Bowl Coatings….Why!?

Log in

SmokingPipes.com Updates

12 Fresh Eltang Basic Pipes
9 Fresh Caminetto Pipes
New Accessories
18 Fresh Mastro Geppetto Pipes
24 Fresh Estate Pipes

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

Drucquers Banner

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

Drucquers Banner

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

Papamique

Part of the Furniture Now
Mar 11, 2020
790
3,959
I usually notice three “camps” when this topic comes up. The pipe makers/repair men/restorers who laud the application of coatings and deny any taste or negative effects, the ones who can’t taste a difference or just don’t care, and the ones who hate coatings. Interesting observation.

Not many buyers seem to prefer a bowl coating or only buy pipes that have it. It appears to be the opposite. Buyers either don’t care one way or the other or prefer to buy pipes that lack the coating. Again, just an interesting observation that may or may not even be accurate.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jpmcwjr

Seeleybc1

Starting to Get Obsessed
Dec 29, 2022
162
737
Palmer AK
I see this was an older thread that was revived, and I’m happy it was. I searched “savinelli bowl coatings“ and found my way here.

I’ve been interested lately in the topic after I shopped through a bunch of punto oro golds, and noticed whether the bowl was coated or not was a huge factor in my elimination process, so to speak. Got me asking basically the same questions that others clearly have had as well.

Some interesting thoughts, opinions, and responses on the topic here. One thing I do have an opinion on, is the “uncoated” savinelli bowls do indeed have something on them. At least the one I have in hand, has what I would guess by the way it feels to be wax. It’s actually pretty enough I’ve been almost intimidated to smoke it! I do like the look of their uncoated bowls.

So still being curious as to why some savinelli bowls from all across their series and models are coated and uncoated, seemingly randomly, Ive emailed their customer service asking the question, and will report back with anything I find.

I have a hunch that any bowl that gets drilled and has a little ugly spot gets that black coating, and anything that looks good enough stays uncoated. They probably wouldn’t phrase it like that, but thats my thought.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jpmcwjr

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
43,431
109,324
So still being curious as to why some savinelli bowls from all across their series and models are coated and uncoated, seemingly randomly, Ive emailed their customer service asking the question, and will report back with anything I find.
Some buyers prefer a finished look to the pipe. Artisans will often ask the commissioner whether or not they want a chamber coating.
 

Sigmund

Lifer
Sep 17, 2023
1,478
12,591
France
I dont know what some guys are using. I had to sand some out of one of my favorite estates. The bowl stayed sticky and damp for days.

Others are thick goop that will blister. Most the time I sand it out. Unless Im smoking something strong like a lat blend I can almost always taste it in varying degrees for the first bowl or two. Its usually subtle but still kind of a nagging annoyance.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Briar Lee

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,836
13,904
Humansville Missouri
Golden Age (1930-50) American factory pipes except for Yello Bole don’t seem to have an obvious bowl coating.

Lee pipes had something indivisible that really worked to mask the taste of breaking in briar and put a strong, sweet taste in its place. It must have been a trade secret or every briar pipe would still have it.

Dr Grabow pipes were pre smoked, which isn’t an applied coating.

There were, and still are, three things that a pipe maker wants his customer to avoid

Bad taste during break in

Tongue bite and mouth burn

Gurgling

The modern black carbon coating is applied to catch a sale. The customer hopes that pre carbon coat is the same as the cake of a well broken in pipe.

Should the maker know his customer hates bowl coatings he’ll leave them off.


I am completely convinced that it is the intense heat of the first few bowls that breaks in a pipe, not the carbon cake that forms,

Bowl coatings are in the same gadget class as stingers and filters and vents, except stingers and filters and vents actually work to some degree.
 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
24,724
27,320
Carmel Valley, CA
Two thoughts: Often enough, a "few bowls' doesn't get the pipe in shape to be called "broken in". May take a few dozen.

Some coatings will yield to hot water and slight abrasion to the chamber.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Briar Lee

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,836
13,904
Humansville Missouri
Two thoughts: Often enough, a "few bowls' doesn't get the pipe in shape to be called "broken in". May take a few dozen.

Some coatings will yield to hot water and slight abrasion to the chamber.

In my experience Nording pipes require the longest and most painful break in. My last new one had a bowl coating, and it was barely smokable for over a dozen bowls. Now it’s good.

And I got in a modern Lorenzetti Buyere Extra with a bowl coating that broke in on the first smoke.

I don’t think it was the bowl coating.

The 70-90 year old Marxman pipes I’m addicted to will have a pleasant but distinct briar taste on the bottom of the first bowl. They’ve all aged for the better part of a century.

