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milk

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 21, 2022
219
464
Japan
I’ve seen people saying that French pipes fly under the radar a bit, quality-wise, price-wise, etc. This may be a hard question. I’ve seen some beautiful French shapes but I’m wondering about lines of what brands of (or other ways of determining which) pipes are higher quality estates to look for? Some of the big French brands made so many lines and many of them are kind of middle quality (some they tend to have fills for example). Or maybe I just still need to know a bit more so I know what I’m talking about. For example, I have some pre and post patent Stanwells. I consider these to be high quality factory pipes. What French estate pipe is on that level? - would be my question. I suppose my question is overly general so maybe I could get some examples of French pipes that people have really loved.
 
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Winnipeger

Part of the Furniture Now
Sep 9, 2022
604
3,711
Winnipeg
Why are you asking specifically about French estates? You should buy yourself a NEW Ropp and see what you think for yourself. They are highly affordable. Genod also has an array of shapes for all tastes. These are generally very good value. I don't buy Butz Choquin or Chacom pipes because they mostly have acrylic stems, which I avoid. YMMV. The stummels on all my Ropps have nice smooth grain or unique and interesting blasts with no fills (that I can see). I've had much higher priced Petersons with hideous fills. Also the Vulcanite stems on the Ropps are quite comfortable, or you can opt for a horn stem for something unique. I don't find the horn stems as comfortable because they don't cut them as thin as vulcanite, but, again, YMMV.
 
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milk

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 21, 2022
219
464
Japan
Why are you asking specifically about French estates? You should buy yourself a NEW Ropp and see what you think for yourself. They are highly affordable. Genod also has an array of shapes for all tastes. These are generally very good value. I don't buy Butz Choquin or Chacom pipes because they mostly have acrylic stems, which I avoid. YMMV. The stummels on all my Ropps have nice smooth grain or unique and interesting blasts with no fills (that I can see). I've had much higher priced Petersons with hideous fills. Also the Vulcanite stems on the Ropps are quite comfortable, or you can opt for a horn stem for something unique. I don't find the horn stems as comfortable because they don't cut them as thin as vulcanite, but, again, YMMV.
I do like the Ropps on Smokingpipes a lot. Unfortunately, when I was buying new pipes I never did get one. You see, I live in Japan. I have for many years. Once upon a time, I bought many pipes from abroad. Now, I have a family and the economic dynamics have changed in several ways. I’ll leave aside the personal part because Ropps are so affordable that I would by one if the shipping and exchange rate weren’t so against me right now. The Yen is so weak and I already have debt in dollars, unfortunately. I’ve taken to looking at estate pipes and Japanese collect quite a variety. There are always Danish estates around, low and high priced. (I saw an Anne Julie go for under 300$ the other day, BTW. I’m kicking myself except I KNOW the high bidder had a much higher bid and even if I stayed up late my bidding would have just bid up the price past what I could have afforded. I wouldn’t have kept such a valuable pipe anyway). I’ve got some nice estate pipes recently that I really love, like a Stanwell, a Kriswill, a beautiful Viby, and a Torben Dansk. There are lots of French pipes that show up here. Unfortunately, Japanese seem to know nothing of the new Ropps. I’ve seen a few really old beat up cracked Ropps but nothing salvageable. You can’t get those new ones here - not anywhere I’ve seen. There are many more estate Chacoms, BCs, and even Jeantets once in a while on yahoo auction. Come to think of it, Japanese don’t seem to have collected Italian pipes much. There are plenty of high-end and middle-end Danish pipes here (there are several 25,000$ Ivarsson pipes up for auction continually on yahoo auction Japan) and plenty of Dunhills, English collector pipes and general English and French pipes of yore.
 

