I have a very large, fat, thick-walled, natural finish brandyglass available if anyone is interested. It’s a grade 3, 390 €, and if no one buys it from this post I’ll just send it on the P&P as per usual. It’s an orphan, you see. I made this thing because I had firmly in my memory that someone had special-ordered a bent brandyglass, preferably natural finish, et voila, here she is! But, upon going back through my pile of email orders and requests, I can find no evidence of the original contact, and now have no idea who asked for the pipe.

It’s also highly possible I am insane, and imagined the whole thing. The bookshelves do speak to me regularly, after all.

Anyway, it is now available to anyone interested, and it does pass a pipecleaner straight down to the bowl despite being nearly a full bent, though a little wiggling is sometimes required. Someday I’m going to write a post about how to drill a steep airhole to just behind the bottom of the bowl, rather than into it, in order to open the airhole from the bowl bottom back into the airhole, rather than having the usual problem of a steeply-inclined airhole that ends up being half a centimeter above the bottom.

But not today! The only thing I wanted to mention today was to make a comment about thick walls and heat. I often hear guys say they like thick-walled pipes because “they don’t smoke as hot”. The problem is, this isn’t true – We just don’t feel the heat of the burn because there’s a lot more insulation between our fingers and the chamber. It’s actually a deceptive danger, because it’s much easier to smoke a thick-walled pipe too hot and damage the walls, without being aware of it. Thin-walled pipes are like early warning systems – If it gets too hot to hold, put it down and let it rest. It’s a lot trickier to tell when to do this with something the size of your fist! I just try to time mine – If I have a really large pipe, I’ll typically set it down midway through the bowl, just to keep it healthy and reduce any burning risks.

There are two entirely different meanings of “hot smoking”, when the term is used. One fellow says a pipe smokes hot because the bowl gets hot in his hand. This factor depends largely on the thickness and density of the wood. Another fellow will say “hot smoking” meaning the smoke has a lot of bite – it’s harsh on the tongue. This is probably more often the result of a poor tobacco choice (or a body chemistry mismatch – it happens) than the fault of the pipe, but some pipes do indeed smoke hotter than others. That again is a factor of the briar density and more importantly, the airhole size and ease of draw. A wide-open draw can smoke well, but puff too hard and it’s easy to get the burn stoked up enough to sizzle the chamber walls, too. That’s why matching the airhole size to the chamber size is such a big part of making a good-smoking pipe.

Categories: Pipe Blog

1 Comment

je fume donc je suis · January 24, 2007 at 3:43 pm

You are, of course, absolutely correct in your observations about pipes being too hot to hold versus overheating the bowl. These are two matters that may or may not occur simultaneously.

The other matter, which may seem somewhat counter-intuitive, is that the heat one feels in the hand is radiating from the bowl. Radiation is a cooling process which helps to dissipate the bowl’s heat, whereas thicker walls insulate and will tend to retain the heat. A thinner walled bowl will always feel warmer than a thick one but both can be burnt if smoked too hot and both can be enjoyed if smoked sensibly. I love them all through thick and thin 😉

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