Do Big Pipes Smoke Better?

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boston

Part of the Furniture Now
Jun 27, 2018
542
1,240
Boston
I prefer smaller bowl size in diameter; 3/4 inch (ish). Depth I am more flexible on. As to wall thickness, I have a Kai billiard (I think) with very thin walls. It's a great smoker. I do not smoke like a freight train, especially with that pipe...

Bigger pipes (with a smaller bowl diameter) would likely smoke as well and I'd not need to be mindful of overheating, but... I'm mindful of that anyhow.
 
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daveinlax

Charter Member
May 5, 2009
2,000
2,707
WISCONSIN
If the chamber is cylindrical the volume of tobacco would be π r² h

If the chamber is perfectly conical then the volume of tobacco would be 0.33 π r² h.

@Briar Lee How does the shape of the chamber correlate with your experience?
I know conical bowls don’t smoke well for me. I own many but they don’t get smoked like my big group 6+ U shaped bowls. I rarely smoke my pipes that last less than 45 minutes.
 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
24,708
27,310
Carmel Valley, CA
This one's too small.....this one is too big! But this one is juuuuusst right!

Sure, everyone can post his preference, but that just stresses it's a personal choice, and one that may change depending on the tobacco, mood and planet alignment.

If someone has something specific to add, something even quasi scientific, post away. Otherwise this thread is dead.
 

LeafErikson

Lifer
Dec 7, 2021
1,917
16,370
Oregon
It’s all too subjective but I do prefer certain blends in certain pipes. I can’t say that bigger pipes (or larger chambers) smoke any better.
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
One of my other hobbies is reading about battleships. The coolest battleships were the Dreadnoughts, those designed after the 1906 launch of HMS Dreadnought who mounted ten twelve inch guns and ran 21 knots. The world’s major powers built right about a hundred from 1906 until 1945.

Over half of the dreadnoughts ever launched fought at the Battle of Jutland ten years later, except Dreadnaught herself was obsolescent and stayed away. It’s all fascinating reading using a super dreadnaught sized pipe to keep you company.:)


The Germans had lots of 11 inch naval rifles at Jutland and the Bristish had lots of 12 inch, 13.5 inch, and 15 inch guns.

Not much difference between an 11 inch wide cannon and a 12 or a 15 inch, it would seem. They’d all penetrate up to an inch of armor per inch of diameter of shell, roughly.

But the German 11 inch guns shot 600 pound shells and the 12” near nine hundred and the 15 inch near two thousand. As the bore diameter went up an inch the cost and weight of the cannon went up enormously as well, beyond the percentage increase in diameter. The bigger shells were slower to reload and they couldn’t carry as many,


Don’t feel sorry for the under gunned Germans at Jutland.

The Germans lost one modern battle cruiser that sank slowly and almost all the crew was saved. The British had three battle cruisers explode in fireballs taking nearly all their crews with them.

So what makes for the small end, of a truly large pipe?

A bore of at least .850”, with a chamber twice as deep.

This enormous .860” bore El Tigre Lorenzo weighs 60 grams, and holds about twice what a standard pipe holds.

IMG_6626.jpeg
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
I fail to follow your line of thought
Pipes and battleships and naval guns ? 🤔
Not even apples vs lemons here :rolleyes:

To get twice the tobacco in a pipe or twice the weight of shell in a naval rifle it doesn’t cost only twice as much or is twice the trouble. It’s an order of magnitude more expensive and more trouble. The area of the circle gets squared, as you progress.


The standard size pipe is about 30-35 grams.

Once you get at 60 grams you’ve got an enormous, expensive big pipe to smoke.

Starting at about 90 grams if they were battleships they’d be Iowa Class battleships.:)
 
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Dec 3, 2021
4,886
41,232
Pennsylvania & New York
Is bigger better? For me, it depends on the context. I have some large chambered pipes that I much prefer when I watch a six hour sporting event like UFC on a Saturday; a single chamber load in one of them with a slow burning crumble cake consistently gives me five hours of smoking time, no mussing and fussing with reloading or repacking a pipe—one and done, no missing a split second KO. Perfect in that context.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
If a bigger chambered pipe, a better word than merely a bigger pipe, smokes better it’s due to a greater surface area of the tobacco with more tobacco below to filter the smoke.

So if we are pipe makers, let’s add a big 60 gram pipe to our line. It might sell.

It’s not that simple. The cost isn’t just double a 30 gram pipe, it might be three or five or ten times more. There’s way more waste, more labor, more material cost. And the more we price them the fewer we’ll sell as a rule.
 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
43,412
109,217
There are some members eg @Chasing Embers who prefer pipes with humungous chambers
Not correct. I can't fully close my hands anymore and can't safely hold small pipes. The large pipes that I have to use just happen to have large chambers. I've often said that my pipes have to be around the height or width of a tennis ball for me to hold and while my dogs are sleeping I can use one of their toys to illustrate.

20240110_083100.jpg

Other than duration of smoke, I find no difference in smoking characteristics between chamber sizes and shapes.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
If the chamber is cylindrical the volume of tobacco would be π r² h

If the chamber is perfectly conical then the volume of tobacco would be 0.33 π r² h.

@Briar Lee How does the shape of the chamber correlate with your experience?

Most, not all truly large pipes (60 grams plus) have cylindrical chambers.

Another factor in pipe size was the Golden Era of pipe smoking began in the early part of the Great Depression and tapered off during the greatest economic boom in the history of the world, the five years after WW2.

All the sack tobacco dropped to a nickel during the Depression and popular premium codger blends dropped to a dime, for about 50 grams.

Little pipes held about a gram and medium pipes maybe two or three, and really big ones at least six. The Bari holds 9 or 10.

The great big ones weren’t for poor folks.

A decent little pipe was 25 cents and got 50 smokes from a dime can of Prince Albert.

The huge $15 size Marxman pipes I love cost sixty times as much and might get five smokes from a pocket tin.

In 1947 that wasn’t so extravagant as it was in 1934.
 
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Jun 9, 2015
3,903
24,396
42
Mission, Ks
Asking if bigger pipes smoke better is like asking, what kind of food tastes good. There is no correct answer, but everyone will give an opinion anyway and most will be based 100% on their personal preference.

I like larger pipes, I also like smaller pipes. It just depends, how long do I want to smoke, what am I going to smoke, what am I going to to be doing while I smoke, where am I smoking, etc.

If im standing at my lathe making stems or at my work bench working, a large pipe is impractical. If I'm gonna sit down and read or watch TV I'll choose a larger pipe, bowl shape will be dependent on what I'm smoking.

To answer the question, yes. Large pipes are better... But only for certain situations. Small pipes are also better... But only for certain situations.

I hope I've sufficiently muddied the waters puffy
 
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