The consensus explanation for break in taste is there are tannins in the briar. Seasoning and age help remove them.

A film of carbon seems like a band aid, to me.

The intense heat of the ember must finish the curing process.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Papamique

Seeleybc1

Starting to Get Obsessed
Dec 29, 2022
162
737
Palmer AK
I see this was an older thread that was revived, and I’m happy it was. I searched “savinelli bowl coatings“ and found my way here.

I’ve been interested lately in the topic after I shopped through a bunch of punto oro golds, and noticed whether the bowl was coated or not was a huge factor in my elimination process, so to speak. Got me asking basically the same questions that others clearly have had as well.

Some interesting thoughts, opinions, and responses on the topic here. One thing I do have an opinion on, is the “uncoated” savinelli bowls do indeed have something on them. At least the one I have in hand, has what I would guess by the way it feels to be wax. It’s actually pretty enough I’ve been almost intimidated to smoke it! I do like the look of their uncoated bowls.

So still being curious as to why some savinelli bowls from all across their series and models are coated and uncoated, seemingly randomly, Ive emailed their customer service asking the question, and will report back with anything I find.

I have a hunch that any bowl that gets drilled and has a little ugly spot gets that black coating, and anything that looks good enough stays uncoated. They probably wouldn’t phrase it like that, but thats my thought.
“Most series pipes are offered with the chamber either with a black coating or left natural, but the overall quality is the same.”

This is the applicable part of the email I received back from savinelli.
Nothing against them, but I believe this is the cut and paste from the FAQ page, so not really the personal and detailed response I was hoping for, but pretty much what I expected, and that’s ok.
Still a bit curious as to why they do both, and how they determine which pipe will get which bowl treatment. Do they really make such an effort to please the two schools of thought/preference people have on bowl coatings? Maybe so! I’d like to think so.
They certainly use different filter/no filter set ups to appeal to different markets, so maybe they are a bit more in tune with this concept being that they’re such a globally distributed brand?
None of this means much but for whatever reason is interesting to me lol.
 
“Most series pipes are offered with the chamber either with a black coating or left natural, but the overall quality is the same.”

This is the applicable part of the email I received back from savinelli.
Nothing against them, but I believe this is the cut and paste from the FAQ page, so not really the personal and detailed response I was hoping for, but pretty much what I expected, and that’s ok.
Still a bit curious as to why they do both, and how they determine which pipe will get which bowl treatment. Do they really make such an effort to please the two schools of thought/preference people have on bowl coatings? Maybe so! I’d like to think so.
They certainly use different filter/no filter set ups to appeal to different markets, so maybe they are a bit more in tune with this concept being that they’re such a globally distributed brand?
None of this means much but for whatever reason is interesting to me lol.
Outside of the Autographs, Savinelli makes a non-filtered pipe? I had no idea.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Briar Lee
In my experience Nording pipes require the longest and most painful break in.
How many brand new Nordings have you smoked? Surely, you would be aware that sample size matters when evaluating research. I have nine, and all of them smoked fine right off the bat, but even nine isn't much of a sample size for a pipemaker who has his folks makes thousands of pipes a year.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Briar Lee

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,836
13,904
Humansville Missouri
How many brand new Nordings have you smoked? Surely, you would be aware that sample size matters when evaluating research. I have nine, and all of them smoked fine right off the bat, but even nine isn't much of a sample size for a pipemaker who has his folks makes thousands of pipes a year.

About four, I can remember.

The first one I can’t forget. I spent almost all my money on a #3 grade pipe and a pouch of tobacco and when it got going well I had to pretend I liked it strolling with my girlfriend on the plaza.

She asked if my pipe was on fire.:)

Her Daddy owned a dozen banks, she was a part time model, and I’d have smoked anything she liked the looks of.IMG_6633.jpeg
IMG_6634.jpeg
It broke in quickly, though, about a half a dozen bowls.

It has now aged (along with me) 47 years.

Eric Nording made luxury pipes a boy from Bug Tussle with a rich girlfriend could afford.

$40 then would be about $200 today.


I had it, but not much left over.:)

That night at the dorm my friend Lon pointed out the reason it cost $40 instead of $100. A little sideways line where the sander slipped, almost buffed out.

IMG_6635.jpeg


Nording makes a beautiful premium product.

He lets the customers break in the briar, though.

There is a lot of briar in that pipe, it weighs 90 grams.

And it was the very height of style in 1977. I had the prettiest girl and the prettiest pipe, in the dormitory.:)
 
Last edited: