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Pipe Feedback / Suggestions and New Member Introduction (Long Post Sorry)

This is a discussion on Pipe Feedback / Suggestions and New Member Introduction (Long Post Sorry) within the New Piper Fish Forum forums, part of the Pipe Smokers Forums category; Hi Everyone, I have been lurking on here at least a few weeks now, gathering information from here, another forum ...

  
  1. #1

    Maturing Puffer Fish ChakaRaka's Avatar


     

    Smile Pipe Feedback / Suggestions and New Member Introduction (Long Post Sorry)

    Hi Everyone,


    I have been lurking on here at least a few weeks now, gathering information from here, another forum and numerous online vendors. I had some log-in problems here, so I could not post for a week or so. That got resolved, so I can finally post. Sorry about the very lengthy post and I understand if people do not want to read the whole thing or if I get little feedback. In the week or so that I could not log in, a lot has transpired.


    - - - - -


    My story:
    My step-daughter bought me a crappy Chinese pipe as a gag gift for Christmas. You know "old man" joke, primarily because my current winter beater is a Plymouth Acclaim. I guess she figured that I have the old man car, now I needed an old man pipe. Well the funny thing is that although it in no way would be worthwhile to smoke (being some synthetic "stone" material) at a distance it looks pretty cool (smooth apple type shape, medium colour with bent stem).

    Innocently enough, I went online to see what the thing was made of and whether it was even cleanable, let alone smokeable. Well I got straightened out pretty quick and decided to leave it as a prop or conversation piece. But in the meantime, some childhood pipe nostalgia hit me and I remembered my Dad dabbling with (likely a cheap pipe) at about my age. I also had an old English gentleman that lived next door when I was very young and I remembered him sitting out enjoying his garden and a bowl. Long story short(er), I got bit with the curse and now find myself very intrigued with pipes and the whole ritual. I am currently a cigarette smoker and would love to cut down or abandon that habit for something a little more refined and redeeming. So I am in the very early (crack-whore like) stages of PAD.

    About a week later, I had a chance to visit a not so local B&M (two cities away, as we don't have a real tobacconist here, just a couple "head shops"). I was honestly quite disappointed this store's offerings and apparently I have acquired more taste in pipes than this B&M. I saw a few Medico's that were so-so...one of which was so tight I could barely pull it apart to inspect it at about $50 depending on the model. Then in the basket he had mostly straight designs and I am interested in bent stems (at least right now), especially smooth or partially smooth designs. But amongst the basket pipes he had one rustic curved for just shy of $30 by some unfamiliar Italian manufacturer. It didn't seem to be all that well finished (bore alignment) so I resisted the impulse and put it back down. His rack pipes all seemed to be rather dusty Medico's, with a couple Brigham's thrown in and even with the basket pipes likely only had 2 dozen in the store. I thanked him for his time and high-tailed it out of there. There is one more B&M about an hour from me in the opposite direction, but I have never been there and figure I will probably be similarly unimpressed.

    So I am pretty certain I will want to pick up one of the economy Savinelli's online or maybe even a clean estate Sav or similar from eBay. But I will list some of my top wish list contenders and welcome any feedback anyone would like to share with me. I will also say that I am barely employed at the moment (trying to start a small business) so my budget is extremely limited and I may have to wait and save before I have all I need to enjoy my first real bowl. I am fully aware of the corn cob suggestions and may get a couple just to be able to have an econo rotation, but that would be strictly out of frugal necessity and practicality as they are not really my style. So please omit any corn cob suggestions as I am pretty focused on briars. Here are the current pipes that catch my eye around $60 or less. They are sorted somewhat by preference.

