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Hate to Be That Guy, But...

(51 posts)
  • Started 11 months ago by donjgiles
  • Latest reply from mso489
  1. donjgiles

    donjgiles

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    How can a new, $60.00 Stanwell smoke better than a broken-in $160.00 Castello? I don't know, but it does. Lesson learned.
    Don

    Posted 11 months ago #
  2. workman

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    Elaborate please. This is interesting.

    Smoking is one of the leading causes of all statistics.
    Posted 11 months ago #
  3. hoosierpipeguy

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    Not every $60 Stanwell is average. Not every Castello is a champ. Most of the Castellos I have owned smoked superbly. But there have been some dogs. There's only so much the carver can do in terms of examining the briar for quality and smoking qualities. The better question would be, if you had 25 $60 Stanwells and 25 Castellos and rated the top 25 out of the 50 of them combined, what would it look like? I'd be willing to bet 20 or more would be named Castello.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  4. donjgiles

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    I recently purchased 2 pipes, a new Stanwell made in Italy and an estate Castello Trademark. First bowl in the Stanwell, Lane Ltd. RR, boring old burly. First bowl in Castello, quartered chunks of PS Luxury Bullseye Flake. The smoke in the Castello was empty, hollow, thin. The smoke in the Stanwell is delightful, cool, flavorful. Could it be that the virgin bowl is untainted and I just need to run a few more bowls through the presmoked C?

    Posted 11 months ago #
  5. donjgiles

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    I'd love to have 25 Castellos, I am not on that level. I think I am expecting too much too quickly. I will work with the pipe a bit. Most likely,it is me.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  6. pianopuffer

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    What are the specs on said pipes?

    I know from experience that some wider chambered bowls do poorly with certain blends compared to their smaller counterparts. To me, they can taste airy and sort of blah. Lots of factors here, give us the details!

    Posted 11 months ago #
  7. donjgiles

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    Stanwell Vario 133 and Castello Trademark kkkk

    Posted 11 months ago #
  8. donjgiles

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    Castello smooth finish, clarinet stem

    Pipe length x bowl height 5.32" x 2.08"
    Chamber depth x diameter 1.55" x 0.75" Weight 1.8 oz (51 g)

    Stanwell Vario 113 blast finish with patch of smooth briar

    Weight: 1.40 oz. - 39.82 g.
    Length: 5.61 in - 142.45 mm
    Bowl Height: 1.86 in - 47.25 mm
    Chamber Diameter: .69 in - 17.59 mm
    Chamber Depth: 1.62 in - 41.18 mm

    Posted 11 months ago #
  9. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    It would be a comparison if the same tobacco had been smoked in both pipes. PS LBF is a favorite of mine, but only after it's had 4 or more years of aging. Fresh it tastes like cardboard. Also there's the matter of prep. PS LBF does better when it's smoked quite dry.

    Occasionally you find an inexpensive pipe that smokes really well, but don't make a generalization out of it. Some of the best makers produce duds, rarely, but it happens. Some of the more modestly priced makers produce a really exceptional pipe, above their average. Also, there are a variety of factors that go into the pricing of a pipe.

    Try smoking the same blend, repeatedly, in both pipes. That will at least give you a baseline for a comparison.

    All of my pipes perform well, and they come from a variety of makers and at a variety of prices. In the end, it's more about technique than pipe.

    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 11 months ago #
  10. jpmcwjr

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    Sorry to say, but there is no lesson there as to quality of Stanwell v Costello, nor old v new. Way too many variables, and no scientific basis for comparison; way too small a sample.

    The lesson might be: Mileage varies! It might be the estate pipe is ghosted. It might be....

    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 11 months ago #
  11. woodsroad

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    As much as I love Stanwell pipes, especially the real ones, what you have here, sir, is a cast iron lawn dog. It doesn't bark jump or take a dump. It's an apples and pomello fruit comparison. nail down the controllable variables a bit more and take another run at it.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  12. chasingembers

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    How can a new, $60.00 Stanwell smoke better than a broken-in $160.00 Castello?

    You've figured out something that took me thirty years to discover.

    Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you.
    -Edward Teach
    Posted 11 months ago #
  13. sasquatch

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    I mean, of course the answer could just be that you got a great stanwell and the Castello is mediocre for some reason. Or that you find it so where someone else might find it transcendental.

