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Are Falcons as good as they used to be?

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I have a few Falcons, all ebay estates.

I once ordered a new standard - and sent it back as I didn't like the way the bit was crimped onto the stem. The old ones were not done like this.

The other day I ordered an International. Now that will have to go back. The humidome is badly cast (or pressed; I'm not sure how they do it) misshapen and there's a lot of flakey metal in there. Also the plastic outer seems cheap and badly finished compared to my other old International. (Mind you I'm not too thrilled with plastic as a material anywhere in the body of a pipe.)

At the same time I ordered a Hunter Dublin. This is nice, no fills - but even this is not 100%! The plastic ring is not a snug fit, and once screwed in it's evident that the threads or the base are not quite level.

Is nothing made properly anymore? I wish Falcon would charge a bit more and do things right.

Note to Gerry: the Bantam bowls are still available new.


Active Member
Hi All,

You are saying much the same thing I have. To my own mind the bowls are not of the same quality briar they once were, they are no longer heavily waxed and are only lightly polished - this is why I say you really have to buy them in person where you can inspect them.

I have seen rough swarf still on the threads of the aluminium section, which will damage a hand as well as the bowl threads, I have seen stem units where the mouthpiece does not snugly abut the metalwork as it should, and I have seen mishapen smoke oblongs on the dental mouthpieces.

There are quality control issues here - and frankly selling the "Pipe of the Year" sets, while they give a discount on a pipe and spare bowl are a bit of a joke as most pipemen would equate "Pipe of the Year" with deluxe quality.

The firm has changed hands over the last few years - hopefully this last change will bring about better QC.

The above said - most people buy Falcons as "smokers" and in real terms they are cheaper now than they have ever been - when I bought my first one way back when its price of £1.50 would have bought 12 pints of premium lager or 14-15 pints of ordinary bitter; The Falcon POY set retails at £31.00 and offers a spare bowl - that sum would buy now less than 10 pints of say Stella in an ordinary pub ( Wetherspoons excepted )

Inspect before purchase, or develop a relationship with a good tobacconist whom you can trust to select for you - Brucciani's Chris Corrieri in Carlisle can be recommended - or indeed buy on EBay and refurb are the best answers at present,

Best to all

I know the boels are not as good as they used to be and I prefer to buy estates to refurb. They are usually well seasoned and once cleaned, are ready to go.
I have an old estate falcon as well as a brand new one, and I see no difference.
Have ordered bowls and they are all ok (but not more) in the finish department.

If you lift the stain and check underneath as I have done you'll notice white fills and whatnot in there too, but nothing that affects the smoke.

On my estate falcon the rubber ring was dried out, so I replaced it with a regular buna o-ring from an oring kit (available at all diy stores for dirt cheap).

My falcons are great smokers, but not "pipe of the year" material...
Workhorses, not objects 'd art!
Thanks for the input. Obviously better if you can inspect them in the shop first - not easy for me - and it has rather put me off ordering any more Falcon items by mail.

The first International I got was off ebay, and although the bowl's outer covering looked faded I believed it to be anodized aluminium (and indeed saw one incorrectly described as such on ebay only recently). It's plastic. This is not a mistake you would easly make with new ones because they really look like plastic!

But, as has been said, a Falcon is still a good smoker, so I wouldn't want the lack of finish to put anyone off trying one.

To be fair, I can't see any fills on my new Hunter Dublin, and a bit of work with a needle file has improved the seating. Many of my old Falcon estate bowls have fills that need attention, so I'm not sure all that much has changed.

On my estate falcon the rubber ring was dried out, so I replaced it with a regular buna o-ring from an oring kit (available at all diy stores for dirt cheap).
Unfortunately, not something so easily solved in the UK, in my experience. Unless someone can tell me otherwise. I hope they can.


Coincidentally, I received a new Falcon a few weeks ago. The edge of the humidome was so bad with metal shards that you could cut yourself on it. If I had screwed on a bowl, I would have probably ruined the gasket seal if I unscrewed the bowl. I had to file the edge down and sand it smooth to make the pipe useable. Very poor quality to say the least. Very disappointing too. It was my third Falcon purchase.

My second Falcon wasn't thoroughly polished and I had to finish it up with some Mother's Mag polish. Yes, there is a QC problem with Falcons. Still, I put up with the problems as I like the way Falcon's smoke. BTW, all three of my Falcons will leak a bit.
Thanks to this site I'm on the hunt for a Falcon, currently watching some on eBay...

Here in town no one has any in stock sans a single estate model at one shop. Looked to be in great shape but I just couldn't get past the purple color.
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