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Softy Pipe Bits, Do You Use Them?

(60 posts)
  • Started 8 months ago by carolinachurchwarden
  • Latest reply from macaroon
  1. carolinachurchwarden

    carolinachurchwarden

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    I have a couple of pipes that have stems slicker that owl snot and they just won't stay between my teeth when I try to clench them unless I hold them juuuuuust right. I grabbed some of the softy bits at my tobacconist and put some on a few pipes that like to slip around too much. Mostly, I don't want a chomped up bit, but keeping them from scooting around in my teeth helps to keep that from happening.

    I once had a pipe I was clenching dump half my tobacco when it slipped sideways between my teeth due to the acrylic stem being so damn slippery. I put a softy on that baby and it stopped it from happening. That's the good part.

    The bad part is getting over the rubber taste you get for the first few smokes. I do need to get some smaller ones, as I have a Charatan's Make that I refurbed a while back and I don't want it to get all chattered up again. The problem is, the ones I get from my tobacconist are too big and I know P&C has the small and the large, but I can't tell if what I have is the small or large already. Anyone else use these? I just want some smaller options for my smaller bit pipes.

    "If you can't send money, send tobacco." - George Washington

    Posted 8 months ago #
  2. ashdigger

    ashdigger

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    I tried them. I hate them. If I have a pipe that "requires" them, that pipe goes.

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 8 months ago #
  3. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    I have an Ardor bulldog that had a stem like you speak of. I just took a file and roughed up the part just behind the button, just enough to give me some bite to hold the pipe steady in my clench. Not enough to mess up the stem. If I wanted, I could easily sand and polish it back to owl shit.

    But, I just can't do the softy bits, they feel like I have a ball gag strapped to my face. They are too much, IMO.

    Michael
    Posted 8 months ago #
  4. spartacus

    spartacus

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    I have and use the smaller ones. You need to wet them down a bit to get them on. The acrylic stems doesn't feel comfortable in my teeth. I find myself chewing on the rubber though and need to replace it every once in a while. I do not care for them on my P-Lip stems though.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  5. irishearl

    irishearl

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    Tried it and nope-don't like the rubber feel and taste.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  6. crashthegrey

    crashthegrey

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    I use them or something like that to castrate my goats. They don't go near my pipes. I do tend to prefer vulcanite or ebonite stems, but if it is acrylic I use a similar method to Cosmic.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  7. timt

    timt

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    There's an old thread from several years ago where a member talked about using latex tubing that you can find in hardware stores in like 10ft lengths. I like it better than the bits because it's a little more firm, thinner and definitely cheaper over the long term.

    I only use it on my meer which is 2oz, straight and with an acrylic stem. It's not a big deal after I got use to it and like you mentioned, it makes it much easier to chomp onto the pipe and keep it in place without wearing on my teeth.

    Tim
    Posted 8 months ago #
  8. scloyd

    scloyd

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    Tried a softy bit once...hated it. Never again.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  9. saltedplug

    saltedplug

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    As you may remember I had two-dozen used softies available in my last sale at a great price. I don't know why this was not taken seriously:).

    Posted 8 months ago #
  10. blackadderlxx

    blackadderlxx

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    Man...some of the imagery in these responses...

    I'm not a big fan. I Use them on estate pipes if they have chatter marks though.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  11. scloyd

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    Wasn't there a thread recently about using bondage tape instead?

    Posted 8 months ago #
  12. prairiedruid

    prairiedruid

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    I use them. I have a damaged tooth so a softy works well with the pipe notch in my teeth.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  13. milehighpiper

    milehighpiper

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    I also use them on all my pipes. I wash them before putting them on and have not had a rubber taste to them ever. When in doubt, get the smaller tips since they stretch a bit.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  14. ray47

    ray47

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    I always smoke my pipes after I take out my dentures and softie bits help my gums. All my pipes have them.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  15. chasingembers

    chasingembers

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    I use them on all my clenchers.

    I like coffee exceedingly.
    - H. P. Lovecraft
    Posted 8 months ago #
  16. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Not a fan.

    If it's slippery, take a kitchen scrubbing sponge, add a drop of detergent and scrub the bastard. May have too much wax and too slick a surface without the wax. This should help for both.

