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From: ????????????????????????? (Maverick)
Subject: pipes.

Which do you prefer?  Straight-stem or bent?  Personally, I'd say bent
because the moment arm is shorter, i.e. doesn't feel as heavy, but that
doesn't matter if you're going to hold the pipe in your hand most of the time.

	Also, do you hold the pipe by the stem or the bowl? 
	You're supposed to hold it from the stem so as not to let
your own oils discolour the bowl, but then again... ahh...well.

	What's your favorite blend?

"With Knaster good my pipe I fill" : J.S. Bach.


From: ????????????????????????? (Steve)

Well, most of my pipes are bent, but I have some straight ones too,
including a nice bulldog from a French maker called Gefapip, a
Canadian by GBD, and an I-don't-know-what-it-is by Savinelli. (It's
small and has a roughly cylindrical bowl and a stem with a bulge near
the shank.) I was in the local Tinder Box admiring a beautiful bent
black GBD today, so my taste hasn't changed that much.

I had thought the same thing about moment arms, too, but just bought a
lot of bent pipes because I thought they looked cool. (Aesthetics, not
heat transfer :-). Actually it's true. If you've ever smoked an Oom
Paul, you'll probably notice that it's a lot easier to hold between
your teeth than a straight or even a half-bent pipe.

I've never heard that about skin oil discoloring the bowl; actually I
thought the opposite was true. Briar pipes, unless they have a really
rough surface, are coated with carnauba wax (a very hard wax; I don't
know from whence it comes.) Finger oils wouldn't matter very much on a
wax surface. Besides, I think it's a little silly to hold a pipe by
the stem unless the bowl is _very_ hot.

Meerschaums, of course, are a different story. They're very delicate,
and acquire coloration as they're smoked. What actually gets colored
is a thin layer of beeswax on top of the meerschaum. Your fingers can
stick to this wax coating and strip it off. Result: a thumbprint on
the finish.

Favorite blend? I don't know; you got one? (I'm serious; I'm looking
to experiment.) When I was in my teens and early twenties, I used to
smoke Amphora just about always. Later I abandoned that for an
English-style blend made by Harry Tint in Philadelphia (which, BTW, is
an excellent shop). Then, for about three years, I've been smoking
"Bean's Special Blend" (yes, by L.L. Bean, the same folks that brought
you Bean's Maine Hunting Shoe and Bean's Sony CD Player.) They've
discontinued that, and I'm at the bottom of my last can. Yesterday, on
Elias Mazur's example (Elias is the co-founder of the newsgroup, and
has taken much flame for trying to establish rec.pipes), I went out
and bought a can of Black Sobranie 759. Delicious! I haven't had
Latakia in ages (I remembered it from _one_ can of some Dunhill
mixture I bought for myself when I was an undergrad.) At the Tinder
Box today, I bought a couple of pouches of some of the store's
"English-style" tobacco; they smell nice, but I've only smoked the
"Sherlock's Choice" (not that that means anything to someone not
living in this part of New Jersey, probably.)

In any case, I don't think I'm going to spend several years with one
blend anymore. I'd like to learn blending and maybe blend my own; is
there anyone out there who has done this? Also, if you like "English"
(non-aromatic) tobacco, I'd appreciate hearing your preferences.

Yr. obd't. servant,
- Steve (?????????????????????????)

(BTW, also, thanks for the quote, Maverick... please send yours in, if
you have a favorite!)

    * Pipe smokers will rule the world!     * ??????????????????????     *
    * (if they don't run out of matches...) * Steve Masticola, moderator *

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