Piping Mishaps: Tales of Destruction

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mayfair70

Preferred Member
Sep 14, 2015
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I'm starting this thread so I can feel better about myself at your expense. I cannot be the only one who has broken a pipe through my own clumsiness, miscalculation or neglect.
My first pipe was a Mayfair stamped over Custombilt bulldog. The exact shape is a Hendon. I found it in a house I was cleaning, fixing and living in at the time. The deal fell through when the owner refused to remove twenty doors from the living room so I could do work. Twenty wooden and metal doors, just sitting there. After I found the Mayfair, my pipe smoking adventures began. Through good and great and not so good tobacco choices, this pipe stood up and delivered a fantastic smoke. Even when my technique was not up to snuff, it still came through until I took it outside to do some yardwork. I was trimming bushes and decided to put it down because I needed two hands and clenching would have brought fire and smoke too close to my face. The voice in my head said, "You are going to step on it. Put it somewhere else." My ego said don't be stupid, I know exactly where it is. It's fine. The voice in my head repeated its warning, and I repeated my bullhockey. Then I stepped back and felt a 'SNAP' as my heart sank. I broke the tenon off in the mortise. It is otherwise unharmed, and now safely tucked away in a box until I can have a new tenon fitted to the stem.
I broke my straight grained pot with no warning or fanfare. I was going to set it on the kitchen table when it jumped from my hands and hit the wooden floor. The stem skittered off underneath the table as the bowl surrounded itself with tobacco. The tenon broken off inside the stem. Two tales of woe. Murder and suicide. I don't even know what happened to one of my cobs. It is just gone. Ran away from home before I gave it a black eye like its brother, or something worse. I have two more pipes that are unsmokable, needing new stems. There are two more unsmokables needing major stem work. I'm down seven pipes right now, not counting the Kaywoodie with the gemstone. I refuse to take it outside at all. In addition, I have three more that are smokable, but need minor adjustments and tending to make them right again. I'll be working on them, as I can, over this fall and winter.
What creative or mundane ways have your pipes left this world or just their rotation? Whether a Bang or a Whimper, tell me your Tales Of Destruction!

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
25,940
112
I think I don't have any pipe destruction stories because I'm "a little" hyper-focused, just do one thing at a time, so a pipe is strictly a down-time activity. If I tried to smoke and drive, do home repairs, yard work, or hike, I suspect my pipes would have met many disparate fates. I've traded a few off, given a few away, but mostly hang on to them including the first pipe I ever bought or smoked. Also, even with the homely inexpensive ones, I develop attachments, like they are works of art or, in the case of factory pipes, industrial design.

 

wyfbane

Preferred Member
Apr 26, 2013
4,040
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I bought a cool old pipe with a screw in bit. It was a bit off center. I got a little too eager and snapped off a chunk of the shank. That is the only pipe I have broken. I am now more than a little hyper focused when dealing with pipes.
I had to have this experience to teach me to not multi-task with anything but a cob: I was smoking a really nice Mastercraft outside and smacked it against a ladder. Left a nice groove in the otherwise flawless vintage briar. grr.

 

nevadablue

Preferred Member
Jun 5, 2017
1,193
0
None broken yet, but a few have done the 'suicide jump' like they are testing me.

 

newbroom

Preferred Member
Jul 11, 2014
5,493
3
Let's just say that I very seldom clench my pipe as I enter my car.

I have also knocked a pipe from a stand resulting in a crack that was repaired with a nickel band.

I have a Barling that I'd picked up at auction for cheap w/o a stem and had smoked it using whatever I had that was adaptable, and sent it out for a proper military mount Barling style replacement that cost me about bocoupe dollars, and it was sent back in an envelope slightly bubbled, with the stem inserted.

I discovered that there was a crack in the shank soon thereafter. Not the same, but, I 'ate' it. Life's too short.

 

admiral

Member
Sep 15, 2017
269
1
Did that with a bottle of 20 year old marvelous wine and of course expensive wine.

My tobacco and wine cellars are actually one, so I was arranging it a bit.

Stupidest idea to put take out several bottles and leave these sitting on the floor, to make some room on the shelves while moving other bottles.

