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Chinese Briars

(55 posts)
  • Started 2 months ago by gatorlope
  • Latest reply from gatorlope
  1. gatorlope

    gatorlope

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    Road Town pipes, made in China, standard shapes with a little creativity. All three smoked well for me. I would have been disappointed in the plastic mouth pieces, except that I automatically use the “Softy” bits (preferably the American made ones) and the mouthpiece material ultimately made very little difference to me. My favorite of the three is the Churchwarden, although they call it by another name.

    Their other line, H S Studio, they reserve for their more creative pipes. Of these two, I prefer the free hand standing pipe, because I Iike the deeper bowl and the one I call “Starship Enterprise” has a relatively shallow bowl, only holding about half of the tobacco that the other one does, although I do like the design and the fact that there is a small smoke reservoir in the second piece of briar, rather like a hookah.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  2. mikethompson

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    How do you find the fitment quality of them?

    We all know about the junk pipes on Amazon, but there is some really interesting stuff coming from Chinese carvers lately.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  3. gatorlope

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    Push fittings with good fit and finish. I like the grain in the briar and the rough texture on the pipes..

    Posted 2 months ago #
  4. bouwser

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    I agree. I have several of these pipes and find the quality is there for the price. They look pretty good and fulfill the PAD in a moments notice. These and estate pipes helped me gain a rotation of pipes.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  5. gatorlope

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    Of the five pipes the churchwarden (they called it Church reader) was the only one that my “Softy” bits would not fit, due to the attenuated design of the elongated mouthpiece. I enjoyed it nonetheless! It was also the only one of the five to have a fancy Christian cross stamped on the shank! (???)
    Even though it’s part of their Road Town line, it looks and feels more like a free hand pipe than the ones that we’re more familiar with.
    All three of the Road Town pipes hove an anchor, a scripted capital R and a single digit number stamped on the shank, along with the words ROAD TOWN and HAND MADE.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  6. verporchting

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    I agree with the fitment and quality. Stems fit perfectly, drilling is perfect and the briar is good quality. The finish is a bit unimaginative (good term, that) but otherwise fine. The blast on mine is nice. Really, these are at least as good as any basket pipe I've encountered and in most cases far better.

    My only (slightly) negative comments would be: the finish is rather meh; and the pipes are a little bit on the petite side, including the chamber walls. Hasn't been a problem but I do notice the heat more than say on a Peterson which could have molten lava in the bowl and you wouldn't notice it. It doesn't get hot and I have no concerns about burnout or anything of the sort, just mentally noted that I can feel the heat more than with other pipes with really stout chamber walls.

    All things considered I give these pipes a lot of credit for being good looking, good quality briar pipes with above average average fitment and drilling. Good smokers and mine have broken in and smoke quite well. And did anybody mention the price???? I literally paid less for mine than I did for most of my cobs - except my first Legend which cost a whopping $4.50 or something of the sort.

    Honestly, I was quite surprised and more than a little impressed with these pipes. Hard to beat the bang for the buck. ** With the caveat that you don't go insane with bidding and spend a stupid amount on an auction; if you do that, well, can't help you there.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  7. mso489

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    I admit, I don't know what to expect or anticipate with Chinese tobacco pipes. Are there actual brands or just companies that contract out production? I know there are some distinguished artisans, but that is a distinct and limited market. Is the wood correctly identified? Is briar briar? Or what is it? The Chinese pipes might establish themselves, but so far, I look at them with a lot of uncertainty.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  8. elasmo

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    I have a few of them, and they work very well for me. That being said...I don't seem to use them as much now that I have alot of more expensive pipes.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  9. gatorlope

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    I know, I’m a little leery of all things Chinese, especially what they create to market overseas. Especially since we had the Chinese drywall scandal and whole houses had to have their drywall torn out and replaced as well as pipes and tubing etc. that fumes from the drywall had caused to deteriorate!

