New Pipes Or Estates For Beginners

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Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
The is an old subject discussed and touched upon over the years. I think both routes work fine. I'm not dogmatic for either choice. Here are some pros and cons on each. New pipes have no abuse from the previous owner, no bad reaming, freight train puffing, poorly executed repairs, chewed up bits, chars on the rim, and so forth, and usually no oxidation on a Vulcanite stem. No sanitizing needed. And if you buy a standard and reliable brand, you can focus on learning to smoke, not figuring out your pipe's possible misuse in the past. But you tend to pay more. Estate pipes have the possible problems mentioned, but at the same price point, you leapfrog up the quality ladder and can get a pipe that cost someone else twice as much, or more, new. I don't think there is a correct answer here. If you are so lucky as to inherit a nice pipe, you have your estate and a family or friend's legacy to go with it. If you want to play it a little safer, you can buy an estate pipe from a reputable retailer like smokingpipes or trusted Forums members, and you'll get an accurate account of the qualities and flaws before you buy. I started with a house pipe from Tinderbox, with the Tinderbox stamp and St. Ives as the model, a bent pot with an interesting vertical saddle stem, still looking good and going strong after 40 years. A Tinderbox old timer thought it probably was produced by Chacom in France. Did you start with a new pipe or an estate? And how did that go?



Preferred Member
Jan 8, 2013
I don't think it matters at all. A matter of preference, nothing more. My first pipe was new, and most of my pipes have been new. But I don't turn away from a great estate pipe either.



Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
There's also the option of the unsmoked estate pipe. Unused and often less expensive.



Preferred Member
Jul 10, 2015
I started with a new Longchamp leather covered bowl (straight billiard). I didn't know about estates back in 1967 and there wasn't any internet back then.



May 10, 2019
My first pipe was a rack bent Dublin from the local B&M shop. At the time I had been smoking cigars for a couple years, but was living on a tight budget, so was always on edge about the cost of the cigars. A buddy suggested I try a pipe and suggested I get a cheap rack pipe to test the waters so to speak. I didn't know a darn thing about pipe smoking back then. Smoked it hard and fast for a full summer, trying to figure it out so to speak. burned almost all the way through the side wall by the end of the summer, with a big black burnout mark on the exterior of the bowl.
By the end of the summer I had figured a few things out, and decided to get a "real" pipe. Ended up with a Peterson 02XL Killarney. A few years ago I was doing some cleanup and ran across the old "rack" pipe and tossed it. I now wish I had kept it. Don't think I would smoke it again if I had it as the wall was so thin, but I feel like a part of my history is now gone.
Over the years I have moved back and forth between cigars and pipes. Been back into the pipe side of life for a couple years now.
Most of my more recent pipe purchases have been estates from SmokingPipes. A new pipe would really have to speak to me at this point to buy new. It is hard to pass up the value to quality ratio of a good estate pipe vs. the cost of new. I have also enjoyed researching the history and dating process of the estate pipes I've purchased. Starting out, the estate market could be a bit intimidating.




Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
At best a new smoker may have only a faint grasp of what is entailed in a decent smoke. Makes not a whit of a difference if they learn with a cheap pipe, a new pipe, a used pipe or, even a borrowed pipe. They don't know how to smoke. As long as the tool is in proper shape, age and provenance shouldn't matter.
I started with a new pipe and have never owned a "used" pipe. I mistype, I did receive a used pipe in Russia as a gift. I smoked it in Russia, for the benefit of the donor. One tries not to disappoint one's hosts. Not a great pipe and only serves as a memento now.



Dec 24, 2014
I started with a mr brog pear wood and a grabow omega. Didn't know about estate pipes. This was the early 2000s.



Preferred Member
Oct 25, 2013
In reference to what Warren mentioned, I remember having 'problems' with many of my pipes when I first started smoking, but all those very same pipes have lost their 'problems' as I have learned how to smoke them... I have a few new and a few estate. Estates are fun for giving you a chance to play around with refurbishing.



Junior Member
May 18, 2019
My first was a Sanitized Savinelli from a member here, i then bought 8 "beaters" on ebay to play around with cleaning them up, i did get 2 very nice pipes from that group.

But i just bought a new Savinelli smooth Oceano 320 that i love, im having to make myself smoke the other pipes now and again to keep from wearing it out



Nov 26, 2018
started with less expensive new pipes. or cheap stuff to experiment. then i was keep cracking the bottom. probably smoking it hot and was keep trying to light the tobacco at the bottom. i kept on buying cheap pipes until i stopped cracking them. now smoking only peterson p-lip, there's one fishtail. no more issues. either i learned my lesson or peterson pipes are more robust.