    One thing strikes me - if the Castello was retort cleaned... the pipes I have had that were retorted were indeed hollow or thin, just kind of devoid of goodness. Get some cake in there and report back.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  14. hoosierpipeguy

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    I didn't realize you made that judgment after one bowl in each. That's kind of like flipping a coin and if it comes up heads deciding heads will always be the result when flipping a coin. If it wasn't done already, ream the cake out of the Castello real good, clean it up and smoke 10 to 20 bowls of the same blend in each. Then you at least have a reasonable comparison.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  15. cortezattic

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    It could be that the reason the Castello was on the estate market was because it is a dud.

    I think sasquatch is onto something with the suggestion that a retort (or an aggressive alcohol cleaning) could leach out any seasoning that a used pipe may have acquired.

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 11 months ago #
  16. seacaptain

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    I bet it smokes better than a $600 Mummert.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  17. jvnshr

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    Javan
    Posted 11 months ago #
  18. eggrollpiper

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    I'm off estates for the time being. I enjoy working on stuff but tired of inheriting other people's problems. It's always a gamble with estates, sometimes you win big and sometimes you go home with an empty wallet. More often the latter I think..

    Posted 11 months ago #
  19. chasingembers

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    You develop an eye for estates. After a while you can spot a lemon. Also avoid sellers with blurry pics and no return policies

    Posted 11 months ago #
  20. seldom

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    I picked up a Stanwell Relief 234 shape of ebay as an estate for cheap. It arrived in the sock and inspection revealed that it had clearly never been smoked. Score! I've been very happy with the quality of this pipe. In fact it is the one in use on my avatar photo. Not a big sample size but I can say that this Italian made (designed in Denmark) Stanwell is a favorite and smoked very well from the first bowl.

    Seldom Seen
    Posted 11 months ago #
  21. admiral

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    I agree with Hoosier - same blend, multiple smokes then you can make such general statements.
    And actually to be more precise you need to repeat this with another blends and multiple smokes.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  22. woodsroad

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    Most of my pipes are estates. Most of them were great finds, almost all bought online. But I do have a ziploc of pipes that can’t be de-ghosted. I’ve tried everything, but that damned 1Q apparition refuses to yield.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  23. donjgiles

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    Perhaps I need to learn how to have more patience, or lower my expectations. I certainly did not mean to upset anyone. I shall continue to learn, experiment and relax and enjoy the smoke. Thank you all for your input.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  24. npod

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    I certainly did not mean to upset anyone

    No worries. The Cob guys always get upset

    These posts always (always) have the same conclusions. There will never be a right answer.

    This weeks podcast featuring Alan Schwartz offering some of the BEST discussion on pipe pricing and lore that I heard. IMHO it is a fantastic episode. The discussion of how and why pipe smokers make purchases is brilliant and Alan distilled it down wonderfully.

    Neal
    Posted 11 months ago #
  25. donjgiles

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    I will tune in, thank you Neal.
    I will admit, the reason I bought the Castello was due to such high praise sung here and almost universally. I expected the flavors to pour out of it effortlessly. It is freshly cleaned and reamed. Perhaps I am just tasting the sharpness I have heard comes along with these pipes when "young" or the ghost of latakia I taste from the previous owner. I think I am just a mid level pipe guy.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  26. thesmokindragon

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    No worries, great advice here from the members - I purchased a new Castello Sea Rock (KK) and from first smoke it was an out of this world smoker - first dozen or so smokes where very bright, then after that it tuned in and now delivers sweet/rich flavors of the blends.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  27. pappymac

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    Occasionally you find an inexpensive pipe that smokes really well, but don't make a generalization out of it. Some of the best makers produce duds, rarely, but it happens. Some of the more modestly priced makers produce a really exceptional pipe, above their average. Also, there are a variety of factors that go into the pricing of a pipe.
    - Sablebrush posted earlier.

