Pipe Myths

Log in

SmokingPipes.com Updates

9 Fresh IMP Meerschaum Pipes
12 Fresh Johs Pipes
18 Fresh Rossi Pipes
60 Fresh Savinelli Pipes
60 Fresh Nording Pipes

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
2,202
5,055
Humansville Missouri
On another thread a friend suggested there should be a thread to expose pipe myths.

When I was growing up nearly all our mothers, had been or were still school teachers. Raising the children was as much their sole prerogative and domain and responsibility as doing the farming chores was for our fathers. When we repeated to our mothers something we thought might be a myth, that was very dangerous, you know? The least that could happen was we’d prepare her a book report on our erroneous assumptions those old men had us believe were true. The worst was our fathers would catch hell for exposing us to such audacious lies, at our tender and impressionable age.

On the other hand, our fathers allowed us to listen to any tall tale or superstition or myth the old men repeated in the barber shops, confident we’d learn the difference between fact and fable, on our own.

Over fifty years of smoking pipes, has convinced me there is something to these pipe smoking myths.

Feel free to disagree or add your own.

1. Briar breathes

Not as much as meerschaum or a cob, but if briar doesn’t breathe how does an almost thousand degree ember lose enough heat in that small distance to where we can hold the pipe? I remove all varnish from pipes to help the briar breathe.

2. Brands matter

Monday morning in Sparta North Carolina a man will be in charge of about forty employees who turn out about 200,000 pipes a year. There’s a master of the briar selection at Dr. Grabow, and he’s a lot better briar picker than I’ll ever be.

3. Briar pipes add flavor.

It is common knowledge raw briar burls are cured and dried before carving. And we all have experienced the taste of a new briar pipe before it’s broken in. I’m convinced that briar flavor never completely leaves.

There’s a discussion starter.

My grandmother Ma Agee recounted in The Index a time when her and Sy Thomas and Saydee were trying to hang pictures on the wall, and they asked Pa to judge if they were straight.

Pa said he didn’t want to take no sides.

So those that don’t speak up, sit a spell and listen to us that do.:)
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
2,202
5,055
Humansville Missouri
1 Pipe can be smoked countless times in a day, with no rest. As long as it is kept clean, the smokes will only get better. Whether it’s briar, cob, or meerschaum.
I beg to differ.


Any pipe, clay, cob, meerschaum, fruit wood or brair, tastes better clean than if gunky. At the taverns in Olde England the clay pipes were occasionally baked in ovens to remove the goo. And there still today are a lot of pipe cleaners sold.

Since briar breathes, it’s slightly porous, continually smoking it forces the goo inside the briar (and any cake) where in time, it sours.

Rest and rotate your pipes.

If it doesn’t make for better smoking it’s a wonderful excuse to accumulate more pipes.:)
 

bassbug

Lifer
Dec 29, 2016
1,089
799
1. Briar breathes

Not as much as meerschaum or a cob, but if briar doesn’t breathe how does an almost thousand degree ember lose enough heat in that small distance to where we can hold the pipe? I remove all varnish from pipes to help the briar breathe.
I'm pretty sure most all of the heat escapes from the open top of the bowl, not through the briar
2. Brands matter

Monday morning in Sparta North Carolina a man will be in charge of about forty employees who turn out about 200,000 pipes a year. There’s a master of the briar selection at Dr. Grabow, and he’s a lot better briar picker than I’ll ever be.
So what you're saying is, the brand stamp is irrelevant.
3. Briar pipes add flavor.

It is common knowledge raw briar burls are cured and dried before carving. And we all have experienced the taste of a new briar pipe before it’s broken in. I’m convinced that briar flavor never completely leaves.
Any material will add flavour. Whether that flavour is pleasing to the smoker is a personal choice
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
2,202
5,055
Humansville Missouri
I'm pretty sure most all of the heat escapes from the open top of the bowl, not through the briar

So what you're saying is, the brand stamp is irrelevant.

Any material will add flavour. Whether that flavour is pleasing to the smoker is a personal choice
As to brand.

Grabow used to pick through millions of briar blocks a year, and still about 200,000.