Winnipeger

Part of the Furniture Now
Sep 9, 2022
604
3,711
Winnipeg
I do like the Ropps on Smokingpipes a lot. Unfortunately, when I was buying new pipes I never did get one. You see, I live in Japan. I have for many years. Once upon a time, I bought many pipes from abroad. Now, I have a family and the economic dynamics have changed in several ways. I’ll leave aside the personal part because Ropps are so affordable that I would by one if the shipping and exchange rate weren’t so against me right now. The Yen is so weak and I already have debt in dollars, unfortunately. I’ve taken to looking at estate pipes and Japanese collect quite a variety. There are always Danish estates around, low and high priced. (I saw an Anne Julie go for under 300$ the other day, BTW. I’m kicking myself except I KNOW the high bidder had a much higher bid and even if I stayed up late my bidding would have just bid up the price past what I could have afforded. I wouldn’t have kept such a valuable pipe anyway). I’ve got some nice estate pipes recently that I really love, like a Stanwell, a Kriswill, a beautiful Viby, and a Torben Dansk. There are lots of French pipes that show up here. Unfortunately, Japanese seem to know nothing of the new Ropps. I’ve seen a few really old beat up cracked Ropps but nothing salvageable. You can’t get those new ones here - not anywhere I’ve seen. There are many more estate Chacoms, BCs, and even Jeantets once in a while on yahoo auction. Come to think of it, Japanese don’t seem to have collected Italian pipes much. There are plenty of high-end and middle-end Danish pipes here (there are several 25,000$ Ivarsson pipes up for auction continually on yahoo auction Japan) and plenty of Dunhills, English collector pipes and general English and French pipes of yore.
I had a Chacom 2016 Pipe of the Year, which was quite nice. Unfortunately I lost it. My Ropps have all been good pipes. Period. I'm sure they have some duds, but I've been lucky I guess.

I think French pipes are on par with English, Italian, Danish etc. You can tell which ones are more high end, based on price, appearance, etc.; but you never really know if you have a good pipe until you smoke it. Maybe it's easier to find a cheaper French estate with the same comparable quality to an English or Danish pipe. I don't understand why Anne Julie pipes, for example, fetch such hefty sums. Well...I do. And I don't.

I guess the question is, is it collecting, or smoking that motivates you? If you're looking for good smokers, you've just got to try some different pipes until you find what works for you. Price doesn't necessarily reflect quality, unfortunately. There are good deals in French pipes, but those are mainly factory pipes, and — my hypothesis is that — it's because the French had first access to high quality Algerian briar during the colonial period. Ropp has loads of old stummels going back a hundred years. It seems like the French manufacturers (who incidentally invented briar pipes) saw pipes as a utilitarian industrial product, whereas English brands like Dunhill and then Danish artisans in the mid-20th Century were better at branding, and creating a mystique, which fetches higher prices to this day. It's a lot of smoke and mirrors.
 
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OzPiper

Lifer
Nov 30, 2020
3,652
17,604
70
Sydney, Australia
Of course other than Ropp, Genod, Butz-Choquin, Chacom,,etc in the past the French also exported a lot of pipes/stummels to England to be "finished" (banded with silver). Then stamped and sold as "Made in London/England"

This estate GBD thick shanked Apple has a French hallmarked silver band (diamond and boar's head)

image.jpeg

Bruno Nuttens (French pipe maker) sells estates and NOS pipes on EBay under the name Pipes Estates at very low prices.
I have bought a couple from him. They arrive in very clean condition.

There is also Brulor pipes - similar to Ropp (in that they are made from old stummels). But cheaper.
 

milk

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 21, 2022
219
464
Japan
I had a Chacom 2016 Pipe of the Year, which was quite nice. Unfortunately I lost it. My Ropps have all been good pipes. Period. I'm sure they have some duds, but I've been lucky I guess.

I think French pipes are on par with English, Italian, Danish etc. You can tell which ones are more high end, based on price, appearance, etc.; but you never really know if you have a good pipe until you smoke it. Maybe it's easier to find a cheaper French estate with the same comparable quality to an English or Danish pipe. I don't understand why Anne Julie pipes, for example, fetch such hefty sums. Well...I do. And I don't.

I guess the question is, is it collecting, or smoking that motivates you? If you're looking for good smokers, you've just got to try some different pipes until you find what works for you. Price doesn't necessarily reflect quality, unfortunately. There are good deals in French pipes, but those are mainly factory pipes, and — my hypothesis is that — it's because the French had first access to high quality Algerian briar during the colonial period. Ropp has loads of old stummels going back a hundred years. It seems like the French manufacturers (who incidentally invented briar pipes) saw pipes as a utilitarian industrial product, whereas English brands like Dunhill and then Danish artisans in the mid-20th Century were better at branding, and creating a mystique, which fetches higher prices to this day. It's a lot of smoke and mirrors.
Yes I see what you mean. These are complicated questions. It’s interesting that people make pipes from old stummels. How many can there be? Won’t Ropp run out at some point? Now I really want one. I’m not sure how to answer the question about collecting. I buy them to smoke them but of course I always want more of them. If I had the money, maybe I would be somewhat of a collector. I see what you mean about the Danish. On the other hand, they were a genuinely creative lot in this area and I do appreciate those designs more and more. But not to the tune of the price of a car. Looking at all the Danish pipes knocking around Yahoo Japan, the Japanese sure did eat them up during the bubble years.
 

milk

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 21, 2022
219
464
Japan
2 other French estates - Chacom Cutty and a Straight Prince of unknown lineage (indistinct stampings)
Both inexpensive.

