Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by Jocose » Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:21 pm

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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by FredS » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:22 pm

Based on something a dead guy wrote long ago, Goose wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:14 am
. . .This [dense, straight, vertical grain] is actually a very desirable thing, for the vertical grain will not absorb excessive tars, moisture, etc., as the birdseye will. Such a pipe can be smoked "harder," or many times, and will not sour, and need less time to dry/ rest.
This all may or may not be true Goose. In theory.

In practice I doubt you'd notice a difference in the smoking quality of a straight grained or a cross grained pipe. Or a smooth pipe or a rusticated pipe. I'd like to buy in to Mr Ehwa's premises but I never experienced the benefits or problems he describes so it just doesn't ring true to me. The guy was from Kansas City so he had to be a sharp fellow. On the other hand, he was a pipe and tobacco merchant so his natural inclination was to steer folks towards higher end goods.
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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by Rusty » Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:39 pm

Goose55 wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:10 am
More newb questions here:

Is a tight, dense vertical grain pipe with birdseye at the bottom made from plateau briar?
Yes. It's at the rim too. And as one walks the grades in any pipe maker's offerings the price goes up with straighter denser grain organized vertically. That's the most expensive. It's built into Dunhill's grading (check out the DR letter grades), Upshall's grading (B, G, E, X, XX), all the Italians, Danes, etc. The other block category is ebauchon and it's not the outer block layer on a burl where the plateau is. Ebauchon is usually mixed grain and most standard production shapes are made from it. This is all more aesthetic than functional. But it's true. The cross grains are usually cut from plateau as well. JMG's block shows this in his thread viewtopic.php?f=28&t=35827 and it is a good example.
Goose55 wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:10 am
And if so, are there certain special qualities, other than such a pipes ability to keep from souring, that this part of the burl has? I am thinking about maybe certain nutrients & minerals that are maybe taken up by the burl,... to impart a better flavor to such a pipe?
As far as I can tell whether it's vertical grain, cross grain, straight grain, or no grain doesn't seem to have any effect on the flavour of the pipe. So I think Ehwa is reasoning without evidence. If he was right and there was evidence then I would have found it. I have not. I spent most my pipe smoking years chasing briar. 45 years and 160 pipes later there is nothing to this. The grain appears to be just an aesthetic attribute. But it is what we pay for.

I've done tests to see if I can sour a pipe and I failed. It was a cross grain too. So the birdseye was all over the sides of the bowl. If Ehwa was right I was going to permanently sour and kill the pipe. Over 500 bowls through it without any cleaning at all. KILL KILL KILL! I tortured the pipe with tobacco. I really did. Day after day I loaded it and smoked it. Not one day off. The thing became so occluded with tar that I had to leave a pipe cleaner in it between uses just so it would draw at all! Otherwise it closed up solid. BTW the old boys of the past did this routinely. Of course it took on the flavour of the tobacco. I smoked it every day for over a year sometimes multiple times per day. I figured why not push it while it was wet. I once smoked it back to back three times without even letting it cool. Let's use every advantage to sour the beast. KILL KILL KILL. Didn't matter. Strangely it tasted better and better every day. I couldn't believe it. Rusty vs. Pipe and the bloody pipe was winning. It developed a sweetness to it that I really enjoyed. That pipe stood up to my worst abuse. You could not describe it as sour. After a little over a year I reamed out the cake and cleaned out the tar and let it rest. I now do that to all my pipes, with the exception that I trim cake and run pipe cleaners through them regularly. They're not sour. They're very good tasters. If anything they develop a curious sweetness to them that is quite unique to briar. I know why all the old guys loved their funky stinking old briars. They're excellent and they don't sour.

There appears to be no easy way to sour any pipe intentionally. And that's where I rest. Ehwa's theory is not observed in practice. The world of briar does not work that way. Long before I did that load test I used to clean the pipes out with alcohol after about every dozen bowls or so. It seemed to me that pipe flavour was better when they were dirty than clean. It was like the pipe would regress with cleaning. Also there is a period of about the first 50-100 bowls of tobacco where the briar is contributing to the flavour of the pipe. After that the contribution of the briar isn't discernible anymore. This appears to be true whether it's our pipe from new or an estate pipe. So if you want to taste the contribution of briar to the flavour you have to buy a new pipe and start there.

