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Boswell Briar Material

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by Grim_Puffer, Nov 15, 2010.

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  1. Grim_Puffer

    Grim_Puffer Member

    Feb 21, 2010
    This may be only an answer an actual pipe maker can give me but if others know i welcome the input.

    I love the pipes ive gotten from boswells in the past not only for their outer appearance but because im supporting an american pipe maker and they all smoke well and are heavy duty.

    Now Sas and I were in brief discussion a while back about a pipe but I fell through on my end as I didnt have the funds nor could I find the pin needed. So Sas I will be asking for one again soon as time permits you as I know you are a busy busy man and when I know ill have the money ahead of time.

    So my question is this.,,,

    Why are the briar pipes I get from them so freakin heavy?

    Its not that the ones ive gotten are freaking huge they are just barely above normal.

    The main difference is the walls are much thicker than a standard peterson or savinelli.

    They arent really uncomfortable but can cause jaw fatigue and I find im switching quite often, but I do have one thats so heavy i cant hold it more than 5 secs in my teeth without my jaw getting tired.

    Yet ive run into pipes around the same dimensions that are considerably lighter, however more expensive.

    Is it lower grade briar? Or , as one guy suggested , improperly cured briar?

    I love them to death and hodl on to them as I know the value will increase when mr bowsell stops making them and hand the operation to his son. They are nice peices of art at very down to earth prices and very sturdy, just can be a tad over weighted at times.


  2. Marine Dad

    Marine Dad Member

    Jan 26, 2010

    Looking forward to the replies. I have often wondered why their pipes are so heavy. I have purchased 3-4 in the last year but sadly had to sell them because of the weight.
  3. Pecci

    Pecci Active Member

    Oct 18, 2010
    No doubt, he makes beautiful pipes. I have not handled one, and he sells his stock out seemingly w/i o couple of hours.

    Anyway, just by viewing them, they look quite meaty/bulky. It has to be the type of brier he is getting, though.

    Are the size of his chambers smaller than what normally is?
  4. ChrisD

    ChrisD Member

    Jul 28, 2010
    Im really interested in reading the replies to this thread
  5. jpberg

    jpberg Moderator Moderator

    Feb 9, 2010
    A couple of (unscientific) thoughts...

    Having had a Boswell (briefly, from a box pass) I can tell you flat out, there is just a lot of wood there, but I don't think that's it. I have a Becker that doesn't weigh a hell of a lot, but it feels heavy when it's stuck in my pie hole. Conversely, I have a couple of Radices that are heavy, but don't feel it. I'm suspecting that geometry of construction is the main culprit here.
  6. Falconeer

    Falconeer Active Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Hi All,

    Think JP's nailed it. I have a couple of very large Sas pipes and they don't fell heavy in the mouth - think it must be a question of design and balance.

    I'm not a clencher so it doesn't matter to me, but my favourite straight Barling African Meer seems heavy for it's size - but that's because the stem is 1/2" longer than the modern standard,

    Best to all

  7. Grim_Puffer

    Grim_Puffer Member

    Feb 21, 2010
    Guess this thread is destined to be a mystery lol.

    I love my boswells and I was thinking it may have to do with the fact that the weight is kinda out there a bit from the mouth and gravity is winning the battle with my clinching but i have other pipes similar that arent like that.

    oh well
  8. old pipe guy

    old pipe guy Member

    Jun 9, 2009
    Well if you like boswell's why not just buy a smaller one,yep he makes a good sized pipe and then some but he also makes lighter and smaller ones.I have 40 boswell's some sure as heck not for clenching,but also have many in the 1-2 oz range ,if you don't see what you are looking for give Dan a call and see if they have a lighter one in the shop.
  9. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Sales Account

    Jul 15, 2009
    No one who makes pipes is going to step up and say "Oh yeah, this other maker, Mr. X.... he uses cheapo briar and his designs are bad." (Well, okay, Stummel Bum uses cheapo briar and his designs are bad, but that's different. :roflmao: )

    I have no idea where Boswell gets briar from, or how good it is or isn't. I don't especially equate lightness or lack of density with good briar, though I know some folks do.

    Making a well balanced pipe takes a lot of thought and a lot of skill. It's far easier to make a pipe that isn't quite right, and pretty often in my shop, I'll be putting the finishing touches on a pipe, and be thinking it's real good, and I'll pop it in my mouth to see how it hangs, and sometimes I've been surprised at something being just... a tiny bit off. But that tiny bit is huge. And if you are working with a slightly thicker design in the first place.... it's very noticeable. For example, on the big blonde calabash I listed a couple weeks ago, I had to bend the stem a little past the "flat" plain of the top of the bowl. The pipe is just a little less pretty for that, but it was absolutely necessary for it to hang right, and when a pipe weighs 3.5 oz it's gonna hang wherever it wants, and you better play along. If I hadn't made that tweak, the new owner would have really liked the pipe for it's looks and how it smoked, but for some reason he never would have smoked it much.
  10. t-bear

    t-bear Active Member

    Dec 21, 2009
    I've had the same experience Todd. There's a thin line between "just right" and "slightly off" in the construction and shaping of a pipe that is very noticeable when you put it in your mouth.

    This topic sent me to the rack to test my three Boswells. They are all fairly meaty pieces...one hung perfectly, while the other two were a bit heavy in the jaw, even for their size. I took an older (from '96) freehand 3/4 bent to the shop. This one had the bit slightly shy of "flat". I added just a bit more bend...slightly past "flat". Made a world of difference. Now, I'm not a clencher, so these differences don't show up for me unless I'm looking for them.

    Like you, I don't think it's the wood he uses, but the design. We all perceive weight and balance a bit differently. To Dan, the balance of his pipes may "feel" right on. His 1/4 bent that I own has a great feel for me. It's the two more deeply bent pipes that WERE slightly problematic. With a bit of tweaking, they are both much more comfortable now.

    Good topic....thanks.
  11. Smoker99

    Smoker99 Active Member

    Dec 16, 2009
    I have one Boswell, and the reason for that is that it is heavy, and kind of sharp tasting. The guy performs a valuable service in providing a reasonably price pipe, but have just always assumed the briar was not top of the line. I expect they could be smoked into submission, but I have just not bothered to do that.
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