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 Post subject: Pipes and Tobacco
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:47 pm 
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Hello all, this is going to be a thread in an indefinite number of parts, all about pipes and pipe tobacco. I'm going to try and put a lot of effort into this, as it is one of my favorite hobbies besides clothes, so it will be long. It also might take me a while between parts, so I apologize for that ahead of time.


Part I (of ?) - Some pictures of my own pipes

I thought it might be neat to give you guys some pictures of my own pipes and tobacco collection. I'll explain the pictures as I go.

My Peterson Pipes:

Temporarily down

My Wessex Pipes:

Temporarily down

My Misc. Pipes:

Temporarily down

If you can't tell, I really like the short, straight pipe shape (called a lovat).

Peterson Pipes is my favorite pipe brand, as they make quality and affordable pipes. They have many $200+ pipes, but their mid level pipes are fantastic. None of those Petes cost me more than $50. The one on the far right is an estate (used) pipe from sometime in the 40s.

Wessex Pipes are a close second, and provide the same quality and affordability as Peterson does.

The last pipes are misc. pipes. The big one is a MacQueen pipe. It isn't bad, but I don't smoke it much anymore because it is big and awkward. Good smoke for reading LOTR though. The next one is a used one I got for free, neither bad nor great. The last one was my first pipe ever. Great smoker for the $25 I payed for it.

And here is a picture of my tobacco stash.
Image


This much tobacco will probably be enough to last the rest of my life at my current smoking rate. But even this much tobacco is small in the range. Some guys have whole basements full of this stuff.


Thus ends part one. Let me know if you have any questions on any of my pipes and I'll try and answer them. I'll try and have part II up sometime tomorrow afternoon. It will deal with the different types of pipes and buying a first (or second or third or...) pipe.

Hope you enjoy it,

Conor

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 Post subject: Re:Pipes and Tobacco
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:15 pm 
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Location: Springfield, MO
Awesome. Pipe smoking is something I've looked into but have never gotten around to, mostly because I've only lived in rented apartments and have had no place to actually sit down and smoke. I look forward to what you have to say on the subject, especially since it's coming from someone around my age and not 30 years my senior.



p.s. I'd recommend editing your post to change the picture size. The default is (img size=150)**, but if you change it to just (img)** the pictures will be larger and easier to see.

** But with brackets instead of parentheses.

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 Post subject: Re:Pipes and Tobacco
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:30 pm 
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Conor,

Thanks for this. I am really looking forward to reading more from you tomorrow.


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 Post subject: Re:Pipes and Tobacco
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:41 pm 
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wnh wrote:
Awesome. Pipe smoking is something I've looked into but have never gotten around to, mostly because I've only lived in rented apartments and have had no place to actually sit down and smoke. I look forward to what you have to say on the subject, especially since it's coming from someone around my age and not 30 years my senior.



p.s. I'd recommend editing your post to change the picture size. The default is (img size=150)**, but if you change it to just (img)** the pictures will be larger and easier to see.

** But with brackets instead of parentheses.
Do you have any sort of balcony on your apartment? That's where I smoked last year and this year. None of my neighbors have ever complained. Given me funny looks, sure, but no complaints. My freshman year I was in a dorm with no balcony, but I had a few spots on campus that were really nice, and I would go sit down and smoke there. It might be worth it to try and find a nice spot near you where you could go.

And thanks for the tip on the pictures, much better.

Duck wrote:
Conor,

Thanks for this. I am really looking forward to reading more from you tomorrow.
No problem Duck, thanks for suggesting the new thread. I'm looking foreword to writing about this.


Conor

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 Post subject: Re:Pipes and Tobacco
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:48 pm 
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If anyone else has anything that they are passionate about please fell free to post about it. Funny enough, I don't really have hobbies. One of yours might inspire me.


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 Post subject: Re:Pipes and Tobacco
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 7:55 pm 
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Petersons are my favorite pipes as well. I have an estate Dunhill and some various cats and dogs I picked up, but the Petersons are my go-to pipes. I like their P-lip bitts because they are easy to hold in my teeth and keep my hands free. I usually smoke outside when doing light yard work or in an out of the way corner when watching my sons play soccer. I also sometimes smoke in my wood shop, but I can't really get serious work done and keep the pipe lit. Billiard is the only shape I have.

