Coatings on Chinese Pipes

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Alejo R.

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 13, 2020
892
1,875
49
Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Hi everybody, I'm new here, and relatively new the pipe smoking hobby (which I'm really loving).
I just wanted to know what you're thoughts were on the safety of pipes that have varnish/coatings on them?
I have a few pipes, including a peterson dracula, and Vauen shire, but I've bought a couple of cheap Chinese pipes because I really like them, and they are great value for money. My only real concern, is that they have some sort of hard varnish coating substance on them, and I am unsure of if it will cause me any harm or not?
Is there anybody else here who smokes Chinese pipes, and what are your thoughts on them?
Any help and feedback on this would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks😉
How can a pipe that leaves you wondering if it's safe to smoke be of great value for money?
 
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Alejo R.

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 13, 2020
892
1,875
49
Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Hi everybody, I'm new here, and relatively new the pipe smoking hobby (which I'm really loving).
I just wanted to know what you're thoughts were on the safety of pipes that have varnish/coatings on them?
I have a few pipes, including a peterson dracula, and Vauen shire, but I've bought a couple of cheap Chinese pipes because I really like them, and they are great value for money. My only real concern, is that they have some sort of hard varnish coating substance on them, and I am unsure of if it will cause me any harm or not?
Is there anybody else here who smokes Chinese pipes, and what are your thoughts on them?
Any help and feedback on this would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks😉
That D is a blatant copy of the Davidoff logo.
Just go for estate pipes.
 

Leyor

Lurker
May 4, 2024
22
21
UNITED KINGDOM
How can a pipe that leaves you wondering if it's safe to smoke be of great value for money?
Because if it does turn out to be safe it will be a bargain, and the liklihood is that it will be safe. I smoked it a few times already, and I'm not dead or I hospital with a serious illness, and it smokes and feels great to use, so I would definitely say its a successful value purchase
 
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Alejo R.

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 13, 2020
892
1,875
49
Buenos Aires, Argentina.
They sell some on Amazon, but they're a specialist pipe brand in their own right.
their own website has so many to choose from😉
what I wonder is if it really wysiwyg. pipes on the website look interesting. The ones you see around the Internet are a little different. Most of them will reach the quality of a Rossi, with luck and the prices at least on their site are not cheap. The ones that sell for less than $30 are not briar.
 
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Leyor

Lurker
May 4, 2024
22
21
UNITED KINGDOM
what I wonder is if it really wysiwyg. pipes on the website look interesting. The ones you see around the Internet are a little different. Most of them will reach the quality of a Rossi, with luck and the prices at least on their site are not cheap. The ones that sell for less than $30 are not briar.
Mine are ebony and rosewood, but they smoke as good as the briars I have. I really like ebony pipes personally. I use them more frequently than my Briar.
Muxiang make a whole selection of Briar and other exotic wood pipes too, which I'm gonna try out at some point. I off to Dublin this weekend to watch a Keane concert, so whilst I'm there I'm gonna go vist the Peterson shop, and most likely buy a new pipe when I'm there.
 

FLDRD

Lifer
Oct 13, 2021
1,876
7,104
Arkansas
I prefer to utilize pipes made of wood I know are acceptable for the purpose, and from makers I know have good intentions of honesty and integrity. I avoid those that I suspect may not fall into that category. Make of that what you will.
 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
25,329
28,532
Carmel Valley, CA
Mine are ebony and rosewood, but they smoke as good as the briars I have. I really like ebony pipes personally. I use them more frequently than my Briar.
Muxiang make a whole selection of Briar and other exotic wood pipes too, which I'm gonna try out at some point. I off to Dublin this weekend to watch a Keane concert, so whilst I'm there I'm gonna go vist the Peterson shop, and most likely buy a new pipe when I'm there.
You may be able to visit the shop/factory if you wish. Contact them before you leave!
 
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jbfrady

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 27, 2023
553
2,005
South Carolina
Because if it does turn out to be safe it will be a bargain, and the liklihood is that it will be safe. I smoked it a few times already, and I'm not dead or I hospital with a serious illness, and it smokes and feels great to use, so I would definitely say its a successful value purchase
As a new pipe maker, I'm very familiar with this concern. I finished my first dozen pipes or so with nothing but food grade Danish oil because I didn't want to risk contaminants bleeding through. At this past Vegas show, I was fortunate enough to pick several more experienced brains than mine and this is what I learned...

Safety is all about absorption. With briar, the rules are straightforward because of its tremendous density. As Alex Florov noted to me, scrub a briar pipe with 220 grit sandpaper and within seconds, all finishing is gone. This means that, no matter how long the drying time, nothing absorbed beyond a fraction of a millimeter.

With other woods, absorption varies and it can be difficult to know the level of variance without a like DIY examinations - i.e. sanding it off. If you like the pipe, I'd suggest buying a second one just like it. Keep smoking yours regularly for 6mo to a year, then sand all the finishing off. How far you have to sand will tell you how absorbative the wood has been. If you barely have to sand, it's safe to assume that there's no risk.

