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Pipe bowl theory.

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by Indianapuff, Jun 22, 2011.

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  1. Indianapuff

    Indianapuff Member

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    Hello all, I am posting this to see if my noggin is on the right track. Am I correct in stating that the walls of the bowl act as a heat sink? If this is so, buying a pipe with really thick walls should in theory smoke pretty cool as the walls will abosrb the heat creating a cooler smoke. I was just wanting to know if I was on the right track. I am buying a new pipe, and just wanted some info on this. Thanks!
     


  2. HCraven

    HCraven Active Member

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    I think there are other factors that play into it as well, which I'll let others more knowledgable than myself enlighten you on. I have some pipes with rather thin-walled bowls that stay nice and cool, while some with thicker walls get warmer. Not always sure why... :msty:
     
  3. Iain

    Iain Active Member

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    Does a bowl with thinner walls perhaps radiate heat into the surrounding air faster?
    I don't know, I just read that somewhere.
     
  4. yinyang

    yinyang Some rim charring is to be expected.

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    Just to confuse you momentarily...while you are theoretically correct, there are variables above and beyond that influence your perception of a cool smoke. Sensitivities, alergies, humidity...and these don't even touch pipe construction! Length of stem, material of pipe bowl/stem, puffing cadence, blend of tobacco, type of packing style, tamping pressure and frequency... all contribute to your ability to have a 'cool smoke'.

    This hobby has plenty of nuances to keep you busy/crazy. Have fun sorting them out! (Hopefully, someone less aggravating will give you a more concise answer.. :)).
     
  5. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Sales Account

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    I think it's fairly complicated. For a little while, you are heating up the briar, so in a sense, the bowl walls are acting like a heat sink, as are the walls of the shank and stem as the smoke comes up. Later on when the pipe is at operating temperature, a lot of heat is being reflected back toward the tobacco, and I think you can generate the most smoke for the least fire at this stage, which is to say, this is your best "cool smoke" zone in my opinion - the pipe is doing all the work, basically keeping itself lit.

    Thin walls WILL transmit more heat into the air (they feel hotter = they are radiating more). This could effectively offer a cooler smoke if you are a hot smoker, but I think if you are a "normal" smoker, just keeping a pipe simmering is a better idea, and thick walls seem to help with this somewhat.

    See dealer for details, your mileage may vary.
     
  6. HCraven

    HCraven Active Member

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    Yinyang is right, most often the heat radiating from a pipe has more to do with what you're smoking and how you're smoking it than anything related to the pipe itself.
     
  7. Indianapuff

    Indianapuff Member

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    Those are all factors I had briefly thought about, but as I was walking at work the thought just hit me, maybe thicker walls along with a blend of tobacco that smokes cool, and would give some of the best chances for a cool smoke. I appreciate everyones input, and as always when I come here I learn something new.
     
  8. ruffinogold

    ruffinogold Ruffinogold-Mayor, I.R.G.E.--At Large. Mayor

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    I tried to figure this stuff out years ago . Wall thickness , grain , length etc ... I've seen and own diff shapes , thickness , lengths etc ... over the years I've come to the conclusion that a well made pipe gives you yer best bet . Beyond that , I get what is comfortable as far as size and shape . My only opinion is that straight grain is over rated
     
  9. Arkie

    Arkie Active Member

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    Thick walled pipes such as pot shaped ones seem to smoke cooler. Theoretically, they would smoke cooler the same way thick adobe walls and massive poured concrete walls remain cool. According to my engineering handbooks, it takes hours for the heat to migrate through massively constructed walls so there isn't much flucuation in interior temperatures.
     
  10. Dutchking22

    Dutchking22 Member

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    The warmth of the bowl depends on the toby, the speed of smoke, the grain of bowl, and outside conditions....(i.e. wind, heat)
     
  11. WillH

    WillH Active Member

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    As usual Sas is dialed, IMO. But it's complicated. Sas knows what I am going say and can probably explain it better.......

    The pipe engineering is a huge factor. A thick walled pipe will provide a more consistant temperature for the tobacco to "smolder" in. Also, the drilling must match to bowl size and stem and that is affected by how the smoker draws on the pipe! It is very common today with the "open pipe" that's currently so popular as the ultimate pipe design, but it is very possible for a pipe to be too open for the smoker. Hence, the bow gets hotter than heck and the thick wall just keeps it hotter. Pesonally, I never saw much advantage to having a thin walled pipe - ya need a little insulation to maintain the steady even temperature. The rub is the drilling of the pipe, it must fit the bowl size and the smokers style - I repeat, bowl thickness affords that constant temperature if you, the smoke, do your part!

    And then.....yes there's more! The briar! Some briars simply insulate better than others. The skill of the pipe maker is important here because he knows the briar and will shape a pipe accordingly. I've got some custom made pipes, from a particular briar, and they smoke differently than other pipes. They are very forgiving and perform well despite my occasional lapses in proper smoking technique.....like puffing too hard.

    And then.....yes even more! The shape of the bowls interior is important. What happens within the bowl as the tobacco is consumed is hugely important. As the volume of tobacco decreases so should the interior dimensions of the bowl. If not then the tendency to over stoke the fire to keep smoking ratchets up the temperature. The tobacco chamber must take into account a reduction in material.

    And then.....oops more yet! Whoa, don't forget the shank and stem. If you ever doubt the importance of the shank and stem just look at the metal pipes, and see what they're attempting to do with metal shanks. Trying to cool the system down, that's what! The longer the shank the more heat is eliminated from the smoke - now you know where the "heat sink" is. The stem is important as well. Generally the longer the shank the nicer the smoke - to a physical limit! Too long and it breaks easily and the needs a metal tube inserted for reinforcement. A metal tube surrounded by wood insulation is useless. When the shank and stem are too long the smoker draws harder to get some smoke and then, yes you got it, the temperature goes up!

    So what's a fella to do? This is what I do! It's just my personal criteria. BTW all my pipes smoke well. Once fired up they generally smoke to the very bottom without a lot of fussing around. I just smoke the things.....

    Look in the chamber. I like it tapered.
    Hold the pipe! Is it comfortable in your hand?
    Is there enough wood to provide a constant internal temperature?
    Is there 1 to 1 1/2" of shank past the bowl!
    How's the drilling look! Is it too open - that's a personal operator thing. I look carefully for a 3/32 min to 1/8" max drilling. 3mm is nice!
    The pipe should be feather light with a consistent grain pattern over 70% of the bowl! Too much conflicting grain causes hot spots
    The bowl should be naked. No pre-carbon or finish inside the bowl. I want to SEE what's in there.
    The stem should be thin and flared internally at the bit.

    Yes there's more but that's all can remember... Sas feel free to kick my butt if I'm out in left field counting playing with my shoe strings.....:D

    I know you just asked about the bowl thickness.....but it's all related - it's a system.

    Will
     
  12. Smoker99

    Smoker99 Active Member

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    As mentioned above, this can get pretty involved. In general, in over 40 yrs of pipe smoking, my best smokers, and coolest are thick walled pipes, for whatever reason. I have some thin walled pipes that are good smokers, if smoked slowly. They probably do dissapate heat more rapidly, because they have to, there isn't anywhere else for it to go. They just don't do it fast enough, for the limited heat absorption capacity they have.
     
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