Pipe Types and Bowl Sizes and Lengths

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Annaresti Red

Lurker
Jan 20, 2021
43
128
Concord, CA
Hello,

Newbie question.

What are the rules of thumb on types of pipes matching certain tobaccos?

I've heard things like "smoke Virginia in a .75 bowl or less, longer stems if it bites" and other things like that.

Wider bowls for aromatics or English.

Is there anything to this?
 
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Fiddlepiper

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 22, 2020
716
5,441
Scotland
www.danielthorpemusic.com
I don’t think there’s a rule of thumb.

I’ve enjoyed experimenting with different tobacco types in different sized/shaped pipes. There are definitely some combinations I enjoy more but it’s entirely anecdotal and has (for my experience anyway) no basis in measurable factors. I enjoy the experimentation and try not to worry about it.
 

judcole

Lifer
Sep 14, 2011
6,257
18,607
Detroit
Many smokers - and I am one of them - believe that larger bowls let the flavors in latakia or decent aros develop better.
As has been pointed out, though, this is very subjective. There aren't really rules in pipe smoking; there are "best practices" - don't take your pipe apart when it is still warm - or things like this, that many smokers have found to work for them. It's very subjective. The same thing goes for pipe shapes and sizes.
 
Aug 9, 2013
29,331
53,060
Helena, Alabama
Pipesmoking is one of the few hobbies where one person can say, I don't taste any difference at all in pipe sizes as related to tasting the tobacco, and then someone else can say that "there is a difference I can taste it." All I will say is that I taste a difference in bowl sizes, and you'd have to be a Mixture 79 smoking fool or just someone who smokes to get a nic fix to not be able to tell that there IS an obvious difference in the taste of a tobacco smoked in a .5" wide bowl and a 1" wide bowl. Why the hell do cigars come in ring gauges? Why did Camel make a wider cigarette? ...because width of the pipe chamber DOES affect the taste of the smoke. I taste it. Argue with what I can taste with my own taste buds. Come on... I dare you. Ha ha. But, the one guy whom every time someone says that such and such tobacco taste horrible, and a dozen people agree, he pops in to say that he loves it. It's blatantly obvious who has the lack of taste here. Maybe it's because that person smokes cigarettes while smoking his pipes, or has a chaw going at the same time.
In wine tasting, when someone can't taste the differences in wines, he keeps his trap shut, because he doesn't want to look like a fool in front of those who are enjoying tasting the differences. In pipesmoking, it's interesting how many people love being that fool.

Ok ok ok, so pipe size on genres... that is subjective. I do not enjoy an English in a smaller diameter pipe. The narrow thinner smoke pushes the flavor of the latakia back into the background, making the Virginias and Orientals outshine the latakia. So, I only smoke those in .85" or wider bowls. Virginias... it really depends on the Virginia blend. Some, I prefer in narrow .7-.5" range, and if it is more heavily cased or bitey, I prefer them in wider .85" or greater widths, because the volume of smoke cancels out a lot of the negative bityness. MacB's Virginia #1 comes to mind. I wish I had never bought this, but because on a whim I purchased like 10 pounds back when I started, I have more than I really should have, so I can only really smoke it in larger pipes. In more narrow pipes, the thinner wisps of #1 just singe my tongue, but in a wider pipe, it's way more mellow. And, I can actually enjoy it a little.

Aromatics... doesn't really make a difference, unless it is bitey, then I would smoke it in a wider pipe. More burley based aromatics can be smoked in a smaller pipe.

I also notice that if I smoke a heavy hitting burley like Burley Flake #1 or Cotton Boll Twist that if I smoke it slowly in a smaller diameter pipe, it hits me in the head with nicotine much faster than if I enjoy more of the flavor in a wider pipe. I attribute this to volume of smoke, verses how much nicotine my smaller blood vessels in my mouth can absorb. I can taste it more than just absorb it and feel sick. This all seems counterintuitive, but it makes sense if you think about how much can be absorbed, verses how much can be tasted. I just enjoy a big meaty burley taste in a wider bowl, and I am less likely to feel sick as fast as if I had smoked it in a tiny pipe.

But, the differences in taste between pipes is not astronomical. I can see how a cigarette smoker might not be able to taste a difference. But, if you are attuned to your senses, there are differences in flavors. I am smoking Prairie Wind right now. In a more narrow bowl, it tastes lot like just a McClellands Virginia with a slight bitter after taste. But, in a larger .9" bowl it has more sour in every sip with more volume of smoke in each wisp. It's a tad less sweet as well.

Sure sure, feel free to say that you can't taste a difference. But, I do, emphatically, and I can't stress enough how much more enjoyable smoking is when you have a few pipes that range greatly in bowl width. You can play around with things like this and it's affect on tastes.

