Just a quick note today to let you know that I've added a Gift Card feature to the site! Gift cards can be purchased in increments from $25 to $500 and work just like any other form of payment at checkout. If you're like me, you're always second-guessing gifts that you give to friends and family. Is it really something they wanted? Even if they wanted it, did you pick the right color? And on and on. But if you have a pipe smoker in your life, here's a great option to make gift-giving a piece of cake!
This Holiday Season, surprise a fellow pipe smoker (or convince your friends & family to "surprise" you) with a Gift Card from The Pipe Nook! Gift Cards are delivered to the recipient by email and include instructions on how to redeem them at checkout. Our Gift Cards have no additional processing fees and never expire!
Keep 'em lit,
I've been a member of the YTPC, or YouTube Pipe Community, longer than the Pipe Nook has been around. I discovered the YTPC while I was looking for tips on various pipe-related topics, and it can't be understated how important the YTPC has been in my pipe-smoking journey. But for whatever reason, I haven't shared my channel here on The Pipe Nook yet. Well, today seems like a good time to fix that!
As I mentioned in my long-winded introduction Blog several months ago, about 3 years ago, I was ready to "put up or shut up" when it came to pipe smoking. I had tried off again, on again to smoke a pipe for nearly 20 years, but just never got the hang of it. I can't tell you how frustrating it was for me to burn my tongue, fight keeping my pipe lit, etc. So in desperation, I did a YouTube search, and found Jayson Dagner's video on how to smoke a pipe. I was amazed at how easy it could really be if you took your time and learned how to do it! Then I noticed on the "related videos" sidebar that others were also making Pipe related videos, and many of them were commenting on each other's videos. I soon discovered this "YouTube Pipe Community," and jumped in! Since there wasn't a pipe club anywhere near me, the YTPC became my "Virtual Pipe Club."
I've made many videos, gained a good bit of subscribers, and met many friends through the YTPC. If you haven't discovered this group of pipe smoking enthusiasts, click the image above to check out my channel, and look for those who comment on my videos...many of them have pipe smoking channels of their own!
One special mention: When I launched The Pipe Nook, I was given a lot of early support from members of the YTPC. The Pipe Nook would not be what it is today if not for the encouragement and support of those people. So I want to take the time here to thank each and every one of you in the YTPC who have helped me along the way. It means so much to me!
So, if you found The Pipe Nook elsewhere and would like to put a face and an actual person with this humble web store, check out my channel, and don't forget to comment. I love the interaction as much as I love the pipe smoking and pipe collecting hobby itself.
Keep 'em lit,
It's no secret that I love my cobs. I'm a proud member of the Corn Cob Nation, as well as the recently formed Cob Mob. And while only about 10% of my personal pipe collection is comprised of corn cob pipes, I find I reach for a cob about half the time I smoke. Why? There are many reasons, but they boil down to this: Cobs are easy. Easy to smoke and easy to maintain, without losing any of the taste that my briars offer. And if I lose one, well...I would be saddened, but it's just a cob. They're inexpensive and easy to replace.
It's also no secret that many pipe smokers look down on the humble corn cob pipe. Most of them aren't going to win any beauty awards or high praise for fit and finish. But what if there were slightly more pricey cob models with better appointments, yet still much cheaper than the average briar?
The Pipe Nook is pleased to introduce the Dagner Cob Poker, and the Cobbit series!
Designed by Jayson Dagner of Dagner Pipes, the Cob Poker is a beauty as well as a workhorse. Designed to be an excellent travel companion, its compact dimensions allow for stowage in a shirt pocket or saddlebag, while at the same time providing for a medium-length smoke. It's a sitter, allowing for you to set it down if necessary without the need for a pipe stand. And it has a few appointments new to the Missouri Meerschaum company, including a nickel accent band, a Custom Cob stamp on the bottom, and a comfortable, Italian-made Acrylic push bit. With the advent of the Dagner Cob Poker, anyone can afford a Dagner designed pipe!
