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The Pipe Cleaner Test

(30 posts)
  • Started 4 months ago by workman
  • Latest reply from mityahicks
  1. workman

    workman

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    I have a few bent pipes, and all except my two Petersons pass a pipecleaner, some of them with a little twisting required. My Petersons are forgiven, one is a system pipe, the other a spigot. My straight pipes all pass a cleaner and I would consider them thrash if they didn't.
    I want to add a couple more bents to the herd. I've been looking at some Savinellis and a Vauen, but can I expect them to pass the test?
    The only brand I have several of is Stanwell, and they always pass. Do other brands fare as well?

    Smoking is one of the leading causes of all statistics.
    Posted 4 months ago #
  2. seanv

    seanv

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    I have a bent Rattray and a Jeantet that both fail the pipe cleaner test. The jeantet is a fantastic smoker and the Rattray is unsmoked. My big Ben passes.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  3. donjgiles

    donjgiles

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    I think it is difficult to say, one brand is good, one brand is bad. I think the more severe the bend, the more likely a pipe cleaner will have issues. I enjoy bent pipes but I can't stand pipes that refuse to pass a cleaner.

    Don

    Posted 4 months ago #
  4. bassbug

    bassbug

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    If the Petersons are forgiven, either you really love them or "the test" is not all that crucial

    I don't care who you are, you're not walking on the water while I'm fishing
    Posted 4 months ago #
  5. ashdigger

    ashdigger

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    I own a Ryan Alden 1/4 bent Strawberry wood that does not pass a cleaner, unless I summon the powers of absolute luck, then it does.

    Doesn't matter, its a fantastic smoking pipe. Mind you, I learned how to smoke a pipe using Kaywoodies that had stingers, so it's no big deal.

    This, like everything else in pipe smoking, is personal preference, no hard rules exist.

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 4 months ago #
  6. anthonyrosenthal74

    anthonyrosenthal74

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    This, like everything else in pipe smoking, is personal preference, no hard rules exist.
    Agreed. I just consider it an added plus when a pipe passes a cleaner. I have a few that do not. Doesn't bother me much. It just means I have to let it sit for a bit before I can remove the stem to properly clean the shank.

    Arrrrr, shiver me timbers! International Talk Like a Pirate Day is September the 19th!!!
    Brothers Of The Black Frigate
    Posted 4 months ago #
  7. olkofri

    Olkofri

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    I never use cleaners mid-smoke, so it's a moot point to me. I prefer filtered pipes anyway.

    Not the sweet, new grass with flowers is this harvesting of mine;
    Not the upland clover bloom...
    Posted 4 months ago #
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    Anonymous

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    My 7 Savinellis pass the test.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  9. warren

    warren

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    I only have bents. I can pass a cleaner through each. The fully bents need a bit of finagling, a wee bend in the cleaner tip but, they all pass.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 4 months ago #
  10. workman

    workman

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    If the Petersons are forgiven, either you really love them or "the test" is not all that crucial

    The system pipe is meant to collect moisture in the sump and to be broken down after each smoke, so the pipe cleaner test doesn't apply. It doesn't matter with this one though, as I am going to throw it away anyway. I hate the smell from the sump and the fact that if I have to lay it down for a while, the nasty sump juices will enter the stem. Yuck.
    The other one is a silver spigot and can be taken apart midsmoke if necessary, which it seldom is.
    My other pipes I only break down for a thorough cleaning, maybe two or three times a year, so in the meantime I want them to pass a cleaner.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  11. unkleyoda

    unkleyoda

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    I hate the smell from the sump and the fact that if I have to lay it down for a while, the nasty sump juices will enter the stem.

    First off, clean the sump really well with alcohol. Then, after that just swab with a folded cleaner after every smoke. Never let 'juice' sit in the sump after smoking. I got an estate system pipe from a guy. He said it was funky and he didn't like it. He was right, it stunk. All I did was clean the sump. It was nasty. I don't think he ever cleaned it. He probably just shook the 'juice' out after a smoke, and never swabbed it.