The other thing that is borne out by all of this is that briar is absorbent and it does absorb the flavours of tobacco. That is one of its attributes and it's true with meerschaum, morta, and cobs too. So fighting 'ghosts' is also denying an attribute of the briar. I think your cleaning regimen is nuts. But you can be nuts if you want.

As for minerals and such there may be something to this. But the grain orientation doesn't seem to matter. You've also forgotten gender. And where (location and climate) that the pipe is cured. The latter seems to matter a lot. It's very hard to account for the variation between briar pipes. It's hard to account for why the Italians make so many really good tasters. With meerschaum there is no variation; they all taste the same, but with briar there is a lot of variation. But grain doesn't seem to matter in any functional way.
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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by Goose55 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:20 pm

Rusty, I will give your detailed post the proper attention and response it deserves when I have more time tomorrow.

Thanks
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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by hugodrax » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:23 pm

Goose55 wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:20 pm
Rusty, I will give your detailed post the proper attention and response it deserves when I have more time tomorrow.

Thanks
Hopefully you will respond from your own experience.
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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by Jocose » Sun Jul 09, 2017 1:25 am

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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by Goose55 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:45 am

Rusty wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:39 pm
Goose55 wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:10 am
More newb questions here:

Is a tight, dense vertical grain pipe with birdseye at the bottom made from plateau briar?
Yes. It's at the rim too. And as one walks the grades in any pipe maker's offerings the price goes up with straighter denser grain organized vertically. That's the most expensive. It's built into Dunhill's grading (check out the DR letter grades), Upshall's grading (B, G, E, X, XX), all the Italians, Danes, etc. The other block category is ebauchon and it's not the outer block layer on a burl where the plateau is. Ebauchon is usually mixed grain and most standard production shapes are made from it. This is all more aesthetic than functional. But it's true. The cross grains are usually cut from plateau as well. JMG's block shows this in his thread viewtopic.php?f=28&t=35827 and it is a good example.
Goose55 wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:10 am
And if so, are there certain special qualities, other than such a pipes ability to keep from souring, that this part of the burl has? I am thinking about maybe certain nutrients & minerals that are maybe taken up by the burl,... to impart a better flavor to such a pipe?
As far as I can tell whether it's vertical grain, cross grain, straight grain, or no grain doesn't seem to have any effect on the flavour of the pipe. So I think Ehwa is reasoning without evidence. If he was right and there was evidence then I would have found it. I have not. I spent most my pipe smoking years chasing briar. 45 years and 160 pipes later there is nothing to this. The grain appears to be just an aesthetic attribute. But it is what we pay for.

I've done tests to see if I can sour a pipe and I failed. It was a cross grain too. So the birdseye was all over the sides of the bowl. If Ehwa was right I was going to permanently sour and kill the pipe. Over 500 bowls through it without any cleaning at all. KILL KILL KILL! I tortured the pipe with tobacco. I really did. Day after day I loaded it and smoked it. Not one day off. The thing became so occluded with tar that I had to leave a pipe cleaner in it between uses just so it would draw at all! Otherwise it closed up solid. BTW the old boys of the past did this routinely. Of course it took on the flavour of the tobacco. I smoked it every day for over a year sometimes multiple times per day. I figured why not push it while it was wet. I once smoked it back to back three times without even letting it cool. Let's use every advantage to sour the beast. KILL KILL KILL. Didn't matter. Strangely it tasted better and better every day. I couldn't believe it. Rusty vs. Pipe and the bloody pipe was winning. It developed a sweetness to it that I really enjoyed. That pipe stood up to my worst abuse. You could not describe it as sour. After a little over a year I reamed out the cake and cleaned out the tar and let it rest. I now do that to all my pipes, with the exception that I trim cake and run pipe cleaners through them regularly. They're not sour. They're very good tasters. If anything they develop a curious sweetness to them that is quite unique to briar. I know why all the old guys loved their funky stinking old briars. They're excellent and they don't sour.

