Choosing the right pipe for your smoking style is a subtle, complex exercise. Have you ever been in a pipe shop and saw how other people take their time selecting a pipe? You may have wondered what took so long.
The fact is, there are a hundred different factors that go into choosing the best pipe for your own smoking style, and even more if you had been choosing a pipe to give as a gift. So little has been written about pipe selection.
Your Smoking Style
When it comes to choosing a pipe, your smoking style needs to be taken into consideration. The bottom line is that smoking the pipe needs to feel good. It needs to have zero flaws in design and be hard to clean. Knowing what factors to look for in a well-made pipe is important. This way, you can tell the difference between a badly made pipe and one that is made with the highest quality.
No matter what your smoking style is, a badly aligned pipe is a no-go. The reason for this is that you need perfectly smooth, precisely aligned airways from the bowl’s draft hole to the mouthpiece end. Any smoke stream disruption is going to cause air turbulence and result in a wet pipe that smokes loudly. Some pipes are designed purposely with a trap for moisture that some people prefer.
Do you prefer a noiseless dry smoke? If so avoid metal filters. These are inserts that some pipes have which cause condensation. A wet smoke that is noise is the result. If this is something you don’t like in your smoking style, then you will need to avoid pipes that have metal filters.
The Pipe Fill
You might also wonder if the size of the pipe fill affects your pipe smoking. Fills are pits or large holes in the pipe. This is filled with putty. These don’t really interfere with your actual use of the pipe but may not age gracefully or stay the same color as the rest of the wood. The pipe may end up with a mottled appearance. However, keep in mind that the pipe color is not going to affect how smoothly you smoke the pipe.
What to Avoid
Avoid sealed or varnished finishes on your pipe if you want to smoke without bubbling or flakes getting in the way. Pipe makers at every level use a varied array of pipe finishes. While the pipe's finish won’t exactly have an effect on the pipe quality itself, other than affecting its shine, these will bubble eventually or flake off, with some exceptions. Finding varnished pipes that are of extremely high quality are great collectibles, smoke-able, desirable and won’t flake or bubble.
Making a Choice
When it comes to choosing the best pipe for your smoking style, feel the weight and the finish of your pipe. Give it a dry run and pretend that you are actually already smoking it. How does it feel? When a pipe feels perfect, that is the pipe you should choose.
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