    That said, I am enjoying these pipes on their own merits. I understand that this is still a relatively small company, especially in Chinese terms. (I heard 20 plus employees...) and they seem to be taking a positive attitude towards craftsmanship, creativity and quality. Affordability doesn’t hurt, either!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  10. 5star

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    It’s great that you’re happy with them. One of my doctors is from China. (He’s a US citizen now.) This physician said he personally would never put something in his mouth that came from China. I follow that advice.

    "You are remembered for the rules you break." - General Douglas MacArthur
    Posted 2 months ago #
  11. mso489

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    5star, I'd have questions about the volatility of plastics in the stems, stains, and coatings. If all you want to do is make a pipe that looks good to sell, and you presume you will never have any accountability later, and future sales are not a consideration, all you need to do is use whatever comes to hand and is cheap. That's probably not the best situation from a customer's point of view. Compare that with the craftspeople in St. Claude where your reputation with your colleagues, neighbors, and competitors count for how you're treated when you go shopping or to church. Infinite difference. The opinion of the Chinese-American doctor is a warning light.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  12. gatorlope

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    Sadly, these days, in this oligarchy, that’s a fair warning no matter where your merchandise comes from.
    The rapacity of our society will take... but that’s political and has no place here

    Posted 2 months ago #
  13. gatorlope

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    Suffice to say that a huge proportion of our consumption comes from countries other than our own and one reason we gather here is to examine the products that are available to us and judge them on their merits.
    That said, I haven’t heard of too many companies or countries that are genuinely concerned about the health and welfare of the American people.
    However, if we’re going to be smoking tobacco, we’re going to be risk takers anyway, so I, for one, am going to enjoy it as much as I can for as long as I can.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  14. oldbaccy

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    Good pipes coming out of china dirt cheap with free shipping on ebay. Other than needing pipe mud to raise the floor in the bowl they are fine smokers. Pear wood is common among these pipes. I'm not worried about the chemicals in their plastics any more than the arsenic municipal water I shower with. The united states is toxic but that's another story for another time.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  15. 5star

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    Out of curiosity, I recently bought a clay ‘English Tavern Pipe’ with varnished tip from an online dealer located in the U.S. (I’m a fan of clay pipes & smoke them often.) - - The clay pipe I received had poor, rough workmanshipand , a tight draw, & the varnished tip smelled bad - strongly chemical. While the dealer proudly listed other pipes he offers from Germany, there was no indication of where this pipe was made on his website or on/with the pipe. I used their online inquiry form and asked where the pipe was made. I received no reply. Nor did I receive a reply to the two additional inquiries I sent over the next couple of weeks. When this type of thing happened in the past, the product often came from China. (Though I am not certain in this case due to the lack of response.) Given the high pollution levels in that country and regulation which is much less stringent than in the industrial West, I choose to follow my Chinese doctor’s advice & avoid putting those products in my mouth. I do buy many other types of Chinese products. Nowadays it’s almost impossible not to do so. YMMV

    Posted 2 months ago #
  16. mso489

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    in some categories, Chinese goods have priced others out of the market altogether. You can't get stainless steel kitchen ware and utensils from anywhere else at three times the price, for example. My old-fashioned stove-top percolator pot (which I dearly love as members may know...) is of course Made In China. Another favorite example is my coffee mug that says, "Buy U.S. Saving Bonds" on the side, but turn it over and it's "Made In China."

    Posted 2 months ago #
  17. cosmicfolklore

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    For all of those who said that they would never put a Chinese product in their mouths... WTF? Find me something that goes in your mouth that ISN'T Chinese. Straw, cups, utensils, thermometers, whistles, bubblegum... you'd be hard pressed to find something not made in China.

    Michael
    Posted 2 months ago #
  18. 5star

    5star

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    Good point !

