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Pipe Life Expectancy, New And Estate

(25 posts)
  • Started 4 months ago by mso489
  • Latest reply from josephcross
  1. mso489

    mso489

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    Like any other material object, pipes don't last forever, and probably most hit the landfill or incinerator before they are actually unusable. I advise newbies to buy pipes carefully because they can be a lifetime possession, or nearly so, if they are used and maintained well and stored carefully when not in use. I have the first pipe I ever bought, new, a Tinderbox St. Ives smooth bent pot, forty years ago, and it still smokes just fine and looks rather good as well. Some of the restorations I have seen on Forums seem to be as good as new, maybe a little better. Not a few members have run photos of pipes one hundred years old or more. To balance out the averages, I suppose pipes do get lost, damaged beyond the owners ability to repair them or have them repaired, or simply abandoned. What's the oldest regularly smoked pipe you have? What do you consider the average expectancy? Do well refurbished pipes have a second full "lifetime" ahead, as they appear to have? I also advise newbies to keep at least a select rotation of their pipes since even determined quitting sometimes gets reversed after some months or years. What is your experience and what are your expectations?

    Posted 4 months ago #
  2. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    Well since you're asking about regularly smoked, Id have to say it a 1906 Barling bent billiard, a large pipe that smokes fantastically well. I have older pipes that I've smoked, but not on a regular basis. The question of whether a refurbished pipe can continue on for another life time depends on the condition of the pipe. A pipe can be cleaned up to look pretty sweet, but if it's been abused and the wood has suffered some sort of structural damage, no amount of cosmetic surgery is going to make a difference. A carefully smoked pipe could give a century or two of service.

    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 4 months ago #
  3. bazungu

    bazungu

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    I do wonder if a pipe has basically 'endless' life if it is a pipe that has been gently smoked (with gently I mean not hot) 1-2 times a day and carefully handled to not drop/break it. Or perhaps I should phrase it as: what would be the first thing to break down? Does the briar eventually burn out no matter what or does the pipe start tasting so bad after 100 years of smoking that no water rinse/salt/alcohol/ozon treatment can ever save it?

    Posted 4 months ago #
  4. mikethompson

    mikethompson

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    The oldest pipe I have is a pre-war Bulldog, but I would hardly call any of my pipes 'regular smokers'. I see some of the restoration jobs posted here sometimes and I wonder if a pipe can be used indefinitely- stems can be replaced, finishes re-finished, and bowls reamed.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  5. chasingembers

    Embers

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    My pipes can go weeks without a break sometimes and still look and smoke good as new.

    Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you.
    -Edward Teach
    Posted 4 months ago #
  6. rdavid

    Panhandler

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    Interesting question mso but the variables involved are infinite.

    I’m guessing that a properly smoked and cared for, well constructed pipe would easily last multiple generations.

    "May my last breath be drawn through a pipe, and exhaled in a jest." Charles Lamb
    Posted 4 months ago #
  7. d4k23

    d4k23

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    When would one consider a pipe ready for the trash? I saw Cosmic use glue to fix a newly dropped pipe. And I have seen amazing restores.

    I have a couple estates I'm hesitiant to clean as they are so charred where the bowl meets the shank (what I would call burn out) I am not sure it's worth the trouble and time to prep the stem and get it smoke worthy.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  8. chasingembers

    Embers

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    When would one consider a pipe ready for the trash?

    I've thrown away many just because they had fallen out of use or they didn't live up to my standards.

    I have a couple estates I'm hesitiant to clean as they are so charred where the bowl meets the shank (what I would call burn out) I am not sure it's worth the trouble and time to prep the stem and get it smoke worthy.

    Got any pics?

    Posted 4 months ago #
  9. mso489

    mso489

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    I often mention this but it is relevant. My dad smoked only one pipe at a time, from age about 15 to 65, when he quit cold turkey. He smoked from just after breakfast, with time out for meals and specific job tasks, until bedtime, and only smoked Granger, with a few years off for only King Edward cigars, then back to pipes. So I was able to observe the lifespan of continuously smoked pipes. He did not rotate pipes. I think he owned a reamer, but used it extremely sparingly, with maybe some educated reaming with his pocket knife. A child's sense of time (mine) is not so accurate, since six months seems like forever, besides which you become a substantially different human being over that time. But as best I an remember, his continuously smoked pipes lasted about two years, give or take. These were medium grade briar pipes available at that time at Chicago downtown (where he worked) newsstands. I think he regarded pipe shops as fussy and overpriced; he was a successful guy but also a child of the Great Depression, so he was no-nonsense about money. But since most pipe smokers don't smoke continuously, and most have at least some rotation, and some have vast rotations of pipes, his was a specialized "experiment," but informative. At least at that time, pipes had approximately two years of continuous daytime smoking in them before crack or burnout of the briar. Had he rotated pipes, and had say six, and rested them with time to dry, they likely would have lasted longer.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  10. ashdigger

    ashdigger

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    The oldest pipe I regularly smoke is an 1888 Meerschaum.

