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Can you tell the difference?

(24 posts)
  • Started 3 years ago by eriksmokes85
  • Latest reply from tuold
  1. eriksmokes85

    eriksmokes85

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    Can you honestly tell the difference between a dunhill,savinelli, or any other well known over a 24$ no name? Just curious because it really kinda frustrates me that all the nice pipes are so expensive. I really want one but I don't think the purchase would be received well by my better half. She has no problems with my smoking but some of the prices she has to give me the look to remind me I can't afford 150$ for a pipe. I'd like to know if it's worth it or if it's just a price for the name?

    Posted 3 years ago #
  2. warren

    warren

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    I can tell a great smoker from a poor one. Price has little to do with it except, and this is important, your chances of getting a great pipe increase with cost, within reason. At a certain price point you are paying more for fit, finish, precious metal fittings, briar quality, etc. That said many members are entirely content to spend their life smoking cobs and briars which cost little. These members have also found some great smokers along the way.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 3 years ago #
  3. calabashed

    calabashed

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    IMO there is a minimum threshold of material quality and engineering/construction, after which you won't really notice a difference in smoking. But as far as price, while you can certainly get lucky with cheap pipes, I'd say you won't find much that consistently meets that minimum threshold for less than $60-100 for new.

    Personally I'd rank Savinelli at the top of that price range for quality, using that as an example I can absolutely tell the difference between most "basket briars" and a nice Sav.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  4. mso489

    mso489

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    I enjoy vicariously some of the more expensive artisanal and other high grade pipes that some Forums members post. There are about a dozen members who have virtual museums of fabulous, artistic, totally original pipes that I greatly admire. I have several pipes getting into the higher grades, a Ferndown sent to me by a Forums member and a Ser Jacopo I bought when I sold a long piece of writing. But many of my pipes range from upper-mid grade to economy pipes, and a number of MM and Old Dominion cobs. My most recent buy was a Dr. Grabow Royalton pot shape, a spiffy light weight pipe with an ample bowl, pricey for a Dr. G, but under $40 and with free shipping. I think you can have a highy adventurous pipe smoking life without spending a great deal of money. I like variety -- in shapes of pipes, materials, degree of bend or straight, and prices too. Some great smoking at all the levels I've tried.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  5. disinformatique

    The Pipe Monk

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    With the style of the pipe, the finish, drilling, shape, stemwork yes you can. But what makes a pipe best is how it smokes.

    Albert Einstein was once quoted as saying, “I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgment in all human affairs.” One of the reasons behind this statement is that pipe smoking is meant to be a slow leisurely activity. It takes patience to smoke a pipe. Unlike cigarettes and cigars, there is a certain amount of technique to smoking a pipe. Where cigars and cigarettes can just be picked up, lit and puffed on, pipes require the development of a technique in order to get the best smoking experience.
    Posted 3 years ago #
  6. rhoadsie

    R

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    I, too, was curious about this when I was starting and it ended up being the first thread I started...

    http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/is-it-a-good-smoker

    Anyway, Warren is on point with his post. Find some pipes that you like and as long as you enjoy the smoke, don't look back.

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    bigpond

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    If you can swing 80 bux, you can get a new pipe that will compete with the big boys in most of the ways that matter when it comes to smoking quality (look at the Briarworks classic series at smokingpipes). If you can't or don't want to go for new, look at estate pipes. You'll probably trade time researching and cleaning instead of cash.

    You can do really well for under $50 with a well made vintage piece.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  8. tobyducote

    NOLA Cajun

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    an Estate can be a very good option...but a machine made pipe can very rarely compete with an experienced carver and the time and attention to detail that is put into a hand made pipe

    Posted 3 years ago #
  9. shawnofthedead

    Shawn

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    Let's just say the difference in quality doesn't justify the difference in cost. But I still buy outrageously expensive pipes, 150 dollars is nothing compared to the money I usually spend on one pipe.