    - Savinelli Duca Carlo Bent Billiard, Brandy or Pot (For an econo line, I have heard these are good smokers.)
    - Savinelli Florence Smooth Bent 602, 607, 611, 622, 626 or 628
    - Savinelli Trevi Liscia 602
    - Morino by Savinelli Smooth Bent Apple
    - Brigham _23 or _84 (What can I say, I am a good Canadian kid and gather that Brigham's are good smokers?)
    - Bjarne Viking Classic Smooth or Polished Bent Acorns, Apples, Billiards, Dublin or Eggs
    - Viking Viking Matte Bent 4, 18 or 21 (Apparently Viking is made by a former Bjarne master carver and the quality is supposed to be equivalent to a Bjarne.)
    - Viking Viking Smooth Bent 5
    - Viking Viking Polished Bent 1 or 9
    - Viking Viking Houston Bent 16
    - Viking Viking Skagen Virgin 14 or 21Upd
    - Tsuge Super Smooth Bent Billiard or Brandy (These pipes look really nice for $50 but I have not found many mentions of them or reviews.)
    - Chacom Luxor Smooth Bent [various shapes] (Cheap price on this one, curious about quality/)
    - BC Bistro Smooth Bent 132
    - Kriswill Smooth Bent Walnut Volcano
    - Vuillard Smooth Matte Bent 42, 43, 184 or 867 (I haven't heard a lot about this brand, but they look decent.)
    - Vauen Basic Smooth Bent 1500, 3500-1, 3500-4 or 3500-5 (I also found a Vauen Starter Kit that contains this pipe and tools for about $70. I am not that interested in a typical filter pipe but figure that being German, they should be quality.)
    - Dr. Grabow Smooth Bent Full Bent, Royal Duke 1 or Savoy (I'm not real hot on these pipes as I have a hard time telling whether they are real or synthetic, but they are cheap and I have read that some find them good value).

    If anyone recognizes one or two on my list that are exceptional value or quality for the dollar, please let me know. I had to actually make an excel sheet with 91 different pipes to narrow it down to a somewhat manageable list.


    - - - - -


    So a few days after my first B&M visit, I went to my second B&M, an hour long drive in the opposite direction and was equally underwhelmed. There was some selection on tobacco, but even Captain Black White went for $29 a pouch. They did have some decent pipe selection, but the pricing was out of my budget (and for lesser pipes in most cases). Even their basket pipes started at $45. I had planned to snag a czech tool, some Captain Black White, some pipe cleaners and a corncob, if I could do so for under $50. But they only had the wood MM's and mini MM ones there. So between the lack of corncob selection and crazy prices on basic tobacco, I kept my money in my pocket.

    I wish we could bring more tobacco across the border than 200g. I have seen some amazingly priced samplers or even larger econo priced bags of tobacco online, but they are all closer to the 1 lb mark. I guess I will save my pennies and order things in small shipments to hopefully avoid import duties. I have found some great deals, just not all from the same store unfortunately.

    I have also been watching estate pipes on eBay and elsewhere because on my budget, that is really the only place I will be able to afford to build a rotation or be able to dedicate a pipe to a certain blend. That or a mostly corn cob rotation. I am eager to get "my feet wet" but don't want to spend my limited budget on false economy purchases.


    - - - - -


    So I am still saving up for a nice briar, should I enjoy the pipe as much as I expect. But last Friday I was down in a major city and just managed to hit a chain B&M half an hour before closing. For the $50 I had for just a pipe, I was able to get a MM Legend Bent, a pouch of Captain Black White, a czech tool, some pipe cleaners and some matches. Yep B&M prices are high in Canada, but I couldn't wait to give it a shot. I will be ordering the rest of my pipes and tobacco online now, once PAD and TAD are in the budget. I really would like to try some of the popular blends, but there is such scarce selection at most B&M's around me.

    So in the last week, I have had about 6-8 bowls now with mixed results. For some reason by second and second to last ones were the best so far. I guess the learning curve is steep at first, but I am reading a lot and watching videos on YouTube, so it should start coming together gradually. I can't wait to try another tobacco, but it will have to wait until I can place an order and wait for it to finally arrive. So many choices and such individual differing preferences. I am not sure that I know where to start, but I will begin assembling a "short-list" of possibilities.

    The attached photos show what $50 gets you in BC, Canada:


    - - - - -


    Thanks, to those of you that endured this ridiculously long post.



    Mike.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Pipe Feedback / Suggestions and New Member Introduction (Long Post Sorry)-p1050222.jpg   Pipe Feedback / Suggestions and New Member Introduction (Long Post Sorry)-p1050224.jpg  

  2. #2

    Maturing Puffer Fish trenschler's Avatar


     

    Re: Pipe Feedback / Suggestions and New Member Introduction (Long Post Sorry)

    Welcome aboard Mike. You'll find lots of knowledgeable folks here to help guide you down the slope! What you've got so far is an excellent place to start.

  3. #3

    Maturing Puffer Fish ChakaRaka's Avatar


     

    Re: Pipe Feedback / Suggestions and New Member Introduction (Long Post Sorry)

    Thank you Tony. Congrats for surviving my into. I look forward to the plunge.

  4. #4

    Midlife crises Puffer mcgreggor57's Avatar


     

    Re: Pipe Feedback / Suggestions and New Member Introduction (Long Post Sorry)

    Cobs are great smokers but I certainly understand wanting briars and meers. I wouldn't stress about dedicating a pipe until you find some tobaccos you like. Sign up for the NST and you'll soon have an assortment of baccy's to try for the price of a single tin.
    Tobacco Cellar: http://www.tobaccocellar.com/mcgreggor57
    Never trust a woman's tears or a dog's limp.

