Bowl Coatings….Why!?

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VDL_Piper

Part of the Furniture Now
Jun 4, 2021
998
10,782
Tasmania, Australia
I’m just breaking in a new Castello and I really wonder why pipe makers persist with coating bowls. I know some like Peterson are water soluble and can be easily removed but some are down right horrid and like this current Castello it’s imparting a rather terrible taste. I know it’s supposed to assist in building cake but is there another valid reason to apply heaven knows what to perfectly good briar which I believe is quite capable of looking after itself. From my experience nothing builds a better cake than a humble burley mixture smoked slowly, so why?

*Foot note to this is I have a Virgin Castello, same shape, same size which had no bowl coating, has formed a marvellous cake and did not impart any horrid flavours to my smoking experience so the whole process of coating seems mute based on this point alone*
 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
43,431
109,327
A great number of artisan are requested to make them with a chamber coating to give the pipe an overall finished look. I've never noticed a taste from chamber coatings though I find it annoying when the coating is sometimes spattered on the bowl.
 

VDL_Piper

Part of the Furniture Now
Jun 4, 2021
998
10,782
Tasmania, Australia
A great number of artisan are requested to make them with a chamber coating to give the pipe an overall finished look. I've never noticed a taste from chamber coatings though I find it annoying when the coating is sometimes spattered on the bowl.
I can understand a coating in a bowl of a pipe that is a showcase pipe to impart that “finished” look but pipes are tools to be used mostly, so a brief use period imparts the same look. As for your annoyance at some of the liberal applications of coatings I agree whole heartedly
 

americaman

Part of the Furniture Now
May 1, 2019
943
3,101
Los Angeles, CA
I am guessing that they are afraid of fast smokers charring the insides and complaining about the pipe being low quality. So they put a bowl coating on.

Some people stand by bowl coatings and are adamant that they cause no difference in taste after a couple of smokes, so why risk not having a bowl coating? I personally don’t care one way or the other.
 

HawkeyeLinus

Lifer
Oct 16, 2020
5,602
41,063
Iowa
Yes, the Peterson comes off pretty easily, I remove it, though I can't say I've noticed a problem with other coated pipes.

I tried removing it on a Nording I have and it was more "stubborn" so it remains on Nordings. I have it on a couple commissions and no issues, but on an upcoming Christmas commission I'll now remember to request no coating (and a larger chamber than the last time)!.

I like seeing the wood and if it has some imperfections, I don't care.
 

HawkeyeLinus

Lifer
Oct 16, 2020
5,602
41,063
Iowa
I am guessing that they are afraid of fast smokers charring the insides and complaining about the pipe being low quality. So they put a bowl coating on.

Some people stand by bowl coatings and are adamant that they cause no difference in taste after a couple of smokes, so why risk not having a bowl coating? I personally don’t care one way or the other.
I've read but can't confirm as true that coatings may also allegedly be used as a "pre-cake" kind of thing and to mask fills, etc. No idea if that really is part of the equation.
 

Dublin Old Man

Might Stick Around
Aug 22, 2020
55
128
Dublin, Ohio
why pipe makers persist with coating bowls
I hate bowl coatings. My experience is the same as yours in that some coatings produce a weird, unpleasant taste.

I don't buy pipes with bowl coatings. When I first began buying pipes, I bought a few with coatings and removed the coating prior to smoking but I would rather avoid the work.

For new pipes without coating, I've also learned that it is important to avoid strong flavored blends (like heavy Latakia or aromatic) because the flavor stays with the pipe. I usually smoke a Virginia blend in new pipe until it is broken in.
 

seanv

Lifer
Mar 22, 2018
2,970
10,450
Canada
I've had some bowl coatings taste awful and some be not noticeable at all. When I buy a new pipe that has a bowl coating I always try to remove it. Some are easier than others. I agree that the Peterson bowl coatings come off easy with some water and a paper towel. I am breaking in a Brigham Tundra that has a coating I couldn't remove without sanding so I smoked through it. The first smoke was horrid. The second smoke was better.
 

didimauw

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 28, 2013
9,964
31,878
34
Burlington WI
I was wondering this myself lately too. I bought 3 Savinelli Punto Oro Gold pipes that don't have a bowl coating. Looking deeper, I found some that do. But then you look at their next line of pipes higher up, the giubileo d'oro line, and some of those have bowl coatings on em. Why?!?
 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
41,210
60,459
First, let me say I give extra points when a new pipe is uncoated. It means the maker expects me to be a big boy experienced smoker and not burn up a pipe from newbie enthusiasm. It's the manic puffers who fill the room with smoke and smoke a bowl in 15 minutes that makes the coatings necessary, to keep the inexperienced from burning up the pipe and perhaps the house.

Nonetheless, I've never had a punk flavored coating nor have the coatings been misapplied to the airway as I have heard from some pipes and brands. I've never bothered to sand off` the coatings or wash them out.
 

StringBEan

Might Stick Around
Jul 27, 2022
69
207
Alabama
As someone transitioning from cigs and vapes, the bowl coatings help me out a ton. I’m a “newbie” pipe smoker by everyone’s definition, and I puff like crazy. I’m slowing as I learn, but there is no denying that I would have absolutely trashed an uncoated briar if given to me at the beginning. Thank god my local b&m recommended a cob to start up. As you develop, it’s a choice to find uncoated bowls. However, not everyone had a guiding presence to start their pipe journey! It’s safe to say that a growing number of new pipe smokers pick it up on a whim, and may not even have a local store to chat with. It’s a fading hobby, unfortunately. So, just like guns and 3 part safeties, or bourbon bottled at 80 proof, or new dodge hellcats that have a governor in the engine, you have to account for a decent portion of “uninitiated” buyers in any market. Otherwise, there would be a large number of folks who wreck a briar because their car went too fast and set their gun off. ?
 

VDL_Piper

Part of the Furniture Now
Jun 4, 2021
998
10,782
Tasmania, Australia
Good feedback thanks everyone and it seems like the camp is split which is what I thought it might be on coatings. Been doing a little research on them and they largely appear to be cosmetic but what I did find was a very interesting piece written by G.L Pease about a little Eltang Cutty that he acquired, article here: G. L. Pease - Pipe Reviews - http://glpease.com/Pipes/Reviews/001221Eltang.php

Seems like the problem can be the piece of briar which has really made me think. This pipe of mine is a beauty and I really struggled to think that Castello would coat their pipes with something terrible but the G.L.P article just may reveal the reason I’m getting this taste and it nearly fits with Greg’s description too. I’m not going to do what Greg did, I’m just going to smoke through it and see how it unfolds. It will be Stokkebye’s Cube Cut for the next few bowls to reinforce the cake I have started and I’m going to rest the pipe on a weekly rotation to give it time to dry after each smoke. I’ll report progress over the coming weeks.
 
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