In this article I will tell you about main pipe shapes. About straight and bent pipes, classical pipes and freehands, about advantages, disadvantages and features of different shapes.
Bondarev Pipes / Engineering
Smoking pipe engineering
I strongly believe that engineering is the focal point of any smoking pipe. It is engineering which shows the difference between good and bad smoking pipe. Below you will find the main engineering principles I follow when making a pipe. Any work piece that doesn’t satisfy the requirements is rejected and sent to a fireplace.
Although the visual appeal of my smoking pipes depends on particular taste, the quality of performance of their inside is perfect which ensures seamless smoking and easy care.
- The air hole ends up exactly in the bottom of the tobacco chamber. Never higher. Sometimes a bit lower as a groove to 1 mm deep. This should be done in Canadian pipes, for the bottom mustn’t be too thin.
- The tenon almost bumps up against the mortise. I margin shares of a millimeter taking into account heat growth in hot weather. The mortise itself is drilled with a flat-bottom mill instead of a usual drill to avoid cavitations inside the pipe. That kind of mortises don’t have to be cleaned regularly, there isn’t any gurgling or hissing. The air hole is perfectly centered at the bottom of mortise.
- The shank and the mouthpiece have an exact match. One never finds any projection in that joint; the pipe line isn’t broken, since it has been polished as one piece. When the shape of the pipe assumes the mouthpiece symmetry, I work hard to enable the mouthpiece being inserted anyhow without necessity to detect the top and the bottom.
- The air hole tapers smoothly without projections despite the fact that it was made sequentially by drills of different diameter. All projections are sanded carefully, and the air hole is perfectly smooth.
- The mouthpiece bit is relatively thin (about 4 mm), but the walls are not thin, so one should try hard to bite it through.
- The stummel foot is thick enough. To get the thickness the air hole is drilled a little above the channel axis, even in straight shapes, such as in Billiard.
- In case I use a glued-in teflon tenon, I previously drill a corresponding hole in the mouthpiece without making a cavity inside.
- The air hole slot is made in a shape of a deep cone to let smoke expand and hinder from burning the tongue.
It takes me tons of time to take into account all the nuances and make the engineering perfect. That is one of the reasons why my pipes are more expensive than machine-made smoking pipes.
Here it is a similar smoking pipe, but with all imaginable faults. Unfortunately, (but to my great joy) almost every tobacco shop sells pipes of that sort. The threats from those engineering mistakes are the next:
- Whereas the air hole enters the tobacco chamber too high from its bottom, tobacco will never be burnt till the end. And if the tobacco remains stay in the chamber for a long time the pipe can get sour.
- Too deep mortise can cause formation of cavity that would need a special cleaning.
- The channel begins much above mortise bottom and makes it impossible to clean the pipe as a unit. The brush will bump against a projection.
- In industries a mouthpiece is produced apart from a stummel which can cause projections and gaps. However those are considering as an aesthetic defect.
- Because of a dramatic narrowing mouthpiece air hole (projections) there will certainly appear condensed moisture along with filth that is hardly to be cleaned with a brush.
- A thick area before the mouthpiece lip is a key bane of industrial pipes. It’s not comfortable to hold it between teeth.
- A thin stummel foot will get hot in no time.
- Inside the mouthpiece sometimes a large cavity can be found beneath the glued-in teflon tenon. It will accrue dirt which will be impossible to clear out. Over time brush shags will be added up and they will form grogs that will never be washed away even after hours of steeping the pipe in spirit. The grogs will spoil the tobacco smoke by making it sour or bitter.
- The mouthpiece slot made with a round cutter unlike a cone shape, doesn’t allow the smoke to expand smoothly. Thin flow of smoke will burn the tongue.
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I you are just are going to start pipe smoking, read this article first. It will help you not to make mistakes while choosing your first pipe.