Horn Stems

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Speak Easy

Lifer
Jan 12, 2024
1,338
15,589
43
Western Oklahoma
I’ve a couple pipes I’d like to get a horn stem installed on. Without starting an argument, I’d like for those of you that smoke a horn stem on a daily basis to weigh in on the subject. I’ve never smoked a horn stem, but visually, and I suppose for historical reasons, I’d like to give one a try. I’ve been told I would not like a horn stem. I’m familiar with the material. I know somewhat how it wears in other applications . Anyway, enough of my rambling. Let me know the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Thanks for your time and responses!
SE
 
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driftedshank1

Might Stick Around
Jul 3, 2018
61
187
I have a pipe with a horn stem. While it has a different mouth feel by comparison to rubber or acrylic, it is comfortable and I have no issues. I did not have to open the stem, so I can't comment on how it would react to re-drilling. It does show a bit of wear at the button but that's no big deal to me. Attractive look.
 

camaguey

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jul 25, 2021
253
406
west indies
I like the mouth feel of horn stems. Vulcanite and acrylic feels less natural. My only objection with them is that many have orific opening. I have several and i smoke them with the same or more pleasure than the other materials.
 

OzPiper

Lifer
Nov 30, 2020
5,951
31,902
71
Sydney, Australia
I love the look of horn, and I have a few of them.
My oldest is from 1898 and is in really good shape, with no teeth marks, as I got it as a NOS.
So they can last a looooong time 😁

If you chew/chomp, use a silicon or rubber bit, as I do.
I have seen ones with beetle holes, so examine closely if buying an estate. And care with storage.

Ropps are your best bet. And they are relatively inexpensive if you want to dip your toes in the water.
Viprati also make pipes with horn stems occasionally
Marco (Moretti Pipes) was kind enough to oblige when I requested a horn stem for a commission.
 

Daddypants

Might Stick Around
Jan 30, 2023
92
241
Central Texas
I have two Ropp pipes with horn stems. One I absolutely love and the other is just too small. It seems too dainty.

I prefer horn, briar, or Osage Orange stems. Anything natural feels better to me than other stems, except for one acrylic I have that was made by Eldritch pipes.
 

Speak Easy

Lifer
Jan 12, 2024
1,338
15,589
43
Western Oklahoma
I have two Ropp pipes with horn stems. One I absolutely love and the other is just too small. It seems too dainty.

I prefer horn, briar, or Osage Orange stems. Anything natural feels better to me than other stems, except for one acrylic I have that was made by Eldritch pipes.
I think I’m going to grab one of those Ropps. Try it out. I’ve had a couple on my wishlist for a min now.
 

judcole

Lifer
Sep 14, 2011
7,220
34,215
Detroit
I was going to suggest that, instead of trying to fit a horn stem to a pipe you have, now, just to buy a Ropp Vintage series.
I have four; I like them a lot, both the look and the mouth feel. I clench, but I don't chew, so they are not showing that much wear.
Some of the Ropps are fairly small; as I understand it, pipes in the first half of the last century often were smaller. Check the dimensions if that is a concern for you.
 

Daddypants

Might Stick Around
Jan 30, 2023
92
241
Central Texas
I was going to suggest that, instead of trying to fit a horn stem to a pipe you have, now, just to buy a Ropp Vintage series.
I have four; I like them a lot, both the look and the mouth feel. I clench, but I don't chew, so they are not showing that much wear.
Some of the Ropps are fairly small; as I understand it, pipes in the first half of the last century often were smaller. Check the dimensions if that is a concern for you.

The only problem is they don’t give stem sizes. A diameter would be nice. That’s what I ran into with my Pot shape. The bowl is fine, the length is fine but the stem is just too dainty. My Vintage Stout Billiard on the other hand is perfect. I think I will buy another one with a different colored stem in the future.
 

Speak Easy

Lifer
Jan 12, 2024
1,338
15,589
43
Western Oklahoma
I was going to suggest that, instead of trying to fit a horn stem to a pipe you have, now, just to buy a Ropp Vintage series.
I have four; I like them a lot, both the look and the mouth feel. I clench, but I don't chew, so they are not showing that much wear.
Some of the Ropps are fairly small; as I understand it, pipes in the first half of the last century often were smaller. Check the dimensions if that is a concern for you.
This is exactly the info I was looking for. I don’t chew but clench. As for the size. My favorite pipe is my Ropp J10. So it should be perfect!
 
Aug 1, 2012
4,619
5,179
Horn feels... interesting to me. It's comfortable but can can taste odd. I do smoke my horn stem pipes but they're not my favorite. Worth trying something like a Ropp first to see how you like it. I do wonder if any artisan pipe makers will work with the material. If they did, I may try one.
 
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Piping Abe

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 27, 2021
539
1,498
Georgia, USA
Can someone who has a horn stemmed Ropp show a comparison to a vulcanite stem/acrylic stem. Curious on how thick they are side by side.
 

alaskanpiper

Enabler in Chief
May 23, 2019
9,383
42,834
Alaska
Just an FYI to those mulling it over, many of Ropps horn stemmed pipes have a very narrow airway that will only pass the thinnest of pipe cleaners. Never had an issue with the way they smoke, just be warned. Their vulcanite stems do not have this issue.

Typically their horn stems have a slighly slimmer (side to side) button than their vulcanite stems, and like many horn stems they are a little more rounded at the bit.

Genod also offers affordable pipes of a good quality with horn stems. All the same as above applies, but they do not have the narrow airway issue.
 

alaskanpiper

Enabler in Chief
May 23, 2019
9,383
42,834
Alaska
Can someone who has a horn stemmed Ropp show a comparison to a vulcanite stem/acrylic stem. Curious on how thick they are side by side.
IMG_0912.jpegIMG_0914.jpeg

Just also note that the size of the bit will vary in both vulcanite and horn from shape to shape of course depending on overall size (i.e. an extremely large horn stemmed pipe may in fact have a larger bit than an extremely petite vulcanite stemmed one, etc.)