The only other item to note on finishings is containment. Ideal finishes allow the wood to breathe during the smoke, while constricting airflow entirely means that eventually, the pipe will get too hot and either burn out or become unenjoyable. For the same reason, I think having a duplicate on hand and just storing it away until you've had a period of regular use would allow you to test both aspects at once. If after a year, it smokes fine and the finishes vanish in seconds, you're in the clear.
 

Leyor

Lurker
May 4, 2024
22
21
UNITED KINGDOM
As a new pipe maker, I'm very familiar with this concern. I finished my first dozen pipes or so with nothing but food grade Danish oil because I didn't want to risk contaminants bleeding through. At this past Vegas show, I was fortunate enough to pick several more experienced brains than mine and this is what I learned...

Safety is all about absorption. With briar, the rules are straightforward because of its tremendous density. As Alex Florov noted to me, scrub a briar pipe with 220 grit sandpaper and within seconds, all finishing is gone. This means that, no matter how long the drying time, nothing absorbed beyond a fraction of a millimeter.

With other woods, absorption varies and it can be difficult to know the level of variance without a like DIY examinations - i.e. sanding it off. If you like the pipe, I'd suggest buying a second one just like it. Keep smoking yours regularly for 6mo to a year, then sand all the finishing off. How far you have to sand will tell you how absorbative the wood has been. If you barely have to sand, it's safe to assume that there's no risk.

The only other item to note on finishings is containment. Ideal finishes allow the wood to breathe during the smoke, while constricting airflow entirely means that eventually, the pipe will get too hot and either burn out or become unenjoyable. For the same reason, I think having a duplicate on hand and just storing it away until you've had a period of regular use would allow you to test both aspects at once. If after a year, it smokes fine and the finishes vanish in seconds, you're in the clear.
Thank you for your advice, it's really helpful and appreciated. What you are saying makes every bit of sense. Fortunately I did buy 2 of the latest cheap Chinese pipes, so I will sand one of them down and see what it's like under the finish. I'll post pics when I've done it, but this is it now.
 

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jbfrady

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 27, 2023
553
2,005
South Carolina
Thank you for your advice, it's really helpful and appreciated. What you are saying makes every bit of sense. Fortunately I did buy 2 of the latest cheap Chinese pipes, so I will sand one of them down and see what it's like under the finish. I'll post pics when I've done it, but this is it now.
Wear gloves. Just sayin'.
 
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jbfrady

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 27, 2023
553
2,005
South Carolina
Thank you for your advice, it's really helpful and appreciated. What you are saying makes every bit of sense. Fortunately I did buy 2 of the latest cheap Chinese pipes, so I will sand one of them down and see what it's like under the finish. I'll post pics when I've done it, but this is it now.
And no matter what wood it is, if you sand back up to 600 in steps after you sand at 220, you can still slap a coat of Danish oil on it and have a fine looking pipe.
 
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Leyor

Lurker
May 4, 2024
22
21
UNITED KINGDOM
Thank you for your advice, it's really helpful and appreciated. What you are saying makes every bit of sense. Fortunately I did buy 2 of the latest cheap Chinese pipes, so I will sand one of them down and see what it's like under the finish. I'll post pics when I've done it, but this is it now.

And no matter what wood it is, if you sand back up to 600 in steps after you sand at 220, you can still slap a coat of Danish oil on it and have a fine looking pipe

And no matter what wood it is, if you sand back up to 600 in steps after you sand at 220, you can still slap a coat of Danish oil on it and have a fine looking pipe.
Is 600 the finest I will need to go to get a nice smooth finish?
 
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jbfrady

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 27, 2023
553
2,005
South Carolina
Is 600 the finest I will need to go to get a nice smooth finish?
You can go as high as you want, but anything above 400 is considered polishing. You can go up to 2000 if you want, and I have done it myself but it's a tad excessive. However, if you want to buy one of those sets off Amazon that just comes with a sheet or two of each, you could delve into the 4 digits for maybe twelve bucks. Still, marginal decline happens post-400.
 
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jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
25,329
28,532
Carmel Valley, CA
I've moved this from Introductions to Pipe Talk.

Leyor— Do make a new intro, with emphasis on what you like to smoke, in what, and a tad about yourself—please!
 

Leyor

Lurker
May 4, 2024
22
21
UNITED KINGDOM
You can go as high as you want, but anything above 400 is considered polishing. You can go up to 2000 if you want, and I have done it myself but it's a tad excessive. However, if you want to buy one of those sets off Amazon that just comes with a sheet or two of each, you could delve into the 4 digits for maybe twelve bucks. Still, marginal decline happens post-400.
Thanks, I'll order a pack from amazon and get it done next week. It'll be interesting to see what colour the hardwood actually is, because I don't believe it will be genuine ebony, like they claim it is! It does have a nice grain to it though.
 
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jpberg

Lifer
Aug 30, 2011
3,065
7,086
I hate to break the mood, but there’s lots of terrific pipemakers in China, and I don’t think any of them are in labor camps.
I’m good with bashing communism and all that, but for heavens sake…