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Soft spot?

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by nesta, Oct 12, 2011.

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  1. nesta

    nesta Well-Known Member

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    What exactly is meant by the phrase "soft spot" when referring to an estate pipe? What causes it, does it interfere with smoking the pipe, and is it something one should be concerned with?

    http://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/estate/united-states/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=85420

    This is a really good looking pipe. I doubt I'll get the money together for it while it's still available, but for a number of reasons I've lately become sold on the idea of estate pipes.

    Basically I'm wondering if this "soft spot" is a big enough issue that the $100+ price tag will be going towards strictly a collection item, or if this pipe should be a good, serviceable pipe.
     
  2. user1975

    user1975 Active Member

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    Not sure as I've never herd that term before, but that might mean a place where the briar has been scorched inside the bowl that could lead to burn out without proper care. I'm sure others will chime in with their take on it.
     
  3. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

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    A soft spot usually means a spot inside the bowl (that extends to the outside) where the briar is soft(er) instead of hard. That spot will get very hot very fast until a protective cake is built up. Sometimes a soft spot means the pipe was made with a piece of briar that is soft and sometimes it means the smoker burned a small soft spot in the briar by overpuffing.

    If you buy this pipe, you'll have to be careful. Let the pipe go out the second it gets hot in that spot (you'll have to wrap your hand around the bowl as you smoke so you'll know when that happens). Relight when it cools and repeat until you get a protective cake.

    I have a pipe that a friend made that had a soft piece of briar. It smokes fine now. Pain in the butt to start with but eventually I was rewarded. I've bought estate pieces at pipe shows that had the same issue. Just be very careful with it or you'll burn a hole clear through the bowl and get a mouthful of what seems to be actual fire (sometimes pipes like these can't be saved, and I know from experience!) :eek:
     
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  4. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

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    Oops, one other thing! When you find the spot - let's say it's halfway down the bowl - resist the temptation to only fill the bowl to that point. One thing you don't want on that spot is a flame. Fill the bowl up all the way and smoke it down to the spot. It'll still get hot but it won't have an open flame concentrated on the hot spot. Good luck! And don't let me scare you. I've saved about 10 pipes in this manner and only lost one.
     
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  5. yinyang

    yinyang Some rim charring is to be expected.

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    At that price, it's all yours.
     
  6. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

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    Ehhh... gotta agree. Granted I'm talking about the olden days here but I bought a pre-transition Barling Guinea Grain that had a soft spot on it for about the same price. It was worth the risk. Not sure I'd go to that trouble for a Kaywoodie, but then again, diff'rent smokes for diff'rent folks. I just happen to think $110 is a little steep for this pipe that has the risk of burnout (and that isn't guaranteed by either mfg or retailer).
     
  7. yinyang

    yinyang Some rim charring is to be expected.

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    No doubt. I haven't window shopped the 'bay lately, but four digits were to be had for less...a lot less.
     
  8. user0003

    user0003 Well-Known Member

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    Excellent post, Dan!
     
  9. nesta

    nesta Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, definitely not getting it. Thanks for the info
     
  10. yinyang

    yinyang Some rim charring is to be expected.

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    That's what we're here for...good information and dream smashing. :D
     
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  11. nesta

    nesta Well-Known Member

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    No dreams of it. I just thought it was a good looking pipe. I'd definitely have needed a little bit extra money for it to be "worth it" even if it were in perfect shape, because while I think its an attractive pipe it's not a masterpiece or anything.

    I'm sort of bad about getting my pipes too hot, and some rather pricey (for me) pipes that I bought brand new have had some problems with spiderwebbing. I figure an estate pipe with a couple decades on it is a good thing for me, because if heat hasn't damaged it yet I'm less likely to ruin it. If a soft spot is going to be a problem for someone who tends to smoke a little hot, it's definitely not for me.
     
  12. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

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    One thing that years in this hobby have taught me, is that another will come along... er... except for that Charatan Coronation dublin I passed on back in '85... and the Dunhill DRG I coulda had back in '88... oh, and that one of a kind Cevher meer I coulda had for a song (one verse, no chorus) two years ago... as Yinyang said, dream smashers! :D

    Better than you spending $110 of your hard-earned only to fry it, I suppose.
     
  13. nesta

    nesta Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I figure at those prices and with that defect it's probably only good for extremely patient smokers or die-hard Kaywoodie collectors, and I'm neither. Doesn't sound like a purchase I'd be happy with, but maybe somebody else would love to buy it.

    If I spend over a hundred bucks on a pipe, it better be pretty darn easy for me to smoke, or at least a raving beauty.

    If my next pipe isn't an estate, it's likely going to be another Stanwell. My Stanwell is probably the best smoking pipe I've bought new. I'm thinking I'd look for either one of the better looking Golden Danish pipes in either a billiard or a Canadian, or else one of the red or tan featherweights in a nice shape. I may also give Peterson's a try sometime in the near future.
     
  14. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

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    Agreed. It's probably save-able but unless you're really in love with it, don't bother.

    +1 on the Golden Danish. I had one in a horn shape and not only was it a great smoker, it had a fabulous grain pattern, making it nice to look at.
     
  15. nesta

    nesta Well-Known Member

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    Thing about Golden Danish, so far as I can tell, is that some of the pipes are stunning and some look like....well......nevermind what some of the less beautiful ones look like :)
     
  16. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

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    From the Files of "It only hurts when I cough - then don't cough", here's a tidbit for ya: Only Buy The Stunning Ones. :D
     
  17. shadow

    shadow Active Member

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    EXCELLENT INFO, dmkerr!:appl:
    In all those years of pipe smoking I've never even heard of a "phenomenon" like a "soft spot" but it's good to know about these things, especially when buying Estates, which is what I'm primarily into.
     
  18. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

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    Hopefully you won't get a pipe with a soft spot but if you do, you'll know it pretty quickly. The pipe will get hot like you never imagined. But a cake over the spot will completely protect it. My current briar with this malady is doing fine. It takes time and patience but it's worth it.
     
  19. shadow

    shadow Active Member

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    Well... I guess I've been lucky so far... but now, that I know about it, I bet my next Estate will have a soft spot!!!!:D
     
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