View attachment 185100View attachment 185101
I really like that Cutty. I’ve always wanted a Cutty. It reminds me of the Chacom Drakkar I had and gave away. I miss it. It did have a lot of fills but that didn’t bother me so much. I wish I could understand better the different levels of these French pipes and different lines of Chacoms.
 

OzPiper

Lifer
Nov 30, 2020
3,652
17,604
70
Sydney, Australia
I really like that Cutty. I’ve always wanted a Cutty. It reminds me of the Chacom Drakkar I had and gave away. I miss it. It did have a lot of fills but that didn’t bother me so much. I wish I could understand better the different levels of these French pipes and different lines of Chacoms.
You mentioned having a few Stanwells.
in the past, Stanwell had very few grades. Then the number of lines/ grades increased exponentially along with their lines of seconds.
I'm completely flummoxed.

I don't worry too much about grades.
If I like the looks of a pipe, I'll buy it.
Unless it was pockmarked with fills.
I find that even the lower grades or seconds smoke as well - just not as pretty (grain wise)
 
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Hillcrest

Lifer
Dec 3, 2021
1,378
6,679
Bagshot Row, Hobbiton
Don't worry about name brands. Buy a pipe for its shape and quality. I have a Comoy London pride 215 (English brand by Frenchman, made of Mediterranean briar) which is a perfect pipe in every way except I find the draft hole to open. I have an Algerian briar basket pipe with some fills that is perfection and I have come to believe is a hand cut J.Waille of Lunel, France. Peterson reputedly buys their briar from France. Names are meaningless to smoking a pipe. Names are for collectors. However, that said, bigger name brand companies generally have better quality pipes and more experience. St. Claude, France is the birthplace of briar pipe making. I think they used to make 3 million pipes a year and are now down to about 50,000 per year. French pipes are fine, as good or better than rest. Just my two cents. YMMV
 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
39,427
52,190
The French pipe industry introduced the commercial use of briar, so it is established and most of the familiar name brands are part of a tight knit and competitive industry that holds itself to pretty high standards. So the brand names mentioned in the posts above like Chacom, BC, Genod, Ropp, and others, can be trusted to meet high standards. I would add to that list EWA, which is carried by Iwan Ries. i have one or more of each of the brands named and can recommend them for good drilling, durable finishes, few or no visible fills, sound smoking characteristics, and above average balance and design.

Some don't like French pipes, as just not their thing. Too small, not design forward enough, or whatever. So they may not suit your taste. But in terms of solid manufacture and lasting qualities, you are on firm ground with French pipes in general.
 

sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
17,189
34,236
SoCal
jrs457.wixsite.com
Yes I see what you mean. These are complicated questions. It’s interesting that people make pipes from old stummels. How many can there be? Won’t Ropp run out at some point? Now I really want one. I’m not sure how to answer the question about collecting. I buy them to smoke them but of course I always want more of them. If I had the money, maybe I would be somewhat of a collector. I see what you mean about the Danish. On the other hand, they were a genuinely creative lot in this area and I do appreciate those designs more and more. But not to the tune of the price of a car. Looking at all the Danish pipes knocking around Yahoo Japan, the Japanese sure did eat them up during the bubble years.
Factories full, that's how many. Trever Talbert bought a warehouse full of decades old stummels, from which he created his Ligne Bretagne line of pipes. But, that's different from French carvers. Genod is one of the grand old names in French pipes, They were good enough for Dunhill to steal their shaping when creating Dunhill's swans neck pipes.

I'm not that familiar with more contemporary French artisanal carvers. And the names many of the smallers companies turning out pipes in St Claude are lost to time. You can have an inexpensive voyage of discovery with those French pipes.
 

Alejo R.

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 13, 2020
518
986
47
Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Many French pipes have come to Argentina. From my experience, that is, pipes that I have or have had and Smoked, Butz Choquin, JEANTET, Graco and Roop do not disappoint. Chacom used to varnish his pipes and when they get hot the Varnish blistered.
 

