Light Weight Pipes

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johnparker

Member
Aug 22, 2013
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0
Did a little searching on the subject, and did not get the explanation that I was looking for. I understand that light weight means it doesn't weigh as much as other pipes. My question is how did it get light and what impact does that have on smoking.
I am guessing that a light weight pipe is light because it has a thinner bowl (less wood) than otherwise. IF that is correct, what effect does that have on smoking it? Have read that a pipe may be light because the briar is more aged and cured. But if it is indeed thinner, wouldn't that mean that the pipe would smoke hotter? Not necessarily to my mouth, but to the detriment of the bowl?
Would appreciate an education! Thanks!

 

taerin

Preferred Member
May 22, 2012
1,853
0
You only really want light weight if your a clencher, many things are involved. If you have a nice big button, you can put less force on the clench, if it is fully bent, it acts like a lever and you never feel the weight of the pipe. Corn cob pipes are extremely light weight, so are clay pipes. Briar are only heavy if they are very large, it is a pretty light wood.
Weight won't affect the smoking of the pipe, it's more of your comfort level. Thin walled pipes won't make the smoke worse, but it will feel much hotter to the touch, that's something most of us do not want as feeling the bowl is a time honored test of whether or not your smoking too hot. With thinly walled pipes, that test is invalid, it doesn't hurt the pipe, but it is kind of hard to tell when your smoking too hot, since it always feels too hot. Now, when you develop a good cake inside a pipe, even a thin walled pipe might stop feeling so hot, some Petes break in this way, cause they don't normally have very thick walls like many pipes do.
I've always preferred the bent apple shape, since it has very thick walls on the bowl and distributes the heat very well within the briar, it is never too hot to hold, unless your overdoing it. In reality I have never burnt out a corn cob and since briar is much more heat resistant, I would not worry about burning any briar pipe out, even one with very thin walls.

 

johnparker

Member
Aug 22, 2013
112
0
Thank you, Eric. I will certainly remember your comment on the apple shape; I have been leaning more toward the bent billiard/brandy but purely for looks sake. And I have been looking at Dublin shapes lately. My question, though, does not come from a desire to clench; I wear full dentures and have zero ability to clench. My thoughts were from the smokeability and viability of the pipe.

 

philobeddoe

Preferred Member
Oct 31, 2011
4,553
67
East Indiana
A lighter briar often means it is of greater quality, as the wood has had time to dry out and lose as many saps and resins as possible, if we are talking apples to apples. I have many pipes with thick/medium thick walls that are quite a bit lighter than one would assume just by looking at them, it has been my experience that the better the carver the lighter their pipes will be, though there are some exceptions as with everything in life.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,278
503
I have a Britannia with rather thick walls to its bowl -- it's a Dublin -- and it is remarkably light.

I think it just happened to be made of well-aged high quality briar, and it was not an expensive pipe,

mid-level. Likewise, several of my lighter weight pipes with fairly thin walled bowls do not heat up

especially, counterintuitive as that may seem. I have a Group 4 BC bent billiard that has fairly thin

walls to the bowl and just doesn't heat up. It may be as much the type of briar as well as the aging.

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,194
184
Maryland
Like Eric, I don't really clench, but use the button as a lever. If you don't clench, a light weight pipe diminishes. I have some monster Upshall and Charatans that are way too big to clench (70-100 grams). I smoke them in the summer and call them my "porch pipes". I find a smaller pipe is good for reading, when I have both hands occupied. Typically they also have smaller bowls and general oveall smaller dimensions. I like those size/weight pipes for my frequent travel, when I don't have an hour to smoke outside a hotel, etc. 50 grams or less is my target weight for those type of pipes.

 

piperl12

Preferred Member
Apr 7, 2012
971
0
As a clencher who smokes while I work I have found it is less about the total weight but more about balance and sitting position in your mouth. Like Eric says button shape has much to do with that relationship. I have actually measured and documented my ideal button/bit dimensions as well as modified all the pipes that are practical to modify.

 

oldredbeard

Preferred Member
Jul 20, 2012
629
0
I know a lot here don't like softy bits, and some use other material to do the same thing, but I also have full dentures and with softy bits I can still clench a pipe just fine. They give you a little something soft to feel so can handle clenching, if you want to be able to. Once you get used to the extra thickness it's hard not to use them.
As for the weight, like has been said, it's really more about the feel than the actual weight. I also have several with thin wall bowls that don't get to hot, but like Eric I prefer a bent apple shape, it's just a comfortable shape IMO.

 

javajunkie

Member
Feb 26, 2013
161
2
All of my Alexander Zavvos briars, and my only GBD, a prehistoric canadian with a saddle bit, are stupid light, and SO easy to clench. The GBD is a tad thin, but if the pipe is light enough to clench successfully, you can keep a slow and even light cadence to the smoke and never really get it to the point of heating up. Just because a briar is thin, does not make it automatically a flamethrower.

 

agnosticpipe

Preferred Member
Nov 3, 2013
2,604
48
This is an interesting thread, as I've never thought about weighing my pipes. I've just always judged them by the way they feel in my hand and mouth. I have never liked large pipes, even though I like the looks of them. But many years ago I did buy some large beautiful freehands and a couple of other over size pipes, but could never get comfortable with them. They always felt too big in my hand and were heavy and clumsy feeling in my mouth. I don't clench too much, but have always found medium to small size pipes more my speed.

But I decided to get out our little digital food scale to see what some of my pipes weighed. The largest pipe I have is a Savinelli Hercules, and it is 66 grams. The lightest is a little Londoner prince at 25 grams. Most of my pipes seem to be between 35-45 grams, so I guess I'm somewhat of a lightweight! I don't seem to have any pipes I would actually consider hot smoking. It seems to depend on the tobacco I'm smoking more than anything else. I recently smoked the hottest tobacco I've EVER smoked, when I bought a couple of oz's of Hearth and Home's Berry Nice. Man, that stuff heated up my pipe, my wife's pipe and a friends pipe that I shared some with so fast it wasn't funny! It wasn't that hot in the mouth for some reason, but man, I could hardly hold the bowl it got so hot. Now all these pipes we were smoking were what we would normally consider cool smoking so it was a bit of a revelation about how different tobaccos can affect a pipes smoking quality more than anything else.

In the end, my take on all this is that everyone is different and has their preferences, both in pipe choices and tobacco choices. It's what makes life interesting!

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,194
184
Maryland
At first, when I purchased a pipe on the internet, I didn't pay much attention to size. I felt cheated and even disappointed if the pipe was small. But a few years later, I really honed in on weight as a critical component for my selections.