    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 8 months ago #
  17. 3rdguy

    3rdguy

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    Did not like them, got used to them and now I like the feel of them. Saves a little wear and tear I figure. Cheap in bulk on eBay.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  18. npod

    npod

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    An oldie but goodie classic http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/parafilm-stem-wraps

    Neal
    Posted 8 months ago #
  19. lordofthepiperings

    lordofthepiperings

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    I never ever even tried them until I picked up a Silver Gray hawkbill. It was a step up in my collection, so I got the whole, "Oh I need to protect this stem from tooth marks.", thing going on and actually bought some softie bits. It was really weird to get used and I never really did. After a few times using them I thought about it and came to the conclusion that stem work is almost ALWAYS declared the most difficult pain in the rear aspect of pipe carving. Carvers take so much time to make the bit as comfortable as possible, so if I'm putting a softie bit over it I'm essentially taking all of their efforts and throwing them out the window. I settled on enjoying the pipe exactly how the maker made it. I'm definitely more in the collect to smoke camp than the collect to stare at the beauty of the pipe camp.

    I understand if people have dentures or caps or missing teeth that then it makes sense to use them.

    "The thinking man always smokes a Peterson." -Peterson of Dublin
    Posted 8 months ago #
  20. craiginthecorn

    craiginthecorn

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    I don't generally use softie bits because they feel too big to me. On a few of my pipes, I have used non-adhesive heat shrink tubing. It makes clenching easier and more comfortable and seems to do a decent job of protecting the bit.

    Posted 8 months ago #
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    ukbob

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    Use them all the time.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  22. onestrangeone

    onestrangeone

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    Nope, tried em and their not for me.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  23. bnichols23

    Bill Nichols

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    understand if people have dentures

    Yup, one reason I like acrylic bits better than most vulcanite. I don't clench that often any more, but when I do the acrylic has a better feel (with the exception of one of my Brebbias that's just so daggone comfortable & lightweight that I hardly even notice the bit at all).

    Personally I've never used softies but I could probably get used to them if I did. Pre-dentures I was a big clench guy but now I usually hand-hold. Makes me look more pensive/academic too, like a professor, or so I've been told. I guess so, but for *me* the user it's just more comfortable.

    Bill

    Head Black Frigate keelhauler, boss powder monkey, & troublemaker 1st class.
    Posted 8 months ago #
  24. smittyd

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    I use them because i let my pipes dangle from my front teeth, so this help protect my teeth.

    Brothers Of The Black Frigate
    Posted 8 months ago #
  25. anantaandroscoggin

    anantaandroscoggin

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    I have some of the Ukranian lathe-turned long-stemmed pipes I got for the fun of them, but found I didn't like the texture of the wooden bit in my mouth. I got some of the 9mm Ø softies and they are much less unpleasantly textured. This is after I had gotten the larger size for a couple of very, very slippery pipes.

    Too bad there isn't a cure for round-stemmed bits like clay pipes have. Every time I let my hand go of the stem while smoking one, it twists over and tries to dump the coals, ashes and tobacco into my lap (sadly all too successfully, sometimes).

    Posted 8 months ago #
  26. perdurabo

    perdurabo

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    I clench, so yea I use them. I think the BJ Long’s to be the best. But that’s just my size, you know.

    It's not my position nor want to help another man. It's his responsibility to help himself, as where he can learn to dig down deep enough to save himself. -I. Kidd
    Posted 8 months ago #
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    tkcolo

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    I only use them on pipes with repaired bits that I am trying to protect. And at that, I use rubber thin rubber tubing. I have a few pipes that are impossible to clench, and I never smoke them. I really hate the bits.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  28. crashthegrey

    crashthegrey

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    lordofthepiperings hit the nail on the head. Also, I love the "I clench so I use them attitude." Not everyone is the same. I clench, so I don't use them. Lol.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  29. carolinachurchwarden

    carolinachurchwarden

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    I could see not using them on a stem that an artisan carver made and if one was made to be really comfortable, but all the ones that I have are not artisan carved. They all likely have a factory cut stem, but not sure they were as carefully created and shaped, like you mention. Most of my pipes are really comfortable for me without the softy bit, but the ones that move too much will get one every time.

