What's a Pipe That "Smokes Good"?

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perryny

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Sep 21, 2019
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I often see posts from users showing off a new pipe saying, "Can't wait to see how it smokes!", or other users asking, "How's it smoke?"

Assuming the pipe isn't defective (or if it's an estate pipe, assuming it's properly cleaned and restored), what is it that makes a pipe smoke good - or, what would make a pipe not good?
 
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perryny

New member
Sep 21, 2019
8
8
So, basically we're referring to draw? If the airway is too big or too tight, then it's not a good smoker?

Is this something that commonly happens with new pipes? It just seems odd to me to see someone showing off their new Savinelli saying, "I can't wait to see how it smokes!" I just don't understand what they might be expecting.
 
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nunnster

Member
Apr 17, 2019
141
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It's more in depth than that. If you wanna get deep into the subject. Its everything about the pipe that can determine its smoking "goodness". Its everything form its bowl size and shape, stem legneth, grain, and drilling and fit and finish and how that matches you and how you smoke. Some pipes smoke good, some smoke great and others are phenomenal. It more than likely has to do thermodamics and the burning temp of tobacco, but that can very widely from person to person, and tobacco to tobacco because no one is gonna smoke the same, and no tobacco is gonna burn exactly the same. It's an art being able to choose the pipe and style to blends. Case and point. I have two pipes made in the same year, same manufacturer, same style. Everything about the pipes are almost identical. Except that one has a lesser grain than the other. They are both good smokers, but the one that has tighter grain and fewer flaws tends to smoke cooler than its sister and therefore more flavorful and a better smoke. One I use for Va only, and the other is an English smoker... There is alot that goes into what I believe makes a "good smoker" good.
 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
31,094
50,260
Luke
It's more in depth than that. If you wanna get deep into the subject. Its everything about the pipe that can determine its smoking "goodness". Its everything form its bowl size and shape, stem legneth, grain, and drilling and fit and finish and how that matches you and how you smoke.

Like I mentioned above, those would be the psychological and aesthetic qualities of the pipe.
 

perryny

New member
Sep 21, 2019
8
8
Everything about the pipes are almost identical. Except that one has a lesser grain than the other. They are both good smokers, but the one that has tighter grain and fewer flaws tends to smoke cooler than its sister and therefore more flavorful and a better smoke.

This doesn't sound like strictly aesthetics.

I can't speak to the possible psychological attributes, but I believe nunnster believes there's a difference, and I won't argue that.
 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
36,083
37,151
Any characteristic of a pipe might add or detract from it being a good smoking pipe depending on the preferences of the pipe owner. The length, the weight, the width and depth of the chamber and its shape, the texture and finish, the materials, the stem and button shape and material, the insulating properties of the bowl, the overall balance of the pipe, durability, ease of cleaning, filtering or lack of, and so on. When many of these characteristics and others are pleasing, a pipe gains in smoking pleasure and finesse.
 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
19,684
14,750
Carmel Valley, CA
So, basically we're referring to draw? If the airway is too big or too tight, then it's not a good smoker?

Is this something that commonly happens with new pipes? It just seems odd to me to see someone showing off their new Savinelli saying, "I can't wait to see how it smokes!" I just don't understand what they might be expecting.

Some of it's polite chatter, like asking "how are you"- and be shocked if someone gives a full rundown of his health problems.

In addition to the aerodynamics, the quality of the briar has a definite role. How it was chosen, cut, cured and dried after shaping.

All my pipes belong to us, and all of them smoke well, with one exception or two out of about 100.
 

haparnold

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
1,562
2,357
Colorado Springs, CO
For me, a good smoker is a pipe which will take anything I throw at it. For no reasons I can isolate, some pipes seem to like certain cuts of tobacco, certain moisture, certain blends, etc. The variables are endless.

But my best-smoking pipes are ones which deliver a pleasant smoke no matter the blend or cut, or whether Mercury is in retrograde, or whatever. They just don't put up a fight and seem to be agnostic to the variables.
 

perryny

New member
Sep 21, 2019
8
8
This is really interesting and I appreciate all the replies.

I'd have thought that almost everything about the actual smoking experience came down to the tobacco (blend, moisture content, cut, etc.) and the smoking technique - but the pipe itself, assuming it's not defective in any way, had very little to do with anything other than aesthetics.

Hopefully as I gain more experience myself, I'll be able to detect differences between the vessels as well as the tobaccos I put in them.

Right now, I've got a nice mix of cobs and briars, and everything smokes wonderfully! Have yet to meet a pipe or tobacco I didn't like! (Well, that Sam Gawith XX rope may have been a bit much, but we'll try again in a couple months).

Thanks again for all the responses.
 

cshubhra

Preferred Member
I try to adjust my smoking cadence with the pipe - so I enjoy almost all my pipes. I retired only one - it has a stinger

Having said that ... I believe a pipe is a perfect smoker to me when the pipe has an open draw - just put it in your mouth, and the smoke just gets into your mouth, no effort required
Example - My Savinelli Silver 606 EX became fantastic smoker after I ditched the balsa filter and other adapters to have an unrestricted draw
 

nunnster

Member
Apr 17, 2019
141
57
Luke


Like I mentioned above, those would be the psychological and aesthetic qualities of the pipe.

I understand that arsthics will play a large role in ones enjoyment of a pipe, I wont try to aruge that it doesnt. But I brought up this example specifically to counter that point, because I actually perfer the way the lessor grain with flaws looks over the more perfect pipe, as I am one who finds beauty in flaws and the pipe looks more unique because of it. But I still think that the one with the tighter grain smokes better. The tighter grain pipe distributes heat more evenly and stays cooler while smoking, which arent subjective qualities, it can be measured. If I thought it was it was purely based on what I found pleasing it should be the other way around.
 
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