I never thought I'd make a video series like this until very recently. I simply didn't think I'd have enough to share. But when I finally decided to attempt to script out a video that covered the basics of pipe smoking, I found that one video would be too long. So the idea grew to 2 videos, then 3, then 10. Hmmm....I guess I did have a few things to share!
After careful consideration of what pieces of the pipe smoking puzzle to include without overwhelming the viewer, I'm proud to present The Pipe Nook's "How to Smoke a Pipe" video series on YouTube! I'll be releasing a video each day until the end, and I'm already a couple of days into it. If you click the image above, it will take you to the Playlist for the series, which is scheduled to wrap up on Feb 18th. But not to worry--we're getting into the meat of the pipe smoking process within a few days. There are, of course, some preliminary subjects to cover first.
So, what topics will be covered? Here's the syllabus:
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Choosing Your First Pipe
Part 3: Choosing Your First Tobacco
Part 4: Pipe Smoking Tools
Part 5: Preparing Your Tobacco
Part 6: How to Pack Your Pipe
Part 7: The Charring Light
Part 8: Tamping
Part 9: The True Light
Part 10: Cadence and Temperature Control
Part 11: Relights
Part 12: Fixing a Tight Draw
Part 13: Fixing Pipe Gurgle
Part 14: In the Chuff
Part 15: When Do I Stop?
Part 16: Emptying and Cleaning Your Pipe
Part 17: Breaking in Your Pipes
Part 18: Types of Tobacco Blends
Part 19: Flake Preparation
Part 20: Types of Tobacco Cuts
Part 21: Resting Your Pipes
Part 22: Deep Cleaning Your Pipes
Part 23: Anatomy of a Pipe
Part 24: Tobacco Storage
Part 25: Conclusion
I've planned this series to give you just what you need to get started smoking, then return to some less essential, but certainly important concepts and aspects of pipe smoking. I'm of course no expert at all of these subjects, but I have at least cursory knowledge enough to speak to all of them, and I do feel they are all important. There is of course more to learn that what is covered here, should you decide pipe smoking is something you wish to pursue, but I wanted to keep this series down to a manageable size.
There is a companion piece to this series: A 1-page handout that I wrote in blog form some time back. You can find the link to that in the description box of any of the videos, as well as by searching through the "Pipe Smoking Tips" section of my Blog page. I sincerely hope this "How To" video series helps many to be less frustrated as they learn the pipe smoking process, and to find as much enjoyment in pipe smoking as I do!
Keep 'em lit,
I haven't been this excited about a new production pipe shape in...well...ever! Introducing the new Savinelli 321--a smaller, lighter, and easier to clench version of the venerable 320 Author! As soon as I found out about this shape, I ordered at least one of every line available. These are currently only offered in the new Dolomiti and Impero lines, and the Tre series, in both smooth and rusticated versions. But you can be sure if the 321 is added to any other lines, I'll be carrying them too!
"Okay, so what's the big deal?" you may ask. Well, the 320 has always been one of my favorite shapes; the 320 Trevi is the pipe that gave me my first "A-Ha!" moment, the one that made me fall in love with pipe smoking after many false starts (pun very much intended) over the years. There are many who agree with me that the Author shape is simply one of the best smokers around. But I have to admit, it is a bit on the hefty side. Many a pipe smoker has opted to not purchase a 320 for the very fact of it's size and weight, which is unfortunate because they're fantastic pipes in their own right. But it's true enough that there have been times I've reached for my 320 and thought better of it, because I didn't have that kind of time to devote to smoking such a large bowl. "Wouldn't it be nice," I've thought, "if there were a similar pipe with just a smidgen of a smaller bowl?"
Enter the 321! Savinelli has become a prophet of wish-fulfillment with these little smoking machines! I literally went giddy when I opened the first 321 box of my initial order and held it in my hand. I just can't say enough good things about this kid brother of the mighty 320. This one's gonna be big, because it's so small!
But not too small--Here's a quick comparison of the dimensions:
Length: 5.5 in. (320), 5.25 in. (321)
Bowl Height: 1.7 in. (320), 1.5 in. (321)
Bowl Interior Depth: 1.3 in. (320), 1.2 in. (321)
Bowl Interior Diameter at Rim: 0.9 in. (320), 0.8 in. (321)
Approximate Weight: 3.0 oz (320), 1.8 oz. (321)
It doesn't seem like much of a difference on paper except for the weight, but it's just enough to put a BIG smile on my face! And just like the 320, it smokes like a charm. I don't have many at the moment, but not to worry--I've already tripled my second order and should have them soon!
If you've held off on a 320 because of the reasons mentioned above, do yourself a favor and pick up a 321. You'll be glad you did!
Keep 'em lit,
I recently posted a video on my YouTube channel in regards to this subject, so I figured I'd make an accompanying blog. The concept of a 7-Day Pipe Rotation is one held by more than a few pipe smokers. However, some would say it's an excuse by collectors to buy more pipes! Others may even say it was fabricated by pipe manufacturer's to sell more pipes. Is it optimal to rest a pipe for seven days to allow it to completely dry out after each smoke? Well, sure. Do I put it into practice? Well...sometimes.
