View Full Version : Problem?

12-13-2014, 01:38 PM
http://i1371.photobucket.com/albums/ag298/thesheepdog1/20141213_140820_zps43f95b03.jpg (http://s1371.photobucket.com/user/thesheepdog1/media/20141213_140820_zps43f95b03.jpg.html)

I was sitting outside in the sun smoking my older pipe and happened to notice the inside edges of the bowl are cracking? Never saw this before. Any ideas if this is the end of the pipe?

12-14-2014, 10:37 AM
Guess nobody knows either. I will set this one aside for a while I guess. I hope it isnt a death sentence for the pipe!

12-14-2014, 10:51 AM
I've never had it happen. I do, however try not to touch flame to the pipe rim. Sure, it happens sometimes, but I try to only touch the flame to the tobacco.

I have no idea if that could be the issue here, but the pipe rim in the pic is really charred.

But I also mainly smoke a cob.

12-14-2014, 10:53 AM
This is what I found researching the interwebz

"Burnout's can occur for a variety of reasons or combinations of reasons. The most common cause of burnout is lighter abuse. When a pipe is new and relatively unsmoked it is vulnerable. The interior walls of the pipe are literally naked. Intense flame as produced by a lighter being sucked down the bare wall of a pipe will certainly cause it to char and crack. Unless immediately fixed will certainly lead the pipe to burnout. A suggestion to avoid this would be to use matches until the pipe develops a carbon cake. Don't try to ignite the last flake of tobacco with your lighter. Tobacco is cheaper than a pipe and a little can be sacrificed in order to preserve it. My second suggestion is to never use a lighter at all even after a pipe is broken in. As this is impractical for a lot of people I would suggest using a lighter with care."

12-14-2014, 11:42 AM
The pipe is older and had a pretty decent cake going already. It did sit for 5 years while I was unable to smoke it. (illness) Maybe it got kind of dry. Guilty yes as I used a cigar lighter on it. butane) Most of the black on the top is natural coloring from when the pipe was new to me. My dad used a zippo. I got it from my dad who smoked it for years before me.

The pipe has a mark but strange to me.. It just says "Al Kala Algerie 1953"

It is a lovely pipe to smoke. I hope it can be conserved.

12-14-2014, 12:00 PM
I'd say step away from the butane cigar lighter. Maybe try a soft flame butane

12-14-2014, 12:15 PM
yep. Using matches until I get one. I could always start using the zippo I have I guess. All the other pipes show no ill effects however. Sux.

12-14-2014, 05:40 PM
Have you benn using a torch lighter? If so, I' suggest that could have caused it.

12-14-2014, 06:15 PM
If you mean single jet butane cigar lighter then yes. But I used the same lighter on all my other pipes (10) without problem. I light the middle not the edges. Still consensus is that I did cause this so I accept that. Sux.

12-14-2014, 11:47 PM
Take a look at this guy's site. I'm having some work done by him right now. He does complete restorations quite reasonably.


I've been using paper matches because I figure they burn cooler and it's easier to pull a flame straight down into the bowl from a match than from a lighter that shoots a flame, even if it's a soft one. Also, the mechanics of paper matches is just more instinctive than wood.

12-15-2014, 08:36 AM
Thanks! I will talk to him!

12-15-2014, 09:10 AM
If you mean single jet butane cigar lighter then yes. But I used the same lighter on all my other pipes (10) without problem. I light the middle not the edges. Still consensus is that I did cause this so I accept that. Sux.

Bill, if I can make a suggestion, get yourself a soft flame butane lighter or even a Zippo. I know many say that the fluid in a Zippo produces a strange flavor that take quite a few puffs to get out, and that may be true, but it does work. Matches are a great thing to use as well. Yes, it takes longer than the single jet, but... Also, just because your single jet flame is in the center of your pipe, there is a large area around that flame (not visible to the naked eye) is actually way hotter than a soft flame. If you do an experiment, you can light something on fire a good 1/2 to a full inch aside from the visible portion of the flame. While lighting a big cigar, my Ronson Jet Lite got so hot by the button I could not use it for a bit.

Briar is funny, for not all briar is equal. It is a natural product, the burl root of the heath plant. Depending on amount of rain, nutrients in the soil, etc... the burl (kind of a huge knot in the root) from which briar pipes are made can be more porous or less, contain more oil or less, may be denser or less, (I think you get the idea). As briar ages, it does dry out some - and this may make it more susceptible to burning like this.

What that means is, that while you may use your single torch flame on 10, only one will be affected adversely. However, it might just be the other way around, 9 of 10.