    On the other hand, as you said, if I get a pipe that does have that super comfortable bit that the carver spent a tremendous amount of time on, I don't know if I would want to muck it up by screwing with the finish. I want to keep it nice just in case, who knows if or when, I decide to sell it or need to sell it, I won't have to have the damn thing refinished or refinish it myself in order to clean up any teeth chatter I might have made when I spill hot coffee in my lap. To each their own, but that's just me.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  30. crashthegrey

    crashthegrey

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    It is a stem to a pipe. It is made to be bitten. If you are worried about selling it, I have news for you, it isn't going to sell for much. Don't count on pipes as investments. Just smoke them for your enjoyment. Or be a weirdo and put condoms on everything you touch so you don't hurt it.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  31. carolinachurchwarden

    carolinachurchwarden

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    Ouch. I didn't think I was being a weirdo. Alright, well, I'll just keep being a weirdo, because I like keeping my stems nice and smoking them for my enjoyment.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  32. snowyowl

    snowyowl

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    As I have posted when this has come up before, I use them on my field pipes... when I am walking over hill and dale, crossing single board stream crossing in the dead of winter and doing anything but thinking about what my pipe is doing.
    I bought a 50-count tube of these things from EACarey several years ago. I swap them out when I bite through them.
    I also have one on a Parker estate pipe where a former owner's tooth marks caused the stem to fail... the rubber covers the stem hole perfectly!

    "If you see something... pipe up."
    Posted 8 months ago #
  33. crashthegrey

    crashthegrey

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    That was firmly tongue in cheek and not meant to actually offend. I don't expect you to feel the same as me.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  34. jrenko

    jrenko

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    Its a love hate thing for me. I use them on all my pipe except one. I hate the look of it on my pipes but if just feels so much better to bite on. I dont care for teeth marks on the stems it's just more comfortable. The one pipe that i dont use it on is bigger, wider and have a bigger lip so it rest nice on my teeth.
    Mabey it's a thing i have to get used to not using but it's hard to break old habits atleast someone like me

    Posted 8 months ago #
  35. economistandfisherman

    economistandfisherman

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    I've used them for ages, absolutely love them...and so does my dentist!!! I'm a clencher and if you don't want to ruin your teeth, it's the best way...and I've found no rubber taste at all. That said, its important you put them on correctly, they need to be fully behind the lip of the pipe; the rubber bits have their own lip, so that is what effectively becomes the new stem lip.

    “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest”
    Adam Smith
    Posted 8 months ago #
  36. pappymac

    pappymac

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    I have dentures and use them. It makes the pipes easier to clench and most importantly, it also protects my dentures. Believe it or not, dentures can chip and wear also.

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

    Heave to you dark colored ship under sail! Prepare to be boarded!
    Posted 8 months ago #
  37. btwes7

    btwes7

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    Tried them but never was much of a clencher. Didn’t really need them so quit using them.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  38. timt

    timt

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    I'm a clencher and if you don't want to ruin your teeth, it's the best way.

    Totally agree with this. As of now though, I only use them on my heavier pipes with acrylic stems.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  39. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Why do folks have to justify using softie bits? They're either for you or against you, those little things, and who cares?

    Posted 8 months ago #
  40. timt

    timt

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    Grouchy this morning?

    Posted 8 months ago #
  41. dochudson

    dochudson

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    I use them... My teeth are a mess. I cut the button off of them first. I also use the balsa filters in my Savs.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  42. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    I'm all for softie bits for folks who need them and/or like them. I just don't see why some need to justify their use. As useless as going on about tobaccos you don't like. (and that's the general "you", timt, not aimed anywhere.)

    Posted 8 months ago #
  43. timt

    timt

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    I don't think discussing using softie bits as a way to protect our teeth is useless conversation. It's no different than anything else we talk about around here. For instance cleaning our pipes with alcohol or water - why defend either method?

    Now I will say there is a proper way to go about doing this. I had no reason to be so insulting in my comment about the water method and I apologize for being a prick. I'll check that impulse in the future and keep in mind I'm still a novice in this arena.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  44. mikefu

    mikefu

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    I prefer to not use them, except for when l’m doing a project or yard work where I an clenching for a long period and am clenching tightly to not drop my pipe while moving around. I don’t like the size, but the BJ Long live rubber ones are super squishy and give a great secure purchase on the stem.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  45. User has not uploaded an avatar

    Anonymous

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    I often walk and have a pipe. I find softy bits more comfortable to clench on long walks or on pipes with a small stem.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  46. tavol

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    I only use them on falcon pipes as I find the bits incredibly hard and prone to slipping.

