Epiphany

Discussion in 'The Smoking Lounge' started by Stonewall, Mar 17, 2012.

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  1. Stonewall

    Stonewall Active Member

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    I was standing in my man cave (I don't really care for this trendy reference, btw) which is nothing more than a spare bedroom in the basement, and I was fiddling about with my pipes, trying to find a stem that would fit on a Whitehall that had a filtered stem I wanted to replace.

    As I looked through the box containing about 20 or more pipes, I came across a pipe I had never even bothered to smoke but had just tossed it in the wooden orphanage box of shunned, discarded, unwanted and unloved pipes.

    I pulled the pipe out and looked it over. I remember buying this pipe and having it appeal to me for whatever reason, but when I received it in the mail, didn't care for the actual aesthetics or weight (too lite to be of any quality wood, thinking initially).

    So this little French estate pipe (red rusticated bent billiard) found itself excommunicated from the other more 'desirable' pipes and thrown aside.

    As I picked it up and looked it over, I determined I'd give it one chance to see just how bad it was as a smoker. I loaded it up with Balkan Sasieni and off to the back deck I went for my morning pipe.

    When I put the pipe in my mouth I noticed right away how comfortably it sit in my bite. The flame from the lighter was right in sight and far enough away to focus on lighting the bowl without guessing if the contents were properly/evenly lit.

    The draw was even and smooth. As I continued to smoke for a while it remained consistent to the initial lighting, drawing smooth and easy, staying cool all the while.

    I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. And that's when it occurred to me...

    I have fallen prey to pipe snobbery. See I've come to the thinking that if a pipe was considered a drug-store pipe, or if it was an unnamed "basket pipe" that it couldn't possibly be a pipe worthy of owning, much less mentioning.

    Because only a pipe with the nomenclature: Peterson, Dunhill, Castello, Charatan, or the like could be of any possible value as a quality smoking pipe.

    Of course in reality, it's only hit-n-miss with these manufacturers. Because there are frankly, no guarantees with anything mass-produced for market sales.

    The possibility of finding a gem in a basket is just as likely as finding one with renowned name scribed on the wood. That's just the way it is.

    I've come to the conclusion, that the best pipe is the one that performs for you as a smoker. And if you're going to invest in a quality pipe, perhaps having one commissioned for you by an actual artisan is a wise choice.

    You can take a gamble on a bargain, or a well-known manufactuerer; or you can have a pipe crafted to your specific ergonomic design and aesthetic appeal. And having such a pipe isn't at all snobbery, per se. But a guarantee you'll find exactly what you're seeking in a pipe.

    For me, having something made by an artisan (Sas, for example) or Wiley, West, or any other craftsman, is about spending your money once and getting what you want. A guarantee, not a stroke of luck, as with me this morning.

    I'm not interested in bragging rights, or having a better stable than anyone else. But I am interested in having a finely crafted pipe that enhances the pleasure and overall smoking experience.

    I mean that's what this is all about, isn't it?

    So in my pipe smoking future, I resolve to save and invest my hard earned money into something that is truly what I'm looking for in a smoking pipe. As far as I'm concerned, anyway.
     
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  2. ruralhipster

    ruralhipster Member

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    As a clencher most of my favorite pipes are deceptively light and can say as little on the shank as made in London.
     
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  3. John Long

    John Long Member

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    I had a similar experience a couple years ago when I tossed a bargain pipe in my P&C basket. I smoked it a few times but it didn't seem right soley because it was a bargain pipe. It sat untouched for well over a year until just recently. I stoked it up with no bias and it smokes just fine. I keep it in my car for puffing on OTC's while driving.
     
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  4. cobbsmoker

    cobbsmoker Active Member

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    In my opinion a machine made pipe is a machine made pipe, regardless the price paid and any of them can be hit or miss, hand-carved pipes are the exception to the rule.
     
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  5. Stonewall

    Stonewall Active Member

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    It took me a while to come to this realization. It's honestly worth saving up for.
     
  6. gentimmy

    gentimmy Active Member

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    what's the cheapest hand carved route to go?
     
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  7. Siv

    Siv Flame+Wood=Bad Idea

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    My bias has been developed through the lack of exposure to other pipe smokers and the subsequent reliance on my own limited experience, internet data sources and forums.

    I started off in a pipe store with a basket briar. I quickly got on the internet and started researching which led me to meerschaums. I bought a cheap ebay model, followed by an IMP, a Baki and then dozens of Baki pipes. It wasn’t until I put serious money into a pipe that I found something great.

    The bias was formed - I found a pipe maker I liked and assumed anything less was inadequate. I did try to break this bias and I bought a bunch of pipes from different sources, most of which disappointed. I did find the occasional great smoke in a Butz Choquin calabash and Peterson meers though.

    I’m actually avoiding buying a cob for the simple reason that it will probably show me that all that money spent on branded pipes was probably unnecessary and my suppliance to the white goddess is unfounded.
     
  8. lifeon2

    lifeon2 Member

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    You know I have a wide assortment of pipes from various makers and some of my best smokers are what you might call "sleepers" I actually have a garden pipe that looks like it was made by Mrs. Jordans third grade class at the school for the blind. It came with a mess of other pipes and I figured I would give it a smoke before it got tossed. As is customary when I smoke I usually putter in the garage so I had been puttering for a bit when I noticed all I could taste was ash and I was getting no smoke. Pretty much just like I figured but when I went to dump out the bowl all I got was fine ash, thats it I hadnt tamped it or anything it just smoked down just like it does every time I smoke it. Now as we all know this is the exception rather than the rule but honestly this pipe is going nowhere ever it is going to be buried with me. So when price point vs good smoking comes up I feel like this pipe needs to be mentioned after all a pipe doesnt have to cost an arm and a leg its a stick with 2 holes drilled in it that we burn stuff in. So I say wander a bit try out the no names as well as the savs after all you never know what you might find. Oh and isiv buy a cob they smoke good or at least the 36 I have do :sh:
     
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  9. cobbsmoker

    cobbsmoker Active Member

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    :xd:
     
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  10. Arkie

    Arkie Active Member

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    One of my best pipes was free with a pouch of Carter Hall 40 years ago. It is a Willard bent billiard and it orginally had an aluminum screw thread type tenon that corroded so badly the stummel would fall off the stem. I thought it wasn't worth the cost of fixing it but it was a good smoker and it had sentimental value so I sent it to Floyd Norwood to have a new stem fitted to it. When I got it back I took a detailed look at it and realized that it had beautiful, flawless flame grain and, with the new stem, it looked like a $150 pipe.
     
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