Sorry it is a sad lesson to learn. Hopefully you can get it restored.

12-15-2014, 09:21 AM
Take a look at this guy's site. I'm having some work done by him right now. He does complete restorations quite reasonably.


I've been using paper matches because I figure they burn cooler and it's easier to pull a flame straight down into the bowl from a match than from a lighter that shoots a flame, even if it's a soft one. Also, the mechanics of paper matches is just more instinctive than wood.

GREAT info. I have a pipe with a a broken stem tip.

12-15-2014, 09:57 AM
Thanks Todd. I guess when you have 6 lighters every situation looks like a butane job. I am going to try matches and then start looking for a soft flame lighter. I do have a zippo and will see if it taints the taste. I know that with cigars I found that if you let the flame burn a few seconds before lighting the taste was minimal if at all.

Now I need to search out a nice pipe soft flame lighter I guess! That pipe was older and probably more brittle. It was also a favorite. Damn. Just damn.

12-17-2014, 05:32 AM
Thought I would toss in my .02

First of all Flame throwers for pipes are just no good for lighting a pipe... Ok joking aside there is some information on smoking a pipe that a lot of people may not think about. That is Pipe tobacco burns around 932 degrees F a soft flame lighter burns at 3590F and matches that are wood and mostly made of Aspen wood burn at a cooler rate of 1110F to 1470F, While the smoker can be a fast smoker it is said they can smoke alittle fast at a temp as high as 1148 F. Where a slower smoker is said to be as cool as 715F at the combustion area (Glow Point) With all that said one can take the idea that the Torch heat that is around 4530F one will burn your pipe, make the tobacco have a bad taste and with all that said

Here is what I do, I use my Zippo pipe lighter that is made with a hole on the side to put the flame over the bowl and draw the flame down into the tobacco (Or I use my Sidekick refillable lighter that is made for pipes because the flame can be pivoted to the side. Once the tobacco is lit and as I am smoking I may use it again for a touch up, however most times I will use Wooden matches on all relight keeping the flame as close the to normal combustion temperatures. This in theory keeping tongue bite down and maintaining the best flavors of the tobacco. Only time this isn't the case is when I am smoking tobacco that is heavy in Turkish tobaccos and that is because they tend to burn warmer then other tobaccos at 1490F.

My Zippo don't have any bad smells or flavors using Zippo after they redesigned it. Also using Ronsonol fluid I don't have much if any smells or extra flavors as long as I am lighting a pipe that is of normal size of around 5.5" or longer. Only time I have had any funny flavors with Ronsonol is on Mini pipes and only on the first couple of puffs to light the pipe.

Please keep in mind the numbers above on burn rate of tobacco was of VA tobaccos and I am sure that it could be even higher on tobaccos like Aromatics that are topped and cased and is one of the reasons that people have tongue bite with Aromatics more then straight tobaccos.

Also another factor in the thermo of smoking pipe has to do with packing and tamping of the pipe. It is hard for one to give advise on how to pack or tamp tobacco because not everyone is smoking the same pipe or tobacco. I found that some pipes can smoke best with a VERY tight pack job and some has to have a loose pack. Then tamping isn't to repack the tobacco but to move the ash down to the combustion zone of the tobacco so it will burn at the right temp.

Bill, I am sorry about your pipe, if you have read this far here is what I would do with your pipe if it was mine. I would ream your pipe back down to briar, as you are going I would keep checking it, if the char isn't to deep I would just ream past that point, sand your rim down to briar add some wax to the rim, and then break in your pipe again as it was new adding cake with some Prince Albert or Carter Hall, ONce you have about 4 to 6 bowls of Prince Albert smoked though it, then you can start smoking your tobacco you want like normal. Hope any or all this helps


12-17-2014, 06:17 AM
Hey Bill, Just wanted to show you a pipe that I have had since 1995 and back in the day I used to use my single flame torch and even a few times used my main cigar lighter that is a 3 flame torch because I was out of matches or fluid for my Zippo or Sidekick so I would use what I had laying around. The one on the left isn't even the oldest but is the most smoked of these 3 Omega's as you can see from the other 2 Omega's the bowl is not only sanded down to the briar it is also reamed out bigger then the 2 on the right. At one time they were all the same sized bowl. The one in the Center is a mid to late 80's Omega and the one on the right was bought back in 2010. Only pipe out of my collection of just under 100 that has ever seen a Torch is the Omega on the left, I learned from this never to use a torch on a pipe again. In the bowl there is no more char, no cracks or web in the briar. These pipes I smoke mostly Aromatics and Burley through them. Before I took sand paper and reamer to my piipe it looked like yours. The only different aspect of your pipe is that it has the rock briar look (Worm trails) where mine was already flat. You can sand it down past that or just sand it down to get the char down if you don't want to remove that part. Or if you want you can if you own a tool add it back without much trouble. I would just sand it down flat my self. It is easier to keep clean and wax.