The Cobbit series takes a different approach, and introduces cob smokers to another type of pipe for their cob collection: The Churchwarden. Themed after the greatly loved books set in Middle Earth by J.R.R. Tolkien, these are the kinds of pipes to enjoy a leisurely smoke on your favorite hilltop in the Shire, or your backyard. The Dwarf is more of a semi-churchwarden and sports the smallest bowl, while the Shire and Elf pipes are a bit longer with larger bowls. Like the Dagner cob, all three of these models feature a dark stained finish and a hardwood insert at the bottom of the bowl. What sets these apart the most, however, are the long, Italian-made Vulcanite stems.
With such exciting new models, it truly is a wonderful time to be a cob smoker! If you've never smoked a cob, check one out and see what you've been missing!
Savinelli is my favorite maker of machined briar pipes. The term "factory pipe" is used to describe pipes not made entirely by hand, typically in an assembly-line fashion. However, I'm really hesitant to use that term for a company like Savinelli, that makes such marvelous looking and smoking pipes! From their most expensive offerings, all the way down to their least expensive, Savinelli makes incredible smoking instruments. The Series III pipes are the cheapest pipes Savinelli makes that bears their stamp, and they still live up to the name.
Savinelli Series III pipes are unfinished and un-fancy. They started out as various Savinelli shapes for different lines, and were pulled from the batch for various cosmetic reasons such as a small void, or an opening in the grain. Rather than being destroyed, as is the case with other briar pieces with more functional issues, these were sanded as smooth as possible and fitted with a non-filtered vulcanite stem and are sold in an "unfinished" state. What this means is that these are still very good smoking, well-drilled and stamped Savinelli pipes, without staining or waxing...just with a little cosmetic flaw or two to give them a bit of character. This provides a wonderful smoking instrument at a very reasonable value that has the potential to smoke even cooler than your more expensive pipes, because they have no finish barriers to hold in heat. In addition, these pipes have the side-benefit of coloring to a dark brown over time as they are smoked!
If you haven't tried out a Savinelli pipe yet, a Series III pipe is the perfect introduction to this brand. If you're like me, your first Savinelli definitely won't be your last!
It truly is a great time to be a pipe smoker! There has been a resurgence in recent years of the tobacco blending art, and many new blends have hit the scene. Not only that, but many blends that haven't been produced in years, sometimes decades, are making a return to the scene! Gone are the days of choosing one blend and smoking it for 80 years; as with pipes, there are literally HUNDREDS of choices.
I always recommend trying at least one of the following 5 blend types to help you figure out what types of tobaccos you like. Some of my recommendations are a bit muddled because of the inclusion of other tobacco types, but I feel these blends are good starting points.
1. Aromatics - This is the blend type that I think is most associated with pipe smoking, and thoughts of grandpa. I would recommend starting with a simple flavoring, like Vanilla. You can branch out into Chocolates, Rums, Whiskeys, Cherries, and other Fruit Essences from there.
2. Natural Virginias - From the lighter grassy/hay-like Virginias, to the medium-bodied bread notes, to the heavily aged plum-like or vinegary Dark Virginias, there's a wide spectrum of flavors here, but all share the most notable sweetness of the Virginia leaf, which has the most natural sugar content of any type of tobacco. Virginia based blends also seem to age the best in general, and are often found in flake form.
5. Perique Blends - Ah, Perique...my favorite. It can add that little something extra to so many different kinds of blends. Depending upon the types and proportions of the other tobaccos with which it is blended, it can be soothing or spicy. Many consider that it provides a dark fruit or aged flavor, which makes sense considering it undergoes a long anaerobic aging process. True Perique is only available from the St. James Parish of Louisiana.
Other “condimental” tobaccos (of which I also consider Latakia and Perique) to consider as you learn what you like are the deep flavors of Dark-Fired Kentucky (Mac Baren HH Old Dark Fired, Peterson Irish Flake), the robust taste of Cigar Leaf (Cornell & Diehl Gray Ghost, GL Pease Key Largo), and the crisp and somewhat exotic tang of Orientals (Dunhill Standard Mixture, Savinelli Brunello Flake). As I've found my own personal tastes, I've gravitated more towards blends that include some sort of mixture of Burleys, Virginias, Perique and Dark-Fired...but that's just me. You may find that your taste in pipe tobacco is completely different from mine! If you enjoy smoking, I thoroughly believe there's something for everyone in the realm of pipe tobacco.
