Briar is the most popular material used for crafting tobacco pipes. Most of the pipes you see in your local retailer or online are made from this unique wood. Briar comes from the roots of the Erica Arborea tree, primarily growing near the Mediterranean Sea. Due to it’s saltwater-tolerant growing conditions, briar is extremely durable, heat resistant and breathable. Briar is porous on a microscopic level, which allows it to absorb the heat and oil produced by burning tobacco.
Corncob, often shortened to cob, is the most affordable material. Corn cob pipes are made by drying out a cob of corn, drilling out the center, and attaching a stem. Smokers love cob pipes because they are inexpensive, easy to maintain, and culturally nostalgic. Meerschaum is a material found in Turkey near the Black Sea. Authentic meerschaum is significantly more expensive than corn cob or briar. This is because meerschaum is a material that is easily carved. Most of the time meerschaum pipes have an intricate design, which puts them in the premium price category. Despite their expense, Meerschaum pipes are highly sought after.
Once you’ve chosen the material, it is time to decide what shape will work best for you. There are many different ways to decide what shape to buy. Some smokers only want fat pipes, others only want skinny. Some enjoy long stemmed pipes, but others prefer the stem to be as short as possible. Some smokers just pick the shape that “speaks” to them at that moment. However, a few guiding principles will help you get the most out of your early smoking experiences. To see an intensive guide of pipe shape options, visit A Complete Guide to Tobacco Pipe Shapes. Consider these four things when choosing the perfect pipe for you. Understanding how the size and shape of the chamber affects your smoking experience in many ways. Simply put, the more tobacco you have the longer and stronger your smoke will be. If you’re sitting down to smoke for a long time, a bowl with a large diameter or a deeper depth is preferable. If you just want the occasional short smoke, you don’t have time to take a long break at work, or you want to smoke multiple tobaccos in one sitting, you should stick with a smaller chamber. As for the shape of the chamber, there are only a few variations. But some pipes, such as a Dublin, have a conical chamber that tapers in diameter down the bowl. This usually speeds up the burning process and intensifies the flavor at the end of the smoke. However, the shape of the bowl is not the only part of the pipe design that affects how the pipe smokes. Deciding between a straight or a bent stem is much more important than you might think. Straight and bent stems perform in different way s. In addition, straight stems allow smoke to flow directly to the mouth, which could result in more intense flavor from your tobacco. The bend makes the pipe easier to clench in the jaw, hold in the hand and even light. A bent stem also assists in keeping moisture away from the mouth of the smoker. That’s why so many smokers have both in their collections. However, most pipe smokers tend to lean towards one type or the other. You have most likely noticed a plethora of pipe shapes, styles, materials, and finishes by now.
While most aspects of the pipes construction directly, or indirectly, affect the pipes performance, not all do. To be honest the finish of a pipe has no legitimate stakes in the pipes performance. Some say it makes a cooler smoke, but we couldn't verify that it actually does. The choice between a smooth, rustic, sandblasted, or other custom finished pipe will not affect your pipe smoking experience at all at the beginning. Something you should keep in mind is what exactly you plan to be doing with your pipe. Are you going to be smoking it while mowing the yard? Or will this pipe of yours only be for special occasions? Our point is simply that you may not want to mow the yard while smoking an artisan pipe that cost a few hundred dollars. We suggest that new pipe smokers start with a moderately priced pipe--perhaps a pipe that costs between $25-50.
As you fall in love with the hobby you may want to expand you collection to include more expensive pipes. In the United States most tobacco pipe smokers prefer unfiltered pipes, but in many European countries only filtered pipes are available. Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to use a filter: Types of Pipe Filters. There are three common styles of pipe filters: pass-through filters, absorption filters, and condensers.