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Let's See Your Kirsten Pipes

(32 posts)
  • Started 1 year ago by nsfisher
  • Latest reply from cobsandclays
  1. nsfisher

    nsfisher

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    Quite often, I see posts from people saying that Kirsten Pipes are good smokers. So... I have never smoked one or even seen a live one. Would some of you fine Members be kind enough to post a picture of your Kirsten Pipe and tell us what you think of it. Good and/or bad opinions are more than welcome.

    If at first you don't succeed, have another bowl.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  2. uberam3rica

    Uberam3rica

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    I like mine. It's really easy to clean. Plus like a Falcon, the bowl is detachable. So you could buy several bowls, and dedicate one for english blends, one for Virginas, etc. You can get briar or meerschaum bowls. Missouri Meerschaum mad corn cob bowls at one time, but they're no longer in production. They come in straight, quater bent, and full bent. You could have a whole seven day rotaton with just one stem. Those fins on the sides act as a radiator, dispersing heat. Also, they are made in America. Seattle to be specific.

    This is the only picture I have of it

    As long as I got a pipe full of baccy and a nose full of snuff, I'm a happy camper
    Cigarettes are an addiction, cigars are a hobby, pipes are a religion
    Posted 1 year ago #
  3. uberam3rica

    Uberam3rica

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    Here is their website: http://www.kirstenpipe.com/

    Posted 1 year ago #
  4. captainsousie

    captainsousie

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    I had one but could never seem to load it right and it liked to whistle when it was smoked so I sold it.

    Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
    Posted 1 year ago #
  5. bigboi

    bigboi

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    I am looking into Kirsten right now. They are based out of Seattle and since I am really close there I would love to support them

    “I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgement in all human affairs.”
    -Albert Einstein, 1950
    Posted 1 year ago #
  6. yadan

    yadan

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    I understand that they haven't been producing new pipes for some time, and that they don't have enough spare parts to to create composites.
    I've occasionally seen them on Ebay, though.

    "I'm always easy to please since I'm always satisfied with the very best." - Oscar Wilde
    Posted 1 year ago #
  7. zonomo

    zonomo

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    nsfisher - I was looking into these too because I understand they smoke well. In my research I found out they are literally less than a mile from my house in downtown Seattle. So I went for a visit. Their shop is in a pretty nice high-end outdoor mall. I dont know why but that really surprised me. As a former small business owner, I also think of expenses when I see small companies. Their location is High Rent for sure so I wonder how many pipes + tobacco you'd have to sell just to pay the sky high small business taxes in WA state much less put a loaf of bread on the table. I spent about an hour there talking with the guy. Yadan is correct that they are trying to rebuild their inventory. He told me that I'd have to wait 4 - 6 months for a new pipe (again, back to my small business thinking). He had some misc spare parts in a drawer but he didn't have any bents or full bent stems that I could actually look at. I was pretty disappointed. He also said that they are going to be raising their prices because everything has become more expensive, which I know to be true. He said this is the first price increase in over 30 years.

    P.S. I didn't walk away disappointed because I picked up my Honey Bee Savinelli + some of their Mariner Mixture

    Posted 1 year ago #
  8. zonomo

    zonomo

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    On another note, I'm not sure how a company can run out of inventory of a mass produced product. From an Operations perspective, when you see both raw inventory levels shrinking and robust sales continuing, you plan for these things. There is definitely another reason for this situation but its not public at this point. I'll be interested to know if it ever comes out.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  9. yadan

    yadan

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    zonomo said:
    "On another note, I'm not sure how a company can run out of inventory of a mass produced product. From an Operations perspective, when you see both raw inventory levels shrinking and robust sales continuing, you plan for these things. There is definitely another reason for this situation but its not public at this point. I'll be interested to know if it ever comes out."

    That goes for me, as well. I suspect that competition from Falcon may have had something to do with decreased sales. I for one wouldn't hesitate to buy one if they were available; I constantly browse Ebay to see what's what.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  10. nsfisher

    nsfisher

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    Thanks for the info ya'll. I am seriously considering and looking into them. I think my biggest concern to date so far is the fact that they appear awkward looking. They are ruputed to be excellent smokers, so I may give one a go, in the near future. I do believe that if I do make the jump, I would also look for a couple of Meer bowls.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  11. ace57

    ace57

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    I have a 1940 Kirsten that I still smoke. It was made befor they used the o-rings in them so I never need to replace them.

    U.S.M.C. (SEMPER FI)
    Posted 1 year ago #
  12. zonomo

    zonomo

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    From what I've been able to research. They are very fine pipes. Maybe not as beautiful as some of the artisan pipes but still very nice. I'm definitely going to buy one and support the local Seattle economy.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  13. zonomo

    zonomo

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    Just checked on FleeBay and there are TONS of them for sale.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  14. nsfisher

    nsfisher

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    Never heard of FeeBay mate, Is it like E-Bay?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  15. zonomo

    zonomo

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    Ya, I am being facetious. I have funny names for companies. Taco Bell = Taco Hell. Whole Foods = Whole Paycheck. etc.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  16. lraisch

    lraisch

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    I wrote an article about Kirstens for Pipes and Tobaccos magazine a few years ago. One of the things I learned at the time, was that the pipes were produced on the same CNC milling machines that they used to make aircraft parts for Boeing. Possibly they are too busy with aircraft production to devote much time to pipes these days or perhaps they just lost interest.