My weekly pipe rotation consists of the pipes I keep on the table in front of me where I smoke the most often, here in what I lovingly refer to as the West Parlor at Gray Manor (which is really my garage & Man Cave). There are usually about a dozen pipes out here, and when I finish smoking a pipe, I run a couple of pipe cleaners through the stem, shank, and bowl to get out the "leftovers" and any excess moisture. Then I'll let it sit for at least a day. That's bare minimum in my book. Since I usually smoke 2 to 3 bowls in any given day, or about 21 smokes each week, I'm able to let each pipe rest for at least that minimum threshold fairly easily.
Do I think you need a pipe for each bowl you plan to smoke in a week? Well, perhaps I'm not the right person to ask that question. The seller part of me says, "Sure! Better safe than sorry!" And the collector in me says, "why so few??" However, my pragmatic side says it's not strictly necessary. But the 7-Day Pipe Rotation concept is a good guideline, and quite the enabler for new pipe smokers who appreciate the pipe as both an instrument of enjoyment and an interesting collectible. So with that in mind, here are a few tips to get you started with a 7-Day Pipe Rotation on a budget!
First, let's just assume that you already have at least one pipe...most likely two or three. If that's the case, feel free to adjust the following recommendations by reducing the number of pipes you need to reach seven, and possibly to include a moderately priced pipe or two from Big Ben, Savinelli, or Stanwell. Because of the constraints of this project, you'll just have to hold off on a Neerup! But for the purposes of this exercise, here are two lists for a beginning 7-Day Pipe rotation in the $100 and $200 ranges, respectively. Keep in mind that these are all personal recommendations that I carry here at The Pipe Nook, and that I personally smoke!
$100 Pipe Rotation
-A Chris Morgan Bones Pipe or Rossi Vittoria (Both Briars at the $40 mark)
-A Mr. Brog Pear Wood Pipe ($25 to $30)
-Three Missouri Meershaum Corn Cob Pipes in the $4 to $7 Range ($21 at most)
-Two Missouri Meerschaum Pipes in the $8 to $10 Range ($20 at most)
$200 Pipe Rotation
-A Chris Morgan Bones Briar Pipe ($40)
-A Rossi Briar Pipe ($39 to $60)
-A Savinelli Series III Unfinished Briar Pipe ($55)
-A Mr. Brog Pear Wood Pipe ($25 to $30)
-Any 3 Missouri Meerschaum Corn Cob Pipes amounting to $25 to $40
As you can see, there are choices to be made to custom fit these lists to your particular tastes. They both include at least one of the three pipe bowl materials that I would recommend for a newer pipe smoker (Briar, Pear, and Cob). Keep in mind that these prices reflect the time of this writing, and may change over time. Also, note that starting with a variety of 7 Briar Pipes would be significantly more expensive, effectively doubling the cost. But cobs and pear wood pipes are wonderful smokers, so don't be afraid to give 'em a go--you may be pleasantly surprised!
Of course if you have never smoked a pipe before and are just looking to kick the tires a bit, I wouldn't recommend investing in a 7-Day Rotation just yet. I would suggest you start with any one of the pipes listed here, and that you not spend more than $60 on your first pipe. This allows for two things. First, if you decide it's not for you, then you're not out a bunch of money. And second, you won't feel the need to sell the pipe to get back your money, which would allow you to come back and give pipe smoking another go in the months or years to come. It took me quite some time before I "got it," but I'm so glad I stuck with it! Patience has never been one of my strongsuits, but pipe smoking has helped me greatly with that particular viture these past few years.
Well, this was a fun little exercise, and one that helped me recall the excitement and joys of working towards the very beginnings of my own pipe collection! I hope you've picked up an idea or two, and that pipe smoking can be as much a source of enjoyment for you as it is for me!
Keep 'em lit,
I had big plans back in February of 2016, when I officially launched The Pipe Nook. I was going to work hard on the site, and get as many of my "must have" pipe brands on the site as possible. It was a lot of work, and sure, I have plenty more to do in the way of expanding the brands, lines, and shapes that I currently carry, but I'm incredibly pleased to report that not only did I get most of my must have brands present and accounted for, but just under the gun with my final addition in late December, I was able to get ALL of them on!
With that, I'm very pleased to announce the newest addition to The Pipe Nook, Stanwell Pipes!
Stanwell is one of the most well-respected pipe manufacturing companies in the world. Many a pipe smoker considers his "Stannies" among his favorites, and I'm one of them! Unbelievably, Stanwell had its beginnings right in the middle of World War II. In 1942, Danish businessman Poul Nielsen saw a need for Danish-Made pipes, since popular pipes previously imported from other countries such as England were unavailable during the war years that were ravaging Europe. Poul ran a woodworking company called Kyringe, which began to make pipes initially out of Beech wood. After the war, Poul changed the name of the Company to Stanwell and began creating Danish made pipes from imported Mediterranean Briar. Before long, Stanwell was exporting pipes from Copenhagen, the most modern pipe manufacturing facility of its time. Many of Stanwell's shapes were designed by some of the great Danish Masters, including Sixten Ivarsson and Jess Chonowitsch! Today, while Stanwell is still a Danish company, its pipe production has moved to Italy, where Stanwell continues to create some of the most incredible smoking instruments, many of them at budget friendly prices.
I've gotten the ball rolling with offerings from 5 different Stanwell lines, with more to come in the days ahead. And I'm so happy with the way 2016 turned out, but I've decided to keep my eyes open for any new pipe brands that fit into what I offer: Budget-friendly, well-made pipes that smoke well. Thanks again for helping make The Pipe Nook what it is today, and stay tuned...I've got some big plans for 2017!!
Keep 'em lit,
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