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 Please enlighten me...

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Stick

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Age : 47
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PostSubject: Please enlighten me...   Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:51 pm

... as I am keen to learn...

So, let's say there's two pipes. One is a premium Dunhill and the other is a basket pipe. Both pipes are billiards (eg), and are packed with the same tobacco in exactly the same way. What would be the difference between the way they smoked?
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BigCasino

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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:58 pm

too many factors to generalize... quality of the engineering of either pipe would be the largest factor  but also the type of briar, size of airways, type of stem material, size of tobacco chamber
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Briar Spirit

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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:26 pm

In all honesty Stick, there may well not be any difference what so ever in smoking qualities, not saying there 'wont' be any but Dunhill have pumped out some duds in their time and some basket pipes have proven to be real diamonds in the rough.
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Northern Neil

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Age : 33
Location : Calgary AB. Canada
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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Fri Feb 28, 2014 7:12 pm

I have read an article that claimed that a danish pipe maker took one chunk of quality briar and cut it in half. From the two halfs, the pipe maker fashioned two identical pipes. In the end, one pipe smoked better than the other pipe. The explanation they offered is that briar will smoke better when it has had to go through "hardships". So, they basically figure that the pipe that smoked well was made from the top of the briar root, where is was more susceptible to weather, and the pipe that did not smoke as well came from the bottom where it was protected.

Basically, the best pipe makers in the world do not fully understand what makes one pipe smoke better than another. All that being said, if you buy a high end pipe, your chances of getting a great smoker are better than with a basket pipe.
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Estatepipeshop

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Age : 48
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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Fri Feb 28, 2014 7:16 pm

Briar is a natural resource and as such can be graded, this causes a pricing structure where demand for the BEST cuts of briar become more valuable especially when you take that possibly only 5% of the briar that dunhill buy turns into a pipe that price for that one block has raised considerably

Briar is used because of its properties so you want as much of it used to make your pipe, filler has no properties towards making your pipe smoke wonderful, many cheaper pipes use the cheaper cuts of briar & filler to create a cheap pipe, there is nothing wrong with this it is common sense or we would all be skint saving all year to add one more pipe to our collection

There is a mid range section of pipes that can smoke as good as the more expensive pipes, stanwell savinelli etc, a lot of detail & craftsmanship go into some of these pipes but the briar used will not be the highest graded because stanwell can't pay top dollar for a piece of briar, craft it, stain, sandblast, finish it with a stem and make a profit on what they charge

I own a mix of all sorts of pipes and one thing I have learnt is just because it say's dunhill on the side don't always mean it will smoke good, what you will have is a much better chance that it will over other makes

Jeremy Clarkson sumed up the difference once between 2 car makers Ford & ferrari
Both cars will get you from A to B
but one is made on a production line by middle aged woman wearing hair nets, the other is made by Craftsmen in Italy

I own many Dunhills Root Briar, shells, Parkers, petrson deluxes etc etc & my best smoker is a 1970 Savinelli Punto Oro Mister G which I paid £25 for as an estate pipe, a great smoking pipe can come from anywhere and at any price, sorry if this is no help to you but welcome to the world of pipe smoking Smile
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monbla256

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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:20 pm

BigCasino wrote:
too many factors to generalize... quality of the engineering of either pipe would be the largest factor  but also the type of briar, size of airways, type of stem material, size of tobacco chamber

Add to this , WHEN were the pipes made, are they new, unsmoked pipes or well smoked Estates. WHAT type of blends were smoked in them if they are Estates, how were they treated ie, cleaned etc. by their former owners and on and on. As much as some maintain that pipes and smoking can be influenced by physics and engineering, it's still basically the proverbial "crap shoot" from my experience after 40 + years of smoking. Dunhill makes good pipes and has made bad pipes. GBD made good pipes and made some bad ones. case in point, IMHO Charatan always made good pipes, I have around 30 of them that I love, but their are Brothers here that refer to them as "miss-drilled golf clubs" and wouldn't touch 'em. It's ALL a matter of OPINION which is NOT FACT  Twisted Evil  As they say ".... ya pays your money, ya takes your chances"  Twisted Evil Twisted Evil 
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Rad Davis

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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:22 pm

Estatepipeshop wrote:
Briar is a natural resource and as such can be graded, this causes a pricing structure where demand for the BEST cuts of briar become more valuable especially when you take that possibly only 5% of the briar that dunhill buy turns into a pipe that price for that one block has raised considerably


If I were Dunhill, I would be looking for a much more dependable briar supplier.  Laughing 

Briar carries the highest cost per pipe of any components used in the making a pipe. To be throwing 95% of your briar in the trash would kill any pipe making business.