    I only have the one Kirsten and I can't say I was very impressed with it's smoking qualities. I find it a pain to clean and don't like the draft hole being at the bottom of the bowl. The draft is very restricted as well.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    I didn't look this up again, but IIRC, Kirsten is (or was, until recently) a family company. It's possible the seniors retired and/or died and the family simply "lived" off what they had on hand until they pretty much drained their inventory. I remember seeing some "parts" on their web site (this was a while ago) -- bowl "seconds," even some meerschaum bowls they "found in a drawer" that were made prior to 1970 by one of the senior owners (Turkey banned the importation of "raw" meerschaum in 1970).

    The good news is, if correct, that Kirsten's making a come back and pipes should be available again at some point soon.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  18. nsfisher

    nsfisher

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    bowl "seconds," even some meerschaum bowls they "found in a drawer" that were made prior to

    I seen this also, just the other day when I was checking out the Kirsten's

    Posted 1 year ago #
  19. zonomo

    zonomo

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    When i was there they had 1 meerch bowl but there was a certain part that they needed but didnt have. I think this entire situation is "strange".... something feels weird here.

    @lraisch, you happen to have a link to your article? I'd love to read it.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  20. lraisch

    lraisch

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    I don't think the magazine has back issues online, sorry.

    Posted 1 year ago #
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    htmn246

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    I have one Kirsten pipe that I keep in the truck for when I forget to grab a pipe as I head out the door. I talked to the company last year and was told that they were having problems getting the acrilic for the mouthpieces.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  22. brewshooter

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    Yeah, I talked to the guy at the Westlake shop in June of last year, up there for the National Homebrew Conference and to visit family, and he said they had a ton of parts for years and apparently never had to reorder for a LONG time. When they realized they were gettting low they found out the cost to produce new parts was going to be through the roof. I was sad, as I really wanted one, but I just happened to purchase this one last week from Marty Pulvers:

    I paid extra for a briar and corncob bowl he also had on hand. It's almost brand new. I smoked it yesterday and have no complaints at this point.

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
    -C. S. Lewis, English essayist & juvenile novelist (1898 - 1963)
    Posted 1 year ago #
  23. yadan

    yadan

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    Brewshooter, is that bowl meerchaum or porcelain?

    Posted 1 year ago #
  24. brewshooter

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    It's meerschaum. I do love how the Kirsten website still hasn't been changed to indicate they can't sell you a pipe. They have been out of parts for quite some time.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  25. yadan

    yadan

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    Yes, that's quite irresponsible on their part; they've been giving smokers what could be false hopes about new production. Personally, I really wish they could manufacture pipes again, so I wouldn't have to rely on Ebay...

    Posted 1 year ago #
  26. nsfisher

    nsfisher

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    @Brewshooter

    There is one similiar to your new one on E-bay now. I think it is going for around $120- $130.00

    Posted 1 year ago #
  27. brewshooter

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    Whoa!!! Well, I paid less then that for mine. It was $60 and $30 for the two extra bowls. Since I live in California, across the San Francisco Bay from Marty actually, I had to pay sales tax. After tax and shipping it all came to a little over $108.

    Mine isn't brand new, but it is about as close as you can get with an estate to brand new. It looks like it was smoked maybe once or twice.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  28. brewshooter

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    I do have to confess, I was slightly paranoid smoking this out in front of my garage while my kids were playing. I thought someone might call the cops, as it sort of screams "non-tobacco" pipe. I think enough people have seen me out there with my other pipes to understand I don't suffer from glaucoma, irritable bowel syndrome or cauliflower ear.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  29. nsfisher

    nsfisher

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    @Brewshooter

    My mistake, I just looked it up again, here it is mate. I was a bit over on the price.

    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Kirsten-RB-estate-metal-pipe-/251218372472?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a7dc82778

    Posted 1 year ago #
  30. brewshooter

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    That one looks like it hasn't even been smoked.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  31. zonomo

    zonomo

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    Dang nsfisher -I'd jump on that if the radiator was silver. I dont care for the black, which is strange because black is my favorite color. @Brew -thats a sweet pipe you've got there.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  32. cobsandclays

    cobsandclays

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    Bless my girlfriend's heart she wanted to get me a fancy pipe this year for Yule and, of course, found the Kirsten website. Since we're local, and I hadn't seen a Kirsten in person, we decided to take a drive down there and check 'em out. Much to my irritation they had nothing on hand, except the employee's personal pipe and bowls. This is what we were told:
    (TL;DR- They don't know when they can start production. Costs are high and the machining of the stems is really complicated.)

    As others have said above they simply didn't have to order parts for ages, apparently the guys who made them back in the day cranked them out by the ton. When Kirsten realized they needed more stock they also found out that all those guys who'd been machining them had either died or long since retired. We were told that it takes something like 57 different cuts to make a stem tube, and that it is too complicated to have CNC machines do this. [Side note, I know CNC machinists and I have trouble believing this aspect of the story. But I don't know since I don't know the limitations of the machine or the complexities in programming them to do anything.] They can apparently get the caps, bits and bowl adapters at reasonable prices.

    What I -don't- have trouble believing is that production costs, based on quotes they've received, might force them to raise the prices of the straights and quarter bents to over $250 each. The "problem" is that they are trying to keep the production inside Washington State, as opposed to offshoring it to China which would merely double the prices seen on the website. They tracked down one old timer who used to machine them, but he is reportedly not responding. They are hopeful that he will be able to train some younger guys how to make the pipes, but it's all up in the air right now.

    They have seed money for a run or two of pipes, and a backorder list that -IF- they were able to start production in January it would take them until August or September to fill. After that they could go back to producing parts to sell pipes off the shelf.

    Posted 4 months ago #

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