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From: ????????????????????????
Subject: Pipes Digest #59 - June 29, 1991

		   Pipes Digest #59 - June 29, 1991

From: ???????????????????????????? (Norm Carpenter)
Subject: From Cigarettes to Pipes

It's nice to see the pipes group going so well.  I have a question regarding
the new member Tim and his plan to change one smoking medium for another.  I
understood that smoking a pipe was healthier than cigarettes because pipe 
smokers rarely inhaled the smoke.  It normally just drifts in the mouth.  But
cigarette smokers who convert to pipes face even greater risk because they
continue to inhale and recieve a condensed version of the smoke and more of
it.  Can anybody set me straight?


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From: ????????????????????????
Subject: Advice on first-time pipe buy

> From: ??????????????? (Tim Szeliga)
> Subject: First Time
> Steve - 
> Around Father's Day I had a mental image of
> myself sitting in the glider on the front
> porch, tamping my pipe, fiddling with the 
> stem and otherwise accheiving oral, 
> manual, mental and lungal gratification,
> all at once.

Did you happen to notice a blue Chevy van about this time ?  That's our
"Recruitmobile," and it drives all over the country projecting those
feelings with a patented new thought-control device.  I'm curious to see if
the invisibility screen is functioning.  8-)

> I would like advice before I waslk into 
> the tabaconist's.  What is a good starter pipe?
> What is a good blend?  What sort of price range
> should I pay, both for pipe and tobacco?

Well, there are different schools of pipe smoking.  The Highbrow School will
first inform you (politely, but pointedly) that the correct spelling is
"tobacconist's."  They will then, in their own scholarly way, proceed to
teach you about cognac, single-malt scotch, the steeplechase, and yachting,
until they eventually get around to suggesting a $75 briar and a proper
English tobacco blend.  The Lowbrow School will send you to the drug store
for a Doctor Grabow and a pouch of Cap'n Black.
Myself, I'd suggest you buy whatever pipe strikes your fancy.  You'll
probably want something in around the $30 price range, but that's
adjustable to your budget; you can get pipes with small cosmetic blemishes
for even less, and they're often excellent smokers.  I'd opine that a
simple shape would be a good starter; perhaps a straight-shanked,
rounded-bowl (the classic "dad" pipe, ala' the Appleton's or J.R. "Bob"
Dodds.)  But if a deep curve really fires your spirit, then go for it!

A few simple things to look for:

  - Wall thickness.  You want a uniform thickness, and the thicker the
better.  If it's too thin, the smoke will be hot; local thin places (for
instance, on a square-carved bowl) will become "hot spots," bad for the
pipe and often uncomfortable.  If the wall thickness tapers down toward the
top, that's OK.  Also check the bottom; stick a finger all the way in the
bowl, and gage the thickness with your thumb under the bowl.  You may not
be able to judge this well from day one, but you'll pick it up with
practice; look at some of the more expensive pipes for a "standard."

  - Hole drill.  Make sure the shank hole has been drilled properly.
If it meets the bowl more than about a 16th of an inch above the bottom,
it will be difficult to smoke the pipe all the way down; and therefore,
hard to build up the important heel cake.

  - Stem fit.  Make sure the stem isn't too tight to remove, or so loose
that it slips out easily.  

  - Blemishes.  I advise you don't worry about them.  Their effect on taste
is minor, if any, and your "walking-around" pipe is going to take some
abuse, anyway.  Someday you may want a beautiful "dress" pipe for those
formal occasions (the rare ones that still allow smoking).

  - Grain.  Another one not to worry about.  I've heard people argue
"straight grain conducts heat better", while others say, "curly grain means
dense wood and a cooler smoke."  My favorite pipes have either style, so
I'm a skeptic on the importance of grain.  I can vouch that you can get a
great smoke with either sort.

  - Stem material.  I'm a chewer; rubber stems last me about 3 days of
smoking before they're ruined, so the harder Lucite stems are a must.
Lucito is also more expensive, and can be hard to find on inexpensive
pipes.  You might use this as a tie-breaker.

  - Buy a corncob.  By all means, spend the money on a briar; but toss in
an extra three bucks for a Missouri Meerschaum corncob pipe.  Sure, you'll
look like a hick, but it might just smoke better than your briar.  It'll
also give you something to smoke on off days (you should let a briar rest
for a day after a day's smoking).  Cobs also make great outdoors pipes...
"Dang, my pipe fell out of my mouth and under the lawn mower!  Honey,
throw me another corncob and a match, will you ?" 

Tobacco.  Get one ounce of whatever 3-5 tobaccos smell good to you.  They
won't taste like they smell, but there's a correlation.  English blends,
for example, have an aroma that makes me think of hand-carved hardwood and
fine leather; sure enough, they taste like sawdust and burnt horse.  8-)
Seriously, though... get an ounce of whatever looks interesting.  Then
smoke the whole ounce (or as much of it as you can stand) before switching
to another blend.  The cake in a pipe takes on the flavor of the tobacco,
and it takes at least half an ounce to get the cake settled in so you get
the true flavor.  There's another advantage to having a corncob for your
second pipe - you can be trying a different blend in each pipe.

