Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How to smoke a pipe: Part VI Pick your pipe

Written by: Pipe Tobacco Place

Because briar is a natural resource, influenced by factors such as climate and soil, the quality of its grain varies greatly. The mark of a great pipe maker is to follow the natural grain of the briar to shape his creation.

A few pipes will have perfect, uniform grain patterns and fetch big prices. Some of the pipes made by the late Bo Nordh command prices of more than $10,000 each!

Most briar pipes have tiny, natural surface flaws, called sandpits, which are undetectable until the pipe maker carves into the ebauchon. These surface blemishes affect the pipe's appearance but they do not have any effect on the pipe's smoking qualities. These pipes can be sold for less than $100 if they feature a smooth finish, or the pipe maker may choose to sandblast or rusticate the surface to create a rough texture.

Pipes are available in an almost limitless variety of shapes. There are more than 100 standard shapes and there are also freehand shapes when the pipe maker allows the briar's grain dictate the shape of the pipe.

When choosing a pipe, take some time to consider it as you would when purchasing an accessory like a watch. Think about how you will look with it in your mouth. Pick it up, handle it, and compare it to others.
Take your time! Remember, if treated properly, your pipe will become a lifelong companion helping you enjoy hours of relaxation.