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Are high end pipes really worth it?

This is a discussion on Are high end pipes really worth it? within the General Pipe Forum forums, part of the Pipe Smokers Forums category; Originally Posted by MarkC But if anyone is going to tell me that a standard bulldog smokes so much better ...

  
  1. #16

    Sot-weed Bohemian freestoke's Avatar


     

    Re: Are high end pipes really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkC View Post
    But if anyone is going to tell me that a standard bulldog smokes so much better than a standard pot when they're both the same friggin' pipe, I'm going to have to see a little more explanation than 'gut feeling'...
    The bulldog shape generates soothing ultrasonic vibrations, imperceptible to the human ear, as the smoke column leaves the chamber, while the pot shape doesn't. These vibrations put your pets to sleep so that you can enjoy your pipe in peace, rather than having to let them in and out, having them beg for food, etc., hence the name "bulldog".

    I'm trying to get started with some Sugar Barrel, but it may take something a little heftier.
    Vegetarian -- that's an old Indian word meaning "lousy hunter". -- Andy Rooney

  2. #17

    Snuff-hound steinr1's Avatar


     

    Re: Are high end pipes really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by freestoke View Post
    The bulldog shape generates soothing ultrasonic vibrations, imperceptible to the human ear, as the smoke column leaves the chamber, while the pot shape doesn't. These vibrations put your pets to sleep so that you can enjoy your pipe in peace, rather than having to let them in and out, having them beg for food, etc., hence the name "bulldog".
    Ignore my previous post. This makes the real situation crystal clear. Argument resolved.
    "Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level." - Quentin Crisp

  3. #18

    24 hr's ain't enough splattttttt's Avatar


     

    Re: Are high end pipes really worth it?

    In regards to manufacturing; proper construction is the mecca of all things considered.
    Second is materials used.
    Third; is personal preference and last is cost.
    All that being said, I'd love to try a pipe made out of bog oak made by the many reputable pipe makers of today.
    Current pipe makers today benefit from much better tooling IMO. And thus are able to produce a better performing pipe.
    it has been my experience that folks who have no vices have few virtues- Abe Lincoln

  4. #19

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader MarkC's Avatar


     

    Re: Are high end pipes really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by steinr1 View Post
    However, empirically, there are differences in how a Pot smokes in comparison to a Bulldog. Bowl height to width ratio...
    Well, the reason I chose those two is that, in mine, the ratio is the same.
    ********.com

  5. #20

    Snuff-hound steinr1's Avatar


     

    Re: Are high end pipes really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkC View Post
    Well, the reason I chose those two is that, in mine, the ratio is the same.
    ...not on the ones I peered at before posting. The Pot had a very noticabley wider bowl in relation to its height compared to the Bulldog. "Standard" shapes aren't always standard. The point you make does stand. Any difference might be would only be due to the amount and distribution of the wood involved. Anything else is in the mind of the smoker.

    There is nothing magical about a pipe that smokes particularly well. High quality material and precise, correct design and construction are "all" that is needed. Shape and size will influence the suitability of a pipe for a particular tobacco in the hands of a particular smoker. Anything else tends to be a matter of personal preference. What you pay for in high end pipes is better material, more care, skill and complexity in manufacture, better finish, and, in many cases exclusivity and rarety. Although the last few don't make a pipe better as a smoking tool, they do add to the pleasure and that has a value.

    The overall answer I give to the thread is still "Yes, high end pipes are worth it."
    "Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level." - Quentin Crisp

  6. #21

    Leading Puffer Fish Jeff10236's Avatar


     

    Re: Are high end pipes really worth it?

    Need help ASAP...

    I have my eye out for a higher end English pipe. I already have two Italians. However, I have always loved the Hawkbill shape and my Radice is a pretty darned nice pipe. I haven't quite seen the English that has motivated me to spend that kind of money yet (not quite true, a few times I've seen the "perfect" Ashtons, Northern Briar, etc. but didn't have the money at the time). There are two near perfect estate Radice Hawkbills I can get at reasonable prices right now. Since they are both online, and one is on Ebay, they can disappear quite quickly. However, with my luck, if I spend the money on one of those Radices now, sometime in the next couple days the "perfect" English higher end pipe will appear.

    So, talk me into getting one of the hawkbills, or talk me into waiting on the English. Right now, the back and forth is killing me

  7. #22

    Leading Puffer Fish Jeff10236's Avatar


     

    Re: Are high end pipes really worth it?

