Pipe Myths

Log in

SmokingPipes.com Updates

New Accessories
6 Fresh Ashton Pipes
60 Fresh Nording Pipes
12 Fresh Johs Pipes
2 Fresh Becker Pipes

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

UB 40

Can't Leave
Jul 7, 2022
Cologne/ Germany
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.:)

What a nice thread, as already mentioned. Lee and I had the discussion about “breathing briar”. Here are some facts about briar:

And of course briar doesn’t breath simply because it’s wood of high density. In a metaphorical way it’s a nice idea almost like pipes were living Creatures.

Brands matter to whom? Adidas or Puma?

And no after establishing a charcoal layer with n a bowl there is no chance to taste the briar any more or the cob, or pear, plum, olive etc.

But what about 1000 degrees Fahrenheit of ember in a bowl? Yes, said the pipedia fact sheet. They measured temperatures in a bowl with an electronic thermometer up to 615 degrees Celsius, that is 1139 Fahrenheit. The question is how big is the glowing ember, where is it situated and for how long. If a pipe would moreover breathe than isolate we couldn’t smoke a pipe at all.

But somehow it’s nice to mystify pipe smoking. For some it’s almost religious, more a kind of philosophical attitude to the world than a nicotine delivery system.


Staff member
Jul 28, 2013
Burlington WI
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 haven't seen my threads than have you?

She smoked just as good from day one as it did after a constant 365 days.

Threads like yours, are one of the reasons I start threads like mine.


Briar Lee

Sep 4, 2021
Humansville Missouri
“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.” - @BriarLee

It’s the…. WELLMAN PROCESS applied to BRIAR! ☝️😁

Once upon a time, long ago and in the Ozarks, there were two competing dairies, Highland and Foremost.

Understand, the United States of America had set up this economic contest, by establishing a school lunch program for demand, hiring inspectors to make sure the milk made the proper grade, making loans to approved and experienced dairy farmers to build Grade A milk barns, and then providing price supports to the dairymen to make certain market swings wouldn’t bust them.

To this day, the United States of America puts a cold half pint of milk beside the lunch plate of children in a hundred thousand schools every school day, thanks to a farm boy from Lamar named Harry S Truman.

To get the milk Highland and Foremost had to convince the milk haulers and dairymen which dairy to deliver.

I can testify the Foremost dairy had the best sales pitch.

They’d come to the school board meetings with half pint cartons of Highland and Foremost, have the cooks pour them in unmarked glasses, and then the board members and their children would sample the milk.

Foremost won every time.

My father claimed to have the answer why.

Foremost had a man who tasted all the milk, and only the best of the best went to the school lunch carton line.

When people ask me what my father did, I say he produced milk for children’s school lunches, for Foremost.

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
Briar breathes
That one's been debunked over and over.

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.
That's exactly how I smoke but it's often for multiple days or a couple of weeks. i wouldn't say it gets better, but it doesn't change or degrade.