Does Chasingembers just have all pipes with the same size ranges anyways? I mean, he has posted that he has gotten rid of so many pipes that were too small, and shows off a huge collection of Savinellis all of the same sizes and shape... what would he know about differences between a .5" and a 1" wide bowl anyways. Why would someone like that ALWAYS feel compelled to post that "I never taste a difference," when he obviously doesn't smoke a range of sizes. It would be like me saying, "I don't own sandals, only cowboy boots, and they are just like wearing sandals. I can't tell a difference." puffy
 
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fightnhampster

Part of the Furniture Now
Aug 14, 2019
832
2,180
Piggy backing here, has anyone else noticed a difference in bite or a blend burning hotter in a deeper bowl vs shallow bowl?

I have smoked wide and shallow pipes forever and recently purchased a few narrower bowls that are deeper. Those seem to burn hotter. Am I doing something unconsciously different?
 
Aug 9, 2013
29,331
53,060
Helena, Alabama
Piggy backing here, has anyone else noticed a difference in bite or a blend burning hotter in a deeper bowl vs shallow bowl?

I have smoked wide and shallow pipes forever and recently purchased a few narrower bowls that are deeper. Those seem to burn hotter. Am I doing something unconsciously different?
I pack deeper pipes a lot more loosely, so I can see those biting a little harder, because you will have less resistance to your draw. But, going back to my post just above this, the more narrow bowl produces a thinner smoke stream which can be bitey by itself, add in a more loosely packed bowl, and it's gonna bite. A wider pipe creates a thicker stream of smoke, so that you get more flavor than a focus thin stream from a narrow pipe produces, so more bite.

Think of it like this, a thin stream of a hot steam jet, verse a gentle pouring of an enveloping steam. Going into a steam bath is relaxing, being hit with a hose spraying steam on you is not.

Maybe save the tall narrow one for flakes, because flakes burn a tad cooler. OH I AM TRIGGERING THOSE SAME PEOPLE THAT SAY FLAKE PIPES DON'T EXIST. But, this is why some call tall narrow pipes flake pipes. Because ribbon just burns hotter in them and bites more.

OK OK OK, before someone says that I am hating on these opposers of pipe diameters. If these guys didn't exist, then it would be boring here. Besides, without these holes of darkness, the light would not shine as bright. I have no idea what this means, but it sounds good, and makes me sound more like a Jedi than one of those Darth Vader followers. puffy
 

OneGoodBulldog

Can't Leave
Nov 2, 2020
317
916
Well, I'll tell you what I have one pipe with a Dublin chamber (and it's not even on my Dublin shaped pipe!) and it is by and far the superior tool for flake, folded or rubbed. Part of the reason for this is the way the chamber narrows drastically towards the bottom. This forces the smoke to condense and makes the flavor stronger. Tres Bein! Very good. The other reason why this chamber style is great for flake is the dimensions are perfectly sized for one standard size flake, with a little extra leftover to crumble on the top. All my other pipes, save for one, require at least a flake and a half to fill, and well... I'm Canadian and it's like a million dollars for one flake up here so, that's like ten baby seal furs or two polar bear skins. Expensive stuff! Not to mention having to de-ice the mailbox every morning to check for your smokingpipes.com order like a bad episode of one of those Alaskan crab fishing shows! I'll tell ya, it's hard out there for a Canuck...

I can't comment on other bowl types/shapes for other cuts. Ever since I got me a tin of Mac Baren Modern Flake (store aged since 2015), all other non-pressed non-spun cuts just seem so boring. I tell people, or I would if I engaged in conversation, that ribbon cut is the pumpkin spice latte of the tobacco world.
 
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kcghost

Lifer
May 6, 2011
7,853
11,573
75
Olathe, Kansas
There's a lot of subjectivity when it come to bowl size, chamber width and depth, etc., and it's all subjective. You generally have to try a tobacco in a bowl "meant" for it but of that doesn't work try something else.
 
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Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
34,837
67,080
Pipesmoking is one of the few hobbies where one person can say, I don't taste any difference at all in pipe sizes as related to tasting the tobacco, and then someone else can say that "there is a difference I can taste it." All I will say is that I taste a difference in bowl sizes, and you'd have to be a Mixture 79 smoking fool or just someone who smokes to get a nic fix to not be able to tell that there IS an obvious difference in the taste of a tobacco smoked in a .5" wide bowl and a 1" wide bowl. Why the hell do cigars come in ring gauges? Why did Camel make a wider cigarette? ...because width of the pipe chamber DOES affect the taste of the smoke. I taste it. Argue with what I can taste with my own taste buds. Come on... I dare you. Ha ha. But, the one guy whom every time someone says that such and such tobacco taste horrible, and a dozen people agree, he pops in to say that he loves it. It's blatantly obvious who has the lack of taste here. Maybe it's because that person smokes cigarettes while smoking his pipes, or has a chaw going at the same time.
In wine tasting, when someone can't taste the differences in wines, he keeps his trap shut, because he doesn't want to look like a fool in front of those who are enjoying tasting the differences. In pipesmoking, it's interesting how many people love being that fool.

