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Raw wood in the bowl.

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Raw wood in the bowl.

Postby ColoradoHusker » Tue Aug 12, 2014 4:47 am

I just received my first briar pipe from a small company and the inside of the bowl is raw wood. Is that normal? I expected there to be some sort of coating or treatment on the wood but I am new to the hobby and this is my first non-cob. Are my concerns unfounded? The pipe is beautiful so I hope all is well, I'd hate to have to send it back.
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Re: Raw wood in the bowl.

Postby William » Tue Aug 12, 2014 10:18 am

Many pipe makers leave bowls untreated, so enjoy your new pipe.
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Re: Raw wood in the bowl.

Postby ratatosk » Tue Aug 12, 2014 12:04 pm

Like William said.

There is a recent thread that concerns this whole coating thing that you might find useful, http://tampandpuff.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=9094

Some prefer it, some don't, but the main thing is to smoke several bowls to the bottom to lay in some cake. Many people begin with half bowls, but I don't think it matters as long as you get to the bottom each time. At any rate, coating becomes irrelevant after a few smokes.
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Re: Raw wood in the bowl.

Postby 4nogginsmike » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:50 pm

I'd like to feel that bowl coatings are irrelevant, but having read the comments of those who feel that it is not, I remain at odds with the whole issue. There are even some who go so far to hold that it must be removed before smoking the pipe as that thin coating stands between you and both the smoking qualities of the pipe and the flavor of the blend. The divisive nature of this issue does give me some comfort as the number of both makers and smokers who say that it protects against burnout means that there is solid opinion that coatings don't interfere with anything.

I'm a no coating guy. But just now I bought a new Ashton that has the coating, and it brings all the controversy back. I'm thinking of 1) paying someone who can sand it out without blemishing its "just out of the box" condition 2) forgetting about it and 3) sanding it out myself. I plan to avail myself of the input from makers on the pipe carvers forum.
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Re: Raw wood in the bowl.

Postby ColoradoHusker » Tue Aug 12, 2014 5:05 pm

Thanks again all. I was concerned that a step in the manufacture process had been inadvertently missed. As it appears to be the case with most things pipe smoking related it is up for discussion and debate. I appreciate all your input.
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Re: Raw wood in the bowl.

Postby ratatosk » Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:26 am

Ashton makes wonderful pipes, Mike, I would not tamper with their decision to coat the chamber based on what anyone else thinks about it. Oh, guess that would include me too, hmmm :P

All I can offer from recent experience is that this year I have purchased 3 Castellos which were uncoated and later 2 Dunhills that were coated. All of them are great smokers, but I was astounded that the Dunhills caught up with and perhaps surpassed the Castellos within a couple of weeks which I did not imagine was even possible. I can't say that it is because of the initial coating, but you have to wonder if it didn't help a bit?
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Re: Raw wood in the bowl.

Postby briandevlin » Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:18 pm

Definitely no coating I've just finished breaking in a Peterson Sherlock Holmes Rathbone which has a coating over stain first good few bowls were terrible, took for ever to break in now 2 months later it's turned out to be a great smoker
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Re: Raw wood in the bowl.

Postby benton629 » Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:39 pm

I smear a dab of honey on my finger and wipe the bowl until it is covered. I then swab with a paper towel to get any excess.

I have done this several times on estate pipes I purchased which were severely over reamed.

Works great and the bowl cakes quickly.
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Re: Raw wood in the bowl.

Postby 4nogginsmike » Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:34 pm

I can't get closure on this issue, but for me, to play it safe, I've decided either not to buy a bowl-coated pipe or if I do, as that choice limits what otherwise seems to be a great pipe purchase, sanding it out; which means tedious hours, but I can't just leave it in and feel good about the pipe. Just me. You may feel otherwise.

But it strikes me that one never reads any kind of objective test of the issue, leaving the coating in or taking it out, that produces measurable results for or against. The whole issue seems to be a lot of hot air and opinion. People hate coatings or stand loyally by them but give no reasons as measured by smoke. I've never read someone saying that blend X smoked in a coated pipe, that blend loved since the days of yore, whose nuances they are perfectly able to describe, smoked in a new pipe without coating suffers appreciably; and the reverse is also true.

It's one of those enduring issues that apparently is without substantive proof.

There, I've just persuaded myself to never worry about this issue again, and thereby saved my fingers appreciable wear and tear from sanding the confined space of a bowl.
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Re: Raw wood in the bowl.

Postby aquaholic » Sun Feb 01, 2015 7:53 pm

4nogginsmike wrote:I can't get closure on this issue, but for me, to play it safe, I've decided either not to buy a bowl-coated pipe or if I do, as that choice limits what otherwise seems to be a great pipe purchase, sanding it out; which means tedious hours, but I can't just leave it in and feel good about the pipe. Just me. You may feel otherwise.

But it strikes me that one never reads any kind of objective test of the issue, leaving the coating in or taking it out, that produces measurable results for or against. The whole issue seems to be a lot of hot air and opinion. People hate coatings or stand loyally by them but give no reasons as measured by smoke. I've never read someone saying that blend X smoked in a coated pipe, that blend loved since the days of yore, whose nuances they are perfectly able to describe, smoked in a new pipe without coating suffers appreciably; and the reverse is also true.