Severus

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 1, 2020
663
9,849
Innisfil, ON
I have discovered French pipes for myself through The French Pipe brand, owned and marketed by Chacom (also owns and markets Ropp). You can find them on the TobaccoPipes website new running in the range of $50 USD (depending on the finish), price range similar to Ropp’s Etudiant line. The French Pipe line is designed to take 6mm filters, and have a fairly tight draw, both of which I enjoy. One of my The French Pipes is smooth, and it has a couple small fills, but they are so minor that they dont get caught at a glance.

I also own one Ropp with a horn stem, which I do not enjoy as much because it is not comfortable for clenching. Although I must say the sandblast of that Vintage Stout Apple is beautiful. However, since this is not a clencher I barely touched it since I bought it a few months ago.

Considering the history, the quality, my personal smoking experience with them, and of course the “bang-for-the-buck” factor I am looking to further explore French pipes.
 
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milk

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 21, 2022
219
464
Japan
I have discovered French pipes for myself through The French Pipe brand, owned and marketed by Chacom (also owns and markets Ropp). You can find them on the TobaccoPipes website new running in the range of $50 USD (depending on the finish), price range similar to Ropp’s Etudiant line. The French Pipe line is designed to take 6mm filters, and have a fairly tight draw, both of which I enjoy. One of my The French Pipes is smooth, and it has a couple small fills, but they are so minor that they dont get caught at a glance.

I also own one Ropp with a horn stem, which I do not enjoy as much because it is not comfortable for clenching. Although I must say the sandblast of that Vintage Stout Apple is beautiful. However, since this is not a clencher I barely touched it since I bought it a few months ago.

Considering the history, the quality, my personal smoking experience with them, and of course the “bang-for-the-buck” factor I am looking to further explore French pipes.
I want one of the new Ropps w/ vulcanite. They look fetching. Honestly, one of the reasons I ask is because certain pipes show up as estates where I live in Japan. I can more easily research which British or Danish or German pipes from which periods are likely to be quality or said to be so. With French pipes, I’d like more clues about which ones to hone in on. But maybe it’s just about looking carefully.
 

Severus

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 1, 2020
663
9,849
Innisfil, ON
With French pipes, I’d like more clues about which ones to hone in on. But maybe it’s just about looking carefully.
I don't know what to tell you besides following the general advice that everybody gives about any pipe brand - check the drillings, the fit-and-finish, etc., which I am sure you know without me. :)
 
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edger

Lifer
Dec 9, 2016
2,856
21,029
73
Mayer AZ
Brulor Mowbray pipes are sold by Bruno Nuttens online. 60 year old pipes found in an attic in Paris. Less than $30 the last time I looked.
 

milk

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 21, 2022
219
464
Japan
I have discovered French pipes for myself through The French Pipe brand, owned and marketed by Chacom (also owns and markets Ropp). You can find them on the TobaccoPipes website new running in the range of $50 USD (depending on the finish), price range similar to Ropp’s Etudiant line. The French Pipe line is designed to take 6mm filters, and have a fairly tight draw, both of which I enjoy. One of my The French Pipes is smooth, and it has a couple small fills, but they are so minor that they dont get caught at a glance.

I also own one Ropp with a horn stem, which I do not enjoy as much because it is not comfortable for clenching. Although I must say the sandblast of that Vintage Stout Apple is beautiful. However, since this is not a clencher I barely touched it since I bought it a few months ago.

Considering the history, the quality, my personal smoking experience with them, and of course the “bang-for-the-buck” factor I am looking to further explore French pipes.
I want one of the new Ropps w/ vulcanite. They look fetching. Honestly, one of the reasons I ask is because certain pipes show up as estates where I live in Japan. I can more easily research which British or Danish or German pipes from which periods are likely to be quality or said to be so. With French pipes, I’d like more clues about which ones to hone in on. But maybe it’s just about looking carefully.
I don't know what to tell you besides following the general advice that everybody gives about any pipe brand - check the drillings, the fit-and-finish, etc., which I am sure you know without me. :)
yes. I was questioning looking at pipes on yahoo auction Japan (I live in Japan and don’t have good access to all the brands everyone else does). Maybe I’m not asking the right question. It seems like people can tell you exactly what period of BBB or Charatan was good and you can sometimes win a bid on a quality British or Danish estate pipe for not that much. I won a Torben Dansk pipe that wasn’t much, speaking of Danish, and I think these are nice pipes. When it comes to French pipes, it seems hit. Yes, you have to look carefully. Leaving aside really expensive pipes like Dunhills, People can say that such and such period was good for such and such British pipes, but can they say the same for any particular brand or period for French? I feel like my question is getting annoying and maybe I should just drop it.