Just as a for instance, I pay around $25 per block for my briar and order around 80 blocks at a time, so that's around $2000 for a shipment of briar. Now I throw away 76 blocks (95%) and use the rest to make pipes. That's 4 blocks for $2000, so my briar cost per pipe is $500 before I even start on it. When I finish the pipe and sandblast it, I sell it for around $375. Can you see how this just won't work?  Smile 

I'm pretty sure I pay more per block than Dunhill does  Smile , but the principal remains the same. You can't discard 95% of your raw material, sell your product at a reasonable price, and stay in business for very long.

Rad
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BigCasino

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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:29 pm

also we should add that it depends on the smoker and their technique, a pipe that smokes well for one person might smoke different for another who smokes slower/faster, different types of blends
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Estatepipeshop

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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:39 pm

The other 95% goes out to there sub brand manufactured pipes as seconds normally, the 5% is quoted and is widely known as the figure for the pieces that make it with no imperfections ,weather this is true or not we will possibly never know, it may be Dunhill using it as a marketing tool to charge the premium they do

Most major pipe manufactures have another company as a seconds outlet to negate the cost of only using variable percentages of the briar they use, Stanwell are known for not wanting to use any filler in there pipes, but at 1 point there were around 15 sub brands of stanwell
   
   Bijou (discontinued)
   Danish Quaint
   Danish Sovereign
   Danske Club
   Henley (discontinued)
   Kong Christian (discontinued)
   Majestic
   Reddish (discontinued)
   Royal Danish
   Royal Guard
   Royal Sovereign
   Sailor (discontinued)
   Scandia
   Sorn (discontinued)
   Svendson

Dunhill had

  Parker
  Hardcastle

Peterson pipes do not have a sub brand company instead they make a cheaper range and boast that nearly all the briar they purchase is turned into pipes, I have had new pipes from peterson recently with flakes of stain falling off the side exposing a nice sanded slab of filler & stain all over my hand when smoking it, yet because of cost, being a reasonable smoke & easy on the eye they are extremely popular

I guess what I am trying to say is if the pipes were free which pipe makers would I be drawn to, and to answer that question it would be companies who hand picked each piece of briar used, were critical over hole alignments & the general engineering, stem fitting & the quality of finish, but that is just me .

Dunhill
Stanwell especially hand made, select briar & the 1965-1972 Regd.No pipes
Savinelli Higher end range Artisan Autograph Punto oro etc
Charatan especially some of the earlier one's

there are more but that would be a starting point

Mankind is blessed with a multitude of senses and this is why I love smoking a pipe because it stimulates nearly all of these

Pleasing to the eye -If it looks good you admire it, if it looks crap 1 sense down
The feel - Does it sit nice in the hand? is it too heavy? does it get too hot and uncomfortable to hold?
Listen - Does it whistle because the airways are wrong or stem fitting is poor or gurgle with moisture build up no matter what you do
smell - does it smell like damp socks when smoking it or the aroma of warm briar & sweet tobacco fill you nostrils
Taste - Does it smoke too hot or too wet or does it feel like you have just taken a sip of sweet nector from the belly button of Angelina jolie

To me a pipe has to tick all these boxes otherwise i feel like i am being robbed of the experience, maybe i demand too much out of a pipe but i have a good collection of pipes that do just this


Last edited by Estatepipeshop on Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:58 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Brewdude

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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:18 pm

Great informative responses. Keep them coming, as I've kind of wondered about this myself.

Bet you didn't know what a can of worms you were opening up here Stick!

 confused 


Cheers,

RR
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Northern Neil

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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:25 pm

Here's an interesting story on Mimmo Domenico of Romeo Briar, who supplies a lot of pipe makers with their briar. Worth a read:
Mimmo Domenico of Romeo Briar
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joshoowah

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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Sat Mar 01, 2014 2:58 am

Rad Davis wrote:
Estatepipeshop wrote:
Briar is a natural resource and as such can be graded, this causes a pricing structure where demand for the BEST cuts of briar become more valuable especially when you take that possibly only 5% of the briar that dunhill buy turns into a pipe that price for that one block has raised considerably


If I were Dunhill, I would be looking for a much more dependable briar supplier.    Laughing 

Briar carries the highest cost per pipe of any components used in the making a pipe.  To be throwing 95% of your briar in the trash would kill any pipe making business.  