    Too late to edit, but it is down to one Hawkbill...I got distracted and missed the end of the Ebay auction...and only $100.26 too. Oh well, there will be other Hawkbills (they seem to go through periods where the only ones I see are over $300 for many months on end, when I see them at all, followed by weeks or months where it isn't uncommon to see a few at reasonable prices). I don't like the other Hawkbill as much.

    So, back to searching for the "perfect" higher end English pipe. For me right now, that is probably a bulldog, but possibly an apple, prince, bent brandy or bent billiard, and preferably with a Cumberland/brindle stem. Smooth or rusticated if a bulldog, smooth or sandblasted in the other shapes. Preferably under $200 for an estate pipe, and certainly no more than $250-300 for a new pipe. Top choices (but open to other brands) are: Ashton, Northern Briar and Ferndown.

  8. #23

    Leading Puffer Fish Jeff10236's Avatar


     

    Re: Are high end pipes really worth it?

    This is a bit more than I can comfortably spend...Please, talk me out of it...

    Ashton Sovereign Bulldog (XX) Pipes at Smoking Pipes .com

    I really like that pipe, but I don't want to spend that much.

  9. #24

    Snuff-hound steinr1's Avatar


     

    Re: Are high end pipes really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff10236 View Post
    Too late to edit, but it is down to one Hawkbill...I got distracted and missed the end of the Ebay auction...and only $100.26 too. Oh well, there will be other Hawkbills (they seem to go through periods where the only ones I see are over $300 for many months on end, when I see them at all, followed by weeks or months where it isn't uncommon to see a few at reasonable prices). I don't like the other Hawkbill as much.

    So, back to searching for the "perfect" higher end English pipe. For me right now, that is probably a bulldog, but possibly an apple, prince, bent brandy or bent billiard, and preferably with a Cumberland/brindle stem. Smooth or rusticated if a bulldog, smooth or sandblasted in the other shapes. Preferably under $200 for an estate pipe, and certainly no more than $250-300 for a new pipe. Top choices (but open to other brands) are: Ashton, Northern Briar and Ferndown.
    For me (and many others), there is but one choice for a high end English pipe. Barling's Make. Specifically, one of the "Ye Olde Wood" variants.

    These are traditional English style pipes of absolutley superb construction and made of the finest briar available. They are as close to a guaranteed perfect smoking device that you can get. I've got a few (none of the desired Ye Olde Wood, just cooking models, and all are faultless. Production went out of family hands in about 1962, so Estate only, obviously. Unsmoked pipes turn up quite regularly, but they go for telephone numbers.

    Supply of these is quite good in the US, better than in the UK, and a really good example can be had for a couple of hundred dollars (I've paid much less than that - an S-M [about Dunghill Size 1 or 2] sandblast Zulu was about 25 dollars delivered. I was very lucky. "L" or "EXEL" is a more normal size, but price can be size related.) I'm handicapped by the UK import regulations or I would have a much lighter wallet. I'd strongly avise having a look at the information floating around on these superb pipes. Nothing wrong with a really good standard Billiard...

    (Be aware that some pipes advertised as "Pre-transition", i.e. Family era, may not be pukka. I've seen too many post-transition pipes - easily identified by the marks - listed incorrectly. Post-transition pipes are worth a fraction of the real deal, but prices for these are also quite high by association. They ain't worth it.)
    "Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level." - Quentin Crisp

  10. #25

    Leading Puffer Fish Jeff10236's Avatar


     

    Re: Are high end pipes really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by steinr1 View Post
    For me (and many others), there is but one choice for a high end English pipe. Barling's Make. Specifically, one of the "Ye Olde Wood" variants.

    These are traditional English style pipes of absolutley superb construction and made of the finest briar available. They are as close to a guaranteed perfect smoking device that you can get. I've got a few (none of the desired Ye Olde Wood, just cooking models, and all are faultless...

    ...I'd strongly avise having a look at the information floating around on these superb pipes. Nothing wrong with a really good standard Billiard...
    I hear you on the Barlings, and I may consider one. Then again, right now I'm smoking some McClelland Yenidje Highlander out of one of my two Hardcastles (a sandblasted Prince) and I'm reminded how incredible my Hardcastle, Ben Wade, and to a slightly lower degree, my Invicta pipes are. I'm once again reminded of my original theme of this thread: should I really spend the $150-300 on an Ashton, Ferndown, etc. (and on the lower price end it will likely be an estate) when I can get 2-5 Hardcastles, Ben Wades, Parkers, or Invictas for the same price and possibly have money left over for more tobacco? I'm sure I will (when I find the right one), I like nice things, and I certainly appreciate the better quality workmanship and briar on my Radice and Ser Jacopo, but with these $50-100 pipes smoking so nicely (and they look pretty good too), they do make it harder to pull the trigger on the more expensive pipes.

