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New Pipes Or Estates For Beginners

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  1. mso489

    mso489

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    The is an old subject discussed and touched upon over the years. I think both routes work fine. I'm not dogmatic for either choice. Here are some pros and cons on each. New pipes have no abuse from the previous owner, no bad reaming, freight train puffing, poorly executed repairs, chewed up bits, chars on the rim, and so forth, and usually no oxidation on a Vulcanite stem. No sanitizing needed. And if you buy a standard and reliable brand, you can focus on learning to smoke, not figuring out your pipe's possible misuse in the past. But you tend to pay more. Estate pipes have the possible problems mentioned, but at the same price point, you leapfrog up the quality ladder and can get a pipe that cost someone else twice as much, or more, new. I don't think there is a correct answer here. If you are so lucky as to inherit a nice pipe, you have your estate and a family or friend's legacy to go with it. If you want to play it a little safer, you can buy an estate pipe from a reputable retailer like smokingpipes or trusted Forums members, and you'll get an accurate account of the qualities and flaws before you buy. I started with a house pipe from Tinderbox, with the Tinderbox stamp and St. Ives as the model, a bent pot with an interesting vertical saddle stem, still looking good and going strong after 40 years. A Tinderbox old timer thought it probably was produced by Chacom in France. Did you start with a new pipe or an estate? And how did that go?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  2. anthonyrosenthal74

    anthonyrosenthal74

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    I don't think it matters at all. A matter of preference, nothing more. My first pipe was new, and most of my pipes have been new. But I don't turn away from a great estate pipe either.

    Arrrrr, shiver me timbers! International Talk Like a Pirate Day is September the 19th!!!
    Brothers Of The Black Frigate
    Posted 1 month ago #
  3. chasingembers

    Embers

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    There's also the option of the unsmoked estate pipe. Unused and often less expensive.

    Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you.
    -Edward Teach
    Posted 1 month ago #
  4. ray47

    ray47

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    I started with a new Longchamp leather covered bowl (straight billiard). I didn't know about estates back in 1967 and there wasn't any internet back then.

    Posted 1 month ago #
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    jojoc

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    My first pipe was a rack bent Dublin from the local B&M shop. At the time I had been smoking cigars for a couple years, but was living on a tight budget, so was always on edge about the cost of the cigars. A buddy suggested I try a pipe and suggested I get a cheap rack pipe to test the waters so to speak. I didn't know a darn thing about pipe smoking back then. Smoked it hard and fast for a full summer, trying to figure it out so to speak. burned almost all the way through the side wall by the end of the summer, with a big black burnout mark on the exterior of the bowl.

    By the end of the summer I had figured a few things out, and decided to get a "real" pipe. Ended up with a Peterson 02XL Killarney. A few years ago I was doing some cleanup and ran across the old "rack" pipe and tossed it. I now wish I had kept it. Don't think I would smoke it again if I had it as the wall was so thin, but I feel like a part of my history is now gone.

    Over the years I have moved back and forth between cigars and pipes. Been back into the pipe side of life for a couple years now.

    Most of my more recent pipe purchases have been estates from SmokingPipes. A new pipe would really have to speak to me at this point to buy new. It is hard to pass up the value to quality ratio of a good estate pipe vs. the cost of new. I have also enjoyed researching the history and dating process of the estate pipes I've purchased. Starting out, the estate market could be a bit intimidating.
    jojoc

    Posted 1 month ago #
  6. warren

    warren

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    At best a new smoker may have only a faint grasp of what is entailed in a decent smoke. Makes not a whit of a difference if they learn with a cheap pipe, a new pipe, a used pipe or, even a borrowed pipe. They don't know how to smoke. As long as the tool is in proper shape, age and provenance shouldn't matter.

    I started with a new pipe and have never owned a "used" pipe. I mistype, I did receive a used pipe in Russia as a gift. I smoked it in Russia, for the benefit of the donor. One tries not to disappoint one's hosts. Not a great pipe and only serves as a memento now.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 1 month ago #
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    I started with a mr brog pear wood and a grabow omega. Didn't know about estate pipes. This was the early 2000s.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  8. mortonbriar

    mortonbriar

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    In reference to what Warren mentioned, I remember having 'problems' with many of my pipes when I first started smoking, but all those very same pipes have lost their 'problems' as I have learned how to smoke them... I have a few new and a few estate. Estates are fun for giving you a chance to play around with refurbishing.