All makers of briar pipes make essentially the same product.

The ones that prosper get really selective and extremely good at approving briar purchases, and their vendors also are particular about what they sell.

Then after purchase, a few pipe makers such as Lee discover some method to help season the briar more.

A fresh old Lee will smoke sweet from bowl number one.

It’s not an accident, but by design.
 

AJL67

Lifer
May 26, 2022
2,421
13,814
Florida - Space Coast
1 Pipe can be smoked countless times in a day, with no rest. As long as it is kept clean, the smokes will only get better. Whether it’s briar, cob, or meerschaum.
As long as it isn’t chain smoked and given a few minutes to rest it certainly be smoked all day everyday. Pretty sure we are tend to have way way more pipes than smokers past. Most of our fathers and grandfathers that smoked had a couple pipes at most on average.
 

Piping Abe

Starting to Get Obsessed
Oct 27, 2021
117
316
Georgia, USA
I beg to differ.


Any pipe, clay, cob, meerschaum, fruit wood or brair, tastes better clean than if gunky. At the taverns in Olde England the clay pipes were occasionally baked in ovens to remove the goo. And there still today are a lot of pipe cleaners sold.

Since briar breathes, it’s slightly porous, continually smoking it forces the goo inside the briar (and any cake) where in time, it sours.

Rest and rotate your pipes.

If it doesn’t make for better smoking it’s a wonderful excuse to accumulate more pipes.:)

You can keep a pipe clean if you smoke it all day. If you allow the gunk to accumulate, its not being cleaned
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
2,202
5,055
Humansville Missouri
A thousand degrees?

A pipe ember is wider, and burns cooler than a cigarette, but still —-
—-
Those tiny burning embers at the end of a cigarette reach incredibly high temperatures -- 1,300 to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit when resting in the ashtray and 2,000 degrees when puffed. "Paper," says McGuire, "bursts into flames at 451 degrees centigrade (844 degrees Fahrenheit)."



It’s danged near a thousand degrees.:)

We can only hold something 125 degrees for very long.

——

Studies show that a temperature of 52 degrees C (125 degrees F) can cause a full-thickness skin burn in 2 minutes and a temperature of 54 degrees C (130 degrees F) can result in a full-thickness skin burn in 30 seconds.

——

Meerschaum and cobs are obviously porous.

So is briar, just not as much.
 

canucklehead

Lifer
Aug 1, 2018
2,021
9,109
Alberta
A myth is just a story told by a group over time, "myth" does not neccesarily mean false, most important cultural myths have at least some basis in historical fact, albeit exaggerated as years pass (especially in cultures with primarily oral instead of written histories).

To relate it to pipes, there is the myth of the Frank pack, which is indeed a way to pack your pipe. Is it a good way? That's up to you to find out, but historically, there probably was a guy named Frank that packed a pipe.
 

halfdan

Lifer
Oct 2, 2018
3,810
31,585
40
Chesterfield, UK
www.youtube.com
I beg to differ.


Any pipe, clay, cob, meerschaum, fruit wood or brair, tastes better clean than if gunky. At the taverns in Olde England the clay pipes were occasionally baked in ovens to remove the goo. And there still today are a lot of pipe cleaners sold.

Since briar breathes, it’s slightly porous, continually smoking it forces the goo inside the briar (and any cake) where in time, it sours.

Rest and rotate your pipes.

If it doesn’t make for better smoking it’s a wonderful excuse to accumulate more pipes.:)
@Briar Lee I can't clean my clay pipes in the oven as I'd never get rid of the stale baccy smell...
I get Pipe Acquisition Disorder when I see clay pipes for sale either in antique shops / flea markets or online on eBay, Smokingpipes etc. Not buying any more pipes this year...
I've broken 2 clays already since New Year's Day...
 

Deano

Starting to Get Obsessed
Dec 28, 2022
173
1,168
Iowa
As long as it isn’t chain smoked and given a few minutes to rest it certainly be smoked all day everyday. Pretty sure we are tend to have way way more pipes than smokers past. Most of our fathers and grandfathers that smoked had a couple pipes at most on average.
My father burned out several Grabows and would just get another one at the drugstore.