There appears to be no easy way to sour any pipe intentionally. And that's where I rest. Ehwa's theory is not observed in practice. The world of briar does not work that way. Long before I did that load test I used to clean the pipes out with alcohol after about every dozen bowls or so. It seemed to me that pipe flavour was better when they were dirty than clean. It was like the pipe would regress with cleaning. Also there is a period of about the first 50-100 bowls of tobacco where the briar is contributing to the flavour of the pipe. After that the contribution of the briar isn't discernible anymore. This appears to be true whether it's our pipe from new or an estate pipe. So if you want to taste the contribution of briar to the flavour you have to buy a new pipe and start there.

The other thing that is borne out by all of this is that briar is absorbent and it does absorb the flavours of tobacco. That is one of its attributes and it's true with meerschaum, morta, and cobs too. So fighting 'ghosts' is also denying an attribute of the briar. I think your cleaning regimen is nuts. But you can be nuts if you want.

As for minerals and such there may be something to this. But the grain orientation doesn't seem to matter. You've also forgotten gender. And where (location and climate) that the pipe is cured. The latter seems to matter a lot. It's very hard to account for the variation between briar pipes. It's hard to account for why the Italians make so many really good tasters. With meerschaum there is no variation; they all taste the same, but with briar there is a lot of variation. But grain doesn't seem to matter in any functional way.
The only thing I can say to all this is, from my own experience, is that I have had failed attempts/ journeys with the pipe in the past. And those came to an end because I was doing as you described,... "killing the pipe" out of sheer neglect. Never cleaning it. Not even running a pipe cleaner through it. I have no recollection of even having bought pipe cleaners for the one and only pipe I had. I just kept refilling it with Captain Black and chugging away until it became so bitter and vile that I chucked both pipe and tobacco. Of course, a lot of this had to do with my trying to enjoy only syrupy, goopy, Captain Black.

But now that I have ventured for well over a year into non aromatics, and been fastidious in keeping pipes clean, I have derived great pleasure from pipes and tobaccos.

And yet there is a curiously pleasant experience I have recently had with a beautiful straight vertical grain Pipa Croci I have been relishing. In my focusing on restoring this new-to-me beautiful estate pipe's exterior, I--heavens to Betsy--must have haphazardly forgotten to muck out the shank/ mortise. I in fact just discovered this last night, twisting quite a bit of grain alcohol dampened paper towel into the shank. And previous to this, the several bowls of McClelland 2015 were progressively giving my smokes an indescribable, yet very intriguing flavor that I had never tasted before. "Is this the briar I am tasting?" I thought. As hard as it is for me to admit, I now can say without any reservation, that this additional flavor must have come from what maybe was those--who knows how long--hard as rock residual tars, etc., that were coming back to life with each additional smoke.

Do I now regret cleaning out the shank last night? Kinda, yeah. Why did I nevertheless proceed with the cleaning? Full speed ahead. Steady as she goes. Standard practice.

I will smoke this pipe again and most likely miss the mysterious taste. Will I be able to regain it? Through experimentation, I shall see. But I am still going to draw the line in not smoking bald, grain-less briar.
Last edited by Goose55 on Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by hugodrax » Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:58 am

Great post.
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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by Del » Sun Jul 09, 2017 1:15 pm

hugodrax wrote:
Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:58 am
Great post.
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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by durangopipe » Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:36 pm

Goose wrote:I will smoke this pipe again and most likely miss the mysterious taste. Will I be able to regain it? Through experimentation, I shall see. But I am still going to draw the line in not smoking bald, grain-less briar.
Diogenes can stop looking.
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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by Goose55 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:32 pm

durangopipe wrote:
Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:36 pm
Goose wrote:I will smoke this pipe again and most likely miss the mysterious taste. Will I be able to regain it? Through experimentation, I shall see. But I am still going to draw the line in not smoking bald, grain-less briar.
Diogenes can stop looking.
We have found an honest man
I do miss the mysterious taste that was apparently in that pipe's time hardened tar that I now realize, regrettably, I scrubbed out of it the other night.

Eh gads. How could I be saying such a thing? :confused:
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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by durangopipe » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:41 pm

Goose55 wrote:
Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:32 pm
durangopipe wrote:
Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:36 pm
Goose wrote:I will smoke this pipe again and most likely miss the mysterious taste. Will I be able to regain it? Through experimentation, I shall see. But I am still going to draw the line in not smoking bald, grain-less briar.
Diogenes can stop looking.
We have found an honest man
I do miss the mysterious taste that was apparently in that pipe's time hardened tar that I now realize, regrettably, I scrubbed out of it the other night.

