Bowl Coatings….Why!?

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daveinlax

Charter Member
May 5, 2009
2,000
2,707
WISCONSIN
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*
Interesting, what sort of coating does the Castello have? Did you buy it from a Castello dealer? You can never say never with Castello but Castello doesn’t coat their bowls other than possibly a clear, thin coating of orange shellac.
 
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VDL_Piper

Part of the Furniture Now
Jun 4, 2021
996
10,768
Tasmania, Australia
Interesting, what sort of coating does the Castello have? Did you buy it from a Castello dealer? You can never say never with Castello but Castello doesn’t coat their bowls other than possibly a clear, thin coating of orange shellac.
Pipe in question, this was its very first smoke and I can assure the chamber was as black as midnight and coated with something.
C44FDC62-40AB-44C0-8F99-54ED445DECFA.jpeg
 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
43,412
109,217
Looks like stain in there to me, same with the unsmoked Autographs with "uncoated" bowls posted for sale on the web. Looks like stain or maybe wax in there, but not bare briar.
It's bare, just dark.

20200325_141741.jpg
 

EA-6B

Starting to Get Obsessed
Feb 22, 2020
179
565
It's bare, just dark.
Prove it! Nah, I don't really care. Looking at a bunch of Autographs on the net right now, & most of them either have coatings, or are obviously stained to match the exterior. I did see one that was bare briar, & one that had stain about a quarter way down the side of the chamber. :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
43,412
109,217
are obviously stained to match the exterior. I did see one that was bare briar, & one that had stain about a quarter way down the side of the chamber.
What would that accomplish? Briar is rarely a uniform color all the way through.

7a_grande.jpg
 
Jan 30, 2020
1,899
6,277
New Jersey
I've never seen stain go more than a fraction of a millimeter deep on the surface. Briar isn't very absorbent and for something like that to happen, there may be a micro fracture or hole.
Happens pretty commonly, here’s a quick shot of one right now. I have others but already coated over them. Can be from any part of the bowl depending on the grain, thickness, and external texture of the briar upon application. It happens most with the first darker applications in early sanding stages or after rustication and the pores are really open.


FE2B0BFA-A4BC-4563-8220-D47CBFA41E97.jpeg make it to the bowl in a spotty fashion.
 
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EA-6B

Starting to Get Obsessed
Feb 22, 2020
179
565
What would that accomplish? Briar is rarely a uniform color all the way through.
What would staining the chamber accomplish? I'm guessing that it's an attempt to make the pipe look more attractive to certain buyers. It looks like they sand the chamber to a smooth surface & then stain the whole pipe including the chamber. Then it looks like they wax the pipe but not the chamber. I searched for less than five minutes to see a number of examples already. Not sure what to make of the one that I saw with the naked bowl but with the stain reaching from the rim to halfway down into the chamber . Sloppy work on a factory 'artisan' pipe, maybe. Just calling it like I see it.
 

spartanfan

Starting to Get Obsessed
Oct 3, 2013
105
9
I have really come to enjoy and appreciate Castello pipes. I used to only want pipes with vulcanite stems. That kept me from trying Castellos. Then I fell in love with a Castello for it’s shape and grain and just had to have it. It smoked so well from the first bowl and has broken in better than any pipe I have had. Having a bare chamber let’s you see how it is breaking in and developing the foundations for a cake. I have had some pipes with bowl coats that seemed neutral and some that tasted horrible to me. I don’t think I would buy a pipe that had a coating now. Let me earn that cake and break in and I know exactly how it was created. Tastes change though and certainly to each their own.
 
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Jul 26, 2021
2,208
9,035
Metro-Detroit
I have really come to enjoy and appreciate Castello pipes. I used to only want pipes with vulcanite stems. That kept me from trying Castellos. Then I fell in love with a Castello for it’s shape and grain and just had to have it. It smoked so well from the first bowl and has broken in better than any pipe I have had. Having a bare chamber let’s you see how it is breaking in and developing the foundations for a cake. I have had some pipes with bowl coats that seemed neutral and some that tasted horrible to me. I don’t think I would buy a pipe that had a coating now. Let me earn that cake and break in and I know exactly how it was created. Tastes change though and certainly to each their own.
Off topic: Go Green!

On topic: Paul's Pipe Shop in Flint has Cayuga pipes that are oil cured and have a "miracle cake" that eases the break in process.

I enjoyed mine out of the gate and haven't heard a bad thing about them.
 
Jul 26, 2021
2,208
9,035
Metro-Detroit
I have always wanted to go to Paul’s but never made it there.
The have an ancient website and take orders by phone. I reccomend their house blend, Arrowhead.

It's a kitchen sink aromatic with vanilla, carmel, Green River black Cavendish, pinch of Latakia, perique, Virginia, and burley. I've read even non-aromatic fans enjoy it.