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A Kind Word for Bamboo

(56 posts)
  • Started 3 months ago by mso489
  • Latest reply from gatorlope
  1. mso489

    mso489

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    I know mikethompson and maybe others don't favor bamboo as a pipe material. I certainly respect others' taste, and if it's unappealing to you, it just is. I never owned a bamboo shank pipe, and might never have gotten one, but fishnbanjo posted so many beauties featuring bamboo that I relented somewhat, such that I bought a bamboo shank pipe from the late great Bob Hayes at the TAPS pipe show in the last hours of sales. He made me an offer I couldn't possibly refuse, and the pipe is excellent. No, I haven't bought any other bamboo shank pipes, but between fish' and the late Bob Hayes, they now have a special place, one place, on my rack.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  2. crashthegrey

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    I personally like the look of a bamboo shank. My issue has been that they always seem to have a metal rod through them for support. See, one of the beauties of bamboo and why it is used on the kiseru pipe in Japan is that they are a natural filter and absorb moisture. If you block out the bamboo with metal I am not sure why we are using it, but for aesthetics alone. So my only bamboo pipes currently are kiseru pipes.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  3. ashdigger

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    Ryan Alden Bamboo.

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 3 months ago #
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    mau1

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    I find that bamboo can greatly add to the artistic beauty of a pipe. It opens up a whole new avenue for pipes.

    "He was loosely dressed, but tightly wound". Louise Penny.
    Posted 3 months ago #
  5. npod

    npod

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    It took me a while to warm up to bamboo shanks. But I now have a few and love them. They are lighter weight for sure. And bamboo is fun to photograph, lots of character and nuance. But in a way it's like true love, it has to feel right and the heart wants what the heart wants.

    I'm a diggin the boo.

    Neal
    Posted 3 months ago #
  6. cosmicfolklore

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    They tried to make us like albatross bones, and a few various other materials, but it is interesting that bamboo was the material that stuck in the trending category. I love it myself, with about five pipes with bamboo. But, it is interesting that it was bamboo over so many other materials, carbon fiber, threaded rod, albatross bones, etc...

    To me they have that Gilligan's Island feel to them, and I like to accompany my bamboo shanked pipes with a frozen concoction in a coconut shell, a vintage white antique radio, and a redheaded in a bikini. Cheers!!

    Michael
    Posted 3 months ago #
  7. ashdigger

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    Cosmic, no umbrella?? Unconscionable.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  8. crashthegrey

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    Ash, that Alden is gorgeous.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  9. npod

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    But a follow up to MSO489's OP. What do you all think about the new age Roman Kovalev, "Doctor's" pipes style bamboo shanks? I have not warmed up to those as much. And I see lots of people going for that style lately.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  10. npod

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    I love this shot of bamboo from a pipe workshop/studio. Just waiting to be picked over for production.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  11. warren

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    Bamboo between briar and a black bit is as jarring to me as colorful acrylic bits. My eyes simply do not like such.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 3 months ago #
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    mau1

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    Cosmic, I hope that isn't you in the bikini.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  13. cosmicfolklore

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    One way or another, I'll be getting into that bikini. heh heh

    Posted 3 months ago #
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    mau1

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    Hahaha

    Posted 3 months ago #
  15. mso489

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    Following up on warren's post, I think bamboo for a shank is a high level of difficulty in getting a pipe to integrate well visually, so it doesn't look like various pieces pasted together. I think that's what sold me the Bob Hayes pipe, beyond the price. Bob Hayes was an artist with his carving and got it just right. When it works, it is pretty remarkable, but I've seen some high-end pipes where they just don't get it right. More don't than do.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  16. georged

    georged

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    Go ahead... try to hate them.

    You heard me! TRY, I say!!!

    Good luck

    [still waiting]

    Yeah, that's what I thought.

    .


    Dogs live such short lives... and spend most it waiting for us to come home
    Posted 3 months ago #
  17. warren

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    I don't get too emotional with regard to pipes. I don't hate bamboo accents but, I'm certainly not enamored with them either. To me they look "cobbled " together. Even with outstanding workmanship they are still off putting to me. I can admire the craftsmanship but, not the "look."

    Posted 3 months ago #
  18. anthony416

    anthony416

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    Only have one but really enjoy it.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  19. fishnbanjo

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    npod, I have all kinds of bamboo shank pipes of various genus of bamboo. I think Roman Kovalev (Dr’s Pipe) shows off his bamboo skill in choosing a particular shank to fit the bowl he is working on, his stem work is beyond reproach and his integrated bronze adapter fitting is unique as his acrylic work filling the bamboo leaf nodes. The smoking quality of his pipes is well regarded and I found myself putting his Crazy Army Apple with bamboo shank into my rotation after just the third smoke, regards.
    banjo

    Posted 3 months ago #
  20. trouttimes

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    I wonder if anyone has ever made a stem using bamboo strips like hollow rods are built? Fishbanjo care to way in?

