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Couple of Pipe questions

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by DFPope, Aug 25, 2012.

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  1. DFPope

    DFPope New Member

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    I am fairly new to pipe smoking but sure that I will be sticking with it. I enjoy the experience of a pipe and have completely given up cigaretts.
    Now my questions:
    I currently have 2 pipes, both Grabow. One is a straight pipe and the other is a bent pipe. Is it my imagination or does the bent pipe smoke cooler than the straight ?
    Also, other than quality, what is the difference between a 25 dollar briar pipe and a 100 dollar briar pipe.
    Does the more expensive pipe smoke any better ? If so, what would one recommend for a smoker of my limited experience ?

    Thanks
     
  2. Monkey

    Monkey Active Member

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    To me, price has nothing to do with a pipe. A good smoker is a good smoker no matter the price point. If you dig a Grabow, no reason to worry...they are good pipes. I have briars from 20-96 dollars and they are all good smokers...that is what is important...IMO

    Maybe pick up a cob or two. They are great pipes at a low price.
     
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  3. DMWyatt

    DMWyatt Member

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    Welcome to the world of pipes, where nothing is absolute, and nothing absolute is forever. To answer your first question, it is possible that the bent smokes cooler than the straight, but I wouldn't look further into it right now than one of your pipes smokes different from the other. The reason for this, is that the reason one smokes cooler than the other is going to take some time for you to figure out. There are a lot of variables to consider, and it could come down to technique once all the attributes of the pipe and tobacco are taken to account. Your second question is equally difficult to answer. There are a lot of $25 pipes out there that started out at $100, but were rejected down the line for cosmetic flaws, which won't smoke differently from their $100 cousins. For a new smoker, Grabows are as good a starting point as any.
     
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  4. DGErwin11

    DGErwin11 Moderator Moderator

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    It may be your imagination or they have some minor mechanical differences. One bowl my be thicker or something.
    As you move up the price range, you will get better and prettier briar. Also better stems. Most likely the higher priced will have a waxed finish, not varnish. But there are many on here that will tell us of how a more expensive pipe was a disappointment.

    Depending on how much and how often you smoke, 2 pipes are not enough. Most of us (except for certain moderators) fill out their rotation with cobs until they can afford better briars. The problem with this approach is that many of us turn our backs on briars once we have discovered that cobs are excellent smokers.

    Also keep in mind that you may want to eventually budget $150.00 - $200.00 for a good meer.
     
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  5. Coastal Bend

    Coastal Bend Get off my lawn...

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    I'll toss this out and realize that it calls out for a big "however..." For a long time I've had a theory that in a very general sense for any given product one is buying that for every dollar additional spent one gets additional quality -- up to a tipping point. At that point every extra dollar is buying something besides more quality like luxury, prestige, or maybe paying for a big advertising campaign. With pipes the "however" comes into play. As DMWyatt and Monkey have just said one can have inexpensive pipes that smoke very well, and additionally there are sometimes factors that will cause an excellent pipe, that was destined to be priced much more, to sell for much less. Even though I live with and use that general theory of quality and price for much of my shopping it is not ironclad and certainly with pipe shopping there are a lot of variables.

    If someone was asking me about shopping for a pipe, I'd say look at the size of the bowl (I prefer one I can put my thumb in, but that's me), look at the balance (in a shop you can't put it in your mouth, but you can hold the end of the bit with your thumb and index finger and get a sense of the balance), check the finish (generally my experience has been that a heavily lacquered pipe is liable to smoke a little hotter, since it can't breath) and lastly look at the price. (I've never owned a Dr. G, but there are many good things said about them in this Forum.)
     
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  6. BradNTX

    BradNTX Well-Known Member

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    Keep in mind DF that pipe smoking comes down to a matter of preference and opinions vary as much as people do. There is no wrong opinion related to your questions; its more of what you like or don't.

    When it comes to briar pipes, I prefer $100 and up, though I definitely have a limit less than some. The quality of the briar, the engineering, stem quality, balance, and the asthetics combine to provide what I look for in a smoking experience. I enjoy the look and feel of a pipe. I enjoy a pipe with a smooth easy draw as well. I find pipes in the $100 - $300 range perform better for me. When it comes to purchasing a pipe, that's really what counts. What you enjoy.

    That said, I also love my cobs. A Missouri Meerschaum Country Gentleman or 5th Avenue Diplomat can make a predominently Burley blend taste better than any briar IMHO. A cob outfitted with a Walker Briarworks Forever Stem is the ultimate Burley burner, and I value them nearly as much as my artisan crafted briars.

    Don't let all our opinions confuse you. Go with your gut, avoid poorly engineered pipes in any price range, and if you find you don't care for a direction you take, experiment with something new.

