Frustrating Estate Pipe Acquisitions

Log in

SmokingPipes.com Updates

18 Fresh Estate Pipes
New Cigars
4 Fresh Luiz Lavos Pipes
6 Fresh Ashton Pipes
3 Fresh Il Duca Pipes

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

Tobacco Treasures Ad

OzPiper

Lifer
Nov 30, 2020
3,104
14,561
69
Sydney, Australia
Over the past few months I have been buying a few refurbished estate pipes from reputable outfits,(Novelli,Danishpipeshop, Estatebriarpipes,dk,all in Europe)for which I have paid what we call top dollar,nontheless upon arrival of all these pipes I gotta face some cleanliness 'related issues,namely, shoddy and carelessly performed interior parts cleaning
so to say , I had to go thorough countless number of bristled pipecleners, shank brushes before I got these pipes to meet rather strict standards ,with one pipe of these pipes I even had to remove micro scratches from the stem surface and then polishing it up again,has this neglect approach becoming a new norm with certain vendors,?When a pipe has been said to be ready for smoke and restored, I'd expect that I don't have to do any homework on them any more,worth to mention with SPC I have never/ever encountered abovementioned problems with their estate inventory I have bought , so cudos to to them they seem to keep up to high standards.
This very rant was caused by pure frustration, thank you for your time.
I understand exactly your frustration.

Most of my pipes are estates. I recall posting a similar rant shortly after I became a member here.

I received a couple of pristine estates from Geoff (Cambridge Pipe Repairs) recently. Other estate pipes I've been happy with were from Blue Room Briars, Mkelaw Pipes, and SmokingPipes.

It is a very pleasant surprise when one arrives "ready to smoke"
 

jafo1989

Might Stick Around
Dec 2, 2021
72
440
Chicago
With my earliest fleaBay estates I didn’t much care how filthy they were - half the point for me was to learn how to really go to town cleaning a pipe. So now my standards might be somewhat higher, but my expectations really aren’t, if that makes sense. ?‍♂️
 
Aug 1, 2012
4,103
3,765
OP, I share your frustration. If a top end company is selling estates, they should be cleaned to the level expected of a top end company. This however, is rarely the case and more likely the pipe will be far from properly cleaned. This is the case with so many companies and smaller sellers too. Honestly, though I'd like to see it change, this will continue because most of us accept it. I'm no exception since I just figure in my cleaning time to any estate purchase other than those from Smokingpipes and about 4 members here.

I will say I've had worse luck with European sellers to the point that one well known seller sold me a pipe with a crack in the bowl which I couldn't see because of some careful photography. I lost out on about 120 euros because I had to spend more in shipping both ways, along with a restocking fee, than I paid for the pipe.
 

anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
12,045
22,584
44
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
OP, I share your frustration. If a top end company is selling estates, they should be cleaned to the level expected of a top end company. This however, is rarely the case and more likely the pipe will be far from properly cleaned. This is the case with so many companies and smaller sellers too. Honestly, though I'd like to see it change, this will continue because most of us accept it. I'm no exception since I just figure in my cleaning time to any estate purchase other than those from Smokingpipes and about 4 members here.

I will say I've had worse luck with European sellers to the point that one well known seller sold me a pipe with a crack in the bowl which I couldn't see because of some careful photography. I lost out on about 120 euros because I had to spend more in shipping both ways, along with a restocking fee, than I paid for the pipe.
the thing is it's very unlikely someone will send the pipe back and demand a refund. Just bitch and clean the thing themselves.
 

Grangerous

Lifer
Dec 8, 2020
2,421
9,439
East Coast USA
Surprised no one had mentioned Blue Room Briars. I have 10-12 estates from them. — lost count.

The customer care taken by this small company is seldom found today. Pipes arrive pristine, expertly cleaned, packed and readily shipped. — every pipe with a hand written note, a bundle of pipe cleaners and a blue felt bag. Nice touches all.

Not only that, but any pipe purchased from BRB gets an annual cleaning! FREE.

I have no affiliation with this company. I’m just a very satisfied customer.