    Isaac

    I don't really care if the cup is half full or half empty, I just want something to sip on.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  9. fusion

    fusion

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    My first was a Sanitized Savinelli from a member here, i then bought 8 "beaters" on ebay to play around with cleaning them up, i did get 2 very nice pipes from that group.
    But i just bought a new Savinelli smooth Oceano 320 that i love, im having to make myself smoke the other pipes now and again to keep from wearing it out

    Posted 1 month ago #
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    bullet08

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    started with less expensive new pipes. or cheap stuff to experiment. then i was keep cracking the bottom. probably smoking it hot and was keep trying to light the tobacco at the bottom. i kept on buying cheap pipes until i stopped cracking them. now smoking only peterson p-lip, there's one fishtail. no more issues. either i learned my lesson or peterson pipes are more robust.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  11. pepesdad1

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    Started with a Comoy Golden Grain, which I still have...was working in a pipe shop and the owner/mentor told me..."buy the best you can afford". This was in 1961...since then I have added quite a few...given away more than that. I have several estate pipes...GBD's and Charatans...they are great smokers..just as good as my first pipe.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  12. trubka2

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    Nearly all my pipes are estate pipes, but I don't think I'd recommend building out a rotation the way I did - indiscriminately buying really cheap briars on ebay. The problem is that there estate pipes, and then there are estate pipes. And there's no shortage of people prepared to exploit one's inability to distinguish between the two. I wish I'd just bought a bunch of cobs and then slowly built a collection of estate briars from larger, reputable dealers. If I'd started out paying 50 bones a pipe rather than 10-15, I'd be better off now and I wouldn't have wasted countless hours refurbishing pipes that were pieces of crap from the first moment of their existence. In other words, I wish I'd done exactly what people on this forum and elsewhere have been recommending to novices forever. ...So, I now add my voice to the chorus fruitlessly screaming into the void: "Buy cobs! Be patient until you know how to smoke right!"

    Posted 1 month ago #
  13. aquadoc

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    I cannot think of a reason why it would matter. I have enjoyed the hunt for bargain estates and even more so the estate pipes that my friends have gifted me. Also, having never been in a position to buy a new pipe, I have enjoyed the labor of others that have broken in the estate I am smoking at a given time.

    "If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and sex, you don't actually live longer; it just seems that way."
    Posted 1 month ago #
  14. hoosierpipeguy

    hoosierpipeguy

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    I would tell a beginner to buy a few Cobs to learn from. They smoke good, are cheap and also forgiving. Once they've learned a bit, what they do from there should be dictated more by their disposable income than anything else.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  15. daniel7

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    My first pipe was a new noname pearwood pipe, probably from somewhere Czechia-Poland-Hungary, I didn't know if it is possible to buy used pipes, I didn't even have internet back then. This was in 2002-2003.
    Since that, I bought only two estates, an unsmoked Brebbia and a used vintage BBB. The BBB required a lot of restoration and it still has some weird old cellar-taste/smell. The Brebbia had only some kind of gasoline taste, but now it has almost completely faded away. I cleaned both with a lot of alcohol (85%) and I used Savinelli pipe cleaner liquid as well. Maybe I should send them for ozone cleaning, but I think with time they will lose these extra tastes. So I'm just trying to tell that maybe it is much easier to buy a new pipe for a beginner than do the whole cleaning/restoration procedure. Or, the third option, buy a restored/rebuilt estate pipe from a reliable seller.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  16. seanv

    seanv

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    Cobs. As mentioned already they are more forgiving and cheaper. They re a great starting point

    Posted 1 month ago #
  17. cortezattic

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    For beginners? New pipes: establish an objective baseline.

    I'd suggest a midrange briar, like Savinelli, for the same reason. Cobs make sense for monetary reasons, but they impart a non-tobacco taste at the start.

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 1 month ago #
  18. pappymac

    pappymac

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    My first pipe was a Dr. Grabow I bought aboard ship with a pouch of Borkum Riff in 1972. It must have been a good decision because I'm still smoking pipes.