Ok ok ok, so pipe size on genres... that is subjective. I do not enjoy an English in a smaller diameter pipe. The narrow thinner smoke pushes the flavor of the latakia back into the background, making the Virginias and Orientals outshine the latakia. So, I only smoke those in .85" or wider bowls. Virginias... it really depends on the Virginia blend. Some, I prefer in narrow .7-.5" range, and if it is more heavily cased or bitey, I prefer them in wider .85" or greater widths, because the volume of smoke cancels out a lot of the negative bityness. MacB's Virginia #1 comes to mind. I wish I had never bought this, but because on a whim I purchased like 10 pounds back when I started, I have more than I really should have, so I can only really smoke it in larger pipes. In more narrow pipes, the thinner wisps of #1 just singe my tongue, but in a wider pipe, it's way more mellow. And, I can actually enjoy it a little.

Aromatics... doesn't really make a difference, unless it is bitey, then I would smoke it in a wider pipe. More burley based aromatics can be smoked in a smaller pipe.

I also notice that if I smoke a heavy hitting burley like Burley Flake #1 or Cotton Boll Twist that if I smoke it slowly in a smaller diameter pipe, it hits me in the head with nicotine much faster than if I enjoy more of the flavor in a wider pipe. I attribute this to volume of smoke, verses how much nicotine my smaller blood vessels in my mouth can absorb. I can taste it more than just absorb it and feel sick. This all seems counterintuitive, but it makes sense if you think about how much can be absorbed, verses how much can be tasted. I just enjoy a big meaty burley taste in a wider bowl, and I am less likely to feel sick as fast as if I had smoked it in a tiny pipe.

But, the differences in taste between pipes is not astronomical. I can see how a cigarette smoker might not be able to taste a difference. But, if you are attuned to your senses, there are differences in flavors. I am smoking Prairie Wind right now. In a more narrow bowl, it tastes lot like just a McClellands Virginia with a slight bitter after taste. But, in a larger .9" bowl it has more sour in every sip with more volume of smoke in each wisp. It's a tad less sweet as well.

Sure sure, feel free to say that you can't taste a difference. But, I do, emphatically, and I can't stress enough how much more enjoyable smoking is when you have a few pipes that range greatly in bowl width. You can play around with things like this and it's affect on tastes.

Does Chasingembers just have all pipes with the same size ranges anyways? I mean, he has posted that he has gotten rid of so many pipes that were too small, and shows off a huge collection of Savinellis all of the same sizes and shape... what would he know about differences between a .5" and a 1" wide bowl anyways. Why would someone like that ALWAYS feel compelled to post that "I never taste a difference," when he obviously doesn't smoke a range of sizes. It would be like me saying, "I don't own sandals, only cowboy boots, and they are just like wearing sandals. I can't tell a difference." puffy
I see you're singling me out again with no provocation without the balls of tagging me in your post. If you were paying attention I no longer own any Savinellis save the one my dad smoked. I chased different sized chambers for years, found no difference in taste or performance, and settled on chamber sizes for length of smoke. I also never said others didn't taste a difference just that some do others don't nor did I say that you specifically didn't yet you post paragraphs condescending me about my preferences and smoking habits.
 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
21,867
20,292
Carmel Valley, CA
Piggy backing here, has anyone else noticed a difference in bite or a blend burning hotter in a deeper bowl vs shallow bowl?

I have smoked wide and shallow pipes forever and recently purchased a few narrower bowls that are deeper. Those seem to burn hotter. Am I doing something unconsciously different?
What might be at play is the bottom of the chamber keeps getting bathed in moisture from the tobacco burning above it, and the deeper the bowl, the more that will happen. Drying a touch more may alleviate it
 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
21,867
20,292
Carmel Valley, CA
I see you're singling me out again with no provocation without the balls of tagging me in your post. << Snipped bits out >>

I think it's because you repeat things with such certainty that newbies might take those pronouncements as THE truth.

In any event, tagging is rarely done, and I hope it doesn't become a thing with many. Not a question of manhood at all.
 
Aug 9, 2013
29,331
53,060
Helena, Alabama
I see you're singling me out again with no provocation without the balls of tagging me in your post. If you were paying attention I no longer own any Savinellis save the one my dad smoked. I chased different sized chambers for years, found no difference in taste or performance, and settled on chamber sizes for length of smoke. I also never said others didn't taste a difference just that some do others don't nor did I say that you specifically didn't yet you post paragraphs condescending me about my preferences and smoking habits.
Come on man, your posts are predictable. Any mention of pipe sizes and you post the same. So do I. Have fun with it and lighten up pretty boy, ha ha. My post after that mentions that I appreciate you for always having the opposing opinion.
It's a forum. We've been friends on here for years now. Lighten up!!
 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
38,067
47,364
It's not very helpful, but I'd go strictly by the individual pipe. I'd try various cuts and blends in any pipe. The common wisdom won't work half the time. See what works by trial and error, and go with that. The different depths, shapes, diameters, materials, and your smoking technique are just a few of the variables, so direct experience is the best guide.