    I agree with Duane.

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 4 months ago #
  11. d4k23

    d4k23

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    Got any pics?

    Two pipes, same makers, different burns. Neither of these pipes are stellar lookers, so I am thinking I don't want the trouble of salvaging them.

    This one is burned on the outside. And the inside has a significant part of the chamber burned away.

    And the other one looks like the shank burned. Can't tell if its from the inside out or outside in.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  12. chasingembers

    Embers

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    Those look like they have been exposed to intense heat or are fire survivors.

    Posted 4 months ago #
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    bent1

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    Can’t speak for briars, but I’ve never worn out a cob. I have a couple cobs that are going on 10 yrs old.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  14. warren

    warren

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    I am not sure it's worth the trouble and time to prep the stem and get it smoke worthy.

    You are really the only one who knows the value of your time and effort. Looks like they might be good candidates muddle around with, try different techniques or ... even some new ones. Nothing to loose.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 4 months ago #
  15. condorlover1

    condorlover1

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    Hell most of my stuff is 100+ years old. The only thing that wears out constantly are the amber-ite stems but the meerschaum pipe bowls with certainly out last me!

    Posted 4 months ago #
  16. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    The English manage to keep things in use in families for hundreds of years. I've seen silver servers and trays that go back to before the Revolution still in use by some families, and that still doesn't compare to some of the antiques you'll see being used in England. Today, we are such a disposable society. Clothes rarely last more than a season, and most things either go out of style or diminish quickly with use. Rarely do we repair things anymore. We just rarely ever expect things to last. But, I remember some banter with a forum member from somewhere in Europe, where they were going on about 100 years seemed like such a long time to us, Americans, and 100 miles seemed like a long distance to Europeans.

    Michael
    Posted 4 months ago #
  17. condorlover1

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    Thats true Cosmic. I still wear a couple of woolen WW1 shirts from a long dead Uncle of mine!

    Posted 4 months ago #
  18. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Yes, right on. If you want to feel old- or historic, go to Australia. There, the locals will point out with pride a building that's 90 years old. Sometimes older!

    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 4 months ago #
  19. mso489

    mso489

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    To keep things in perspective, my long-ago erstwhile Middle Eastern brother-in-law used to say, here in the U.S., if something is sixty or seventy years old, it's an antique. In my country, something has to be two thousand years old before it's an antique. Before that, it's just old junk.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  20. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    He was full of it. Antiques in the States, by definition of antique collectors and dealers, are a minimum of 100 years old.

    Besides, many antiques and historical spots in the Middle East have been shredded by bombs and despots.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  21. bnichols23

    Bill Nichols

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    God knows, Tom. My current oldest is a 30s-40s Comoy Sunrise, cleaned but never restored as such.

    Bill

    Head Black Frigate keelhauler, boss powder monkey, & troublemaker 1st class.
    Posted 4 months ago #
  22. mso489

    mso489

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    jpm, all the antiques I've ever owned, and most I've seen, are in the hundred or hundreds of years old, but his point was that it does depend on the local history, and some places have a traceable history with written language much older. Then there are the cave paintings various places that make nearly everything else look spanking new, those spiffy new Egyptian pyramids for example.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  23. kcghost

    kcghost

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    A pipe should easily outlast its owner if cared for a little bit.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  24. hoosierpipeguy

    hoosierpipeguy

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    If a pipe is properly cared for and not oversmoked, I see no reason it would ever wear out. You might have to replace a stem now and then but the briar itself should last virtually forever.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  25. josephcross

    josephcross

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    This is my oldest pipe. I got it from Ben88, and is over 70 years old. There has been some repairs done to fix some of the charring, but now that its buttoned up I cant imagine this pipe not outlasting me.

    Posted 4 months ago #

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