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

    Heave to you dark colored ship under sail! Prepare to be boarded!
    Posted 1 month ago #
  19. bnichols23

    Bill Nichols

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    My take is, probably new -- a decent house pipe from whatever B&M is (relatively) handy, or as Cortez said, maybe a decent brand name like Sav or somebody. A Bones would be really good also. I wouldn't recommend estates to a new smoker for a number of reasons, mainly that to have a fair chance of getting a good one the new smoker is going to need a mentor experienced in the sources/caveats/etc. of searching for a good estate; & frankly most new smokers just aren't going to have that. They'll have a moderately experienced tobacconist at a small B&M, & that's if they're *lucky*....

    My own first (Don't worry, no dreaded Medico-logue coming!) was new, although a true "drugstore" pipe. It was hell smoking, probably 50/50 blame each for the pipe/tobacco & owner/operator malfunctions. I had my mind set on it, though, & managed to ramp up quickly to better quality smoking material & more educated technique.

    Unless a potential new piper has a support foundation like this one, definitely start new, not estate.

    Bill

    Head Black Frigate keelhauler, boss powder monkey, & troublemaker 1st class.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  20. samuelgawith01

    samuelgawith01

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    The gentleman who suggested corn cobs is correct.you can learn technique with them.Next,I would recommend a new pipe with an uncoated bowl.This way the new smoker can get up close and personal with his/her purchase,see what kind of wood they are dealing with,and learn how to build the cake,and watch the cake grow over the weeks.My opinion only,of course.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  21. daniel7

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    If I started with cob I'm sure I would smoke cigarettes nowadays. Cob adds a weird taste to the tobacco, I think it is not everyone's cup of tea. If you would like to stay extra-cheap, then a hardwood pipe is a much better choice in my opinion. A cheap briar (Grabow, Bróg, Kaywoodie, White Star, etc.) is of course even better but hardwood is closer to it than cob.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  22. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    The instrument doesn't matter, unless it's a p.o.s.. Decent tobacco and a heads up as to drying, loading, lighting and smoking are more important. Yet all those things can be self taught as well.

    EDIT: Just saw the above. Agree. I don't like cobs, either for the taste they impart initially, or for the lack of aesthetics.

    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 #
  23. chasingembers

    Embers

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    I would tell a beginner to buy a few Cobs to learn from.

    Yep

    If I started with cob I'm sure I would smoke cigarettes nowadays.

    Nothing wrong there either.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  24. mso489

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    Interesting reading all the way through, about the first pipes, but also about life stories. Thank you, and keep on! Pappy, I remember you are retired Coast Guard, and you mention buying a Dr. Grabow and a pouch of tobacco aboard ship. Was this from a shipmate or new stock from some kind of ship store? My Navy minesweeper (yes, MSO 489) was so small, it only sold soft drinks and candy bars out of the scullery (dish washing area) when it was not in use for dish washing. The detail of buying a pipe aboard ship really intrigued me. So did all of the other posts. Great reading. A lot of living glimpsed on this thread. And yes, I did my time in the scullery actually doing the dishes not selling sodas, though not as long as some shipmates, since I was a radioman and they needed me for long watches in the shack. The only down time I remember was standing out on the weather decks in fair weather and foul, such that I became famous for being addicted to being out in heavy weather. "You love this sh**, don't you, Hawk?"

    Posted 1 month ago #
  25. bnichols23

    Bill Nichols

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    "You love this sh**, don't you, Hawk?"

    Yeah, I can see that. Don't give us that bilge, Tom, WE know what happened. You were determined you were going to find the thing if it took all night when they put you on mail buoy watch! [duck & run like blazes]

    Yeah, seriously, though, I really can see that. Some of us are just like that. An old supply sergeant I knew would trade ANYthing for a can of ham-&-eggs out of a MCI. He LOVED that stuff. Me, I'll just stick with good old SOS.

    B

    Posted 1 month ago #
  26. paulie66scandinavian

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    I have been through all those stages, brand New is new used is used and rebuild/restored estate pipe is that of the third existing sub category which may offer the best quality/money ratio but often this refurbished Estate option is not the cheapest choice one may find.

    Paul The Scandinavian'
    Posted 1 month ago #
  27. wyfbane

    wyfbane

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    I started with established brand-estates. I figured that the pipes would be good. A Pete, A Sav, and a Stanwell. I learned to smoke using all three pipes equally. The pipes all performed roughly the same, so I figured they were good.