Preferred Member
Feb 28, 2013
Started with a Comoy Golden Grain, which I still have...was working in a pipe shop and the owner/mentor told me..."buy the best you can afford". This was in 1961...since then I have added quite a few...given away more than that. I have several estate pipes...GBD's and Charatans...they are great smokers..just as good as my first pipe.



Preferred Member
Feb 27, 2019
Nearly all my pipes are estate pipes, but I don't think I'd recommend building out a rotation the way I did - indiscriminately buying really cheap briars on ebay. The problem is that there estate pipes, and then there are estate pipes. And there's no shortage of people prepared to exploit one's inability to distinguish between the two. I wish I'd just bought a bunch of cobs and then slowly built a collection of estate briars from larger, reputable dealers. If I'd started out paying 50 bones a pipe rather than 10-15, I'd be better off now and I wouldn't have wasted countless hours refurbishing pipes that were pieces of crap from the first moment of their existence. In other words, I wish I'd done exactly what people on this forum and elsewhere have been recommending to novices forever. ...So, I now add my voice to the chorus fruitlessly screaming into the void: "Buy cobs! Be patient until you know how to smoke right!"



Preferred Member
Feb 15, 2017
United States
I cannot think of a reason why it would matter. I have enjoyed the hunt for bargain estates and even more so the estate pipes that my friends have gifted me. Also, having never been in a position to buy a new pipe, I have enjoyed the labor of others that have broken in the estate I am smoking at a given time.



Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
I would tell a beginner to buy a few Cobs to learn from. They smoke good, are cheap and also forgiving. Once they've learned a bit, what they do from there should be dictated more by their disposable income than anything else.



Senior Member
Sep 11, 2018
My first pipe was a new noname pearwood pipe, probably from somewhere Czechia-Poland-Hungary, I didn't know if it is possible to buy used pipes, I didn't even have internet back then. This was in 2002-2003.

Since that, I bought only two estates, an unsmoked Brebbia and a used vintage BBB. The BBB required a lot of restoration and it still has some weird old cellar-taste/smell. The Brebbia had only some kind of gasoline taste, but now it has almost completely faded away. I cleaned both with a lot of alcohol (85%) and I used Savinelli pipe cleaner liquid as well. Maybe I should send them for ozone cleaning, but I think with time they will lose these extra tastes. So I'm just trying to tell that maybe it is much easier to buy a new pipe for a beginner than do the whole cleaning/restoration procedure. Or, the third option, buy a restored/rebuilt estate pipe from a reliable seller.



Preferred Member
Mar 22, 2018
Cobs. As mentioned already they are more forgiving and cheaper. They re a great starting point



Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
Chicago, IL
For beginners? New pipes: establish an objective baseline.
I'd suggest a midrange briar, like Savinelli, for the same reason. Cobs make sense for monetary reasons, but they impart a non-tobacco taste at the start.



Preferred Member
Feb 26, 2015
My first pipe was a Dr. Grabow I bought aboard ship with a pouch of Borkum Riff in 1972. It must have been a good decision because I'm still smoking pipes.



Preferred Member
Mar 13, 2018
SC Piedmont
My take is, probably new -- a decent house pipe from whatever B&M is (relatively) handy, or as Cortez said, maybe a decent brand name like Sav or somebody. A Bones would be really good also. I wouldn't recommend estates to a new smoker for a number of reasons, mainly that to have a fair chance of getting a good one the new smoker is going to need a mentor experienced in the sources/caveats/etc. of searching for a good estate; & frankly most new smokers just aren't going to have that. They'll have a moderately experienced tobacconist at a small B&M, & that's if they're *lucky*....
My own first (Don't worry, no dreaded Medico-logue coming!) was new, although a true "drugstore" pipe. It was hell smoking, probably 50/50 blame each for the pipe/tobacco & owner/operator malfunctions. I had my mind set on it, though, & managed to ramp up quickly to better quality smoking material & more educated technique.
Unless a potential new piper has a support foundation like this one, definitely start new, not estate.



Preferred Member
Apr 2, 2018
The gentleman who suggested corn cobs is can learn technique with them.Next,I would recommend a new pipe with an uncoated bowl.This way the new smoker can get up close and personal with his/her purchase,see what kind of wood they are dealing with,and learn how to build the cake,and watch the cake grow over the weeks.My opinion only,of course.