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Pipe Guide

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Smoking Pipe


Choosing a Pipe for Smoking Tobacco


Choosing a pipe is harder than it may sound, especially if it is your first or second ever one. The range of factors that go into finding and buying the right pipe is extensive – and it can be even harder if you’re buying one as a gift.

Fortunately, this guide will be able to clear a few things up to help you get on your way to choosing the right pipe for you or whomever you may be buying for.

A pipe must meet your requirements and preferences for it to fully satisfy you. The different factors that you must consider exist as Aesthetic, Mechanical and Financial. By breaking the factors up into groups, we are able to consider all of the key points to hopefully match you up with the perfect pipe at the end of it all, providing endless enjoyment.


1. Aesthetics


You must like the look and feel of the pipe. All other considerations are fairly meaningless in comparison to this one. Even if you purchase a mechanically perfect pipe, but you don’t enjoy the look and feel of it, then it is completely pointless. There is a perfect pipe out there for everyone, so don’t settle for second best. It doesn’t matter if the pipe is crafted by a big-name carver, or is simply a factory made pipe, if it doesn’t appeal to you, then it’s no good.

Buy pipes you like. Easy. But how do I know what I like? If you are new to pipe smoking, you may not be entirely sure which pipes suit your taste and preferences best. You need to make sure you consider all of the pipes you, seeing and discovering as many types as you can, before you indentify a few you may like to look at purchasing. Look at different pipe styles, because eventually, a pipe will just sell itself to you, so ensure that you’re ready to give it a physical inspection before you purchase the pipe.


2. Mechanical Considerations


The pipe not only has to look and feel good but has to bring you ultimate pleasure from smoking it. It must not have flaws in its designs. You must be able to operate the essential maintenance safely and comfortably. The question for a beginner is how do you find out how well a pipe is made?




First and foremost, you need to know what features signal a pipe you have to avoid. Quality pipes have a precisely aligned and perfectly smooth airway from the draft hole in the bowl to the end of the mouthpiece.

Any disruption in the smoke stream will cause turbulence in the smoking experience that can result in the pipe to smoke loudly and wet. Be aware that some pipes are designed with a moisture trap that many people do like to use.

Large holes and pts in the pipe are also the sign to steer well clear. While these may not interfere with the actual smoking of the pipe, they may not colour and age gracefully as the rest of the briar, which will result you in a dodgy appearance of the pipe.

Metal filters – these inserts in the stems of some low grade pipes will cause condensation, resulting in a noisy, wet smoke, which is an unwanted side effect.


Look Out For:


Besides these things to look out for, you should be on the lookout for the following characteristics of a well-made pipe:

Grain –The more uniform the grain, and the tighter the grain, the higher the price of the pipe, but overall, this has little to no effect on the smoking quality but plays a large part on the way a pipe looks.

Weight – The lighter a pipe is, the better it will generally smoke, and also stay in your mouth without straining you. Often a lighter pipe will mean that it has been cured more thoroughly (moisture removal).

Fit and finish – The pipe should look as if it was made with care. There should not be any obvious sandpaper marks, uneven stain, or bald spots without wax. The inside of the bowl should not be stained. The stem and shank should join well and there should not be any/ many sand pits. Although it is not going to compromise the smoking quality of the pipe, generally the fewer sandpits in the pipe, the better.

Draft hole – This should be as close as possible to the centre of the bowl. It should align with the air hole in the stem as perfectly as possible and should terminate in the bottom of the bowl, not partway up the side.


3. Financial Considerations


Money plays a major role in everything. You must be able to afford the pipe! Pipes are available in a huge fluctuation of prices. Generally, the higher the price of the pipe, the better the quality of it is. This has lead to a rule some people like to use: “buy the absolute best you can afford to spend”. You should however, strive to get the best value out your pipe. A cheap pipe will probably be a bad smoker, while a more expensive pipe will be a better smoker.

Now you know a little more about buying a pipe, take a browse through the UK Tobacco pipe section to see what is available. Maybe you will find the perfect pipe for you right away, with some of the best pipes and best value pipes stocked throughout the website.


So, what is the right pipe for you ?

Here are some of the most popular shapes the serious pipe smokers can choose from.


BillardBillard PipeTraditional pipe, classic shape. By far the best selling shape worldwide
BentBent Pipe
A pipe where the shank and bowl meet at an angle less than 90 degrees
AppleApple PipeUsually has a round shank, can be bent or straight, sometimes look like billiard pipes
Bent AppleBent Apple PipeUsually straight stemmed pipes, but sometimes bent
BulldogBulldog PipeCan be bent or straight normally with a diamond shank and an indented ring around bowl
DublinDublin PipeA very popular traditional pipe which can be bent or straight
BrandyBrandy PipeUsually with a round shank, can be bent or straight
CanadianCanadian PipeAny bowl shape, very long, oval shank with a short stem. Always a straight pipe
Pot and Bent PotPot & Bent PipeA pot bowl, bent or straight, with a variety of shanks. Normally used by the outdoor smoker
Square PanelSquare Panel PipeSquare shank with tapered mouthpiece. A handsome looking pipe
ChimneyChimney PipeA pipe with a very tall bowl, usually a tall cylindrical billiard
ZuluZulu PipeAn oval shank, with the bowl being bent away from the smoker. Favoured by the more arty type of smoker
RhodesianRhodesian PipeBent diamond shank with a tapered stem. An outdoors smoker’s choice
LiverpoolLiverpool PipePot bowl, long round shank, with a short tapered stem. Provides a cool dry smoke
LovatLovat PipeBilliard, apple or pot bowl, long round shank with a short saddle bit stem