Pipe Filters Reconsidered

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mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
30,130
11,402
Just bought my first pack of pipe filters ever, for one of my cobs (the other is unfiltered). I've always

shared the U.S. pipe smokers predisposition against filters of any kind, though I've encountered them --

Savinelli balsa filters, Medico, Dr. Grabow, plus those little medal spoons and other "stingers" that are

supposed to cut moisture in the stem or shank. Now I find, along with my rack(s) of unfiltered pipes,

a filtered pipe has its place, for tabacco that has gotten a little dry or harsh, or when I want to smoke

a strong blend but don't want quite the full dose. The best smoke is still sans filter, but a filter seems

to have a place. This also opens the door to a few American made machine pipes, something my rack

is notably missing. I've been informed you can smoke a Dr. Grabow or Yellow Bole without a filter, but

this also gives the filter a place. Filters ... terrible, or tolerable? I'm relenting, a little.

 

homeatsea

Preferred Member
Mar 6, 2013
510
4
My newest Sav Churchwarden came with their 6mm balsa filters. I have smoked with and without the filter. One thing I noticed straightaway was that the draw becomes more difficult with a filter (nothing too serious but noticeable nonetheless). Aside from that, I wasn't able to produce smoke as thick or savory with the filter but I didn't notice a serious drop-off in flavor for the most part. I didn't smoke a nic-heavy blend so I can't speak much to taking some of the strength out of it, but this has been my limited experience with filters thus far.

 

alexl

Member
Feb 23, 2013
105
0
I came from the opposite direction: in the begining smoked filtered pipes only, now all my new pipes are non-filtered.

But if to use filter, then Sav balsa only. They come in 6 and 9 mm.

 

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lordofthepiperings

Preferred Member
May 3, 2010
6,315
276
Las Vegas, NV
My only filter pipes are my four Savinellis. I gave them a try with and without filters. It didn't really seem to be much a difference with or without them. Currently I have them all filtered.

 

cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
15,151
7,598
Chicago, IL
Filter and stinger downsides: usually can't pass pipe cleaners during smoke, and usually leave a mess after smoking.

(Brigham seems to address both issues, and it's the only filter I use.)

 

dpkrause

Member
Oct 3, 2012
264
0
I just recently discovered for myself, that I like using a filter when smoking an aromatic. The more casing/topping in the blend, the more a filter helps. I bought a cherry blend to appease the wife, and it smokes best for me with a 9mm Vauen carbon filter. For my normal English or VA/Per blends, I don't use a filter at all.

 

withnail

Preferred Member
Oct 30, 2011
737
0
United Kingdom
I find some pipes that are designed to take a filter can have a little too much of a free draw without them. As Cortezattic says - the trouble is you have to wait till they are cold before removing the filter and giving it a good clean. By that time the tar and gunk has hardened a little and is tougher to shift.

 

doctorthoss

Preferred Member
Oct 6, 2011
618
2
I've smoked both types of pipes from the beginning, and I think filter pipes can sometimes give a far better smoke than non-filters. My favorite brand of briar is Savinelli, and I always smoke them with a filter. It reduces moisture and bite, in my opinion, and I've never noticed any kind of difference when it comes to the draw or flavor.

Doc Grabow filters are another matter. They definitely mute the flavors and make it draw a little harder, but I find that a good filtered Grabow (or cob) renders many aromatics smokeable to me.

 

05venturer

Preferred Member
Nov 25, 2012
1,623
0
Amery,WI
FYI, if i do use a filter I use a grabow or medico cut in half, it doesn't seem to restrict the flow as much

 

drwatson

Preferred Member
Aug 3, 2010
1,720
1
toledo
I'm kinda a filter guy I guess. With the only exception is the paper filter for Grabows. I usually shove a balsa filter in my Grabows.

 

nsfisher

Preferred Member
Nov 26, 2011
3,567
2
Nova Scotia, Canada
Here is a tip I discovered a few yrs ago. When you put your filter in your cob, take the bigger end of a tapered cleaner and run it tru the stem to the bowl. Yes it will pass tru the paper filter. This enlarges the inside of the paper filter and makes for a much better draw and still serves the purpose very well. When I use the rockmaple filters in my Brigs, I run a bristle cleaner tru it first. This also opens the draw just enough to make it perfect. You have to twist the bristle cleaner tru the filter though.

 

juni

Preferred Member
Mar 9, 2010
1,184
4
The balsa filters are great in absorbing moisture. This moisture is what causes tongue bite.
I do smoke some filtered pipes without the filter though. It gives a small "calabash effect" or maybe more like a Peterson system effect - more so with the 9mm filter pipes.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
30,130
11,402
I might get an appropriate sized dowel rod and make (drill) an adaptor to replace the standard Medico and Grabo filter.

Just need to be sure the dowel is not treated with anything, just good old pine or some other wood. I'm surprised

Medico and Grabow don't offer this, but I guess it would seem contradictory. Or, throw one into every pack of filters,

just to give the option. Marketing departments, are you reading this?

 

dukdalf

Member
Aug 24, 2011
238
0
I wouldn't use wood of any kind. As you smoke your pipe, it will get hot and wet, expand and get jammed or in the worst case, split your pipe. Better take a piece of plastic rod and drill that out.

 

vespertillio

Senior Member
Jul 9, 2012
327
0
I have tried the Sav balsa filters. They do seem to deliver a drier smoke and I really didn't notice any constriction. Currently I'm trying the other insert with it. Both seem fine to me. Though my palate needs some working on.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
30,130
11,402
The only Sav I ever traded was one where the adaptor to avoid using the filter seemed to impart a taste.

I don't think this is generally true. All of my other Savs smoke great, though none have filters nor adaptors.

Love my Savs, just not that one. Another is more than 30 years old.

 

smokinokie

New member
Apr 9, 2013
6
0
One of my favorite pipes is my Dr. Grabow Omega, I can not smoke it without a filter in place, when I have tried I ends up a gurgling, goofy mess. With a filter in place it's all a-ok.

 
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