I could include many more, but that's plenty enough to get you started down the yellow brick road that eventually branches in so many directions, you may never reach the Wizard of Oz! But that's kind of the point with Pipe Smoking...the journey is much more important than the destination.
Since I opened The Pipe Nook, I've had inquiries from many who don't yet smoke pipes, in regards to how to get into the hobby. While pipe smoking for me is the most enjoyable form of smoking, I have to admit that there is certainly a learning curve! I made many attempts along the way before I finally discovered the secrets to pipe smoking success. Below, you will find some basic tips to get you started on your pipe smoking journey. If you're already a pipe smoker, this information is fantastic for sharing with friends. Look for the link below to save the contents of this blog as a handy one-page reference!
Things you'll need
1. Pack your pipe to about 75% full, to allow space at the top for the lit tobacco to "bloom." Most people recommend a 3-Step packing method, but sometimes I only need to do this twice. Here are some guidelines:
2. Don't pack so tightly that a test puff feels like a milkshake, or so loosely that it feels like no resistance at all. You want it to feel like sipping water or soda through a straw.
3. For the First light, take sips (not gulps) and move the flame around until the top of the tobacco is evenly lit. It will most likely bloom up and go out quickly. This is known as the "false light."
4. Once out, tamp the tobacco gently and uniformly. This is the “cake” or burning surface that you'll use to get your true light.
5. Light a second time the same way as the first. You should be on your way, but it sometimes takes a third light to really get going.
6. Tamp gently along the way whenever the top gets looser. Once you've smoked for a while, the top will get moderately "fluffy" with ash; gently upturn your bowl and tap the loose ash in an ashtray. A coffee tin or any similar metal or wooden container will work.
7. Take gentle sips and enjoy the taste of the tobacco. Congratulations, you're smoking a pipe!
If your tobacco is moist, leave it out to let it dry a bit. Moist tobacco causes too much hot vapor in the smoke, a large contributor to what is known as "tongue bite."
Don't fight to keep it lit! You'll only frustrate yourself and burn your tongue. If the smoke tastes too hot, let the pipe cool down for a bit. If it goes out, just tamp and relight. Take your time, be patient. Pipe smoking is about relieving stress and enjoying the moment.
Don't inhale! It's not a cigarette, and shouldn't be treated as though the point were to get a fix.
Learning a cadence that keeps the pipe lit better for you, yet doesn't make the smoke too hot to enjoy, is a knack only learned with time and experience. Your cadence won't be what another pipe smoker's cadence is, so don't compare. Just learn what works best for you!
If you don't like the first tobacco you've tried, don't give up: There are literally HUNDREDS of blends to choose from. I always recommend trying at least one of the following 5 blends before throwing in the towel: An Aromatic, a natural Virginia, a natural Burley, a Latakia Blend, and a Perique Blend.
That's it! Of course, pipe smoking is a nuanced and highly personal activity that you will get better at over time. But these general tips are all you need to get you on your way!
Click Below to Download these tips as a quick one-page reference!
I love starting the day with a few moments of quiet composure, gently smoking a pipe and sipping a cup of coffee. It's a treasured time that I try to carve out each day to come up with a daily game plan and mentally prepare for the challenges that await. Additionally, I find that the best way to end each day is to enjoy a hearty blend. Pipe smoking creates an atmosphere of reflection to thoughtfully consider the highs and lows of the day, and the many things for which I have to be thankful. It's a fantastic accompaniment for reading and writing, as well.
But, what makes it so? I've mentioned these things in a previous blog, but they are worth revisiting here. For me, pipe smoking is relaxing, stress relieving, and just plain fun. It can help create a time of thought when you're alone, and it can make times with friends even better. It can help you focus on the simple joys of all the senses, as you feel the pipe's finish and shape while holding it, see the beauty of a well-crafted smoking instrument, hear the gentle sizzle of a pipe that's "in the chuff," smell the aroma of a fine tobacco blend, and of course taste any number of flavors available today. In essence, pipe smoking is a celebration of many of the positive aspects of what it is to be human!