Briar pipes are very hardy. I wouldn't think yours is brittle as you may think. I think it was just a little over used without care. I would say after you clean it up, ream and sand it will last longer then you, and your heir and your heirs heir with care. My oldest pipe is from 1909, I have seen some that are from the late 1890.


12-17-2014, 08:59 AM
Thanks James. I will clean that one up I think as a project. Sandpaper I can do. I dont own any reams and wouldnt know which to use anyway so its safer for the pipe to just sand it and see what results. I have a zippo and matches and ordered a soft flame lighter for pipes also. It was a favorite pipe. Once it is sanded I will have to come back to ask about the wax.

12-17-2014, 03:10 PM
I have an Corona Old Boy lighter, it is a soft flame lighter and I've had it for at least 25 years. They are a bit pricey, around $100 now, but well worth it.

I do not have one, but Xikar has a cheaper alternative. It looks almost identical to an Old Boy. Here is where I found one. http://www.lightersdirect.com/Pipeline.997/?osCsid=5ccf8d2d9b1c157f2d0a785a18668973

I might have to get one, just for the sake of having one. But, probably won't.

Peace of the Lord be with you.


12-17-2014, 07:34 PM
Looking at Google it seems that the only sidekicks that are out there today are toss away like normal Bic lighters besides it has the ability to flame up or our 45degrees still cool however it seems there is an issue with low fuel when people get them. So .80 each I mean really not to bad for cost. Mine is Refillable and love it.

Secondly here is a picture of what I use to ream my pipes. Yes as you see in the picture you can use even a Pocket knife. however if you do use a pocket knife as a reaming tool be sure to round off any sharp tip or pay very very close attention while reaming with one that isn't a blunt tip.

Next you see the Czech tool, This tool is good for pipe smokers because it lets us tamp the pipe, poke out a plugged draft hole and spoon out ash or tobacco that you didn't want to smoke after all, That spoon looking tool is used for reaming out your pipe. It takes longer and is safe for your pipes because it is very blunt hard to leave deep gouges in the briar. Also in the picture is a Spread blunt reamer, I don't like it and really with the types of metal it is made out of just don't seem to work very well. Bought it before I knew better so I would stay way from that one at all cost. It is the one with 2 blunt blades outside the T handle in my picture. (POS) Then the last item is the Senior Reamer and that one is good for taking out cake and even reaming out some of the brair as well it has 3 semi sharp reaming blades and does a good job. As you get the cake thinner you just adjust the knob to move the blades out some more to get the cake out..... in the end of the tool also seen in the picture is a drill that is good for drilling out a draft hole that hasn't been cleaned very well and is starting to close up with tars and sap that could be in briar that wasn't treated right before making it into a pipe. Only seen it a couple of times some hardened over sap that almost closed in the pipe draft hole.

If you can afford or want to get a good reamer and one that I will buy soon is called a Pipnet reamer and it is a T handle reamer Has different size blade inserts and works well all the way to the bottom of the bowl. There is a less quality T handle reamer set by Castleford. It works the same way as the pipnet just not as well built and could be bought much less then the pipnet. I hope some of this information you find useful.

Don't forget there is always the Repair services that were stated by another poster. they do great work and when done the pipe will look almost new. The link that Subvet642 has listed above they do great work and from what they say here is some info they have listed on the site so you know what is going on and for 35 it is a great deal really seeing what is being done.

""I take great pride in my restorations. There are no “Before/After” photos posted here as none are needed. Just visualizing your Collector pipe or “Old Pal” as it would have looked brand new.

Full Pipe Restoration Includes:

Restoring Stem - Remove ALL tooth Marks, reform button or replace Stem if necessary and authorized (Replacing stem cost more)
Open the Airway to 5/32” where pipe size allows
Refinish Rim - Remove all charring, rerusticate (if appropriate)
Strip, sand and restain bowl - Remove scratches, dents, etc.;
Rerusticate Bowl where appropriate or necessary
Remove carbon from tobacco chamber, reround bowl and finish
Sanitize entire airway and freshen
Buff and Polish with multi-coats of Carnauba Wax ""

Hope you find pleasure in your old pipe once again. Even if that means paying someone to bring it back to life it once had.