And of course I did a step back and bottles were knocked on the floor. Broken and expensive wine spilled in vain...

 

ashdigger

Preferred Member
Jul 30, 2016
5,265
14
I've broken 5 pipes ranging in age from 1904 though 1984. I sat on one, dropped three and managed to run over the other one. I hate myself for it.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
25,940
112
The pipes I worry about are the ones with thin shanks and long stems. I like them for their lithe design, but they don't make good pocket or travel pipes. For that, I carry my thick shank, thick stem, shorter pipes, and smaller bent billiards, where leverage is unlikely to snap them.

 

deathmetal

Preferred Member
Jul 21, 2015
7,724
0
I have destroyed a number of cobs. One went off a five-story building. I was sad to see it go, but it had a good long life.

 

tschiraldi

Preferred Member
Dec 14, 2015
1,154
0
I've killed two. The first was a cheap H.I.S. pipe, but it was my first pipe and my wife had bought as a Christmas gift. It wouldn't even begin to take a pipe cleaner, so I thought I'd open up the stem a bit. I broke off about a 1/2 inch chunk of stem on the bottom side. I couldn't bear to tell my wife, so I went back to the pipe shop and bought the exact same pipe, kept the stem to replace the one I had broken, and threw the new stummel away. The second was a couple of months later when I cracked the shank of a Prebn Holm freehand a friend had given me when I jammed the stick bit in too far and too hard.

 

didimauw

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 28, 2013
3,182
109
30
WI
No serious accidents here yet. Put my first pipe through the wash on accident. The finish was gone, but it still smoked great. A couple good lap tosses, with mine minor dings. And tried to open up the airway in a Vermont freehand stem, and put the drill bit right through the top of the stem... My issue was losing pipes early on, I have 3 I haven't seen in years.

 

uperepik

Preferred Member
Mar 8, 2017
530
0
I was knocking a pipe against the bottom of my boot one time and the shank broke right in half.

 

tuold

Preferred Member
Oct 15, 2013
2,108
0
Beaverton,Oregon
The only pipe I completely destroyed was my first estate from Ebay. I couldn't get the stem off, so I had this brilliant idea to grab the stem with pliers and twist the bowl. The stem exploded like a fragmentation grenade. I did collect all the pieces and glued them back together but it was never the same. Lesson learned.

 

sparrowhawk

Preferred Member
Jul 24, 2013
2,843
1
I've had some spectacular episodes of ruination of pipes. I'm not talking about bubbling gloss finishes, either. I managed to snap the stem of a Peterson Dracula 107, which I would have thought was nearly impossible to do by hand, but Peterson cranks those stems on so damn tight....I ended up sending the pipe to Dublin for a replacement stem. Then there was a burn through, then another: some of you might remember this one: one second I'm having what was the third smoke on this Peterson churchwarden, the next cometh daylight!



Then a year ago an Irish Harp developed a tiny crack; at the end of the week, it became a huge fissure:



And there was still another burn through four years ago that I neglected to photograph.

 

rigmedic1

Preferred Member
May 29, 2011
3,893
3
Stepped on my Jobey Dansk from 1983 during a pipe club meeting, and broke the stem into 3 pieces. In front of everyone. Mike Meyers at Walker Briar Repair did a fine job duplicating it.

 

didimauw

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 28, 2013
3,182
109
30
WI
Sparrowhawk, I feel terrible for your bad luck. But I have to say, I love seeing those pictures. I'm dark like that.

 

wyfbane

Preferred Member
Apr 26, 2013
4,040
0
So that isn't just a reverse negative photo, that is the 'true you' didi? lol

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
9,609
111


I see Peterson has vastly improved their quality control.
I once killed a Barling. I had bought a Barling Canadian and was smoking it at the time I took my car in to my mechanic for servicing. While talking with him, I absentmindedly slipped the damned thing into a pants pocket.
Walking across the street to grab a do-nut and coffee while I waited for the work to be done, I sat down and instantly heard a crack. Sure enough, the long shank had shattered where the stem entered. On the positive side, this particular Barling was a lousy smoker, the only one I've had from this maker. So though inadvertent, its demise was its just reward.