    Though you don’t fire any of those products up (hopefully)

    Posted 2 months ago #
  19. oldbaccy

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    Not a briar (rosewood) but a pretty darn nice poker for $12

    Ordering one, can't beat that price. I don't get what all the worry is about. As previously mentioned, plastic cups are made in china.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Poker-Style-Solid-Wood-Rosewood-Smoking-Tobacco-Pipe-10-Pipe-Filters/323025319597?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

    Posted 2 months ago #
  20. gatorlope

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    $12.00 is a small price for a little bit of happiness!

    I do prefer to use the “Softy” bit covers on my pipes no matter where they come from. At least what I’m chewing on is American made!

    Besides, I’m protecting my bits from “chatter” and I have a better grip on whatever I’m smoking.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  21. olkofri

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    I choose to follow my Chinese doctor’s advice & avoid putting those products in my mouth.

    Likewise.

    Heh, you reminded me of my former Chinese co-worker, when he was looking for a car to buy and I told him, 'no offence, mate, but I don't like Asian cars', to which he replied, 'I don't like Asian cars either!' He ended up buying a Jeep.

    Pipes being hobby articles, I don't have to go for cheap or buy subpar pipes. If I really must buy a cheap pipe I'll buy a cob, and I'm not too fond of those either. And I'd buy an AMERICAN cob, of course.

    Not the sweet, new grass with flowers is this harvesting of mine;
    Not the upland clover bloom...
    Posted 2 months ago #
  22. gatorlope

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    There’s one Chinese purchase I don’t think I can go wrong with...

    My sister’s been a lifelong smoker and is not about to quit (I wish!), but living in Massachusetts, she’s taxed terribly! Well over $100 just for a carton of cigarettes!

    Here in Florida they’re about $65... Almost half! And that difference is nothing but taxes!

    She just got the package from me and had to ask what it was because the writing is all Chinese!

    They’re tobacco seeds and she likes to garden!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  23. eggrollpiper

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    Gatorlope - very nice presentation of the road town and hs studio pipes. I have 3 and petit yes but smoke great and definitively real briar and stems are good acrylic. I always thought those link pipes look like the Starfleet U.S.S. Enterprise (not to be confused w the USN ship of same name). I bid on many of them but those ussually go higher than my cheap ass allows. I wonder if they qualify as a reverse calabash. And China may not care about the end consumer but the lady that sells them does, she offers excelent c.s. I only wish they'd make at least one. 9mm model.
    As for putting Chinese stuff in ones mouth, as cosmic suggested it's inevitable. And is it worse than Smoking Syrian latakia or a cigar from Nicaragua or Cuba?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  24. jvnshr

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    This thread has many interesting levels of opinions.

    Javan
    Posted 2 months ago #
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    jrblount

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    I saw a lot of those pipes recently while shopping on Ebay. I decided to go with estate pipes.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  26. tulsagentleman

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    I have ordered several of these Road Town or HS Studio pipes from the seller on eBay and have generally been satisfied with them. The construction is solid and the briar is decent. All have been smokable. Several have been a bit smaller than I expected but all were attractive. One I particularly like is this one which I paid $38 for. I would say that in my experience they are well worth the money.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  27. gatorlope

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    Nice pipe, Tulsa!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  28. oldbaccy

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    She's a beauty, can't go wrong with that.

    Posted 2 months ago #
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    monkeylyf

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    I do see pipes made by Ping Zhan, a pipe carver from Dalian, available on smokingpipes.
    As a Chinese, I'd say in the past few years, the pipe community's been growing pretty darn fast. I myself never purchased one pipe from Chinese carvers, mostly due to the quality/price concerns. Meanwhile I understand it takes years or even decades to establish a good reputation for a carver or a pipe brand. Maybe I should try get one Chinese pipe in hand this year, just to have a feeling how it is compared those well established ones.

    One of my doctors is from China. (He’s a US citizen now.) This physician said he personally would never put something in his mouth that came from China.

