As the Turkish saying goes, “If your beard’s on fire, other’s will light their pipes on it”, and the same is true when first time pipe buyers, who are shopping for cheap pipes, since they often suffer at the hands of pipe dealers. However, with some basic knowledge on what to look for, inexpensive pipes are perfectly capable of delivering a smooth and pleasurable smoke.
Types of Cheap Pipes
Tobacco pipe smokers are a vain lot, and it seems that aesthetic appeal the overarching concern, when choosing a pipe. Of course, the pipes mechanics and price must also be regarded, but it is the look of a pipe which first attracts buyers to even consider the other two factors. Consequently, with more than a 100 standard shapes and an infinite number of free formed pipes available, new smokers are often overwhelmed.
Tobacco Pipe Materials
Materials used in pipe making are extremely wide-ranging. The bowl, or tobacco combustion chamber, is normally carved from a densely grained wood, such as briar, cherry wood, olive wood, maple or oak although other materials, including corncob, meerschaum, clay and soapstone, may also be used. Smokers looking for cheap pipes should concentrate on briar or corncob pipes since these tend to be inexpensive, and the properties of the materials will still offer very rewarding smoke.
Cheap Tobacco Pipes
Particularly in cheap pipes, varnished and other sealed finishes to the bowl are best avoided as they may flake and bubble. The draft hole must be well centered in the bowl, ensuring a smooth draw. It should also sit completely in the bottom of the bowl and not extend up the sides of the bowl.With exception of some clay pipes, the shank, or stem, of the pipe is normally detachable and made from materials like vulcanite, Bakelite, and soft plastic. Sometimes reeds or bamboo, are also used, and in rare cases, amber has been used for very luxurious pipes.
Tobacco Pipe Fit
Examine closely how snugly the fit is between the mouthpiece and the stem. Then look carefully at the join between the stem and the bowl. Avoid any ill-fitting or badly aligning parts since this will cause turbulence in the smoke stream, resulting in loud, wet smoking. Some cheap pipes also have metal fillers in the shank of the pipe and these can cause condensation, again causing a noisy, damp smoke. Likewise, steer clear of pipes with parts which fit too tightly, as this can lead to the disastrous cracking of the shank.
Tobacco Pipe Weight
Overall, look for a pipe which feels lighter than it looks. The weight of a pipe directly affects smoking pleasure as heavy pipes can be fatiguing on the mouth, and lighter-weighing pipes may have been cured more thoroughly.By observing this simple advice, for selecting cheap pipes, new pipe smokers will be savoring the taste of their favorite tobacco blend and enjoying a whole new understanding of the old Irish proverb, “Smoke your pipe and be silent; there’s only wind and smoke in the world,” in no time.