In today's high-tech, fast-paced world, it can be very easy to get completely caught up in the stress and mess of things. After some time, we may find ourselves completely lost in the chaos of the day-to-day grind, never taking time to pause and collect our thoughts. This is why I believe pipe smoking is making a comeback--it's low tech. The pipe forces you to calm down and take each moment as it comes. You can't rush through it like so much else in life. You have to settle yourself, and live in the here and now, not whatever is happening on your social media feed, or whatever notifications keep popping up on your smart device. And even if those things encroach upon your precious down time, having a pipe in hand simply gives it all a better sense of perspective.
Ultimately, I believe that pipe smoking has assisted me in my journey to becoming a more considerate husband, a more patient father, a more thoughtful friend. And I don't know anyone who wouldn't desire those attributes!
The Pipe Nook is pleased to present the newest addition to our shop: Missouri Meershcaum Corn Cob Pipes! These pipes have been made in Washington, Missouri since 1869 and are as American as Baseball and Apple Pie! There is simply no more affordable way to get into pipe smoking. Yes, they're rustic, and no they won't impress many of your poker buddies. But don't think that takes anything away from the quality smoke these pipes offer. Many pipe smokers enjoy smoking their cob pipes as much as, if not more than, any other pipes in their collection. I know, because I'm one of them!
Corn cob pipes offer a slightly sweeter smoke than briars, and boast many benefits that their Briar counterparts simply can't. First, they're cheap enough to not have to worry so much about losing them, breaking them, leaving them in the car, etc. Plus, they're practically self-cleaning, since the bowl slowly burns out rather than forming a cake. Add to that the fact that they don't suffer ghosting (retaining strong flavors of previous tobacco blends) the way briars tend to. Plus, they're lightweight. They smoke cooler and drier than many other pipes. And they last much longer than many give them credit for--I know I've smoked one of mine at least a hundred times, and it just keeps giving me pleasant smoke after smoke.
If you've never tried a Missouri Meerschaum Corn Cob and you enjoy pipe smoking, you owe it to yourself. And if you're on the fence about spending a ton of money to try out this whole pipe smoking thing, you just can't get a better pipe for any less money. So what are you waiting for? Throw a couple of cobs in the cart. You'll be glad you did!
The day has finally come--The Pipe Nook is officially underway! It has taken much to get here, and I can't tell you how excited I am to finally be at this point, and able to offer you the caliber of smoking instruments that we have available! There are many more pipe brands, series and shapes to come in the near future, but I'm pleased to begin with the pipes that really kick-started my own pipe smoking journey: Savinelli.
The first pipe that got me to fall in love with pipe smoking after many previous attempts, was the venerable Savinelli 320. I'd literally never had a smoke like that before. Since then, my love and appreciation for Savinelli pipes has only deepened, and I think it's fitting that I start with 3 of the most tried and true series in the expansive Savinelli lineup: Bing's Favorite, Roma, and Trevi.
I know you can buy your pipes at any number of online retailers, and have so much more of a selection that it would literally make your head spin. But that's not what the Pipe Nook is about. Every pipe brand, line, shape and finish that I carry is cherry-picked to help both the brand new pipe smoker and the burgeoning pipe collector in their decision-making process. I will only carry pipe brands and lines that I can personally stand behind. As I'm writing this, I'm contentedly puffing on one of my favorite pipes, a Roma 623. In short, I've done all kinds of analyzing, comparing and obsessing, so you don't have to. These pipes are the best quality and value offered today, and I can't wait to help you find either that perfect first pipe, or the next treasured piece in your collection.
So welcome! Poke around, make yourself at home, and tell me what you think!
Keep 'em lit,
Eddie Gray, Owner
The Pipe Nook, LLC
Hello, my name is Eddie Gray, and I want to thank you for visiting my site! I've got some big plans in the works, but all journeys begin with just one step, and that's sort of what this first blog post means to me. I encourage you to register and sign up for news and announcements about The Pipe Nook--I think you'll find in time that you'll be glad you did!