    I respect that, due to various historical reasons. Things are changed now or being changed. For the most of population here, it's pretty hard to avoid made-in-China merchandise.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  30. mso489

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    National economies change and mature, so China might move beyond digital devices and kitchen ware to dominate electric cars and space travel. I remember as a small child, Japanese products were associated with little paper parasols and inexpensive stamped metal toys. Then came most of my cars over the years ... after continuing and persistent efforts to "buy American," some weird disconnect with the American dealership culture and me, despite my sincere efforts over years.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  31. cosmicfolklore

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    About 20 years ago, WalMart used to advertise that it was all about American Made. It had signs in all stores, that everything was American Made, and all of the tags had little American Flags on them. Now, everything in WalMart is made in China. All to shave maybe a quarter off of the price of a product and put more money into the pockets of shareholders.

    A college friend of mine who was born here, but had family in China, went to visit back in the 90's. He had an uncle who wanted to show off how flexible his factories were, so he told him to bring anything from America that looked hard to make. Long story short, the uncle was able to re-gear his factory within a week to make anything your heart desires, any materials, any processes. They are the masters of copy and mass production.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  32. olkofri

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    All to shave maybe a quarter off of the price of a product and put more money into the pockets of shareholders.

    This. The worship of Mammon has replaced love for country. That's the thing that irritates me the most and makes me go out of my way to avoid Chinese as much as possible.

    China has also flooded the world markets with junk, and made a killing in the process (and killed other countries' economies and made them subservient to theirs). Now they're the ones buying the Bo Nords and Chonowitsch pipes at astronomical prices: they have actually driven the prices of such premium pipes to where they are now.

    ...to make anything your heart desires, any materials, any processes

    True. I once read that the same factory that pumps out tons of crappy photography supplies is also the one where Profoto's top notch stuff is made. The facility is divided in two sections: one for the premium, expensive gear, and one for the elcheapo junk.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  33. gatorlope

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    Ping Zhan...

    It’s interesting to see that one of the pipe carvers in China is making a name for hiimself. I’ll look him up and see what he’s done that he takes pride in.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  34. verporchting

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    I've read that others believe the pipes are pear wood or something else. I'm no expert but I'm not sure I agree. It sure looks and feels like briar to me, and most certainly doesn't look like cherry, maple, apple, or any more exotic thing like rosewoods or other rubbish that ought never to be made into a pipe. It's got the look, heft and feel of a briar pipe, including the type of grain pattern I would expect.

    Like anything else in the world the quality can and will vary, but ... these look far, far superior in construction than more commonly seen basket pipes or even something like H.I.S. or whatever.

    And for what it's worth, even the stain and bowl coating appear to be legit. I've had crap stains and worse bowl coating from Savinelli, Peterson and the very worst of all of the lot was a handmade Johs and if you can't depend upon a handmade Danish pipe ... well, shit.

    Not to diminish any other opinion stated here, because everyone absolutely has the right to their own views, but I think these pipes are a decent product.

    And there's the irony of burning a known carcinogen in one's face and then being concerned the vessel might be unhealthy

    Meh, I've been enjoying mine. YMMV.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  35. gatorlope

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    I looked up Ping Zhan online and saw some photos of his pipes.
    Of course,I can’t say much for the heft or feel of his pipes, but the prices I saw were pretty hefty and several were marked as sold....

    They looked good and part of the commentary said that he makes about a hundred pipes a year.
    The mouthpieces looked to be similar material and design to those photos that I already posted here

    Posted 2 months ago #
  36. craig61a

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    I have one HS studio pipe and although I don’t smoke it much it’s a solid pipe... That’ said, I think I will pull it out and smoke it today.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  37. craig61a

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    Robert McConnell Scottish Cake in an HS Studio sitter...

    Posted 2 months ago #
  38. gatorlope

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    And I enjoyed my “Church Reader”, but I’m still puzzling over the fancy crucifix that’s stamped into the shank...

