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Tobacco Smoking Pipes

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Tobacco smoking is an enjoyable experience when using the right set of pipes and, in contrast, is a very frustrating experience using the wrong mix or blend of tools.

There are different materials used in the production of tobacco pipes. These materials are further shaped and formed into different designs having beautiful shapes, each design having its unique qualities and characteristics that contribute to the satisfaction and the fun experienced when smoking tobacco.

Some designs, too, are aimed at convenience and portability.

Are you a tobacco newbie, or do you just seek information about the different materials and parts of tobacco? This article acts as an introduction to tobacco pipes that gives short but precise information on the different tobacco pipe shapes, the unique quality possessed by each of these tobacco pipes shapes, a brief history of the different materials used for making pipes, the unique qualities that have kept these materials in use, and the materials which are no longer in use.

This article also looks at the innovative ideas in the form of pipe stem and bits put into the production process of producing different designs to maximize the joy and satisfaction accompanying the tobacco smoking experience.

Another niche which this article explains is the pipe Filters, what it is, its uses, and how tobacco smoking enthusiasts have viewed the introduction of the pipe Filters.

Different Tobacco Pipe Shapes

Tobacco pipes have been produced in different shapes and sizes over the years, and the most renowned include;

1. Apple Pipes

They are characterized by their round designs of pipe bowls and their length. The shank equals the bowl’s height. It consists of a group of a large group of variants, each with unique features, and they are:

    • Author pipes: This features a slightly bent stem and is a faster alternative to the Apple Pipes.
    • Ball/Tomato pipes: It is slightly larger than the apple and has a bent saddle stem.
    • Diplomat Pipes: Has a slightly bent oval stem and is an alternative prince-style pipe.
    • Others include: Egg pipes, Hawk Bill Pipes, Prince Pipes(Named after Prince Edward Vii), and Squat Tomato

2. Billiard Pipes

It consists of a smooth design where the cylindrical bowl seamlessly transitions to the shank. Most of its designs have straight shanks, and there are other variants with bent shanks. The variants are:

    • Brandy pipes: Has a slightly bent tapered stem and a bowl-shaped like a cognac glass.
    • Hungarian/Oon Paul Pipes: Has a fully bent stem and a tall bowl.

Other Ballard pipes with straight stems are:

  • Chimney/Smokestack/Stack pipes: Has a taller bowl.
  • Nose warmer/Stubby Pipes: consists of a shorter stem and shank.
  • Oval/Pocket Pipes: Essentially, a flattened billiard pipe making it more portable.
  • Panel Pipes
  • Pot Pipes.

3. Calabash Pipes

calabash pipeThese pipes possess large conical bowls that dome at the top with flair, and both the shank and stem have distinctive curves.

It became iconic because of its association with Sherlock Holmes and derived its name because it was initially made from a dried calabash gourd.

Now, various designs are made from Briarwood and Meerschaum.

Although both briarwood and Meerschaum Calabash Pipes are carved by hand, the original version used the guard’s original shape.

It also has a small removable bowl cap in contrast to the large bowl sizes. It is said to produce the driest and smoothest smoking experience possible.

4. Canadian Pipes

These pipes possess very long shanks, and their bowls have a billiard-like appearance. It consists of only four varieties, and their difference is highlighted by the shape of the shank. These pipes can be classified into two, namely: oval shank pipes or round shank pipes. The varieties are:

    • Canadian Pipes: This has a long, oval shank and a tapered stem.
    • Liverpool Pipes: This has a long, round shank and a tapered stem.
    • Lovat Pipes: Are characterized by a long, round shank and a saddle stem.
    • Lumberman Pipes: This has a long, oval shank and a saddle stem.

5. Dublin Pipes

These pipes have similar shapes to the billiard pipes’ bowls, but theirs have tapered interiors. All its variants share similar qualities but each possessing unique features. These pipes can either be straight or bent, have tapered or saddled bit, or round, oval, or rectangular shanks. The varieties are:

    • Acorn/Pear Pipes: Has a curved shape with soft edges for comfort in the pocket
    • Catty Pipes: Made from clay and has a forward-leaning bowl and a slightly curved design.
    • Devil-Anse Pipes: A short and round hybrid of Dublin and Apple pipes having a slight bow design.
    • Skate Pipes and Zulu/Woodstock pipes.

6. Freehand Pipes

These are made by an artisan that wishes to follow the contour or grain of the briarwood being carved, and they rarely have a distinctive design but share the same principle. It consists of varieties that are ornate and elaborate pieces of artwork. They are:

    • Flour Pipes: Has an unfinished bowl rim giving it a rustic appearance resembling a flower.
    • Blowfish pipes: This asymmetric ball design accentuates the Wood’s Birdseye grain, making it look like rings.

Other designs are:

  • Elephant’s foot pipes
  • Horn/Oliphant Pipes
  • Nautilus Pipes
  • Pix Axe Pipes
  • Ramses Pipes.
  • Tomahawk and Volcano Pipes.