    On artisan pipes I've paid for incredibly good stem work so I want to appreciate it so I don't use softy bits.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  47. trouttimes

    trouttimes

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    To each his own. This is why houses of ill repute have more than one soiled dove.

    “The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began.
    Now far ahead the Road has gone, I must follow if I can
    Posted 8 months ago #
  48. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Thank you, timt.

    As to teeth, I am not sure I am damaging them by not using softie bits. Ironically, the one ragged tooth I have is a front tooth, in a location the pipe stem does not visit! And I hold the pipe with only enough pressure to keep it secure- no more.

    And surely there are those who need them in order to protect their teeth, as mileage varies per usual. .

    Posted 8 months ago #
  49. User has not uploaded an avatar

    instymp

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    Yes, on all of them, love them.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  50. markthelad

    markthelad

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    Nope, I despise them!
    I tried one on a Peterson pipe for a little while and couldn't get used to it, so removed it.
    Upon removal, I noticed that the stem of my beloved pipe had oxidized, but only where the softy bit had been!
    I don't really care for the aesthetics that they impart either.

    "I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself."
    Johnny Carson
    Posted 8 months ago #
  51. craiginthecorn

    craiginthecorn

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    I previously answered that I like the non-adhesive heatshrink tubing, but have been trying Npod's entertaining yet serious recommendation from a separate thread on something I didn't even know existed -- bondage tape. Yes, that kind of bondage. If you're the kind of clencher than deforms Vulcanite, a softy bit will be better, but for most folks, the bondage tape is fantastic. There are several advantages over the heatshrink tubing. It's very shiny black, so it looks really good on black stems. You can apply as much as you like, so it can extend further down the stem and you can give addition wraps if you want more protection. It's quite thin, so I use two or three winds around the stem.

    The material gives you more grip in your teeth, so I find I'm not biting nearly as hard to get a firm, comfortable grip, so for me, I don't believe I need a lot of thickness. That also means it doesn't feel odd in my mouth. It stays in place without unraveling even though it lacks any adhesive, which of course is what makes it attractive for its designed purpose.

    I got mine at Lover's Lane. It's a substantial quantity for about $12. Npod said he got his at Spencer Gifts. Since it's the same width as duct tape, I need to cut it lengthwise to wrap neatly and sometimes I get a little wrinkle or bubble, but I don't worry much about that. It's very flexible and can even conform to the profile of the button. By the way, it's flavorless.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  52. pipesmoker30

    pipesmoker30

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    I didn't realise there was different sizes, brought a pack of 10 on eBay only to find they fit 1 of my pipes

    Posted 7 months ago #
  53. crashthegrey

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    You can always try this.

    Posted 7 months ago #
  54. pipesmoker30

    pipesmoker30

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    Someone said about using heat shrink, does this generally work or were they having a laugh?

    Posted 7 months ago #
  55. crashthegrey

    crashthegrey

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    Heat shrink tubing does actually work. A lot of guys use it, no joking this time. I prefer to bite my stems as God intended, but to each their own.

    Posted 7 months ago #
  56. pipesmoker30

    pipesmoker30

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    That's another alternative then cheers

    Posted 7 months ago #
  57. User has not uploaded an avatar

    instymp

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    "Upon removal, I noticed that the stem of my beloved pipe had oxidized, but only where the softy bit had been!"

    I had the exact opposite happen. Exposed part oxidized except under the softy, Sorta like a bikini line.

    Posted 7 months ago #
  58. pipesmoker30

    pipesmoker30

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    Oh not good, that's definitely worth knowing thankyou. What colour stem do you have?

    Posted 7 months ago #
  59. leafsmoker

    leafsmoker

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    The first time I used one, I hated the rubber taste.....Then I told myself ''do you want to really damage your teeth and possibly loose some?'' I am now so used to them that I can not detect the rubber taste anymore.I have small and large ones.They suit my needs.My Dad and Step Dad uses them now..

    The walls have ears, the windows have eyes, and the wise man tells no lies.
    You can offer someone a cigar, but you can never offer someone your pipe.
    Posted 7 months ago #
  60. macaroon

    macaroon

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    Since I prefer to clench my pipes at least a little bit, I went ahead and added a couple to one of my past tobacco orders. I have since discontinued my use of them primarily because of the added thickness they add to the pipe bit. That, and they would trap moisture when they didn't fit tightly. I get the allure, they just didn't work out at well as I hoped.

    "I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul"
    Posted 7 months ago #

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