    Posted 2 months ago #
  39. craiginthecorn

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    I haven't owned an HS Studio nor Road Town pipes, but have two Zhiputang pipes which, INHO, are worth 3 to 4 times what I paid for them. There's nothing inherently bad about Chinese-made pipes. Hell, the most expensive pipes are pretty much all going to China these days, so they know little something about briars.

    https://photos.smugmug.com/Pipes/i-GXq9SHX/0/f2ed85d0/X3/15411342956705509420873945779306-X3.png

    https://photos.smugmug.com/Pipes/i-npj8gQG/0/b8d2f60f/X4/Screenshot_20190401-090320~2-X4.pnglist

    Posted 2 months ago #
  40. gatorlope

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    Handsome pipe, Craig! I was only able to open the first photo... nice lines and nice grain!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  41. bouwser

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    And I enjoyed my “Church Reader”, but I’m still puzzling over the fancy crucifix that’s stamped into the shank...

    I have this too on at least one of mine. I wonder if it is a maker's mark?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  42. gatorlope

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    I was thinking the same thing... there has to be some significance to it’s manufacture, but as an individual or a community?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  43. craiginthecorn

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    Sorry, I messed up the post of my Zhiputang pipe photos and my phone battery died while trying to fix it. Let's try again.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  44. gatorlope

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    Lookin’ good!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  45. gatorlope

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    I see the Zhiputang pipes on pipe hub and though they’re not cheap, they’re considerably cheaper than those made by Ping Zhan and they give you the option of making an offer.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  46. gatorlope

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    I’ve been trading e-mails with the distributor (Bernandci) to get some insight into the pipe’s markings.

    The anchor mark is standard on their Road Town line of traditional shapes. When they’ve taken a traditional shape and significantly “modernized” it and added the “army set” (?) mouthpiece to it, like the church warden becoming the “Church Reader”, they add the cross mark. They say that it’s just the mark they use and there’s no Christian connotation intended.

    The numbers stamped on the shanks are there so they can identify who the “pipe maker” was in case there are any problems.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  47. gatorlope

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    Still smoking my Road Town & HS Studio pipes and I haven’t keeled over yet. Of the five pipes,the church reader is the one that I go to most often, despite the fact that I can’t put a Softy bit cover on the skinny bit piece. I wish I could, though.

    Posted 1 month ago #
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    wintergarden

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    I think I have a chinese that someone here might need to help me identify. It's quite old. It has a variation of a stinger type insert.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  49. jpmcwjr

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    Do start a new thread, with 4-5 photos or so.

    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 1 month ago #
  50. daniel7

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    These pipes look nice! I will try one someday I think.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  51. cohibajoe

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    This physician said he personally would never put something in his mouth that came from China. I follow that advice.

    Sound advice to follow.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  52. gatorlope

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    I got a surprise yesterday! I just bought a collection of 10 sealed containers of tobacco and 6 pipes. They arrived and one of the pipes turned out to be an HS Studio pipe!
    I went ahead and cleaned it up with some alcohol and smoked a bowl, so I’ll take a few pictures and post them along with some comments shortly.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  53. sablebrush52

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    One of my doctors is from China. (He’s a US citizen now.) This physician said he personally would never put something in his mouth that came from China. I follow that advice.

    I had a Chinese girlfriend years ago. Does that count?

    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 1 month ago #
  54. gatorlope

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    (GRIN!). It might! I had a coworker for a while that married a Chinese lady that was a respected businesswoman in her own community and they got married in China
    What she might not have known and he wasn’t (?) telling her was that he was living in a mobile home that was parked on property that belonged to his ex wife...
    I wonder what her impression of Americans is these days?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  55. gatorlope

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    My not quite new HS Studio pipe

    From the bottom- each one of those loops is a perforation that passes completely through the lip of the pipe.

    The last photo shows some nice grain and birds’ eye along the stem

    Smoking it was interesting because the bowl is angled like a Cutty, but I packed the tobacco level, so I actually got too much smoke at first, but that evened out as it burned down and I’ll know not to overfill it the next time.

    From the top

    Posted 1 month ago #

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