    Posted 3 months ago #
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    lestrout

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    Yo fishb - re your "choosing a particular shank to fit the bowl he is working on" comment, sometimes it works the other way around. One evening at Morley's, I witnessed a fascinating exchange between our DrG and Jeff Gracik, who used to be a Morley's member before he moved to San Diego and set up J Alan. DrG has such a fine collection that the term 'patron of the arts' comes easily to mind. His collection has dozens of bamboo shank pipes and he had just been called when Jeff found several especially delectable bamboo pieces. He sent over pix from different angles and DrG asked how Jeff proposed to use each piece. Jeff then sent pix of several briar blocks, wetted to show the grain and penciled with prospective shapes that would harmonize with each bamboo piece. So rather than having the briar or stummel dictate the choice of bamboo, it was the bamboo piece that determined which piece of briar would be carved and with what shape. This is a long way from the old days when bamboo was used to save a stummel that showed up with defects in the shank. Charatan's Afterhours series using smaller ebuchauns with yellow horn or acrylic shank extentions have a similar visual effect. I don't know which came first.

    hp
    les

    Posted 3 months ago #
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    lestrout

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    Yo tro - I don't know about any pipe with shanks made from triangular bamboo strips, such as used to make cane rods (not necessarily hollow). But there is a German pipesmoking cane rod maker, Baginski, who showed up at a couple of fly fishing shows in NJ with briar to which he added bamboo strips. Banjo got one - I never got to the show soon enough to score one for myself.

    hp and tl
    les

    Posted 3 months ago #
  23. npod

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    @fishnbanjo, thanks for the props on Roman’s work. I just went from luke warm to more intrigued. I love the novelty of his work and your example exemplifies that in spades. I am starting to take notice for sure.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  24. irishearl

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    Am rather fond of bamboo as a shank adornment. Have only 1, however, a Nording.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  25. fishnbanjo

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    I don’t believe Nording made many bamboo shank pipes, anyone know, thanks.
    banjo

    Posted 3 months ago #
  26. irishearl

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    I was under that impression too fish. But then it was pointed out to me that there were actually a few current Nordings with bamboo being offered @ SP. Mine is the hunter pipe, the beaver.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  27. eggrollpiper

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    Seems Bamboo Shanks are yet another dividing issue, being personal preference. And although there may be some filtering effect I think it's used mostly for aesthetics. Its also pretty strong for a grass and in never-ending supply as opposed to briar so its cost efficiency may render it out of the high end luxury material department for some. Being that I like most anything Asian I'm a fan. A bamboo fan, hee hee.
    My specimens are sans metal rod thankfully. I Do have A kiseru with the rod and its never sat well with me, although easier to clean that way.
    I'd take a smoking device derived from plant parts before one from animal parts anyday as well. Horn/antler skeevs me out, although once I had a native pipe with an antler bowl and leather wrapped shank that smoked like a dream, lost to the indiscretion of youth.
    Albatross just seems downright appalling, as much as I would love one of those bc pipes it seems the material may be better suited to drink liquified pate, tiger blood, etc.
    Lastly, Cosmic thaks for the Gilligans reference. I've previously never made that connection and now will never be able to not make it. RIP S.S. Minnow.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  28. mikethompson

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    I know mikethompson and maybe others don't favor bamboo as a pipe material.

    Well you know you've made it around here when you make it into a MSO thread

    It is just like so many other things in the pipe smoking world: down to personal preference.

    Posted 3 months ago #
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    lestrout

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    Yo Banjo - I don't know if Nording made many bamboo shanked pipes, but I have several. The latest one just came from Saatchi this month, but my first one is at least 20 YO.

    hp
    les

    Posted 3 months ago #
  30. warren

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    Seems Bamboo Shanks are yet another dividing issue

    It's a matter of personal likes and dislikes, hardly a decisive issue.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  31. unadoptedlamp

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    I have a Dunhill ring grain that I like to smoke sometimes. It doesn't have a metal insert, as far as I can see into the pipe. I find the lightness of the bamboo makes for a good mouth feel. I don't clench often, but sometimes this sits in the lip without me noticing it is there.

    I also have two Tsuge bamboo shanked pipes. They're a much fatter knuckle of bamboo, and shorter, but I think they look fine. Not on the hunt for any more, but I like some bamboo in a collection.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  32. macaroon

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    I wouldn't buy one, personally, but I can't deny that some of those pipes look pretty spiffy!

    The aesthetics of bamboo aren't quite my taste, but really I don't much like the idea of adding more complexity and pieces to the construction. I like to keep things as simple and practical as possible without compromising aesthetics. As such, army mounts are more my preference.

    Either way, buy and smoke what you like, right?

    "I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul"
    Posted 3 months ago #
  33. peckinpahhombre

    peckinpahhombre

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    I actually really dig bamboo and have many in my collection. Some variations below.