  5. #5

    Maturing Puffer Fish ChakaRaka's Avatar


     

    Re: Pipe Feedback / Suggestions and New Member Introduction (Long Post Sorry)

    Hi Gregg and thanks, I do plan to join the trade. But I think I need enough time on here and posts to be able to PM and initiate that transaction. I can't think of a better way to get some idea of what you like and what is out there. I do like my cob and being that it is my first pipe, it will likely always be appreciated. But I also am considering mudding it when the stem nub burns away enough, so I can get proper draw. Right now it is pretty difficult and nasty tasting trying to finish the bottom of a bowl. There is quite a drop to the bottom of the bowl the way it came. I have been researching this and understand it is common. Some people don't think it's an issue, others mud or otherwise modify their pipe to have better alignment between the stem bore and the bottom of the bowl.


  6. #6

    Maturing Puffer Fish trenschler's Avatar


     

    Re: Pipe Feedback / Suggestions and New Member Introduction (Long Post Sorry)

    Mike, just give it a few smokes and it'll be fine. If you don't finish the whole bowl for now due to the burning shank taste, don't fret it. It is a good pipe to learn with. It sounds like you're doing all the right things to learn - looking at videos, etc. Also, don't be afraid to experiment - that's half the fun. Sounds to me like we've got an up and coming BOTL! You've chosen a good tobacco to start with. I used to smoke a lot of CB myself.

  7. #7

    Full grown Puffer Fish Blue Raccoon's Avatar


     

    Re: Pipe Feedback / Suggestions and New Member Introduction (Long Post Sorry)

    sorry I don't know my Canada geography too well but you might check this fellow out..

    Welcome to Briar Blues

  8. #8

    THE MAN WHO LOVES TWANG! TonyBrooklyn's Avatar


     

    Re: Pipe Feedback / Suggestions and New Member Introduction (Long Post Sorry)

    Nice story WELCOME TO PUFF!
    That Cob should be a good smoker but $29 for Captain Black Ouch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
    Jimi Hendrix



  9. #9

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader MarkC's Avatar


     

    Re: Pipe Feedback / Suggestions and New Member Introduction (Long Post Sorry)

    $29 for Captain Black? Wow. I can't help wondering if there isn't a tobacconist in Bellingham. Heck, if you saved up for a nice buy, even Seattle.

    Of the pipes you mention, Savinelli's are nice pipes. (I mention Savinelli because I haven't tried any of the others).

    The Dr. Grabows are indeed real briar. If you can get a good look (here they were in blister packs, so I couldn't really see that well), make sure the hole in the bowl is at the bottom of the bowl and you should be fine. Oh yeah, I'd throw the filter out. A Dr. Grabow isn't a great pipe, but it's perfectly serviceable as long as the drilling is on target.
    ********.com

  10. #10

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader MarkC's Avatar


     

    Re: Pipe Feedback / Suggestions and New Member Introduction (Long Post Sorry)

    Oh, I forgot; what do you like on pizza?
    ********.com

  11. #11

    Maturing Puffer Fish ChakaRaka's Avatar


     

    Re: Pipe Feedback / Suggestions and New Member Introduction (Long Post Sorry)

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkC View Post
    $29 for Captain Black? Wow. I can't help wondering if there isn't a tobacconist in Bellingham. Heck, if you saved up for a nice buy, even Seattle.

    Of the pipes you mention, Savinelli's are nice pipes. (I mention Savinelli because I haven't tried any of the others).

    The Dr. Grabows are indeed real briar. If you can get a good look (here they were in blister packs, so I couldn't really see that well), make sure the hole in the bowl is at the bottom of the bowl and you should be fine. Oh yeah, I'd throw the filter out. A Dr. Grabow isn't a great pipe, but it's perfectly serviceable as long as the drilling is on target.
    Yes Mark, $29 for Captain Black, although I did get mine just outside Vancouver for $25, but I am rarely down that way. God only knows what it would cost in town here, if I can even find it. No US road-trips planned for me anytime soon. I will just have to pay shipping. Somehow I would prefer that to having my car tossed, in person.

    Savinelli's are universally acknowledged as good value, whether econo or pricey. So that is why I put them at the top of my list. Unfortunately, since I have been taking so long to reach a decision, a bunch of my $50-ish contenders have since sold out. I am currently looking at a Bjarne Viking in a bent apple shape, if it is still in stock when I finally pull the trigger.

