A Bad Seed

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pianopuffer

Senior Member
Jul 3, 2017
464
25
NYC
So I bought an unsmoked Butz-Choquin estate pipe about 6 months ago, one of their Belami pocket pipes. It's a lightweight, small straight apple that's perfect for lunting, my preferred method of enjoying a pipe.
It's never smoked dry, not even remotely. I've tried all sorts of adjustments: slowing my cadence way down, using the driest of dry tobaccos, even opening up the draft hole a bit (since that worked on other pipes with similar problems) and still no dice. I've heard that sometimes you just get a pipe that wasn't cured properly, which may be the case here. Before I let it go and move on to something more reliable, are there any tips/tricks that I am overlooking?
It wasn't terribly expensive, so I'm fine losing it to the discard pile, but it's so damn perfect in its dimensions that I'd like to salvage it if possible. Thanks.

 

npod

Preferred Member
Jun 11, 2017
2,813
174
Steve Forbes once said that his favorite business quote is, “the way it begins is the way it will go.” I think that applies to pipes as well. Sounds like tried everything to make this pipe work without reward. Thus, probably time to move on. It happens.

 

oldmansmoking

Preferred Member
May 13, 2017
561
20
UK
Hope it gets fixed, always a shame to discard a pipe. If you could smoke it a few times it might ease up.

 

aldecaker

Preferred Member
Feb 13, 2015
4,412
3
I'm pretty stubborn about letting a pipe go. If I don't like the way it performs, I'll open the draft hole up to 5/32". I use a straight bit on the stummel, a tapered bit on the stem, and needle files from the button end. It has been my experience so far that if you leave any restriction anywhere along the airway, this does not work, and may even make a wet smoker worse. I am also a firm believer in funneling the tennon to smooth the transition and eliminate a big ol' square ledge for the condensation to precipitate onto.
At the end of it all, though, some pipes are just dogs.

 

pipebuddy

Preferred Member
Jul 24, 2015
507
11
Could have been insufficiently cured. But the briar might have been too young, as well. Actually, it could be that it was both. And, unfortunately, this kind of pipe could just be a lost cause.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,209
408
A short straight pipe that smokes wet. Odd, in the wrong direction. I'd set it aside and come back trying various remedies. Some really dry tobacco. Flake. Plug. Boring it wider is a last resort, but a good one. But I wouldn't wrestle with it ongoing, just now and then when you are relaxed and want to puzzle over something. The French do a nice pipe, generally. It's a small competitive proud pipe making culture. But this one sounds like a bad job. When it's just laborious, set it aside ... in the dust bin.

 

cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
14,545
669
Chicago, IL
Look, the pipe isn't a joy to smoke, and it will provide even less pleasure sitting in a drawer somewhere, forgotten. If it's a smooth pipe, get rid of that terrible lacquer finish that BC uses to disguise fills: sandpaper it followed by a quick coat of wax (carnauba preferred). The pipe will smoke better for it. I can't say it has to do with heat dissipation, or increased breathability, but I did this to my BC D'Accord 1024 and it became a better smoker for it. Don't worry about altering the pipe. Briar is tough wood, and a reasonably fine grit sandpaper isn't going to do much more than remove the lacquer (or shellac, or whatever they use).

 

pianopuffer

Senior Member
Jul 3, 2017
464
25
NYC
Cortez - I hadn't thought to remove the lacquer but I'm open to options. What grit should I use for this sort of job?

 

cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
14,545
669
Chicago, IL
I knew you were going to ask that! ...And I forgot what I used! I think it was 400 grit. Maybe you should start with some fine, and move to medium if it's going too slowly. Well, this just goes to show that it's so easy, even a numb-nuts like me can get good results. (My first instinct was to use acetone, but it didn't touch the finish on my pipe; neither did mineral spirits. I even spot-checked paint remover without luck.)

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,868
764
Monterey Peninsula
What Chasing said.
But refinishing won't cure the problem. The one thing to try to to load half bowls of dry tobacco, over smoke them (increasing heat), smoke to the bottom, and repeat 30 times. This will drive moisture out of the briar, but whether it's enough is anyone's guess, but it should improve it to become a drier smoker.

 

pianopuffer

Senior Member
Jul 3, 2017
464
25
NYC
Tried sanding off the finish as suggested above, along with some super dry CH, but nada. In the trash, life's too short.