7. Sitter Pipes

They are much like the Oon Paul Billiard Pipes, but their bowls possess flat bottoms that allow them to be placed on any surface between puffs or when they are not smoked. It consists of different varieties, but some of the common varieties are made from corncob, and they are:

    • Poker Pipes: The pipes are designed to have a cylindrical bowl with a flat base.
    • Cherry wood Pipes: Not necessarily made from cherry wood, it is the best version of the poker Pipes.
    • Tankard Pipes: Other than a cylindrical bowl, it has a wider base.
    • Duke/Don Pipes: Have vulcanite or bone shank

Other pipe shapes include the curiosity pipe and the bullock pipe.

Different Pipe Materials

1. Briar Pipes:

It is the most popular material used in pipe production, and it is sourced from the burl of the Mediterranean hither. Its popularity is centered around its high fire resistance, moisture absorbent properties, and the presence of a pleasant aroma when used for smoking tobacco.

Being that it is a Mediterranean plant, some of the world’s most famous pipe makers are found in countries like France, Spain, Algeria, and Italy. Briar roots are ideal for making pipes, and it is rarely machine made.

It consists of various finishes, which Brushed, Carved, Rustic, Sandblast, and Smooth Finishes.

2. Non-Briar pipes:

pipe of tabaccoThese pipes are very uncommon pipes that came into existence when briarwood was very scarce.

These pipes stopped being produced because the materials used were not hard enough to resist the tobacco burn, and they allow the tobacco to burn through the wood.

Some of the other alternative woods used in place of briarwood back in the days were beach wood, cherry wood, mahogany, maple wood, oak wood, ebony, olive, and rosewood.

All these woods mentions each has their unique appearance and character but suffers from the same fragile nature, making them burn too easily.

3. Corncob Pipes:

Corncob is one of the most affordable materials used for making pipes, and it is highly associated with the USA. It is produced by hollowing dried corncobs and is known for providing a clear and cool smoking experience.

These pipes exist in three finishes, namely: natural, varnished, and stained finishes. It is highly recommended for beginners because it is very easy to use and inexpensive to acquire.

4. Porcelain Pipes:

These pipes were inspired by Chinese models made from ceramic or opium. These European models experienced a short period of popularity in the 18th century and were often produced in Germany, France, and Austria.

During the 19th Century, they were made solely for the military and featured imperial emblems and coat of arms. These pipes had their bowls made from porcelain and their stem from horn, bone, or wood.

Due to the non-porous nature of porcelain, it never experienced much popularity outside of Central Europe.

5. Synthetic Pipes:

In search of contemporary materials for making tobacco pipes, the 20th century witnessed a lot of experimentation that resulted in the introduction of materials like plastic, Bakelite, and resin to make tobacco pipes.

Materials like pyrolytic graphite were used to line plastic bowls in 1963 but fell out of production by the mid-1970s. Meanwhile, high-temperature materials like resin and Bryson would be introduced in 1966 and are still used today.

Although synthetic tobacco pipes are quite cheap, they are also very resistant to burning out. While they do have a niche following, they are often ignored for traditional materials.

Pipe Stem And Bits

types of pipesPipe Stem: There are generally two stem configurations, though they vary in length and curvature. They are:

  1. Tapered stem Pipes
  2. Saddled Stem Pipes

Differences between the two pipe stem

Tapered Stem pipes are more popular and, as the name suggests, start flush with the shank and slowly narrows towards the bit.

While saddled Stem pipes narrow down shortly after the tenon into a thin oval strip.

What Are These Pipe Stems Made From?

They are generally made from acrylic and other synthetics like Bakelite, Plastic, or Ebonite. However, other materials used in making stems are horn, ivory, bone, and vulcanite.

Stem Bits

There are different varieties of stem bit. Though the majority are standard, you seldom find varieties with niche designs as the bits below.

  • Wider Bits: These bits are wider than the usual standard
  • Fishtail bits: For a greater surface area, the stem widens at the bits.
  • Double bore: Has a second bore in the bit’s interior to resist crushing by the teeth.
  • Denture Bits: Has a curved circular top
  • P-Lip Bit: Has a circular nuzzle-like tip
  • Double Bit: The stem has a second thinner section before reaching the bit.

Pipe Filters

These are thick cotton or grains of carbon wrapped in paper designed to absorb excess tar or nicotine, and it comes in different sizes for different pipe sizes. The use of a filter is dependent on one’s preference. Although, some enthusiasts believe that filters reduce tongue bites, others are convinced that it reduces the tobacco flavor.

Bottom Line

Are you worried about how to identify the different shapes of tobacco pipes? Or the different materials used in making tobacco pipes, and how the materials which make up these tobacco pipes influence the performance, flavor, and smoking experience of a tobacco pipe.

Then, this article will aid your choice of tobacco cigarettes. The different shapes of tobacco pipes and their unique features spice up your experience.

And knowledge of the different materials used in making tobacco pipes, and additional information on the different pipe stems and bits, how they differ and function respectively will help you know how to smoke nicely.

Dan Stevenson

Dan Stevenson

I have been smoking cigars for 30 years and counting, I started at 18 years old with mild Cubans and worked my way up to medium and now bold. I own 4 humidors, that I try to keep stocked at all times.

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