I’m pretty new to pipe smoking, and only have a half-dozen pipes. I’m writing to ask a question about pipe construction and quality. Given the obvious frequency of pushing pipe cleaners thru the stem and into the bowl, you’d think quality pipes from reputable makers would consider it a basic design characteristic for any pipe they put their name to, to make this a seamless, easy process. Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be the case. I own pipes from Radice, Peterson, Savinelli, ASPC, and Comoy, and pipe cleaners routinely get stuck in all of them where the stem enters the shank. I usually pull the pipe cleaner out, and put a slight bend about an eighth of an inch from the end, and then twist and push the cleaner at the joint until it finally finds its way thru. I prefer bents, which I’m sure present a bit more of a challenge to pipemakers in this regard, but even my straight Radice suffers this problem. I’d like to hear from more experienced pipe guys on this. Is this a common problem? If so, how can that be? From a manufacturing standpoint (especially with straight pipes) it would seem an easy problem to solve by drilling the shank mortice first, followed by a drill centered in the mortice that’s slightly larger than the diameter of the air channel in the stem, to fit a stem molded to be centered on the tenon. I’m really surprised (and a little annoyed given the cost of quality pipes) to see how common this problem is. At first I thought I just bought a one-off pipe, but it seems to transcend brand. It’s not the worst problem in the world, but given the emphasis on design, tradition, and quality that seems so evident in the discussion and marketing of briars, this seems like a problem that should have been solved a hundred years ago. Your thoughts?