    As for setting down a system pipe, I always take the stem off and shake the 'juice' out. Then I attach the stem and set it down.


    So you say you can drink? Well, I'm from Wisconsin. Try to keep up.
    Posted 4 months ago #
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    k9shag

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    I agree with bassbug on the Petersons. Other thank an older straight grain Peterson I sold, I have never had one that passed a cleaner without a lot of work. I have worked in the business for a while now and have never had a Savinelli come through that did not pass a cleaner. I have several sent pipes as I enjoy a Hawbill. All of my Castello's, Sir Jacapo, and Savinelli's pass a cleaner on the first pass. I have one Peterson sitting on the shelf that will be sold or traded off because I do not care to fight with it anymore. I realize this is a preference so take it for what it is worth. I have 60+ pipes in my collection and they all pass a cleaner on the first path, which is my preference.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  13. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    I don't use pipecleaners mid smoke, except rarely. But, at least amongst my hoard, the only pipes that need a pipecleaner mid smoke are the ones that let them easily pass. The rest seem to be okiedokkie. In playing with pipes at The Briary, many high ends don't pass cleaners either.
    I think that passing a cleaner is a test from antiquity, because guys couldn't test the pipes before buying, so the seller would show how easily it passes a cleaner to make a sell. But, that's just my own estimate. An extremely bent pipe that doesn't pass a cleaner wouldn't raise much of an eyebrow from me as a straight pipe that doesn't pass one. There would be more going wrong with a straight pipe that doesn't pass a cleaner, IMO.

    Michael
    Posted 4 months ago #
  14. cortezattic

    Cortez

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    I've had good luck with Italian pipes, which are mostly what I buy. But I avoid the deeply bent shapes, so maybe that biases my observation.

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 4 months ago #
  15. crashthegrey

    crashthegrey

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    If the pipe cleaner test is so important than why do guys like a reverse calabash pipe? This design defies all of the parameters of the test in that the turbulence matters in a slightly misaligned drilling. I just can't really see how the test works. I've had good and bad pipes on either side of the test.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  16. workman

    workman

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    I'm happy to hear this about Savinelli. I know a pipe can smoke well without passong a cleaner, but i want to be able to run a pipe cleaner midsmoke and run 2-3 cleaners through the pipe after smoking without having to take it apart.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  17. bnichols23

    Bill Nichols

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    For me "it's a good thing" for me if it'll pass a cleaner, but usually not a deal-breaker. I have a couple of Brebbias (straights) & one Sav that won't & they're still go-tos. The Brebbias are both Lidos with thin shanks/stems, so getting one in from the button is the problem. They can be worked from the tenon end, though, so it just involves waiting till the thing's cooled down completely.

    Bents, usually forget it unless it's a 1/8th; that cleaner ain't goin' NO place. Definitely not a prob for me on those since bents are usually my preference. The Sav 614 is perfect for me since it's a stellar chin-hanger; with dentures I like one that won't make my teeth a short-end fulcrum. }:)

    Bill

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

    bassbug

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    The system pipe is meant to collect moisture in the sump and to be broken down after each smoke, so the pipe cleaner test doesn't apply. It doesn't matter with this one though, as I am going to throw it away anyway. I hate the smell from the sump and the fact that if I have to lay it down for a while, the nasty sump juices will enter the stem. Yuck.

    Yup, I'm very familiar with the system pipes..love 'em.