  11. #26

    24 hr's ain't enough splattttttt's Avatar


     

    Re: Are high end pipes really worth it?

    Question; while a high end pipe may win points on grating due to its construction attributes, does it really make that much difference in how the tobacco tastes?
    it has been my experience that folks who have no vices have few virtues- Abe Lincoln

  12. #27

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader MarkC's Avatar


     

    Re: Are high end pipes really worth it?

    Keeping in mind that my high end is another smokers bottom level, no. Not any more than you may prefer the taste of a particular tobacco in one pipe or another.
    ********.com

  13. #28

    Leading Puffer Fish Chris0673's Avatar


     

    Re: Are high end pipes really worth it?

    Forgive my newbishness but really what is the difference between this and this? I mean aside from the obvious exterior differences in finish what is the difference between a $300 pipe and a $60 pipe?

    Don't get me wrong, that Ashton is beautiful. But what makes it worth that much money?

  14. #29

    Sot-weed Bohemian freestoke's Avatar


     

    Re: Are high end pipes really worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by steinr1 View Post
    (Be aware that some pipes advertised as "Pre-transition", i.e. Family era, may not be pukka. I've seen too many post-transition pipes - easily identified by the marks - listed incorrectly. Post-transition pipes are worth a fraction of the real deal, but prices for these are also quite high by association. They ain't worth it.)
    The real pre-Transition Sasieni's definitely are worth it, though. My old Sasieni's are my favorite pipes, period, and have an interesting history.

    My Sasieni Pipe Article | Murder of Ravens
    Vegetarian -- that's an old Indian word meaning "lousy hunter". -- Andy Rooney

  15. #30

    Snuff-hound steinr1's Avatar


     

    Re: Are high end pipes really worth it?

    I've taken a (probably not very consistent - this is the internet, you can't expect anyone to keep to a single viewpoint) stance on occasion about the "Pipe smoking - Habit or Hobby" question. When I first started smoking a pipe, it was 99% habit and 1% hobby (well, maybe a fair amount of student affectation to add to the 1% hobby...) Now it's probably at least as much hobby as habit. Many here have protested that they aren't addicted to nicotine (though I doubt this) and stated "It's a hobby". When I just used a pipe to get my nicotine fix, I smoked an inexpensive Alco and a succession of basket pipes. I now smoke much more expensive pipes. I could easily have bought one much more expensive pipe if I had a mind to, but that wasn't important to me in the day. It was just a smoking habit. Now the hobby element (and the ability to view it as such is budget related - I'm still as addicted as ever) has changed my attitude and I try to get the best quality pipes I can afford (within reason...) They probably don't smoke very much better than my old Alco, but they definitely smoke a whole lot better than some of the basket pipes I had. But mostly, I get a kick out of them.

    I find it difficult to square the Hobby View with a reluctance to see "Premium Pipes" as being worth it on this basis at the very least.

    I freely admit that I'm no expert on golf. But I know enough about the physics involved to be pretty certain that a cheapo set of clubs will probably give much the same service as a professional set in the a hands of an Amateur (in its stricty meaning) . You may need to be a bit lucky in getting a set with the face of the club finished perfectly (if this affects things...) - as with getting a high end pipe's construction from a basket pipe - and perhaps the better set will be lighter (or heavier - delete as appropriate for the better set) - as with a high end pipe's premium briar in an "anything will do" basket model. But for a hobby golfer (or pipe smoker), what of it? How much better are the doublessly more expensive set of clubs than the basic set - for a non professional? There are a great number of golfers on the forum. Does everyone take the line that expensive clubs are "simply not worth it"? As opposed to "I simply can't afford them". I suspect that most will at least covet a very expensive set of clubs. How would that enhance their golf hobby? Probably very little, if anything, in terms of performance. But in terms of enjoyment? I'll warrant that the keen amateur golfer would get a kick out of a professional set of clubs. And that in itself would make them "worth it" for them.

    I contend that this is the same for pipes. You may be lucky and get as good a smoker from a basket as from Dunhill. But a Dunhill it simply ain't and many will hanker after one regardless. The Dunhill almost certainly won't be a bad smoking instrument and probably will be a really good one. But the overall experience goes far beyond that. And that's worth my money. (Substitute "Barling's Make" for "Dunhill".)
    "Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level." - Quentin Crisp

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