A Bit About Bits

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jaytex969

Preferred Member
Jun 6, 2017
4,378
704
Each of my pipes has a different bit. All are at least OK. Most are good and some are great.
I can't articulate WHY those great ones are great. There appears to be no developed pattern to my likes and dislikes. Some are fat and rounded. Some slim and more angular, And, of course, all variants in between.
The only button I have that is intolerable has too little material on the top portion, making it hard to gain purchase for any type of clench.
Give us your two cents on bits, especially you pipe makers. Let's learn a thing or two today :lol:
Pics and cantankerous opposition encouraged, of course.


 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,878
803
Monterey Peninsula
I don't care a bit about bits. In other words, almost all types are all right for me. A few feel just a bit better than others, but no bit has bit me. Many are very specific about size, shape and material for their bits, but it's pretty immaterial to me. Just my two bits.

 

timt

Preferred Member
Jul 19, 2018
1,035
4
I like them thin and flat. Can't handle rounded at all hardly because I don't like the pipe trying to roll side to side as I clench. The button can't have any sharp edges or corners or be too big. And as far as material used, I use to be anti acrylic but since I've started to keep my pipes closer to the 1oz weight, it doesn't matter so much. This is a great topic, some of my favorite pipes are sub $100 Savinellis that have great bits - at least to me.

 

seanv

Preferred Member
Mar 22, 2018
1,066
154
Canada
I like a bit of a “lip” at the end so I can hold it wit my tooth. I have one pipe that is flat and I hate it. I use a softie bit to clench that one.

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,668
679
United States
I really appreciate a well made stem. Thin, flat, never rounded, made from high quality German vulcanite are my favorites. I am fairly picky about the stems on my pipes, which is why most of my pipes are made by artisans who pay attention to stem design. A well made stem will never whistle and will never create turbulence which causes gurgling. I won't own a pipe that gurgles.

 

trouttimes

Preferred Member
Nov 26, 2018
1,350
776
I love the bits on all my Comoy pipes and I'm learning to like the Pete P-lip thing. I also like my MM cob bits functional, not obtrusive and when I chew them up they are $0.60 to replace.

 

fishnbanjo

Preferred Member
Feb 27, 2013
3,035
3
I neither chew my bits nor clench so a majority feel fine as long as they can hang using the inside of my upper teeth and allowing it to hinge on my lower teeth, I have a minor gap and most fill it easily and some actually allow the pipe to swing opposite of how my head turns.

banjo

 

fishnbanjo

Preferred Member
Feb 27, 2013
3,035
3
Even if I’m not holding onto the pipe? I always considered clenching to have a decided tooth hold of the bit hence deep tooth marks and chewed stems, my way is free floating due to the gap.

banjo

 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
15,932
762
I always considered clenching to have a decided tooth hold of the bit
You would think that, but I've come to find that many smokers consider any hands free smoking clenching. I, like you, do more of a dangle from my front teeth, yet it's still considered clenching due to its hands free approach.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,240
440
I must be pretty adaptable because I don't focus on bits a great deal, though I certainly have a variety. Bits are more significant with heavier pipes. I have one P-lip, and I don't avoid it, but I haven't bought another, since it just feels like more in my mouth, and I'd rather not be aware of it so much. I suspect once people get accustomed to hand cut stems that suit them, it is uncomfortable to use any others, but I'm far from that. A little broader, a little thinner from top to bottom, seem to be good for me. I have one bit on an exceptionally nice pipe that is just a little too rounded and doesn't settle against my teeth as well, so I have to hang onto the stem just a little higher. Like the P-lip, it's okay, but a little more distracting than I'd like. I'm glad I'm not highly sensitized to this, since I like a variety of pipes at various price levels, and bits could be a real annoyance if they were central to the experience.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,878
803
Monterey Peninsula
Above: exactly why the term clenching is one I don't care for, but have no substitute to offer. Just the word may cause some to bite down too hard.

 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
2,026
158
I prefer my bits wide and thin. I struggle to tolerate the ones that are thick and rounded. In fact, I really don't tolerate them in general.

 
Sep 9, 2017
135
7
66
Greene, Maine, USA
Sometimes I kinda wish there was a softie bit to use on clay pipes, with a bit of a flaring-out, so that the stem would be less likely to rotate while clenched and thereby dumping ashes and coals into my lap.

 

odobenus

Member
Dec 15, 2018
250
10
Vermont
I'm mighty particular about bits. Flatter the better, and preferably vulcanite. In fact, recently returned a new horn-stemmed Ropp that I could tell immediately just wouldn't do -- too round. My favorite bits are on old Sasieni, Pipe Dan and Comoy pipes. Something about how they made them then. I struggle a little with the bits manufactured by Briar Works, Rattray's, and the modern Stanwells. Too fat. Charatan's, Northern Briars and old-model Stanwells right in the middle.

As a sidenote, I find saddle-stems particularly comfortable but don't love their look so I only have a few.