I've been smoking McClelland Tobacco aromatics(blended in Kansas City)for a couple of years now. Good stuff.

Scott


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 Post subject: Re:Pipes and Tobacco
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 8:08 pm 
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Duck wrote:
If anyone else has anything that they are passionate about please fell free to post about it. Funny enough, I don't really have hobbies. One of yours might inspire me.
I'm not big on "hobbies" per se but I have a lot of interests. (I'm not sure what I mean by this distinction but it seems important.)

Studying wine has been one of the most rewarding. I detest the "wine connoisseur" thing and everything that goes along with it (the "life's too short to drink bad wine" crowd) -- but it's an endless and endlessly fascinating subject. I first got interested when I watched Hugh Johnson's video story of wine -- it's called "Vintage" though I'm not sure if it's still available.

A sort of minor hobby I have is collecting first edition PG Wodehouse novels. I'm trying to get a copy of both English and American first editions of all the Jeeves/Wooster novels, plus whatever else I can pick up (Wodehouse was prolific, so this is not so difficult).

About 7-8 years ago I plowed through the Shelby Foote Civil War trilogy and made something of a hobby of that -- hareing it out to Civil War battlefields whenever my travels brought me into the neighborhood.

Etc.


tjs


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 Post subject: Re:Pipes and Tobacco
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:09 am 
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Thanks for the comments everyone. Part II should be up soon. I'm about halfway done.

Naval Gent wrote:
Petersons are my favorite pipes as well. I have an estate Dunhill and some various cats and dogs I picked up, but the Petersons are my go-to pipes. I like their P-lip bitts because they are easy to hold in my teeth and keep my hands free. I usually smoke outside when doing light yard work or in an out of the way corner when watching my sons play soccer. I also sometimes smoke in my wood shop, but I can't really get serious work done and keep the pipe lit. Billiard is the only shape I have.

I've been smoking McClelland Tobacco aromatics(blended in Kansas City)for a couple of years now. Good stuff.

Scott
Scott, I too like the P-lip, and it's a good thing, since 5 of the 6 have it. Some people absolutely hate it, but I like not having smoke being shot directly onto my tongue. I'll bet that Dunhill is very nice! I'd like to be able to get one some day.

I've only smoked one McClelland tobacco, and that was Christmas Cheer 2007, a straight Virginia, but it was very nice. I believe I still have a tin somewhere in the box.


FWIW, this is one of my favorite things about this forum: the ability to talk about other things than clothes. I really enjoy talking and reading about clothes, but I really enjoy talking about other things too, especially since I don't know a whole lot about clothes.

So thanks Duck and Jordan, for a great forum.

Conor

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 Post subject: Re:Pipes and Tobacco
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:45 am 
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I finished up sooner than I thought I would. Here is Part II.

Please note that this is just a basic overview. For a more detailed overview, see this website: http://pipedia.org/index.php?title=Main_Page
(some information from this thread is taken from this website)
Also, http://smokersforums.co.uk/ is a great pipe forum, and everyone there is very knowledgeable and generous. Sign up, introduce yourself, and ask a few questions.



Part II: Types of Pipes, Buying a Pipe

Types of Pipes

There are three main materials pipes are made from: Briar, Meerschaum, and Corncob.

Briar



Briar is by far the main material for making pipes today. Briar is a hard wood. Pipes are made from the root of the briar plant. It is hard enough to be able to resist the intense heat of a burning pipe, and it is somewhat absorbent, so there won't always be a sloppy mess at the bottom of the pipe (although there might be). Other woods can be used to make pipes, but briar has all the necessary elements for a good pipes, so other woods aren't as common.

Meerschaum

Meerschaum is a hard clay found around Greece and Turkey. It is very malleable, which makes it able to be carved into different shapes like heads and faces (see here: http://pipesandcigars.com/bemepi.html) These pipes are incredibly absorbent, but very fragile. They start off white, but as the tobacco juices seep into the bowl, they can turn a deep red or brown. These are usually more expensive.