Just as a for instance, I pay around $25 per block for my briar and order around 80 blocks at a time, so that's around $2000 for a shipment of briar.  Now I throw away 76 blocks (95%) and use the rest to make pipes.  That's 4 blocks for $2000, so my briar cost per pipe is $500 before I even start on it. When I finish the pipe and sandblast it, I sell it for around $375.  Can you see how this just won't work?   Smile 

I'm pretty sure I pay more per block than Dunhill does   Smile , but the principal remains the same.  You can't discard 95% of your raw material, sell your product at a reasonable price, and stay in business for very long.

Rad

Glad you are well enough to grace us with your presence!  Very Happy 
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Stick

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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Sat Mar 01, 2014 5:16 am

Interesting comments so far brothers, thank you. I understand the economical aspect that necessitates pipe companies have to use all the briar in order to eliminate costly wastage, and that this will govern pipe pricing. I also understand the prestige of owning a fine pipe that has been made lovingly by craftsman; this is why I enjoy wearing a time-piece with a mechanical movement as opposed to quartz; the quartz will probably keep better time but it has no soul. I suppose what I’m trying to establish is, if I buy a high end pipe will it be guaranteed to enhance my smoking experience other than knowing I have a work of art in my hand? I want to enjoy pipe smoking as fully as possible and don’t want to be missing out! I’m enjoying my trusty Parker and am happy with the aesthetics and sure, it would be nice to own a commissioned piece but can’t really justify the expense at the moment…
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SpeedyPete



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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:14 am

Rad Davis wrote:
Estatepipeshop wrote:
Briar is a natural resource and as such can be graded, this causes a pricing structure where demand for the BEST cuts of briar become more valuable especially when you take that possibly only 5% of the briar that dunhill buy turns into a pipe that price for that one block has raised considerably


If I were Dunhill, I would be looking for a much more dependable briar supplier.    Laughing 

Briar carries the highest cost per pipe of any components used in the making a pipe.  To be throwing 95% of your briar in the trash would kill any pipe making business.  

Just as a for instance, I pay around $25 per block for my briar and order around 80 blocks at a time, so that's around $2000 for a shipment of briar.  Now I throw away 76 blocks (95%) and use the rest to make pipes.  That's 4 blocks for $2000, so my briar cost per pipe is $500 before I even start on it. When I finish the pipe and sandblast it, I sell it for around $375.  Can you see how this just won't work?   Smile 

I'm pretty sure I pay more per block than Dunhill does   Smile , but the principal remains the same.  You can't discard 95% of your raw material, sell your product at a reasonable price, and stay in business for very long.

Rad

Aaaahhhh! They've got one thing that you don't have......the name D U N G H I L L
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SpeedyPete



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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Sat Mar 01, 2014 6:22 am

Stick wrote:
Interesting comments so far brothers, thank you.    I suppose what I’m trying to establish is, if I buy a high end pipe will it be guaranteed to enhance my smoking experience…

Noooooo!!! No guarantee what so ever. Price does not guarantee a good smoke.

The only way to guarantee a good smoke is to buy an artisan pipe from a well known carver. If you're not happy with the pipe, you can and may go back to the pipemaker to sort things out.
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Estatepipeshop

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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:54 am



Hehe i wish they did have just a big pile of briar ready to throw away, because i would be knee deep in it:0
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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:21 am

There are probably twenty additional factors nobody's touched on yet.

CURING. Smoking a pipe made of improperly cured (inadequately boiled-out & stabilised) briar is a purgatorial experience. The Lane-era Charatans that taste so good today were nightmares to break in when they were new. As any number of people who were smoking them back then can tell you.

On the other hand, too many people of taste and experience have noted that Castellos and Nuvoles taste like Castellos and Nuvoles for this to be a collective delusion. Same with 1st generation Caminettos. And others. Family era Barlings and Sasienis definitely included.

PAIRING. There is, in the experience of a number of experienced & perceptive people I trust, Italian briar that positively hates straight Virginia tobaccos ("The Pipe from Hell" here chronicles one such) and only comes around with them gradually. On the other hand, there's something about the Spanish briar that Peterson used for many decades past that, IMO, just hits it off with Virginias from day one.

It gets a lot more subtle than that. Finding magical combinations is one key to great experiences.

Smokers. One man's trash is another man's treasure. GLP's gone over & over that.

There are pipes made of beautiful briar by well regarded makers that disappoint everyone who smokes them. Pretty briar and Good briar are two different matters (although you'd never guess that from hearing people talk).

I agree with GLP (to the extent that anybody cares) (if there even is one) that all the engineering in the world will never turn crummy briar into a good-tasting pipe. But really good-tasting briar, on the other hand, will deliver great taste in spite of "substandard" engineering. Smoke enough old "second" ones and this comes clear after a while. You can't taste the name on the shank. Once they're well and truly broken in, the Bewlay can stand on a par -- taste wise -- with the Barling and the BBB. (And may, for that matter, very well have BEEN one).