It's one of those enduring issues that apparently is without substantive proof.

There, I've just persuaded myself to never worry about this issue again, and thereby saved my fingers appreciable wear and tear from sanding the confined space of a bowl.


Well said Mike, I don't care either ;)
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Re: Raw wood in the bowl.

Postby Falconeer » Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:14 pm

You know I've seen folk get really het up about this coating or no coating issue - now me I'm an old smoking man and so long as the damn thing breaks in quickly and then smokes well and mellowly I'm fine with either. I've a lot of Petersons and quite a few 999s as some of you know....and one of the best of them is my entry level Aran 999 which came coated and was grand from the off...on the other hand my gold mounted Peterson Supreme which wasn't coated smoked grand from day one too....
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Re: Raw wood in the bowl.

Postby Geo3rge » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:11 am

I feel the same. It doesn't matter to me. As long as I can break it in and get that smooth smoke, I'm fine. I've seen a video of a pipe maker placing a bowl over a poker-like contraption that is red hot and pressing down hard, searing the chamber, thus, presumably, aiding caking? Interesting to watch and I have a couple of their pipes which are great smokers. It is all done in seconds and dramatic to watch. If it helps the process, fine. On the other hand, couple of Savinellis I have came with raw briar chambers. No problem at all with these in smoking. Personally, I wouldn't worry and will just enjoy the pipe!
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Re: Raw wood in the bowl.

Postby 4nogginsmike » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:19 pm

Falconeer wrote:You know I've seen folk get really het up about this coating or no coating issue - now me I'm an old smoking man and so long as the damn thing breaks in quickly and then smokes well and mellowly I'm fine with either. I've a lot of Petersons and quite a few 999s as some of you know....and one of the best of them is my entry level Aran 999 which came coated and was grand from the off...on the other hand my gold mounted Peterson Supreme which wasn't coated smoked grand from day one too....


This is where I have come to in the debate. Here's a man who is a more than capable pipe smoker, who says that pipes with or without the bowl coating have gone on to earn a solid place in his rotation. For me, this is about as conclusive as this can get. I certainly would prefer uncoated chambers, but that is opinion and emotion talking. The fact is that almost all I've read on the subject says that both bowl finishes smoke fine; and if so, why bother about the issue at all?
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: Raw wood in the bowl.

Postby CoastalRyan » Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:34 pm

For whatever its worth I've been making pipes for a good 10 or so years now and its my belief based on all the feedback I've taken is that any kind of coating semi-permanent to wearable has some measure of effect on the flavor. From minor to more noticeable. I've stopped coating bowls. I do season fresh pipes but no coatings. I find that coatings do one thing very well though and that's protect the pipe maker from buyers who excessively burn off the first few bowls. We all know these guys...they fire away like they're trying to kill off some kind of bacteria. So that would be one advantage.
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Re: Raw wood in the bowl.

Postby Bob » Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:52 pm

CoastalRyan wrote:For whatever its worth I've been making pipes for a good 10 or so years now and its my belief based on all the feedback I've taken is that any kind of coating semi-permanent to wearable has some measure of effect on the flavor.


Do you really think it matters after a few bowls or after a cake has formed?
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Re: Raw wood in the bowl.

Postby KevLa » Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:00 pm

I bought a brand new Mario Grandi freehand, recently, with black stuff painted on the inside of the bowl. I have smoked the hell out of her with no discernable problems, thus far :)
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Re: Raw wood in the bowl.

Postby CoastalRyan » Fri Mar 13, 2015 3:19 am

[quote="Bob"][quote="CoastalRyan"]For whatever its worth I've been making pipes for a good 10 or so years now and its my belief based on all the feedback I've taken is that any kind of coating semi-permanent to wearable has some measure of effect on the flavor.[/quote]

Do you really think it matters after a few bowls or after a cake has formed?[/quote]After a few bowls...yes. Once a good cake is formed...no. Then it depends on how thorough you clean the bowl. I personally found it negligible after about the 4th-5th bowl but the feedback I received leaned to it being a bit more intrusive. Some feedback also felt like the coating intensified moisture buildup or added to that bitterness. Now that could be because others have a more discerning palate, smoking pace or it could just be psychosomatic. Either way I chose to just let it go than to experiment more with coating the bowl.

Other than early burnout by those who are aggressive with lighters I couldn't find any other good reason to do it.
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Re: Raw wood in the bowl.

Postby 4nogginsmike » Tue Sep 29, 2015 10:45 pm

Since the last time I was here I wrote a long article on bowl coating published by 'pipesmagazine.com." It's titled "Rain Falls" and has been moved to the archives. Bottom line is that neither side has evidence to support their position, but as the carvers control the issue, most pipes are now coated. There are those that hate them and those that love them. It's an adversarial issue along the lines of renters and landlords and chefs and waiters with enough emotion behind it to keep it aflame for eternity.
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