Corncob

A corncob pipe is one of the cheapest pipes available. It is made from, you guessed it, the cob of an ear of corn. This makes it nearly as absorbent as meerschaum, but much cheaper. It also limits the bowl size to very small.


Choosing a Pipe

First Time Buyers
When buying a first pipe, there are many things to consider. For the sake of brevity and simplicity, I think that two categories can be established: those with a history of smoking, and those without. I will offer advice (note: opinion, not fact) for each category.


No Smoking History
If you have never smoked (tobacco) before, or have a very limited experience (with cigarettes or cigars, for instance), taking up the pipe is a risky venture. There is no telling what you will think when you first light up your pipe. For one thing, smoking a pipe involves taking in the smoke of burning plant matter into your mouth (not your lungs!). This is not for everyone. Another reason that pipe smoking is risky is because it is hard! You have to learn the best way (for you) to pack your pipe, light your pipe, tamp your pipe, finish your pipe, and rest your pipe. The first two steps are the hardest. Throwing tobacco in might work for some, but the majority of us have to establish some kind of system until we get used to it. The first few times you smoke can by a very frustrating experience. I remember one night sitting on a bench with somewhere around 15 matches around me, with nary a puff to show for the effort.

For these reasons, I would advise someone in this category to start with the most inexpensive pipe they can stand. I would say "Start with a corncob," but not everyone can do this (I'll explain later). This way, you can make a minimal investment, try it out for a few weeks and decide if you like it or not. If you do, go ahead and smoke that inexpensive pipe, or upgrade if you feel comfortable. If not, however, you haven't spent 50 or 100 bucks on a smelly paperweight.

Inexpensive Pipes:
The cheapest pipe you can buy is a corncob. Most cost from $2-$5, and the most expensive one I ever saw was $25, for a special display cob. They smoke great, and will give you a great introduction into the world of pipe smoking. This is my recommendation for all wanting to try pipe smoking.

HOWEVER,
Not everyone can do this. Like me. I started off with a briar pipe that cost me $35. I received the advice to start off with a cob, but I couldn't see myself smoking one (I thought they looked dumb), so I went ahead and bought a briar. Luckily I stuck with it, but it was risky. If you are like I was, go ahead and buy a cheap briar. But be careful, because not all cheap briar pipes are going smoke as well as a nice cob.

Another option is to find someone who has smoked pipes before and see if they will lend you one of their pipes (of any material). This will give you the opportunity to try smoking for free, and you also have the benefit of having a knowledgeable person to help you with the hard stuff. Most BOB (brothers of the briar) are happy to help out a new pipe smoker, as we have grown few and far between. I have given out some of my lesser used pipes to friends, and have received a few as well.


Smoking History
This category is easier. If you have a history of smoking, and know that you enjoy the habit, you have a distinct advantage. You don't need to experience smoking. However, there is still some risk, as smoking a pipe is much harder than smoking a cigarette, and more difficult than smoking a cigar (for the aforementioned reasons). If you fall into this category and think you have the gumption to follow through, go ahead and buy a nice mid level pipe. Some good brands are: Peterson, Stanwell, Savinelli, Wessex, Bjarne, and many many others. Be sure to find one that has a good reputation. Ask around, see what others think of them. Find a company that makes shapes you like. Some specialize in classic shapes (Peterson, Wessex, Savinelli), others make for freeform shapes (Stanwell and Bjarne). But make a good investment, since pipes of this quality can last a lifetime. The bottom line is (much like with clothes) find something that is good quality, but buy something that you like. I would recommend starting with a briar pipe, but you can get a meer if you know you like those. You can also start with a cob. Who knows, you might start collecting them (which would be much cheaper than collecting briars or meers).

Thus ends Part II. Part III will be about different tobacco types, and choosing your first tobacco.


Conor

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 Post subject: Re:Pipes and Tobacco
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:03 am 
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What about choosing strait vs. bent? I've read that straight pipes make it easier for you to suck in tobacco juices while smoking but that bents prevent this. Or is sucking in the juice just the result of lazy smoking or something?