Dedication. When you find a pipe & tobacco pairing that's just off the charts, marry them 'til death do they part. You might be amazed at the potential you'd been missing after a while.

 What a Face
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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:24 am

Age & Use :  Pipes and accoustic guitars both, IMO, come into their own around the 30 year mark. That's why the Under-30 census here is two (2).

And, in conjunction with the "they're all the same in the dark" principle of age-induced parity, why the blue collars outnumber white collars.

FWIW

What a Face
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Estatepipeshop

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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:46 pm

Yak wrote:
Age & Use :  Pipes and accoustic guitars both, IMO, come into their own around the 30 year mark. That's why the Under-30 census here is two (2).


FWIW

What a Face

Have to totally agree with this the older my pipes get the better they smoke especially the ones from the 50's & 60's

Don't think this kind of discussion would ever be concluded ,so many different personal view's/opinions & as said variables to even make a judgment , I don't think even the Oldest & wisest of the pipe makers & smokers on this earth could answer it for sure it would only be an assumption and there point of view :0
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Richard Burley

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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:58 pm

Stick wrote:
... as I am keen to learn...

So, let's say there's two pipes.  One is a premium Dunhill and the other is a basket pipe.  Both pipes are billiards (eg), and are packed with the same tobacco in exactly the same way.  What would be the difference between the way they smoked?

There might be none, though the basket pipe probably has fills 'n flaws.  More probable would be a green wood versus cured wood taste comparison, as mentioned by Yak above. (Also the bit might be a rather crude thing on the b.p.)  Some are nothing but lumber.  That's been my experience.

But not all basket pipes are the same.  Some are, or at least were, actual seconds, which should smoke the same as the firsts.  I have a Charatan second bent pot that smokes as well as a first.  I bought it at Manning's News in Syracuse, NY for 18 bucks American many moons ago--yes, out of a basket on the counter.  I know it's a true second because I also had an identical first, identical except for the lack of the Charatan stamp on the shank.  They smoked the same.  (The photo is of the second.  The first was somehow lost.)

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CipsterX

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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:13 pm

Just buy a Savinelli they all smoke great. Smile
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SpeedyPete



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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Sat Mar 08, 2014 12:17 am

CipsterX wrote:
Just buy a Savinelli they all smoke great. Smile

Yes!!!  bounce 
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pepesdad1

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PostSubject: Please enlighten me...   Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:32 am

From my limited experience...owning a number of pre-Cadagon Comoys that are wonderful smokers, in comparing them to an artisan pipe such as Briar Spirit Pipes...I find that Kirk's pipes smoke equal to or better than these seasoned warriors.
I think the "soul" that an artisan pipemaker puts into his/her pipes makes the difference in smoking.
I have found Kirk's pipes to be superlative in enjoyment and beauty.  They are a boost to one's moral when you are feeling low.
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raf66

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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:21 am

BigCasino wrote:
too many factors to generalize... quality of the engineering of either pipe would be the largest factor  but also the type of briar, size of airways, type of stem material, size of tobacco chamber

^^this^^
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KevinM



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PostSubject: Re: Please enlighten me...   Sun Mar 23, 2014 2:42 pm

Guarantee?!? There ain't no steenkin guarantees. Also, it is problematic to make a distinction twixt D'hill and basket pipes, because much depends on quality of materials, care in craftmanship, smoker preferences . . . as others have aptly said. When I had a B&M nearby, the owner would alert me when he was replenishing his bargain barrel and would steer me to the picks of the litter.I got some great pipes and lessons on what to look for. Two thoughts to mull: I've often had my ankles chewed for saying a piper can forecast how a given pipe will smoke simply by examining it. A little puff of an unlighted pipe will tell you how open the draught hole is, and whether it will double as a dog whistle. Are the walls thin or thick? Is a pipe an ample hunk of briar, but does it still feel light in the hand? Has the pipes style forced compromises in performance? How big is the chamber? Shape of the chamber? Where does the draught hole hit the chamber?. . . Also, I contend that the reason for the oft-stated preference for estate pipes is that they've been used and, with a modicum of care, good briar likes to be heated and cooled repeatedly over a period of time. In my opinion. It tempers the briar, or something. The comparison with watches is a good one. It is very likely that the production pipe you hold in one hand will smoke as well for you as the artisan pipe you hold in the other. The artisan pipe will, however, score more points in the "pride of ownership" category, for which you will pay a premium price. It's your money and your choice, as they say.
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