Advice For Vintage Pipe

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New member
Dec 30, 2017
West Columbia, S.C.
I purchased one of the vintage briar pipes offerd by P&C. I am a relatively new pipe smoker and have acquired a few other pipes but never one quite like this. The first thing is that it has a horn stem.

Are there any special care instructions I should know about this material? The 2nd thing is that it has a "stinger" filter. I have heard of them but must admit I am very ignorant of them. Is there anything a newbie should know about them?

Lastly, all the other pipes in my collection have been new but come with some type of factory pre-cake already done. This one is bare briar on the inside. I have read about proper break in and plan to only smoke half bowls for a while. What type of tobacco will produce the best cake? Does the honey/molasses coating method help?

I almost don't want to smoke it for fear of messing it up.



Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
Monterey Peninsula
Horn stem- I'd just wipe down, and avoid alcohol on it.
Stinger- lots of folks remove them. If you don't, just wipe it clean.
New pipe break-in. Half bowls are fine, but so are full ones. I don't use honey or molasses.



Preferred Member
Feb 13, 2015
I have never owned a horn-stemmed pipe, so I can't give any opinions there.
Stingers, I completely despise and won't own a pipe with the stinger still in it. They are best removed, IMO.
Bowl coating is completely unnecessary, and usually makes smoking the pipe taste like crap until it is burned away or caked over. I have learned to just sand it out and go with bare briar.
Early on in my pipe-smoking, I did the half-bowl method and found it useless. I also futzed around with messy garbage like honey and the like, but found it was just messy and that cake is mostly over-rated anyway. I prefer a well-seasoned pipe with a thin, hard carbon layer built up from normal smoking to a nasty, smelly bowl of soot.


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Mar 16, 2014
Horn stem- I'd just wipe down, and avoid alcohol on it.
Stingers can sometimes be removed. Otherwise, it depends on the stinger. I used to just run a pipe cleaner through the hole stingers on Kaywoodies. I avoid pipes with stingers now because I just don't care for them. I say remove it if you can.
I wouldn't put anything in the bowl. The half bowl approach is fine. Carter Hall is a good blend to break pipes in with because it tends to stick to the walls of the bowl and doesn't leave a off-putting taste. Plus, Carter Hall is pretty good for an OTC.



Preferred Member
May 23, 2018
I have an estate pipe with a permanent stinger. I just left it alone because I don't want to chance ruining the pipe. It's easy enough to clean...pipe cleaner and wipe it off with a paper towel.
I've never done the half bowl break in. I just load them up and smoke them.



Preferred Member
Aug 20, 2013
There is absolutely no reason for bowl coating, yet pipemakers continue to install them. If you can believe, they are the subject of a long-standing quarrel in the community. It's hard to find a pipe that hasn't been coated other than those made by the Italians. I say "death" to anyone interposing their vil;e crud between my tobacco and the chamber walls. Hang them by their toes in the village square and let the birds pluck out their eyes!



Senior Member
Jan 28, 2015
Park Ridge, IL
Stuff it and puff it. Don't worry about half bowls or anything else. This is meant to be pleasurable, not a pain in the Pipes just aren't all that delicate.
I'd leave the stinger on myself, if I bought a pipe with a stinger. I don't really believe in physically altering them like that, but that's just me.



Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
There are differing opinions regarding inner coatings. Most producers who do it to pipes they own and will offer for sale, offer up solid reasons for doing so. Those who do not coat their product offer up good reasons for not doing so.
So, they offer up their pipes and whether or not you purchase them is your choice. I suppose it's dependent on how much you like the product and if coatings bother you.
I opted to break in a new, briar, bowl in third of bowl stages when I was new to the pipe as, I often did not smoke a full bowl when learning, too many interruptions. As a seasoned smoker, I load and smoke a bowl thoroughly (Sometimes even achieving white, fine ash at the end.) so, in a new pipe, I'm getting a good cake top to bottom.

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