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 Post subject: Re:Pipes and Tobacco
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:49 pm 
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redmanca, you are the man.

Very informative and thoughtful post.

I'm really looking forward to the tobacco discussion.

I'm not a pipe smoker, but I used to, occasionally, enjoy a Springwater cigarette after dinner. These were made of half virginia cigarette tobacco, half black cavendish. Very tasty after-dinner treat.


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 Post subject: Re:Pipes and Tobacco
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:22 pm 
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wnh wrote:
What about choosing strait vs. bent? I've read that straight pipes make it easier for you to suck in tobacco juices while smoking but that bents prevent this. Or is sucking in the juice just the result of lazy smoking or something?
Its a matter of preference. I suggest a straight like a billiard for a first pipe - something without too large of a bowl too. A bent is easier to hold in the teeth (less leverage) but it puts the bowl under your nose & eyes. Its just an opinion but I think bents and freehand/non-classic pipes are often a bit dowdy looking. A briar Dunhill billard just looks perfect, particularly given the style inclinations of this group.

The wet pipe problem can be solved by using drier tobacco in general and smoking slowly but should be remedied as you go with a pipe cleaner (which is easier to use on a straight pipe too).


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 Post subject: Re:Pipes and Tobacco
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:35 pm 
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Washington Post article on pipes - the link is from the Ivy Style blog

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 45_pf.html

You can't smoke a pipe wearing a backward baseball cap. It just wouldn't work. It would be like presiding over the U.S. Supreme Court while wearing a Hawaiian shirt.


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 Post subject: Re:Pipes and Tobacco
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:35 pm 
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Speas wrote:
wnh wrote:
What about choosing strait vs. bent? I've read that straight pipes make it easier for you to suck in tobacco juices while smoking but that bents prevent this. Or is sucking in the juice just the result of lazy smoking or something?
Its a matter of preference. I suggest a straight like a billiard for a first pipe - something without too large of a bowl too. A bent is easier to hold in the teeth (less leverage) but it puts the bowl under your nose & eyes. Its just an opinion but I think bents and freehand/non-classic pipes are often a bit dowdy looking. A briar Dunhill billard just looks perfect, particularly given the style inclinations of this group.

The wet pipe problem can be solved by using drier tobacco in general and smoking slowly but should be remedied as you go with a pipe cleaner (which is easier to use on a straight pipe too).
wnh, Speas said it pretty well, especially about using a pipe cleaner during the smoke. That's what I do.

As far as straight or bent, I'll reply using the funniest answer I've ever heard: if you're smoking a straight pipe, just don't look up at a plane overhead, and you'll be ok. Honestly, I forgot to put that in there because I don't think it is a real issue. Smoke slowly, tend it well with pipe cleaners, you'll be ok. A bent pipe hides a wet smoke better, but if you aren't doing it right, it'll still be there.

So I say, as Speas said, it's personal preference. Get a shape that appeals to you, not that someone says you should. I started off with big churchwarden pipes (like my MacQueen pipe), but I don't smoke those anymore, and I probably won't buy another one again. Here is a good chart for pipe shapes: http://www.aspipes.org/shapes/shapes.html


By the way, if anyone sees anything wrong/missing in any of my posts, please feel free to point it out or ask any questions on anything I didn't make clear.

Thanks guys,

Conor

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 Post subject: Re:Pipes and Tobacco
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 8:50 pm 
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wnh wrote:
What about choosing strait vs. bent? I've read that straight pipes make it easier for you to suck in tobacco juices while smoking but that bents prevent this. Or is sucking in the juice just the result of lazy smoking or something?
Yuck. Juice is not part of my program.

Couple of other things. First, someone taught me to pack a pipe this way: Pack in three pinches: Pack the first one like a girl (very lightly), the second like a boy, and the last one like a man (firmly). Silly, but it works pretty well for me.

Second, e-bay is a good source for estate pipes. Most re-sellers do a good job cleaningg them up and buffing the bowl exteriors and bitts. You also get the added advantage of getting a pipe that's broken in with a good "cake" of ash in the bowl.

Scott


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