    I think I would consider a Grabow purchase in person, where I can inspect the pipe up close. Otherwise it is pretty hard to evaluate from small online photos.

    On my pizza, I like almost everything, although a recent one we have been ordering a lot is Pepperoni, Bacon and Pineapple. It sounds a little odd, but combines the best of Hawaiin and Pepperoni pizza's into one.

  12. #12

    Maturing Puffer Fish ChakaRaka's Avatar


     

    Re: Pipe Feedback / Suggestions and New Member Introduction (Long Post Sorry)

    Quote Originally Posted by trenschler View Post
    Mike, just give it a few smokes and it'll be fine. If you don't finish the whole bowl for now due to the burning shank taste, don't fret it. It is a good pipe to learn with. It sounds like you're doing all the right things to learn - looking at videos, etc. Also, don't be afraid to experiment - that's half the fun. Sounds to me like we've got an up and coming BOTL! You've chosen a good tobacco to start with. I used to smoke a lot of CB myself.
    Tony, thanks for the tips. I guess I will just tough it out. I have not been able to finish the bowl to the bottom, whether I smoke burnt shank or not. I just try to keep it burning when it gets to the bottom, then dump it out when it dies. The first half of the bowl is quite enjoyable, the last half much less so. The B&M where I bought the stuff only had Brigham blends (which I knew nothing about at the time) and a few common OTC's. So I went with CBW, although considering they were all the same price, the Brigham was probably a better buy (had I known what was what).


    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Raccoon View Post
    sorry I don't know my Canada geography too well but you might check this fellow out..
    Mick, they actually appear to have an office in Langley, BC, which is close to where I was when I bought my pipe stuff. Although it is still about 5 hours away from me, at least it is on my side of the border (if they ship from there). I will have to look into Briar Blues further.


    Quote Originally Posted by TonyBrooklyn View Post
    Nice story WELCOME TO PUFF!
    That Cob should be a good smoker but $29 for Captain Black Ouch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Tony, yes after browsing pricing online, I certainly did experience a little sticker shock on the price. Although everything is more expensive in Canada: pipes, accessories and tobacco. I doubt I will ever buy tobacco much locally, not when I can get the same thing shipped to my door for about a third of the price or less.

  13. #13

    Maturing Puffer Fish ChakaRaka's Avatar


     

    Re: Pipe Feedback / Suggestions and New Member Introduction (Long Post Sorry)

    For those of you that smoke corn cobs. How many smokes did it take (or time) until you felt that the pipe was broken in enough to start providing that legendary smoke? Did any of you alter your cob by somehow removing the protruding shank or mudding the bottom of the bowl up to level with the stem/shank bore? Or do you guys just smoke them until burning of the wood and accumulation of tobacco/cake takes care of sorting out this irregularity?

    Last edited by ChakaRaka; 01-13-2013 at 12:34 PM.

  14. #14

    Young Fish Phred's Avatar


     

    Re: Pipe Feedback / Suggestions and New Member Introduction (Long Post Sorry)

    Hello there, Mike! Good to see a familiar name (from that other forum... )

    I picked up a bag of seconds, and the only alteration that I made was to remove the filters from the filtered models. I'm of the opinion that it's more about time and technique than 'breaking in' - I've heard elsewhere that cobs don't need any, and my own experience seems to bear that out. Since I've got more time on my hands lately to practice, in the last couple of days I've had some really darn good smokes - and one of those was in a brand new fresh out of the baggie cob, so it wasn't attributable to any alteration of the pipe. I'd say it took less than a dozen bowls all told - but I'm a total n00b and could be getting ahead of myself.

  15. #15

    Maturing Puffer Fish ChakaRaka's Avatar


     

    Re: Pipe Feedback / Suggestions and New Member Introduction (Long Post Sorry)

    Hi Fred,

    Welcome aboard Puff. I think you will like it here, I know I do. Good people and lots of great posts to read.

    In the last month, I have been getting more accustomed to my cobs. I have never used the filters either. It does bother me that I seem to waste some tobacco filling the voids in the bottom, but not enough that I have "mudded" one yet. The larger ones that feature the hardwood plug in the base of the bowl also seem to have less area beside and below the stem. So I will probably go for those more often than the all cob ones. That being said, despite the creepy hand-feel roughness of the Missouri Pride (natural cob), the thing is light as a feather and never gets hot. So maybe I need one of each, strictly for testing and verification purposes.
    Rookie, but learning.
    BC, Canada Pipe Smokers Group


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