I figured it would be best to take this opportunity to give a brief introduction of myself as it relates to pipe smoking, which is the thing that connects us--the reason we're both here, so to speak. I've always loved the idea of pipe smoking since I was a child, watching my great-grandfather relaxing with his pipe. But when I grew up and tried my hand at pipe smoking, I had many false starts and times of frustration. Every time I tried to smoke a pipe, it seemed I was destined to fail miserably. My tobacco would be not to my taste, too flavored or flavorless, my pipe would burn hot and go out constantly, I would burn my tongue severely, and finally throw my hands up and say, “that's it, I'm done! I just don't have the knack.” And I would go back to cigars, which are infinitely easier to manage. That went on for about 20 years.
Thing was, I just didn't enjoy cigars as much as I thought I would enjoy pipes, if only I could get it down. There seemed to be some secret knowledge that I just wasn't privy to, some club of information, and I wasn't an initiate. In my hometown, I only knew a few people who had even tried to smoke a pipe, and they were pretty much all as clueless as I was. The only older person I knew who smoked was my great-grandfather, and he just honestly wasn't that great at instructing, not to mention that he only smoked Dr. Grabow pipes, and only smoked Sir Walter Raleigh Regular. When you smoke the same tobacco in the same pipe for 70 years, I guess you get the hang of it!! But I was more adventurous than that. I'd seen and heard of many other tobaccos with different flavors and characteristics, and many different pipe shapes, sizes, etc.
In the United States, we pretty much went two or possibly three generations with pipe smoking highly marginalized, with cigars more in the limelight, but cigarettes steadfastly rooted center-stage. The most obvious reason why is that cigarettes are cheaper and easier, and intended for the masses who have been conditioned to want cheap, instant gratification. Think about fast food. We want it cheap, and we want it fast. Doesn't matter that it's substandard food, or that it's slowly killing us. That, my friends, is also the story of cigarettes. Cigars have become the more “upper class” smoking alternative, providing a much more expensive and luxurious smoking experience, although cigars predate cigarettes (the name cigarette means little cigar). Perhaps I'll write a completely different blog about this in the future, but I'm getting off-topic.
Since there was no one around to teach me how to smoke and enjoy a pipe, and since I'd seen all of my grandparents die in their sixties due to cigarette related illnesses, I chose cigars as my form of smoking enjoyment. Only thing was, I was a college student on a very tight budget. I enjoyed cigars when I could, and had fun learning about different regions of cigar tobacco, different shapes and ring sizes, etc...but I couldn't afford the “really good sticks.” It was an enjoyable pastime, but there were drawbacks.
First, cigars don't pass the wife test, either for myself or for many of my friends. No matter how mild or small of a cigar I would smoke, my wife would never want to touch me or even be near me for hours after I'd smoked a cigar. As an affectionate man, believe me, I'm definitely not a fan of that! Then, there was the fact that no matter how much I enjoyed smoking a cigar, it would “haunt” me the next morning. I would invariably wake up feeling like someone had used my mouth as an ashtray. I called it the “Morning After Syndrome,” and I wasn't happy about that. Then, of course, there was the expense, of spending $8 to $10 on a “good” smoke for special occasions, and the risk that I might not even enjoy that particular cigar. On a student's budget, I just couldn't buy a bunch of cigars and maintain a well-stocked humidor of premium sticks. These reasons and more brought me back to the pipe.
I still had (and to this day still have) my first few pipes, all Dr. Grabows that cost me about $15 each, back in the late 90's. But I had a feeling that while pipe tobacco was relatively inexpensive, I would be doing myself a favor to try my hand with a better pipe. This was around 2008, and even though I was out of school and earning a bit more, the budget-conscious part of me still kept me from going crazy, and I wound up buying a basket pipe at my local (now defunct) Tinder Box for $35. It was better, even though I still didn't know how to “properly” smoke a pipe, and it inspired me to try a $50 pipe about a year later. This was a much more enjoyable experience, but I was still very ignorant as to what I was doing. As such, I continued to go back and forth between cigars and my fledgling pipe collection.