    Life would go on as it had always gone on - that is, badly.
    Posted 3 years ago #
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    frozenchurchwarden

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    Practically speaking, my $70 Savinelli was just next to perfect out of the box.
    Were I suddenly strapped for cash and without a pipe, I would buy...
    Well I would buy a bunch of Cobs, and I've got a hankering for a Falcon right now, but a Savinelli out of the Trevi or Roma line would be on my short list.

    I have a Rossi Vittoria ($44 Savinelli reject) and the only problem with it was excessive bowl coating clogging the draft hole.

    The last $200 pipe I bought, I returned.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  11. rigmedic1

    rigmedic1

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    When I took up the pipe in the 1970's, a good starter pipe was $10.00, a cob was $2.00, and nice, mid-range pipes were about $45.00. Of course, I was making $75.00 a week working full time. In 1986, I splurged and spent $112.00 on a handmade Sam Martin pipe. It was the most money I had ever spent on a pipe, and by that time, I was bringing home about $300.00 a week.
    Let me tell you, it was very easy to tell the difference between the different grades.
    These days, the prices are much higher, but the grades are about the same. The big differences are the quality of the briar, and the fit and finish. I can't tell the difference smokewise between a Peterson and a Savinelli of the same price point, but I can tell the difference between my Dr. Grabow and my Sam Martin.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  12. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    When you get over about $75, most of the money is paying for looks, and if it's way above that, you're paying also for a name. If you can buy a basket pipe that looks good to you, and has no fills in obvious spots, it's likely to turn into a cherished pipe before too long.

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 3 years ago #
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    bigpond

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    When you get over about $75, most of the money is paying for looks, and if it's way above that, you're paying also for a name.

    What are you basing this on?

    Posted 3 years ago #
  14. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Observation. Obviously you disagree, so on what basis are you taking issue with my statement? Certainly there will be huge exceptions to this loosely worded statement of mine.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  15. warren

    warren

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    Most likely his personal opinion and, perhaps his personal budget. As most of us do here. And, one should keep in mind that the feel and look of a pipe, for many people, is an important part of the overall smoking experience. A pipe that doesn't catch my eye is never going to get a heft or inspection. Never!

    Posted 3 years ago #
  16. tarheel1

    tarheel1

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    Back around 2005 when my pipe collection was in its prime I had several Dunhill, Ferndown, Ashton, and Petersons as well as a few other brands. When you took a dunhill that retails around 800.00 and compare it to an Ashton at 400 and a Ferndown at 250 it is really hard to justify the price of the Dunhill. The Ashton and the Ferndowns were as good if not better than the Dunhills I had. Even though the Dunhill 5108 bruyere or amber root is my current grail pipe that I can not seem to find now, I would still buy a less expensive Ferndown over most other Dunhills. The quality on the Ferndowns are pretty amazing and price is crazy reasonable if you know where to get them at.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  17. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    $150 is a lot to some, others that's the price if a good meal with the wife. Dropping $800 on a new pipe is just chump change for some. It's just a matter of perspective. Me, I'll never buy a new Dunhill, nor spend that much on a pipe, but heck there are kids that line up at the mall to buy $500 tennis shoes. Find and collect what's in your budget. It's very fair to say that you could have an arsenal full of fantastic smoker for under $100 per pipe. If that is your threshold for quality, then be proud of it. Is a Dunhill worth the money? It depends in whether that $800 was supposed to pay your car payment or not. But, if it is out of your budget, then, "NO" the pipe is not worth it.
    I will probably never be able to afford a Walt Connoy suede blasted dublin with a white stem, but I enjoy the hell out of looking at them. And, no, missing a carpayment would make the pipe not worth it.
    Perspective.

    Michael
    Posted 3 years ago #
  18. captainprophesy

    captainprophesy

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    No, but as Warren stated, I can tell the difference between a good smoker and a bad smoker, at least within my price range
    I have a basket no name pipe that cost me $15 brand new that smokes better than many of my more expensive $100+ pipes

    Now with that said, I don't own or have I ever smoked a high end pipe.. All have been, what I'm guessing, lower mid range pipes? Sav's, Stanwells, Petersons, Aldo Velani's, etc.