    If I were advising a new smoker, I would recommend something similar. I got all three of my pipes for the price of one new pipe that would have required break-in.

    Cobs are good and even cheaper, but I concur that the break-in flavors may affect the experience.

    If it is a matter of smoking or not smoking, I have a supply of cobs to give any would-be pipe smokers.

    It is our job as pipe smokers to grow the roster.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  28. alaskanpiper

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    Started with a $40 Passatore bent billiardish thing purchased at the local tobacconist and some of their most popular house blended aromatics. It smokes just fine. I still use it as a tester pipe for blends that sound like an absolute mess (Usually aromatics flavored with moon dust and funnel cake or whatever ridiculous topping)

    Chose to do that rather than the cob to avoid break in flavors, so my young, impressionable palate was not influenced by anything other than tobacco.

    "We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us." ---Hank

    "Yeah, well, you know that's just like, uh, your opinion, man..." --- The Dude
    Posted 1 month ago #
  29. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    I have said the same thing time after time and still believe it is the best way to go.

    Buy a new Savinelli toss any filters or adapters and have at it. My first pipe was a Sav and it showed me what a good pipe should smoke like. I now had a base line for all my other pipes. When I bought a crap pipe I new it right away and could dump it.

    If you never have a pipe that smokes cool and dry how are you going to know that pipes that gurgle and smoke wet are lousy pipes.
    Here is my first Savinelli.

    Harris
    Posted 1 month ago #
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    foursidedtriangle

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    I never owned a pipe that cost me over $15 and they were new. Smoke em then replace em after a week.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  31. jpmcwjr

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    One ten dollar pipe a week= over $500. You could have a small stable of good pipes for that, then no more expense in years 2-50, a savings of some $25,000.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  32. dcon

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    I don’t think the type of pipe matters. I think that you should be experimental and , like any new adventure, consume all of the literature that you can on the subject. My first pipe and tobacco were a Dr. Grabow Duke Billiard and SWR purchased at a Katz Drug Store when I was a teen. Times sure have changed.

    Duane
    (Not Embers)
    Posted 1 month ago #
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    foursidedtriangle

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    I am enjoying Lancer Slices in a brand new pipe which cost me $8 and let me say it is a sublime experience.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  34. mso489

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    If a prospective new pipe smoker asked me, I'd probably steer them toward a good name brand of inexpensive briar pipe or cob with an acrylic stem, only because I think purchasing estates requires a little more knowhow. But if he/she already had an estate pipe, I wouldn't bat an eye and would explain other things they might like to know. Or if they wanted an estate pipe, I'd steer them toward smokingpipes.com or another dependable source so they wouldn't get hung up on possible repairs.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  35. ophiuchus

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    Pick something that pleases the eye and the hand ... and maybe keep an open mind.

    Oddly enough, though I almost exclusively buy (collect?) new pipes, my first was not new when I bought it at Maison Edwards in Ann Arbor. It wasn't "used," it wasn't referred to as an "estate;" the salesman referred to it as a "refurbished" pipe. A good job of refurbishment was not performed on this pipe. There was nothing that could be done to hide the fact that the previous owner used a cigar torch on the rim of the bowl of this no-nonsense, no-frills straight pot, and I'm still not convinced that the stem was original to the pipe.

    This Plain Jane pot stamped with nothing more than "ITALY" has served well, though; of the small handful of pipes I used during my college years, it's the sole survivor. Though it hides in a footlocker in storage with the rest of my "pre-move" collection, it will rejoin the active rotation when I unbox everything after moving into a more permanent house. I have nicer, fancier pipes that smoke as well; I've yet to use a pipe that smokes better than the old beater.

    Sorry for running off at the keyboard ...

    Posted 1 month ago #
  36. mso489

    mso489

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    ophiuchus, that story has its ups and downs but turned out just fine. Thanks!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  37. alexnc

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    MSO, you always create intriguing topics. I say new. I started on new Savs and Stanwells, a few of which I still smoke. Like my trusty 320 and Stanwell octagonal shanked billiard. I don’t think new pipers should attempt the estate market without some guidance or experience. And many won’t have the patience to season a cob. So I say new lower priced briar.

    Goo Goo g’joob
    Posted 1 month ago #
  38. paulie66scandinavian

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    I do second the very opinion given by Mso489 above

    Posted 1 month ago #

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