During this time, I made a few interesting discoveries that completely changed the way I viewed pipe smoking. I found that when I smoked a pipe on the porch and came inside, I could give my wife a hug minutes later, and not be pushed away with the typical “Gross, get away, you stink” line that I inevitably got after smoking a cigar. Whereas she used to want me to take a shower or at the very least change clothes before I got anywhere near her, she seemed fine with the much more subtle aroma of the pipe. In fact, she began to ask me what tobacco blend I had smoked. She wouldn't go so far as to say she liked it, but it was quite apparent that pipe smoke lingered much less and was much more acceptable to her. And I didn't have to spend at least $5 on one cigar to enjoy a smoking experience; I could spend that $5 on an ounce of pipe tobacco, and have at least 5 smokes, if not more. In addition, I found that when I woke up the next morning after smoking a pipe, I didn't have “ashtray mouth.” Hmmm...interesting...
Sometime in 2012, I resolved that I was finally going to learn how to smoke a pipe. There were simply too many advantages of pipes over cigars, and the only real hindrance was my lack of knowledge. If I were going to continue enjoying the occasional smoke, it was going to be with a pipe. I was going to put in the time and the research, and finally, finally, figure it all out.
But there was SO MUCH to learn! Pipe making materials, various styles and shapes, price ranges, factory versus artisan, different finishes and stem types, the myriad of tobacco companies and blends, how to choose a pipe, pack it, light it, care for the pipe, tobacco storage, etc. All the things that discouraged me in the past. It was a daunting task, and I felt like I was all alone, me against the world trying to make sense of it all. Nevertheless, I had made up my mind, and this time it was all or nothing. I decided that if I couldn't “get it” this time around, I'd throw out my pipes and never try it again.
I began poring over various internet searches, and found a few pipe smoking forums. Some were more helpful than others, and I began to uncover more questions than answers. I did begin to gain some traction, however, and was encouraged. Then, I had a thought that made me wonder why I hadn't thought of it before. Why not search YouTube for some how-to videos? I'd used YouTube as a resource before, when I needed to know how to fix various computer problems, compare features of two similar products, etc. This could just be the answer. So I went to YouTube and typed “How to Smoke a Pipe.” The findings of that search altered the course of my story to this very day. I found many helpful videos, chock-full of tips and advice. The most helpful of which was a 37-minute video titled, “Pipe Smoking: How to Smoke a Pipe by Dagnerperformance.” It was one man's honest, simple and comprehensive methodology to all things related to pipe smoking as he saw it. It was a real eye-opener. I watched it three times. I took notes, I tried his advice on many things, and I began to have quite a few “Aha” moments. I was finally on the right track, and things began to click into place for me during my smoking sessions.
And soon enough, I discovered a whole slew of videos, made by regular people like Jayson, taking part in something called the “YTPC.” The YouTube Pipe Community. It was a growing, thriving, lively way to interact with fellow pipe smokers, both seasoned and newbies. And they were all helping one another, answering what questions they could, giving advice, making recommendations, and more. I was hooked. I watched dozens, and eventually hundreds of videos. And I finally began to take part, leaving comments (mostly questions), encouraging others, eventually making my own videos, and having fun! The YTPC provides the personal element that the forums ultimately lacked: a real, personal sense of...well, community.
I'm not saying there's no worth to the online forums. To the contrary, I've found many good pieces of advice, and many solid recommendations. But for me, YouTube became my go-to source for pipe information. Many would say that's like looking to Wikipedia for all of one's answers to a particular topic. I would say it's more like asking your friends their opinions. All I can say is that it worked for me, and I'm still making videos and enjoying the sense of community built around this pastime that I simply don't have in my own town.
Another interesting thing happened along the way that is worth noting. My view of pipe smoking, or really smoking in general, changed. The things I didn't like about the pipe in the beginning (remember that instant gratification curse of our culture) are the very things I have come to love about it. You can't be in a hurry and enjoy smoking a pipe. It makes you slow down, relax, focus on breathing, and clear your mind of all the clutter of the day to really contemplate. What an amazing discovery!