    This is one of those times when I'm in full agreement with Sable. Despite their best efforts, you sometime find a "higher" brand pipe where the drilling is just not where its supposed to be. Occasionally, you find a less expensive pipe where it's drilled perfectly.

    eggrollpiper - You say you're off estates for awhile. Do you buy your estates only on eBay by any chance? I stopped buying on eBay a couple of years ago because even with pictures there are no guarantee as to what you are getting problem wise. I buy my estates at antique/collectible shops and malls and antique street fairs. You never know for sure what you are going to find but I've found some nice pipes. I'm currently smoking an Ascorti I found. I also have a rare Peterson Kapp-Royal, a Savinelli Giubileo d'Oro bulldog and a Savinelli Non Pareil Oom Paul. All of these are pipes I smoke once or twice a month and paid less that $30 for.

    edit: I forgot to mention my oldest pipe. It's a Salmon & Gluckstein silver banded pipe made between 1890 and 1920. The stamping on the band is for 1890.

    I am glad we have a good admin and responsible moderators.

    Heave to you dark colored ship under sail! Prepare to be boarded!
    Posted 11 months ago #
  28. lordofthepiperings

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    I ONLY buy estate pipes from SmokingPipes. They have an entire department that goes through and evaluates them and then goes through and restores them. They do a great job of reaming the cake back and doing alcohol treatments to get as much of the ghost out of it as possible.

    I agree with Per Jensen, you shouldn't rub out a flake or coin cut. Personally I've had better experiences with them using the fold and stuff method. The flavors are more pronounced and they evolve and dance so to speak more when I fold and stuff as opposed to rubbing out the flake/coin. With LBF I just take 2-3 coins depending on the bowl that I'm using and fold them over left to right to keep them tall and then just gently work it into the bowl. It typically leaves a good air pocket in the heel of the bowl and keeps the leaf together as the blender intended. This gets better ratios in my opinion and a more clearer picture of what the blender intended the flavor profile to be.

    I agree, you can find a really good smoker in a $60 Stanwell sometimes and sometimes you can find a dud in a $200 Savinelli. I think overall however, your chances of getting a dud goes down as the price goes up with pipes, especially when you get into the handmade artisan carvers. I also would second having more bowls before you declare the $160 Castello a dud. Maybe it wants a straight Virginia maybe it wants a Balkan or English blend. Maybe it works better with a ribbon cut than a coin cut.

    I hope you find the right blend and packing for the Castello. I hear they're typically some really good pipes and they do have some incredible aesthetic looks.

    "The thinking man always smokes a Peterson." -Peterson of Dublin
    Posted 11 months ago #
  29. blendtobac

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    There are so many variables with pipes that you can't predict whether you've picked a winner or a loser. I have a Dunhill that smokes horribly and one of the best pipes I own, and have smoked for 40+ years, is a meerschaum-lined Canadian that was a $20 basket pipe.

    Russ

    Posted 11 months ago #
  30. jpmcwjr

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    Indeed. And it's way too early to pronounce the Castello (or Savinelli, or Stanwell, or.....) a dud or anything.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  31. donjgiles

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    Thank you all for great information and conversation. Life is a learning process, for sure.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  32. donjgiles

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    The pipe arrived visually, very clean. I broke the pipe apart this morning after allowing it to cool overnight and dipped a pipe cleaner in Bacardi ran it through the shank and.... it's was filthy. Yuck.. another lesson learned... clean dem pipes...

    Posted 11 months ago #
  33. sablebrush52

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    It is one of the pipe community's most popular tropes, the cheap pipe VS the expensive pipe. We like it for so many reasons, how smart we were to buy that cheap pipe, how stupid people are who buy an expensive pipe, what a lie it is to say that you have to spend a lot of money to get a good pipe, pipe snobs are clearly idiots, that it doesn't matter that we can't afford an expensive pipe, etc, etc. It's the class struggle of the piping world, and it's always largely framed in simplistic limited terms. Smoking two different pipes, once, with different blends, proves absolutely nothing, couldn't possibly be a weaker case made, and we're all over it because we LOVE this kind of stuff.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  34. civilwar

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    One of the best smoking pipes I own is a cracked 1960's Stanwell. Go figure.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  35. donjgiles

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    Sable,
    I shall repent, for my wrong doings. For I am but a humble youngster to the serious pipe world.

    I completely understand the ongoing debate as I am a photographer, a very gear oriented profession. I have learned that the finer equipment can and will more often,enable more predictable and pleasing results.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  36. seldom

    seldom

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    It is one of the pipe community's most popular tropes, the cheap pipe VS the expensive pipe.

