I should introduce you guys to some Christians. You might be shocked at some of the extreme statements they take as gospel. Well...hugodrax wrote: ↑Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:40 pmOh, I expect he's correct about most things he writes about. I don't grudge him his knowledge. It's there and unmistakable. I tend to agree with him on most things. His personality and mine are just oil and water. He wrote that book to make sure you knew he'd written an authoritative book. The fact that it was informative as well seemed to be a secondary consideration.Rusty wrote: ↑Sat Sep 16, 2017 3:28 pmLOL! Thanks. I'll have to see if my library (or any library) carries the book. This is intriguing.hugodrax wrote: ↑Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:31 pmYou're very kind. That man doesn't write so much as masturbate, and his book was a monument to onanism. He might be a good man. He may be a kind man. He probably loves his family. But boy, that book stunk on ice to the point I don't think I could give the fellow a fair shake in real life.durangopipe wrote: ↑Sat Sep 16, 2017 2:19 pmYes, and to a degree I tend to agree with him on that.Rusty wrote: ↑Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:17 pmI've never read his book. But he was the one who provide a nice guide to colouring meerschaums in the spring 2003 issue of P&T magazine. I became a beeswax maniac and a licensed evangelist. Please, if you could, provide a sampling of some of his "idiosyncratic assertions". Maybe there are more manias awaiting. LOL!
Wasn't he the one who 'preached' about opening airways?
His writing is often done without qualification or suggestion of nuance. I'm not sure he is unaware of these complications, but the writing is not rigorous in this regard.
His insistence that all pipes be opened up to 5/32" or even more regardless of other design parameters neglects the interaction of other variables. And in his writing about open airways, in one essay he leaves the impression that simply opening the airway will leave the smoker with a pipe that they can set down for several minutes and always come back to later to find a pipe still possessing a healthy ember.
Another piece similarly lacking in nuance appears to suggest that the quality of smoke a pipe provides is exclusively the consequence (our at least overwhelmingly) of the qualities of the piece of briar from which the pipe is made. That he asserts elsewhere the tremendous influence of airway dimensions would indicate that neither of these assertions, as they appear in separate essays, is intended to be taken as simplistically as they appear - but the writing, as a critic might suggest, is flaccid in this regard.
My guess is that he did not intend to assert either to the degree of exclusivity the individual pieces seem to suggest, but he might well leave many readers with those sorts of impressions. In one essay he creates the impression that he is asserting, for example, that the only difference between the smoking experience of a Chonowitsch and a less expensive production pipe is aesthetic, the quality of that experience lying in the briar not the execution. My experience leads me to believe that some pipemakers have learned a great deal through pipe making and pipe smoking experience (along with innate talent and a gift for pipemaking), and as a result they have developed a rare intuition regarding the almost unknowable number of variables (including but not limited to the size and shape of various apertures within the pipe and qualities of briar) that work together synergistically to create a superlative smoke. The best piece of briar in the wrong hands, in my opinion, will yield a pipe that smokes terribly.
But the point he was trying to make in that essay that snobbery about the stamp on the pipe has no place in our hobby, and that a particular Peterson or Stanwell might smoke as well or better than a particular pipe made by a highly regarded pipe maker, again, is one I agree with.
Once again, it was the lack of clarity in the writing that failed to make his overriding point about snobbery clear.
He received a lot of criticism for appearing to assert (yet again, without sufficient nuance or elaboration) that all pipes need to have been smoked at least 50 to 100 times before any judgement can be made about their smoking qualities. It's the dogmatism of such positions in the writing that is idiosyncratic and questionable. When pressed in conversation, I understand he willingly modifies such assertions. But that conversation and those qualifications do not always appear in his essays.
To his credit, he does report a great many varying opinions regarding how one should go about breaking in a new pipe before making his own suggestions, and even includes the contrary advice of some to just load a new pipe up to the rim and not worry about it at all.
My belief is that he is a valuable and knowledgeable resource to the pipe community, that he is justifiably opinionated, but that he either did not have access to a capable editor or this book was self-edited and the book suffered for it.
Overall, I enjoyed the book.
I tend to be very critical of poor editing.
I started opening problem pipes, almost 20 years ago now, and I was amazed at the result. I was very conservative and would alternate very small changes with smoking tests. I was quite surprised at how dramatic the changes were. I toyed with a shim to close the giant mortise gap in one of my pipes because I couldn't make a new tenon. I was just fascinated at the dramatic results. But I started with problem pipes.
I think he's right about airways, having done the experiments, though he may be a bit extreme (I never opened any pipe to 5/32"), and I also suspect he's correct about Chonowitsch vs. other pipes, and the role of briar. What's the score? This is from experience rather than reading Newcomb.
Perhaps I don't need the book?
The only thing I'm of two minds about is the wide open airway. I agree it makes a pipe smoke better, but paradoxically, I always end up with a mouthful of ashes because I learned to smoke on British airways. Get it? Yeah, I apologize.
Here's another puzzle. Most Italian pipes really do have a marvelous flavour yet when we experience Italian/ Corsican / Sardinian etc briar in the hands of pipe makers from Denmark, Britain, Canada, etc it doesn't taste like pipes made in Italy/ Corsica etc. This is when they're new. I'm wondering whether the location where the briar is cured has some role here. And what the heck does Castello do to their briar that it seems to have a flavour gain bump in the higher end spectrum. They're different. Really interesting with Virginias.
I had dropped and snapped the tenon on my Savinelli Autograph. They replaced the tenon, which I thought was just fine. But it didn't 'taste'/smoke like my Autograph anymore. Very odd but also frustrating. I really enjoyed the flavour I got from that pipe. For a few years I didn't smoke it. I finally decided to take a close look at it and see what had changed. I determined that the airway in the tenon had not been matched to the airway in the stem. It was much narrower. That was my first excursion with my drill press. I incrementally drilled out the tenon to match the stem airway. And the result was that it tasted like my Autograph again. Small changes in the airway will effect flavour.