And then...basically...I went buck-wild. A switch flipped in my brain, and I stopped considering myself someone who smokes the occasional pipe, and I began to think of myself as a Pipe Smoker. It's something I don't have to do every day; however, every day that I don't smoke just seems to be missing something special. Once this change in mindset took place, I caught the collecting bug in a big way! I've always had a tendency towards collecting, whether it be guitars, comic books, or trading cards. But the money spending frenzy on pipes and tobaccos during the next 3 years shocked even me. Since this site is focused on pipes for now, let me just say that I purchased about 75 pipes and spent more than $3,000 collectively on them. That's an average of about $47 per pipe, but the numbers are a bit skewed because about 15 of the pipes are corn cobs. Excluding my cobs (great smokers, all) I probably spent an average of $60 per pipe, with the price tags ranging from $15 to $300. I purchased many different shapes, sizes, finishes, brands, and price ranges, and over time have come up with my own personal guidelines for future purchasing, based on my personal observations of the line where quality meets value.
The range of products of any given industry has always fascinated me, and led me to purchase items that I pretty much knew would be too cheap, and items I knew I shouldn't buy because I couldn't really afford them. In all my personal interests, I have searched for the optimal place where quality meets value. I call this range the “sweet spot,” and I have found it in mountain bikes, guitars, amplifiers, and now, pipes. To rein this discussion in, let's focus back on pipes and allow me to say that I have a price in my head that is the low end at which spending less would be a waste of money due to poor quality, and a price at the higher end beyond which I would have reached the law of diminishing returns. Currently for Briar pipes, I find this sweet spot to be between $50 and $150. I break these up into two basic tiers: Pipes priced between $50 and $99 I would consider Tier 1, quality pipes that smoke well, but possibly aren't the best in fit and finish, and are produced with typically more machining than hand-fashioning (although there is handwork involved). Pipes priced between $100 and $150 I would consider Tier 2, higher-quality pipes with more aesthetic value, and very likely with more hand-crafting involved. Regardless, I would recommend any of the pipes on this site to any pipe smoker, from the newest of puffers to the most seasoned of pipe smokers. Many of the pipes on these pages, I would consider “must haves” for any collection, from the most humble to the most abundant—they're that good!
A special note about corn cob pipes: I personally believe that the least expensive way to discover whether or not pipe smoking is for you is to buy a tried and true Missouri Meerschaum corn cob pipe. They won't impress your poker buddies and they won't win any beauty pageants, but they are honest-to-goodness good smokers, and the best value on the market for a pipe.
Now, I'm not saying you can't get lucky and buy a nice basket briar pipe or “drug store pipe” for $35 and get a good smoker. Stranger things have happened. And I'm not saying that spending $350 or more on a higher end pipe is a total waste of money. Again, what I'm talking about here is the sweet spot that I've found, where the best possible quality meets the best possible value. And that's how this site was born.
My aim is not to compete with the “big box” guys, nor is it to take away from the dozens if not hundreds of fantastic artisan pipe makers out there. My goal is to help out those who are just getting into the pipe smoking hobby, and those who are beginning to build their pipe collections, by providing brands and pipe models that I can personally stand behind, that don't break the bank. Every pipe for sale on this site is a personal recommendation from me, because I personally know the brands and can stand behind their products. I don't carry budget brands I can't vouch for that I feel are a waste of money because they are too unreliable or variant in their quality. I don't carry more expensive brands (or even higher-priced models of favorite brands) that I feel are simply too high-priced for beginners or intermediate pipe smokers. And I'll never carry a brand that I haven't personally smoked, because I can't stand behind a product with which I haven't had personal and positive experiences. Yes this is a business—but no, it's not all about the money.
My bottom line is this: There are literally hundreds of choices, so I help narrow the playing field for those just getting started building their pipe collections, and those who are just looking to give it the old college try without spending an arm and a leg. I've spent gobs of money, so that you can learn from my mistakes. My goal is to make this the education-focused website I wish I had found in my own journey many years ago.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for visiting! Please feel free to email me and ask any questions you may have. I'll do my best to answer.
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