    First a Satou with weathered bamboo:

    A Jess Chonowitsch billiard with clean bamboo:

    Another Satou, with bamboo for days (11 knuckle churchwarden):

    This next one is interesting - a Tyler Lane egg, but he actually lightly blasted the bamboo as well which gives a really neat texture - feels great in the hand:

    A Walt Cannoy Elephant Foot with dark banboo:

    Posted 3 months ago #
  34. irishearl

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    Those are some beautiful bamboo pieces peck. They're all appealing but really like the weathered style.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  35. npod

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    Peck - Right On Brother. Wow.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  36. writingraav

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    I own two at present and enjoy both. The first is a Stanwell Billiard, the second a J. Crawford Apple

    Posted 3 months ago #
  37. bienden

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    Bamboo has good water absorption properties, is a suitable material for stems.
    Of course, bamboo materials have certain deficiencies, for example, it will become sticky after a long time, causing clogging in the pipeline. So you have to regularly clean the shank after every suction.
    I find that using bamboo is the best option in some cases: if you need a new form; or need a long body and bend.
    Here is the pipe I made, besides bamboo, I have not seen any more suitable material.


    Making a pipe is my hobby. My nickname means Black Sea. Very happy if you call me "Black Sea".
    Posted 3 months ago #
  38. gatorlope

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    Nice stuff, guys! Most of the bamboo shanks that I’ve seen were disappointing in that they didn’t really do any thing artistically for the pipes they were on.

    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  39. sablebrush52

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    This is a Walt Cannoy that I used to own:

    And this J&J:

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  40. mso489

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    peck's, sable's and other's examples are breathtaking. I rarely gasp a little when looking at photos, but those pipes do it. Like others and I have said, bamboo can look real patchy and corny, but when it's right, it can be spectacular.

    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  41. didimauw

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    Bamboo didn't do it for me. I like pure Briar.

    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  42. bnichols23

    Bill

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    can look real patchy and corny, but when it's right,

    Totes agree, Tom. It's like articles of clothing that have some wild off-the-wall element that by all rights shouldn't be on it at all, yet some people actually completely rock it when wearing, whereas on *me* just for example, it'd look as stupid as my smoking a baby corncob -- the first thing you think of is "Popeye!".

    Bill

    Head Black Frigate keelhauler, boss powder monkey, & troublemaker 1st class.
    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  43. bazungu

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    I never really liked bamboo, as I find in many case the piece of bamboo is put there without much thought or consideration. After a while, mainly after seeing some good examples of pipes from fishnbanjo (mainly doc pipes) I have started to warm up to them. Sadly, most of the good examples are way out of my price comfort zone at the moment.

    Posted 4 weeks ago #
  44. fishnbanjo

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    There are some definite beauties in this thread folks, thanks for sharing. The pipe lestrout is speaking about is made by rod maker Rolf Baginski, he sets bamboo sections 60 degrees apart like a bamboo rod is made, I call mine a Poker Chip Stack. Sable the Walt Cannoy is an incredible smoker!
    banjo

    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  45. chasingembers

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    Bamboo didn't do it for me. I like pure Briar.

    Same. Bamboo just looks like an afterthought.

    Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you.
    -Edward Teach
    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  46. georged

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    So, it's bamboo that DOESN'T look like an afterthought you want, then?

    Alrighty. Say no more.

    .

    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  47. chasingembers

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    There are so many things wrong with that pipe that the bamboo just doesn't even seem like an issue.

    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  48. theloniousmonkfish

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    There are so many things wrong with that pipe I kind of like it...

    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  49. georged

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    Mr. Monkfish understands.

    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  50. chasingembers

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    It's sort of odd that I don't. I love the cork covered Spanu pipes.

    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  51. jeffro

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    I never liked the look of bamboo shank pipes, But I received one with a lot of estate pipes I purchased and after cleaning it up it's a great smoker. light weight and smokes very dry. It does not have a metal rod through the bamboo.
    Now I like them a bit more, and with the more modern renditions pictured here I am intrigued buy some of them.
    By biggest question is how the heck does one drill through the all knuckles with the various bends in the larger pieces of bamboo root shanks?

    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  52. chasingembers

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    Probably something similar to this.

    https://youtu.be/LRvFrhZjjPA

    Posted 3 weeks ago #
  53. gatorlope

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    Just for contrast, these are Japanese kiseru pipes where bamboo stems are the standard, but still show a great deal of variation. Frankly, I’m partial to the beast on top, just because it’s so different from the norm. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a pipe with a jade (?) mouthpiece before, but I like it! Definitely not a production line piece!
    It’s not new, but the patina and wear markings show that it has been much loved in it’s lifetime.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  54. fishnbanjo

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    Here’s an Acorn shape with bamboo shank by Teddy Knudsen.

    This one is called The Mermaid by maker Jan Szymon Golowacz of Poland

    Finally a smattering of my bamboo shank pipes.

    banjo

    Posted 1 week ago #
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    bent1

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    Wow Fish, beautiful collection!

    Posted 1 week ago #
  56. gatorlope

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    Sorry, just realized that my picture didn’t display...

    Posted 1 week ago #

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