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Pipe quality ... am I doing okay?

Discussion in 'Need Pipe Smoking Advice? Ask an Old Fart!' started by Captain Eight, Aug 29, 2011.

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  1. Captain Eight

    Captain Eight Member

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    G'day old farts,

    I've been buying some modestly-priced briar pipes recently (I now own three). Two have been Savinelli brand and all have all been in the $80-range (or under).

    While browsing the online shops, I've noticed pipes can get very expensive, and the average price is probably well over $80. Should I be considering investing in a more expensive pipe ($200+)? Would I really notice any difference in the smoking, or are the ones I'm buying going to be fine?

    I guess what I'm asking, is whether all those extra dollars actually improves the smoking of the pipe noticeably, or is it mostly going into aesthetics, custom workmanship, etc.

    P.S. while I'm at it, does anyone know of any Latvian-made pipes? I found one guy on Google - Sergey someone, but can't see where to buy his pipes (save emailing him). I also saw that Peterson brand pipes have a bit of Latvian history. Thanks.
     
  2. Snake

    Snake permanent ankle biter

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    Cap'n 8,
    My best smokers are a couple of estate
    Savs that are in that price range. I have
    several pipes in the 300 USD range (not
    boasting), and those Savs smoke just as
    well as the expensive ones.

    Now, having said that, a lot of the expensive
    pipes are very well crafted, including the
    functionality of the pipe.

    Short version: a good smoker doesn't have
    to be expensive. I'd say it's more hit-or-miss
    with less expensive pipes. IMHO.
     
    Dutchking22 and yinyang like this.
  3. Jeebs

    Jeebs Active Member

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    That is a good question for someone to answer. Personally, I think, the Higher the price, the bigger the name. Now, I only smoke pipes that I have made from Briar pipe kits. When I first started smoking a pipe, I bought 6 or 7 high price pipes, because I thought the more expensive, the better they would smoke. I have sold all of them because the ones I have made {$50.00} smoke as well and even better. Savinelli is a good, well established brand. If you are wanting a good smoking pipe, do what you are doing, if you've got money to burn, go for it
     
  4. Mister Moo

    Mister Moo Normal Cow Moderator Moderator

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    Old fart here. Sergei Senatorov's pipes are pretty striking - http://pipedia.org/index.php?title=Senatorov

    His web site - http://www.senatorov.lv/eng.html

    Price is generally considered what you pay for the next level of beauty, artistry or originality. Quality smoking on higher end pipes turns into a long discussion where the expression "crap shoot" usually turns up.
     
    nesta and HCraven like this.
  5. SenatorXMG

    SenatorXMG Member

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    The old saying "you get what you pay for" is not necessarily true when it comes to pipes. For price, let's consider the retail price instead of the actual you could find something on eBay for. It's a fairer comparison.

    I've got $60 pipes which smoke just fine...and I think they look fine, too.

    I've got a Dunhill which retails in the $400 range...smokes fine, too. Does it smoke 6-7 times better...NO!!!!! I'd probably equate the smoking experience to that of my $200 pipes. But, I just had to try a Dunnie.

    For me, the sweet spot for price seems to be right around the $175 - $225 range. These are my best smoking pipes and also my best looking pipes. However, they still don't smoke 3-4 times better....but I enjoy smoking them probably 10 times more! My Hackert pipes were around $100...and they are in my top 5...so that squashes some of my theory.

    More expensive pipes usually have nicer finishes...a better chance of good quality (i.e. proper drilling, good stem work, etc)...and a brand that doesn't depreciate as much (or at all) as a cheaper brand. It's not a guarantee, though.
     
  6. Puff The Magic

    Puff The Magic Active Member

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    4,099
    A Honda Civic will get you most everywhere you need to get to.

    So will a Silverado.

    Or a Camaro SS.

    Different strokes. Get what you want. If you can afford it......... most definitely get what you want. If you can't? Cherish and marvel at what you have (others have less.......) ;)

    Ed
    Puff

    P.S. Please excuse the car analogy, but it's decisions we all have to make.......... even down to the leaf we burn! If ya want a fancy pipe and don't wanna carve it? Go buy it! Really no argument about it. You've already got "that feeling" as if you should be looking at more pipes. Awfully good pipes in the $100 range. Gets prettier or fancier beyond that for production pipes. Artisans are around this level and upwards, they may be a consideration

    Sasquatch "S-Quatch" or "BST" (Briar Sweat & Tears)

    T-bear "Bears Den"

    51flgoose "Rob Davison" pipes

    All are current members here and carve wonderful custom "one off's" that smoke extremely well.

    Higher range in pricing

    Mark Tinsky "American Smoking Pipes"

    Brian Ruthenberg "Briar Art"

    I own pipes from all of the above artisans and don't regret a single purchase. Yes, a touch pricier than $100 but not always that much more. I look at a pipe purchase as an "over the long haul" or "over my lifetime or the lifetime of the pipe's". Well, if I smoked it once every other day, or even less towards once a week and took care of it to not wind-scorch or burnout-itis, it'll last me forever and then some! So, if ya got the moolah, and ya got the "jones", go for it! :)
     
    Scottly likes this.
  7. WillH

    WillH Active Member

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    What's important to me:
    • The tobacco chamber - must tapered and clean inside.
    • The overall construction
    • A uniform grain pattern around the bowl
    • A light weight
    • It must feel good in my hand and have visual appeal
    • No finish - just wax!
    • Comfortable stem that's thin with internal flair
    What isn't important:
    • The name stamped on the shank
    • The staining and polishing
    • Exerated shape
    • Unusual materials such as: Bolivian Chaparral root briar bowl with Siberian Tiger fang stem, doesn't excite me!
    • A huge price tag
    Will
     
    dwaugh likes this.
  8. HCraven

    HCraven Active Member

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    While Will's list above does reflect some personal preferences, he's really got the right idea: figure out what's important and not important to you and buy accordingly. A pipe that's well constructed (i.e. drilled properly, passes a cleaner relatively easily, has a good fit and finish, etc.) should be important to anyone, because anything less diminishes it's ability to smoke well. Apart from that, spend however much you are comfortable with and enjoy what you get.
     