    For me it isn't so much that the cheap pipes I have are better than expensive ones. I simply can not afford very expensive pipes. I would love to buy some of the beautiful pipes I see but can't. It isn't even sour grapes. It's just pleasure in discovering that a cheap pipe is serving me well. Sort of like vehicles I suppose. I'm happy that the cheap vehicle I have spins just like a top. I would love to have a nice BMW. I appreciate the handling and engineering in those vehicles but am delighted that my cheap-o car serves its function for me. I don't think people who have expensive pipes are stupid or foolish. On the contrary I am happy that someone is enjoying those nice pipes. In the meantime I delight in acquiring a cheap pipe that smokes better than expected.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  37. jpmcwjr

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    Nothing to repent! Glad you are looking, experimenting, positing.

    Now, what do you think of the changes in Lightroom between version 17 and 19?? Or in PS?

    OK, kidding, they don't label them that way, but there sure have been a lot of versions. And kidding anyway.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  38. sablebrush52

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    Sable,
    I shall repent, for my wrong doings. For I am but a humble youngster to the serious pipe world.

    I completely understand the ongoing debate as I am a photographer, a very gear oriented profession. I have learned that the finer equipment can and will more often,enable more predictable and pleasing results.

    No repentance required. I'm with you about photo gear. iPhones take very good pix, but compared to a quality camera and lens set up, they're very limited.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  39. pitchfork

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    As far as the airway ("engineering") goes, my recently bought Stanwells are nearly as good or better than many of my more expensive pipes. I'm not surprised that yours smokes particularly well. My Stanwells don't have the same mellow taste that many of my other pipes do, but as fair as having a straight, well-drilled airway from bowl to button, Stanwells are consistently very good in my experience.

    To be sure, they're not quite as good as most of the artisan/handmade pipes I own (like my Ryan Alden pipes, for instance).

    Posted 11 months ago #
  40. donjgiles

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    I have been using PhotoShop since 1994 and I still don't have a clue about half of that program's capabilities. I use Nikon View and Capture 99% of the time.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  41. jpmcwjr

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    I hear you. I have regressed in PS: I can't do stuff I used to do years ago, as I didn't use PS for some years, and then they changed some of the modules, or I forgot how to get to them!

    Posted 11 months ago #
  42. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    I've been using Photoshop in production for over 25 years. It's a great tool that does a lot of stuff very well.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  43. donjgiles

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    May I ask Sir, what do you produce?

    Posted 11 months ago #
  44. slowroll

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    Although one can't really tell from a couple of smokes, it does happen that even a great pipemaker gets a bum block of briar. No way to tell until it's smoked. Maybe the local fauna used the bush for a latrine.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  45. donjgiles

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    I cleaned the pipe really well, it was dirty. I also notice with this and another estate pipe, there appeared to be a wax on it. What are your feelings on waxing a pipe... I don't think I like it.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  46. workman

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    Many, if not most, pipes are waxed. Carnauba wax is, I believe, the most common finish on briar pipes.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  47. sablebrush52

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    May I ask Sir, what do you produce?

    Matte paintings for live action, animation background paintings, illustrations, etc. I also used to shoot the photographic live action plates for my matte paintings, shot reference photos, photographic plates for use in some of the VFX sequences in film I worked on, and for a while I was a stringer.

    I teach Photoshop to people in my industry, and many, many years ago, when Adobe's internet presence was nothing more than a bulletin board, I was one of their Photoshop "gurus", who helped users with the program and was also a beta tester.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  48. donjgiles

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    ..... picks jaw up off the floor.....

    Thank you for all your work!

    Don

    Posted 11 months ago #
  49. danielplainview

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    You’ve answered your own question. It’s a Stanwell. I’m very happy with all my Stanwell’s. Even my Brush Brown Italian made Stanwell is a great burner.

    Make aromatics great again.
    Posted 11 months ago #
  50. newbroom

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    Perhaps I need to learn how to have more patience, or lower my expectations

    Not so much lower your expectations, but manage them 'realistically'.
    Patience is essential, of course.
    The same goes with your enjoyment of a 'new' blend. One or two bowls shouldn't be your 'final exam'.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  51. mso489

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    Some lower priced pipes smoke extremely well, and the more experience you have with pipe, the higher the probability is you can identify them, although anyone can pull the short straw on pipes expensive or not. Most pipes smoke pretty well, and many smoke much better.

    Posted 11 months ago #

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