Eh gads. How could I be saying such a thing? :confused:
At the risk of sounding like a fortune cookie:

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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by hugodrax » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:45 pm

Goose55 wrote:
Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:32 pm
durangopipe wrote:
Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:36 pm
Goose wrote:I will smoke this pipe again and most likely miss the mysterious taste. Will I be able to regain it? Through experimentation, I shall see. But I am still going to draw the line in not smoking bald, grain-less briar.
Diogenes can stop looking.
We have found an honest man
I do miss the mysterious taste that was apparently in that pipe's time hardened tar that I now realize, regrettably, I scrubbed out of it the other night.

Eh gads. How could I be saying such a thing? :confused:
Don't feel bad. I would have scrubbed it out, too. While u like some crud in there, I do prefer it to be my own crud. :lol:

It's easy to build back up, by the way. Don't take the stem off so much, or, if you do, don't shank brush the stummel.

Did I ever tell you I'm a big fan of keeping the bits clean inside? I am. I like the shank goo.
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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by Goose55 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:03 pm

hugodrax wrote:
Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:45 pm
Did I ever tell you I'm a big fan of keeping the bits clean inside? I am. I like the shank goo.
No, I did not know you like clean stems.

Would you like a bottle of Dawn? I have plenty.
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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by hugodrax » Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:10 pm

Goose55 wrote:
Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:03 pm
hugodrax wrote:
Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:45 pm
Did I ever tell you I'm a big fan of keeping the bits clean inside? I am. I like the shank goo.
No, I did not know you like clean stems.

Would you like a bottle of Dawn? I have plenty.
I said "clean," Goose. You heard "batpoo crazy overkill." :P
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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by FredS » Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:57 pm

Goose55 wrote:
Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:03 pm
hugodrax wrote:
Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:45 pm
Did I ever tell you I'm a big fan of keeping the bits clean inside? I am. I like the shank goo.
No, I did not know you like clean stems.

Would you like a bottle of Dawn? I have plenty.
Now that's funny! :rotfl:
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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by Goose55 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:49 am

A big hunk of stunningly beautiful briar headed my way. I can't wait to get my hands on it. An enormous hand made in Denmark, Bari Wiking. Full bent, over 7 inches long...

No "natural exposed plateau" here, as in so many of the Freehands, but I think this briar is plateau briar....

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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by Rusty » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:09 pm

Goose55 wrote:
Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:49 am
A big hunk of stunningly beautiful briar headed my way. I can't wait to get my hands on it. An enormous hand made in Denmark, Bari Wiking. Full bent, over 7 inches long...

No "natural exposed plateau" here, as in so many of the Freehands, but I think this briar is plateau briar....

Image
Image
It's been a long time since I've read or heard that brand mentioned. Almost certainly plateau.
It's as Fred said... you're turning into a fiend. I'm wondering whether the pipe cleaning & maintenance habits will change in response to all this effort.
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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by Goose55 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:22 pm

Rusty wrote:
Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:09 pm
It's been a long time since I've read or heard that brand mentioned. Almost certainly plateau.
It's as Fred said... you're turning into a fiend.

I'm wondering whether the pipe cleaning & maintenance habits will change in response to all this effort.
Yes. It will, and already has.

I am actually grieving the loss of the time capsuled, encrusted tar that I had accidentally left in the Pipa Croci estate I recently refurbed. I was enjoying the taste of this pipe very much, but then mucked out the tar with Ever Clear.

But I will get it back! No more Ever Clear soaked paper towel or shank brushes into the mortise area/ draft hole of my pipes.

I could never believe tar gooped up in the mortise would taste so good,... until I experienced it, by mistake.
Last edited by Goose55 on Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Natural exposed plateau and pipe shape

Post by FredS » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:31 pm

Finding, buying, cleaning, and smoking new pipes is a harmless enough activity if you have the spare cash. As we see TNLP leave the hobby, we see Goose picking it up. I prefer to buy pipes in person at the pipe shop, pipe shows, and second hand shops/auctions, but the internet has made it easier for guys in more remote areas to get in on the fun of the hunt.

Tally Ho! Goose.
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