    Don't throw it out, I'll gladly adopt it and love it as though it were my own child

    Posted 4 months ago #
  19. workman

    workman

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    I would be happy to give it away. I've found out system pipes aren't for me. But I live in a land far, far away, and I suppuse it would cost some money to send it.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  20. aro222

    aro222

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    My Savinelli #614 passes no problem

    Keep calm...smoke a pipe.
    Posted 4 months ago #
  21. carolinachurchwarden

    carolinachurchwarden

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    Like you, I have two Petes that won't pass a cleaner. My St.Paddy's Day pipe is a system pipe, and won't, but it's also a military bit style, so no biggie. I can pull the stem, insert a cleaner, pop the stem back in and I'm back in business. The same for my Christmas bent, 999. I don't think it was meant to have a well, but is still has enough of one to make passing a cleaner a chore, so I do the same thing, pull out the stem, run my cleaner and then pop it back in. I only really have to when a piece of tobacco become lodged in the draft hole at the bottom of the pipe. I rarely get gurgle, and in the event I do, I know which pipes do it and how to handle it now; I just do the sling method to curb it. Works pretty well until you've slung enough up the stem that you get some good ol' baccy juice in the mouth. Not the good tasting kind, like Lancaster, or Levi Garrett, so it can definitely put a bad taste in your mouth.

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

    Posted 4 months ago #
  22. bnichols23

    Bill Nichols

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    My Savinelli #614 passes no problem

    Yup, same for me. It's one of the few full-bents I've found that do. Just part of why I've got 3 of them.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  23. workman

    workman

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    If a 614 passes a cleaner then the 602's and 626's I'm looking at should be safe bets.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  24. cigrmaster

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    One of my biggest pet peeves is a pipe that won't pass a pipe cleaner with ease. I will not own a pipe that doesn't. I rarely have to use a pipe cleaner during a smoke to soak up excess moisture. My artisan pipes are made so well they rarely ever need one. There are times when a piece of tobacco will get stuck and if I cannot get a cleaner into the bowl to fix it, then I have to risk breaking the pipe down mid smoke which I will not do. I don't care if the pipe is full bent, it better pass a cleaner.

    If I am buying a pipe one of the first questions I will ask if it passes a cleaner.

    Harris
    Posted 4 months ago #
  25. daniel7

    daniel7

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    Most of my pipes are Savinellis (straight and bent) and all of them pass a cleaner easily. Also my Winsløw, Brebbia and even my basket pipes. Only my Peterson Sherlock Holmes series Watson doesn't pass a cleaner - not surprising, a full bent pipe. And guess what; it gurgles as hell…

    Posted 4 months ago #
  26. hoosierpipeguy

    hoosierpipeguy

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    I echo Harris's opinion exactly. I have gotten rid of a number of good pipes because they wouldn't pass a cleaner at all or without a lot of finagling it.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  27. workman

    workman

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    I see I'm in good company then. I do like the looks of Peterson pipes, but looks are second to function in my book. And Savinelli make beautiful pipes as well.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  28. sasquatch

    sasquatch

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    It is absolutely possible for a pipe to smoke well and not pass a cleaner. It is also possible for a pipe to pass a cleaner and not smoke well. So it's neither necessary nor sufficient in terms of smoking.

    But it's sure handy sometimes. Sometimes you need to dislodge a piece of tobacco mid-bowl, whatever. So I think it's important that pipes do pass a cleaner, and everything I make and almost everything I own at this point does so.

    Pipe manufacturers are lazy about this stuff - they have equipment which dates from 100 years ago in terms of design, and lots of these ideas just weren't part of the process until very recently. Even Dunhill, where the mandate was to build perfect pipes.... the bents often don't pass a cleaner.

    If you are building pipes to tight tolerances, passing a cleaner should be one of your goals as a maker. Is it a big deal to all smokers? No, seemingly not. But big enough to enough guys....

    Posted 4 months ago #
  29. philairfoil

    philairfoil

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    One can modify...with a cheap set of bead reamer files, to make a bent pipe pass a cleaner. Doesn't seem to effect the smoking of it, just the ease of cleaning/sopping.

    Your mileage may vary.

    Posted 4 months ago #
  30. mityahicks

    mityahicks

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    I use pipe cleaners mid smoke much of the time. I will trash a pipe that can't pass one, unless it might be valuable to someone else.

    I had to significantly file a Caminetto I bought on this forum to make it pass one, but I'm quite fond of it now. Like Phila said, it is not that hard to get right.

    I favor straight pipes anyhow.

    Posted 4 months ago #

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