  9. SenatorXMG

    SenatorXMG Member

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    Just one more piece of advice....

    Other than having a pipe that is engineered well, the real important aspect of a pipe that smokes well is the choice of tobacco, how you fill it and the proper smoking technique.
     
  10. Captain Eight

    Captain Eight Member

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    Thanks for the responses guys.

    I think I will stick to Savinelli for the moment. It's not just about price, their designs actually really appeal to me too. This is the one I have my eye on now, there's something in the design that really appeals for some reason. It just looks comfortable and comforting.

    [​IMG]

    I would also be interested in a Latvian-made pipe as a novelty for family-heritage reasons, but I can't find much information on them (as one would expect I guess!).
     
  11. DGErwin11

    DGErwin11 Moderator Moderator

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    Had one of those once, smoked like yak dung.
     
  12. Puff The Magic

    Puff The Magic Active Member

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    Those Quandales are nice pipes..... sort of a dressed up version (and better quality briar) of the "Black & White Favorites". Mine is a Prince B&W (smokingpipes blew 'em out at $31/ea last December). Smokes very nicely (regardless of price).

    Ed
    Puff

    Ya gettin' it????? :D
     
  13. Captain Eight

    Captain Eight Member

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    Thinking seriously about it ... maybe the smooth-finished version. I'm just going to wait and see if anyone responds to my thread in "Pipe Tobacco" r.e. tobacco tin designs, see if I can be tempted to add something else interesting to the order (gotta make it worth the order if I'm going to ship to Australia!).

    ;)
     
  14. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

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    +1 on that. IMHO, the focus is on the toby. What defines a "nice pipe" is a very personal thing. My comfort range is about $75 to $150, but my tastes in a pipe are conservative and pedestrian. I simply want a well constructed pipe, and both Peterson and Savinelli sell good pipes that fall into my price range. Thus, for me a nice pipe is one that simply smokes well. In that respect, an $8.00 MM cob works just as well as as a $300.00 Dunhill briar. That leaves me with a lot more money to build a cellar and try new blends.
     
  15. Jussto

    Jussto Active Member

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    Are you doing ok? To answer a question with a question: Are you enjoying the smokes you're having now? If so, you're doing great!

    There are improvements in pipes above your current price point, and chances that you'll get a bad smoker decrease as well, but these things are really fairly insignificant in the long run, I know that Sav backs up their products, if you get a dud they'll replace it, etc. Smoke what you've got, and if you're happy with your brand, stick with it! Maybe down the road if you think you'll stick with the hobby for a lifetime, or get into serious collecting, look at higher end pieces.

    One drawback for me with the more expensive pipes is that I smoke them less and more gingerly to try to preserve their condition. There is something great about a pipe that you can clench as you work without worrying about tooth marks or dropping it ruining your investment.

    Smoke well!
     
  16. WillH

    WillH Active Member

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    RTO,
    That's fine but what if the smoker likes a particular range of tobaccos? Seems when in that situation perhaps the choice of pipes should fit the tobacco. My taste in tobacco has narrowed considerably in the last ten years . As a result I now look for pipes that perform well given my tobaccos. Seems bass ackward but life is fickle.

    Will
     
  17. Captain Eight

    Captain Eight Member

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    Okay, well I bit the bullet. I didn't order the one pictures, I ordered the smoothed version:

    [​IMG]

    + six tins of tobacco. I just can't stop buying that stuff. It's ~$40 each in Australia and about $7 each online. I can't help but justify the constant buying!

    I've also got this pipe in the mail that should be arriving soon:

    [​IMG]

    There's something about the long-stemmed ones that I really like. My idea is to use at-least one of these for smoking aromatics. The idea being to avoid ghosting my other pipes and so that it will help cool the smoke and reduce tongue-bite.
     
  18. Mister Moo

    Mister Moo Normal Cow Moderator Moderator

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    Keep watching ebay for new/used Senatorov pipes, Cap'8, or order/commission one by email directly from Sergei. Nice guy, Sergei.

    Don't forget to order pipecleaners long enough for that big Sav.
     
  19. Captain Eight

    Captain Eight Member

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    sh-t, I knew I forgot somehing. Extra long pipe cleaners. Oh well ... guess I'll have to put in another order ... I'll have to include a handful of tins to justify the $20 shipping cost down under...

    ;)

    Actually, I'll just check my local tobacconist first. They'll probably have some extra long pipe cleaners...
     
  20. HiloJohnny

    HiloJohnny Guest

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    Aloha Capt. Eight.... All of the advice above is right on target. But, don't be afraid to look into Sergey Senatorov's pipes....one of my best smokers is a bent acorn that I got from him 1-2 yrs. ago. He is most pleasant to deal with and his website usually has photos of many of his recent creations so that you can see what he is about....:old:
     
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