    I carry a gun... because a cop is too heavy!
    Posted 3 years ago #
  19. captainprophesy

    captainprophesy

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    +1 Cosmic.... My entire collection is made up of lower to mid range pipes... All estate's, except for two my wife bought me that we're new., which were about $120 pipes at the time.

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    aldecaker

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    Stanwell Brushed Browns and Brushed Blacks sell for $50, and I have yet to hear a complaint about them.

    A man who serves his country is a patriot. A man who serves his government is an employee. The two are not always the same thing.
    Posted 3 years ago #
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    theediabeticman

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    Price has little to do with it except, and this is important, your chances of getting a great pipe increase with cost, within reason.

    What Warren said.
    When I am attempting to sell a pipe, I like to say "buy the best pipe you can afford." This weekend I sold 2 baskets, 3 cobs, and two pipes over $100....ensured all were drilled well and could take a cleaner.
    I've had a basket smoke better than a Dunhill....but there's been many baskets I talk people out of due to drilling issues and very few high end pipes that have drilling issues.
    And whether a cob or a high end I STRESS cleaning and proper care...b/c as Cosmic said some folks can drop $800 easily on a pipe. And I don't know if the person I'm selling a cob to today; will end up wanting an $800 pipe later, and I want the person to love each pipe they own

    Inspirational quote to be inserted during an inspirational moment
    Posted 3 years ago #
  22. lordofthepiperings

    lordofthepiperings

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    I didn't understand the outlandish prices for some pipes when I first started out. Then someone pointed out all the time that goes in to making those high end pipes and it made more sense. With some of them you're paying for about a weeks worth of work. That's a lot of time. Now the number is more justified for me.

    Of course name is part of it. A carver with a long history and good reputation will carry a higher price tag. Same for manufacturers.

    As to whether they're better or not I personally do notice much better engineering. The higher I've gone up price wise the better the draw has been the better balanced the pipe has been and the more comfortable the bit has been.

    It doesn't mean you can't get a reliable good smoker for under $100. That's totally possible. As someone else said I agree the lower the price the bigger the craps shoot it is that it'll be a good smoker.

    I also think the estate market is great advice. SmokingPipes has a wonderful restoration department and you can get some really good deals there.

    "The thinking man always smokes a Peterson." -Peterson of Dublin
    Posted 3 years ago #
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    anchovyd

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    A big difference between the cheap pipes and pipes in the $100 range is the stem. There is a huge difference between something like a Grabow or Medico and a $90 Savinelli/Peterson/Brebbia and the most significant difference is in the stem. A lot of times the cheap pipes smoke decently and are drilled properly but they are a bit uglier, look cheap and the big thing is the stem feels totally uncomfortable in your mouth. Even if you are not a clencher you will learn to loathe the cheap, painful stem. Once you end up with a pipe with a great stem you'll be giving your cheap pipe its walking papers.

    The hand made pipes with hand cut stems are even better than your run of the mill Savinelli. If you are trying to do this on the cheap, I suggest getting a lightly smoked italian hand made. You can pick up some of the lesser sought after brands for $60-70 (you might even find one unsmoked for that price) on the bay and it will be a great smoking pipe with a stem that is comfortable in your mouth. I also recommend getting a billard since they also feel so natural in your hand and are almost foolproof to order online. Other shapes are cool but you really need to feel them in person at a real pipe shop to see if you'll like it.

    Grabows/Medicos smoke well but are uncomfortable. Save your lunch money and spring for a lightly used or unsmoked italian for $70. If you are really hard up and cob receptive, the Missouri Meerschaum Freehand is a hell of a pipe with a decent stem for $25.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  24. tuold

    tuold

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    aldecaker opined:

    Stanwell Brushed Browns and Brushed Blacks sell for $50, and I have yet to hear a complaint about them.

    Agreed. I bought a Stanwell brushed black poker when they were on sale at P&C a few months ago and it's one of my favorites now.

    The pipe is an instrument of civilization.
    Posted 3 years ago #

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