The Canadian. (I suspect the ex-wife committed foul play with the others). Being out in west Texas (where pipe smokers tend to be few and far between) and not yet knowing of the internet, I had to start all over with the "lesser" pipes sold at the local cigar shop or Wally World. Luckily, an elderly neighbor was an experienced pipe smoker, and he showed me how to tell if a pipe was well engineered and constructed. He was partial to Savs, Petes, and Dr. G's - and he was highly adverse to prying open his wallet and shelling out much more than $35 on a pipe, so he hadn't purchased a new pipe in almost 20 years.

Today I am very reluctant to buy anything other than entry-level pipes. I just want to smoke a pipe, and I'm not so big on collecting pipes as expressions of art. Entry-level pipes work for me because they're generally not butt ugly, and they're generally bored and fitted properly.(I've yet to buy a Pete that has let me down). All I really want is a functional pipe that isn't ugly as home-made sin. I've got a couple of artisan made pipes that are worth every penny that I spent on them - they're beautiful pipes, and I own them with pride. However, they're actually not my favorite pipes. My best smoking pipes are The Canadian, a pair of Pete Irish Army pipes (priced under $100 each), a Nording Free-hand (also under $100), my Falcon and associated bowls (a basic Falcon stem and bowl kit runs under $75), and a Dr G. (under $40). Any of my cobs offer an excellent smoke and cost under $15 each, but my favorites are the Country Gentlemen and Diplomats.

Smoking a pipe is a relatively simple affair: fill the end with the big hole full of tobacco, put the end with the small end into your pie hole, set fire to the tobacco, and imbibe the smoke through the small hole. Thus, any pipe that is bored correctly and has the stem fitted properly to the shank is going to smoke admirably. My best smoking pipes have all been entry level pipes, and I'm not convinced that a more expensive pipe is going to provide a more satisfying smoke. They'll certainly look nicer, but they wont necessarily provide a better smoke -at least not in my experience. We all have different expectations about a pipe and tobacco, and we all have different experiences. YMMV, but I just want a well-built pipe and a bowl of tobacco. In this case, at least for me, a Pete Irish Army and some MacB GE works just fine.
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby pbielicki » Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:15 pm

Looking for some advice here. I wouldn't necessarily consider myself to be a noob, but I'm also not an old stager. What I am wondering is how people get their pipes to smoke to the heel. I've read a number of posts where guys describe a tobacco smoking good through to the heel but I cannot for the life of me get a smoke to go to the bottom of a briar. It's a little easier in a meer or a cob but as everyone here probably knows, that's because those pipes smoke drier than briars.
I've always chalked it up to the same as with a cigar. You can't really smoke a cigar down to nothing as you need a portion to hold. The tars and moisture also build up in that last bit of the cigar and ruin the flavor and the way it burns. With a briar, I always get 3/8-1/2" of wet dottle in the bottom which just won't burn and I just abandon it as I would the stub of a cigar. I don't think I'll go the Sherlock Holmes route and dry out the dottle to smoke later.
Do others experience the same results? Or am I not breaking in my briars properly?
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby William » Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:39 pm

pbielicki wrote:Looking for some advice here. I wouldn't necessarily consider myself to be a noob, but I'm also not an old stager. What I am wondering is how people get their pipes to smoke to the heel. I've read a number of posts where guys describe a tobacco smoking good through to the heel but I cannot for the life of me get a smoke to go to the bottom of a briar. It's a little easier in a meer or a cob but as everyone here probably knows, that's because those pipes smoke drier than briars.
I've always chalked it up to the same as with a cigar. You can't really smoke a cigar down to nothing as you need a portion to hold. The tars and moisture also build up in that last bit of the cigar and ruin the flavor and the way it burns. With a briar, I always get 3/8-1/2" of wet dottle in the bottom which just won't burn and I just abandon it as I would the stub of a cigar. I don't think I'll go the Sherlock Holmes route and dry out the dottle to smoke later.
Do others experience the same results? Or am I not breaking in my briars properly?

I wouldn’t worry too much about it and just enjoy your pipes. :D
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