    Welcome to PSF
    Brad
     
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  7. DFPope

    DFPope New Member

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    Thanks Guys - I appreciate the comments and advise.
    My taste is simple and I am a realist that does't jump into anything just because it is trendy. I have a lot of experimenting to do with tobaccos but for the moment I am very happy with the Grabow/Captain Black combination. I have a couple of samplers on order so I'm waiting to try some different blends. I live in a very small town (pop about 3000) so it's a one hour drive for me to visit any type of decent tobacco shop.
    Maybe, in time, I will graduate to more sophistacated pipes and tobacco or maybe not. In the mean time, the wealth on knowledge here on the form gives me a lot of food for thought.
     
  8. DGErwin11

    DGErwin11 Moderator Moderator

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    DF, I am so far out in the sticks we have to import sunshine. I haven't seen a B&M in 30+ years. But I find myself happy with OTC's in cobs, meers and my one lonely briar. Don't worry about sophistication. Jpberg tried that, and look where that got him. You should not like any particular combination of pipe and tobacco just because I or dwaugh or Brad or whoever does. You're on the right track in a couple of regards. You are enjoying what you have and are willing to experiment to find what suits you best. And that is the only test that matters, do you like it. My opinion means nothing.:old:
     
  9. DMWyatt

    DMWyatt Member

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    If you're already finding happiness with a Dr. Grabow and some CB, you're already WAY ahead of the curve. Some of us have drawers full of tobacco that sits there, maybe to be tried again at some future date, but that for one reason or another failed to live up to our expectations. Right now there are probably more tobacco blends available to pipe smokers around the world, than at any other point in history. It's easy to get lost in all of it if you let it overwhelm you. Above all else, smoke what you enjoy and enjoy what you smoke.
     
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  10. Goat

    Goat Active Member

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    Here's my .02
    In order to enjoy pipe smoking you don't have to go broke, but you can.
     
  11. DGErwin11

    DGErwin11 Moderator Moderator

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    Truer words were never spoke.
     
  12. Stonewall

    Stonewall Active Member

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    I think you've received some excellent feedback so far. So I can only answer from my perspective in addition: I can say with absolute certainty that I have pipes that cost me $10-$20 that smoke like a dream. MM Cobs and my Courtley Supremes for example. I can also tell you with the same degree of certainty that I have pipes in the $175 range (Randy Wiley's & Tim West) that smoke like a dream. I'm happy, and fortunate enough to have a range of pipes.

    In my opinion, the price one pays for a pipe is always going to be a personal choice of the individual smoker. You certainly don't need to spend $200-$300 to have a good smoking pipe. But as you develop a knowledge and appreciation for pipes, I think it's only natural to evolve accordingly in your tastes and preferences.

    As for one smoking cooler than another. Like the gentlemen above stated, there are a lot of things to consider. Technique is key though. It took me a while; lots of trial & error, but I can smoke a clay cool. This is what is great about pipe smoking. It looks so simple and basic; yet it's quite the education. Good luck in your experiences.
     
  13. upinsmoke

    upinsmoke Member

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    A bent pipe smokes just a bit cooler because the curved path that the smoke travels mellows it a little.
     
  14. BradNTX

    BradNTX Well-Known Member

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    Cash poor & pipe rich! :beck:
     
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  15. LifeOfRiley

    LifeOfRiley Active Member

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    Somewhere around here Sasquatch, who makes pipes, posted a really good piece on what to look for in buying a pipe that might answer a lot of your questions. Can't seem to find it, though.
     
  16. DGErwin11

    DGErwin11 Moderator Moderator

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  17. ATXPipe

    ATXPipe Member

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    I have a Dr. Grabow Omega that I bought on a whim, it's an excellent smoker. Yeah it's ugly, but it smokes great. Also, my aromatics are all infinitely better in my Missouri Meerschaum Ozark hardwood pipe that I bought for $6. I don't own a pipe that cost me over about $90, and I still manage to enjoy myself :snork:
     
  18. BradNTX

    BradNTX Well-Known Member

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  19. Felix

    Felix Member

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    I am also new to the pipe. THough in reality i smoked a Dr G in late Highschool, and early days of my career in the Army. Went away from it, and picked it back up late last year/early this year. I have four pipes, 2 Dr. G's, a cob i got at a Civil War reenactment, and a Estate K&P Peterson off of Ebay. All are ok, though i do think my K&P smoes better than my Dr G's and W/O the filter. But maybe not. Your Dr G's will smoke hotter in MHO, but that may be how I smoke them. They do tend to get hotter than my cob or my K&P. The bent will be a bit cooler IMHO. My Straight Dr G Grand Duke smokes well but does get hot. Im new, like i said, but im learning how to really enjoy a good pipe. Its also all about mentality. If you are stressing over anything, try to let it go when you have a pipe. It can and for me does, relax you better than anything i know. I know im hooked. I smoke about one bowl a day. And i love it. Welcome to the forum and good luck!
     
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