Or if you like a stick in your eye, you can order an estate from eBay. I personally would never want to clean an eBay find.
 

sleepy57

Might Stick Around
Jan 28, 2021
89
143
Spring Hill, Florida
No surprises you have to expect the worst. If a person wants to start with estate pipes, I suggest SP. They give a critically accurate description of the pipes, which indicates that they have actually looked it over, and they're cleaned up. Mostly, I'd say, an estate pipe requires restoration, at the very least in terms of sanitizing, not just cleaning. People often compare estate pipes to restaurant tableware in terms of re-using what someone else has used. But good restaurants have a standard dishwashing routine that uses high heat, and this is reviewed and graded by the health inspector. No such requirements apply to estate pipes. Count your labor as part of the actual price of the pipe, and figure your labor as whatever you want per hour. I think an up-market pipe that is not fully cleaned and sanitized (at that money) is a rip-off, or it is to me anyway.
I disagree, I have had more then one or two high end estate pipes that I had to return for internal damage not listed . SP sorry to say their QC dept is pretty poor also
 
  • Wow
Reactions: anotherbob
Dec 3, 2021
1,996
15,007
Pennsylvania & New York
To be honest, I almost prefer estate pipes not be cleaned. This usually results in a lower price and I can clean it up to the level I'm happy or comfortable with—I've seen too many "restorations" where pipes fell victim to the over-zealous use of a buffing wheel. Yes, it's great to get a used pipe from a place like SPC that you can just pop in your mouth and smoke right out of the shipping box, but, sometimes less is more.
 

runscott

Part of the Furniture Now
Jun 3, 2020
523
1,147
Washington State
I can’t remember a time when an estate was ready to smoke. I always do a cleaning on them and plenty of soot comes from those pipes. I kinda expect any pipe that is not new & unsmoked to be filthy. ☕

You are buying from the wrong sellers. There are several sellers on ebay, myself included, who sell pipes that are ready to smoke by anyone's standards. Mistakes (oversights generally) do happen, but are infrequent if you find a genuine pipe restorer. The real problem is that so many ebayers claim to be selling restored pipes, but, as some have mentioned, they barely touch the internals. You can't restore an estate pipe properly unless you have the right tools. If you find you are lacking the tool for the job, you put the pipe aside, not up for sale.

SmokingPipes gets a bad rep sometimes, but their pipe restorations are generally very good, and they don't ruin their pipes with sandpaper. The only issue is cleaning residue, but that can be remedied in 10 minutes with a pipe-cleaner, paper towels and a little alcohol or Everclear.

The real trick is figuring out which seller's are good. I've seen lists by people in pipe forums, and I usually disagree with them for one reason or another - mostly it has to do with the use of sandpaper on rims and stems, or in one case, a popular seller who does a fantastic job, but all his pipes are finished exactly the same, with no regard to historical correctness. Another also does a great job, but muddles the facts to get more bids. And yet another has beautiful pipes and claims to sanitize them, yet his stems and shanks are nasty as hell. If you began smoking them without checking, you might not notice. I have mentioned this to him each time I buy one of his pipes (they are still a great deal), and he always says that that particular pipe must have slipped through by accident.

Edited to add: because I sell pipes, I won't give any names/handles unless I have good things to say. It's bad form in my opinion.
 

sleepy57

Might Stick Around
Jan 28, 2021
89
143
Spring Hill, Florida
To be honest, I almost prefer estate pipes not be cleaned. This usually results in a lower price and I can clean it up to the level I'm happy or comfortable with—I've seen too many "restorations" where pipes fell victim to the over-zealous use of a buffing wheel. Yes, it's great to get a used pipe from a place like SPC that you can just pop in your mouth and smoke right out of the shipping box, but, sometimes less is more.
Well then you are ripe to get burned with internal fills and near burnouts....The cake can hide a multiple of Sins!
 

runscott

Part of the Furniture Now
Jun 3, 2020
523
1,147
Washington State
Agreed. I buff by hand. The objective is to shine the pipe, not to remove briar.

If you think of it like: "What if I didn't have electricity or sandpaper?" You'll come up with something that may be great, but if it isn't, the results can be remedied. There's no going back and adding sandblasting or rustication, or stampings, that you've buffed off. And don't forget the sharp edges of the stem - I've contacted the king of sandpaper on ebay a few times and told him I'd often give him his asking price if he'd just not restore the pipes. But alas, his ego is too huge.