Why Are Freehand Stems Partially Inserted?

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cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
15,548
15,151
United States
The only freehand I have ever owned was this Former. The stem looks like the rest of you guys freehands. The grain on this thing was insane, wish I had a better pic. I sold this thing a long time ago as it was big and heavy.



 

irishearl

Preferred Member
Aug 2, 2016
1,320
1,045
As to the OP, now that you mention it, every freehand I've owned had stems where the tenon seemed to barely go into the shank. Have a couple consequently where the stem as a result falls out easily. Good thing I don't clench.

 

anthonyrosenthal74

Preferred Member
Jan 8, 2013
7,490
689
That volcano actually appears on Prebens pipedia page. I have a famous pipe! :mrgreen: Damnit, now I probably can't smoke it. 8O
No you just can't smoke it next Christmas. You have to wait for the next Christmas after :nana:

 

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chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
22,602
19,172
Don't know if I can bring myself to do it. My unsmoked Weaver may have a friend. Still have the Nording duck my wife got me though!

 

zack24

Preferred Member
May 11, 2013
1,726
0
That was back in the good old days when pipe makers could buy a premade acrylic stem for $3 instead of spending hours making a stem from rod stock....I've never liked the tenon sticking out of the mortise look...and I actually like making stems....:)

 

skaukatt

Senior Member
May 9, 2009
382
5
I always found the design unappealing even though many stummels are really beautiful.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
31,258
15,743
I've seen this on non-freehand shape pipes, and own one or two, but it tends to look like the least labor-intensive (cheapest) way to do this. It's not terrible, and if the price is right, and you like the pipe otherwise, it's acceptable. But it is the drill and push, and don't look back, way of installing a stem. Okay but minimal. Usually the shank is drilled, and the stem is cut, so they look like they fit ... though some aren't. It's a design point that I notice and that requires a decision, yeah or nay.

 

sasquatch

Preferred Member
Jul 16, 2012
1,117
469
Really this is just a thing where you have a pipe shaped in 15 minutes, and a stem grabbed from the pile and jammed in, it's that simple. This was a way to save time and money, which is what factory pipe making is all about, usually.

 

tschiraldi

Preferred Member
Dec 14, 2015
1,148
9
I don't know if it was just mine, but I had a Preben that I fully inserted the stem on. The shank eventually cracked. It's the only pipe I ever had that happen to. My near worthless advice, proceed with caution.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
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sas', it's true that factory pipes are done on an assembly lines, and any handcrafting is secondary to production. However, the push-bit pipes that fit only the drilled hole in the shank are quite different from most factory made pipes where the stem and shank are precisely matched, whether by cutting the stem to the shank, or trimming the shank to the stem. Most factory pipes are produced carefully with considerable precision, and if the line carvers are good and have experienced supervision, and there is quality control, you end up with beautiful pipes in most cases. So you can't put these plug-in stems off on factory pipes. I've seen artisan pipes with the same approach, some photographs of them on this thread. The original post here asks about the most basic matching of briar and stem, and this occurs with both artisan and factory pipes, but not on most pipes in general, where care is taken to match up the flow and design of shank and stem. White Spot and Dr. Grabow both do this, both often incredibly well.

 

sasquatch

Preferred Member
Jul 16, 2012
1,117
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Sure. Just, that isn't happening with the pipes in question in this thread. I'm not disparaging factory pipes, I'm telling the truth about these Danish quickies. They take 15 minutes to make.

 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
22,602
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The original post here asks about the most basic matching of briar and stem
Mostly I was asking about why they are only partially inserted when some of the time they can be pushed all the way in.

 

sasquatch

Preferred Member
Jul 16, 2012
1,117
469
And the direct answer to that question is that these type of stems have a little bit of taper on them, the "lock" like a military mount. So you can drill out a pile of stummels with whatever drill size is fitting, and if you are .001" out on tolerance, it doesn't matter - the stems will insert and lock up whereever they choose to lock up. It's a can't-miss proposition (and it explains why if you jam and ram these stems in, you can crack the shank). And leaving some space on the stem makes sense on these plateau type shank ends - they aren't flat, there's nothing for a stem to sit against.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
31,258
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It's true, some of the least "lovable" pipes I've come across at antique stores and flea markets are freehands knocked out during the craze in the 1970's and 80's following the crest of the original and often striking Danish versions in the 1960's and onward. Most of them, it's not just the stem. That's the least of it. The briar is barely worked at all, just enough that it isn't a block of wood.

 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
22,602
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So now currently in my possesion, the stem on this one has a definite stopping point. Unlike my others, it cannot go any further. Must be a pipe to pipe thing.


 

shikano53

Preferred Member
May 26, 2015
1,625
1,988
My thought is that it is more of an aesthetic design statement by the artisan rather than a haphazard misfit.

Personally, I like the look but I am also like freehand pipes.
http://mkelaw-pipes.com/html/pipee4250.html
http://mkelaw-pipes.com/html/pipee3520.html
http://mkelaw-pipes.com/html/pipee4141.html
https://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/new/tokutomi/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=303488
I realize Peterson makes quote 'factory' pipes but I have a number of Peterson's and they are great smokers. The vast majority of Peterson pipes have the stem flush with the shank, others I think are purpose built stem standoff.

Just my ought two cents.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
31,258
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Embers, that is an impressively original freehand. It strengthens my sense that the Danes and other freehand makers embraced this off-handed style of stems as a sort of flourish and rebellion against all the trimming and fitting of stems on most pipes. In this case, it looks especially cocky and in-your-face in a good way. The shaping on the briar dismisses any notion that this isn't a finely crafted pipe. I get the idea. Then the cheap, careless versions came along and made it look haphazard and shoddy. It's like all the high school kids who picked up e.e. cummings lack of capitalization and punctuation, but without his mastery, and just wrote poorly.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
31,258
15,743
I thought the military bit was a metal to metal joint between shank and stem designed to make breaking down a pipe under fire less likely to crack the briar. The legend went that the original joints were made out of shell casings, in the long slow times between combat actions.

 
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