Almost any pipe can be a clencher, unless your neck snaps like a twig with anything over an oz. Ha ha. However, you need a straight bulldog. Something to chock up in the molars that makes your face scowl as you strut barking orders around keeping everyone in line. Any bulldog will do.
Take a look at Rossi (made by Savinelli) available at smokingpipes.com for 10% off right now, Vittoria series selling for $38 plus change, minus discount. Be sure to check the weight, but most of these are not heavy though they have good sized bowls. pipesandcigars has Decatur pipes for $19.99 right now, a wide selection, with Vulcanite stems. Two of these would build your pipe rack at minimal cost. Also at smokingpipes.com, they offer Chacom USA series, toward the end of the Chacom pages, for $55, some pretty nice pipes; French pipes in general are above their price point in quality.
My go to clench pipe is an old Peterson system pipe. I believe it is a shape 314. It's fully bent so the stem rests on my chin. Excellent clenching pipe. These can regularly be picked up on the estate market for for under $50. :puffpipe:
Thanks all! HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN ABOUT SPC'S PIPE LOCATOR!!!! Plugging in 'under $100', 'under 1 oz' and 'vulcanite stem' (a must for a clencher IMO) yielded 112 results! Score! I ordered two Ropps, a Savinelli Elegance (free tin of d'Oro!) and a BC. I can't keep them all so I'll have to return my two least favorite pipes. Those Ropps look quite good for the price. I hope they don't disappoint. The Elegance series also looks like it bats well above it's price point. All those Rossis were too heavy to make the cut (or maybe they all have acrylic?). I had a Beo in my cart until the last cut (started out with 8 pipes in my cart - cut two Savs, the Beo and another BC). Will report back once I have them in hand. Thanks again!
If you can swing for 75 Smoking Pipes is having a 50% off sale on Big Ben Pipes. I have a couple from when I used to travel to Amsterdam and they are great smokers and a great bang for the buck at the price they're being sold for
So here are the four pipes I ordered. From top to bottom we have: Savinelli Elegance, Ropp Etudiant, BC Belami and another Ropp Etudiant. Here's my run-down of each:
Sav ($64.80) - This is a fantastic pipe for the money, as we've come to expect from Savinelli. Fit n Finish are excellent. I can find only 1 fill which I consider exemplary for this price point. While it does have a thick red finish it doesn't approach the painted-looking finish of basket pipes; lovely grain clearly visible. All drilling is spot on. My only 'gripes' are that the inside of the bowl has been painted and the stem is slightly out of line with the shank when viewed from above. Very happy.
Ropp J03 ($38.25) - What a cool little pipe! Given the normal-sized stem it resembles a mini-churchwarden. The sandblasting is quite good. I see only 1 possible fill, though the blasting may mask others. The drilling is slightly off; the hole enters the chamber slightly above the bottom so the last little bit of baccy won't get burned. The stem is also slightly out of line with the stummel shaft. I can't complain too loudly about these issues given the price. I like it!
BC Belami ($74.88) - This is a sweet little pipe! It's a scaled-down Rhodesian that's too cute! Drilling is perfect and the finish is a lovely, satiny oil finish. There are a few pin sized fills, nothing major. Stem fit is perfect. I will be sending this pipe back though. If you look carefully at the beading, it's deep and lovely at the back but is barely there at the front of the bowl. Given the price (the most expensive of the 4) this is an unacceptable flaw in craftsmanship IMO. The bit is also the thickest of the 4 and that makes it less comfy as a clencher. Shame, as I love the pipe other than these tragic flaws.
Ropp J10 ($38.25) - Same features as above, however, this pipe has a tragic flaw. The stem is loose and the transition from shank to stem is not clean. Additionally, the tenon is too large for the pencil-thin shank and the walls of the briar here are dangerously thin. To add to this danger, the mortice was drilled a bit eccentrically so the wall on one side of the shank is far thinner than the opposite wall (1.35mm according to my calipers). This pipe is going to crack along that wall at some point. It's a real shame, as the briar has some nice ring grain and the blasting is better than the bent. Goin' back.
Thanks again for the suggestions!