Also, be sure and ask your wife how she likes each blend; she can enjoy
your pipe almost as much as you do if you account for this, and I've been
surprised at how two blends with similar tastes can have markedly different
smells.  Also be aware that what you smell when you smoke is very different
than how others smell it.  For proof, after smoking for a while, leave the
room (and the pipe) and get some fresh air.  Come back a few minutes later
and take a whiff.

Finally, don't be afraid to tell the tobacconist you're new.  He can
provide lots of other tips on loading, tamping, lighting, etc.

And enjoy!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Bill Thacker	AT&T Network Systems - Columbus      ??????????????????

[ Now, Bill, you know better! The Recruitmobile is a white Ford
Econoline, and always features the name of a prominent local plumber.
After all, we're all in the pipe business :-)  And, as long as we're
talking about covert activities, the following words are brought to
you by M-x spook: CIA terrorist bullion KGB counterinsurgency Keyhole
encrypted Dunhill ODA. ;-) -S. ]

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From: ??????????????????? (Aryeh M. Friedman)
Subject: Re:  Pipes Digest #59 - June 21, 1991

re: tim's note
I started with a corncob and just got what ever a good cheap blend was (b
bascially just ask for a good mild cheap one) and found after tring 3 or 4 b
blends that I enjoyed them all (except maybe mild burley).  As far price goes
I got 2 oz. of tobaco and all the riggings for the pipe and the pipe it self
for around $10.  I whould suggest that you start with something cheap so you
don't have to worry about losing or damaging it also to see if you like it.
	--Aryeh (???????????????????)

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From: ?????????????????????????????? (Elias Mazur)
Subject: Welcomes, tips and pipes...

Hello everybody,

I am happy to see that the group continues to grow.  Let's hope that
we will keep adding fellow pipe smokers from all over the world and
continue to exchange information, or simply chat about pipes.  Steve,
I think it might be a good idea if you have some free time between a
Cavendish and a Balkan Sobraine, to put together a list of all the
members of the group with a brief description such as State, city,
country, etc.  And maybe in the near future we may even begin to talk
about a possible Pipe Mailgroup meeting ?? (thoughts??).

Well, again welcome to the new members.

Tim, I think it is a great idea to give up cigaretes (arghhhh!!!!) and
join the civilized world of relaxed pipe smokers.  I did it myself
about 12 years ago and definetely do not regret.  The first steps may
a little ardous.  It takes some time to fully enjoy a pipe, which I
think is very positive.  You learn how to better smoke your pipe(s)
and you grow with accostumed to them.  The first recomendation I have
for you is to buy the book from Steve Hacker "The Ultimate Book of
Pipes" - Steve if the title is wrong, please correct me. I don't have
the book with me and it is 5:30 pm :-).  It is a great book about
pipes and very fun to read.  It gives a lot of general info for the
beginner.  Steve, could you send Tim the address where to order the
book?  If you want to buy a pipe to smoke while you read it, here goes
some general tips:

- Buy a pipe in the unexpensive range, but not from drugstores.  Ask the person
at a good pipe shop to show some pipes.  Never rush to buy a pipe; take your

- Buy a smooth tobacco. Some aromatic cavendish. English tobaccos are heavy for
the beginner, although after a while those will be the only ones you want to
smoke (OK - I know this is MY VERY OWN opinion :-) just kidding. I like
aromatics every once in a while )

- Buy a pipe companion (a small instrument to push the tobacco down the bowl as
you smoke it)

- Buy pipe cleaners

- Fill the bowl sparingly the first 3 to 4 times, increasing the amount on the
next smoke.  Do not pack the tobacco tight the first time. You have to be able
to smoke it smoothly. If you make any effort to puff, it is no good. Do it

- You should not spend more than $20 in this first visit, although you
can spend a lot more if you want.

- Do not over do it.  Smoking pipe is a pleasure not a habit.

- Have fun

 Let us know about your first experiences with a pipe. Do not give up.
With little time you will be enjoying a pipe and have a great time
just like the rest of us :-)

Martin, thanks for your info about pipe shops in Munich, but
unfortunately I only received your mail after my return.  Anyway I
only spent one day in Munich and didn't have much time there.  I saw a
few pipe shops in Vienna but they were way overpriced, so I decided to
hold on for now.

- Elias

[ Good to hear back from you, Elias! I like the idea of an address
list, and of a possible meeting. However, I don't have everyone's
physical address. How about this: if the members send me mail with
this info, I'll put them on the list? More on this later. -S. ]

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

  1. Subject: Pipes Digest #59 - June 29, 1991
  2. Subject: From Cigarettes to Pipes
  3. Subject: Advice on first-time pipe buy
  4. Subject: Re: Pipes Digest #59 - June 21, 1991
  5. Subject: Welcomes, tips and pipes...
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