Pipe 101 Basics

Selecting your Pipe
Price vs Quality
Choosing a Pipe Tobacco
Pipe Anatomy
Where to Begin?

Stem/Shaft/Mouthpiece/Material

Pipe stems and shafts are generally made usually from either of the following two materials; Aluminium or Briar. Both materials have there pro's and con's. Aluminium lacks the visual appeal on the eyes however forms excellent condensation that allows to filter through the smoke, also reliable and long wearing. To some extent, if overused then there is the possibility to damage the pipe and let outside air into the bowl. Whereas a Briar pipe is considered a lot aesthetically pleasing to see and is overall strong. Also the Briar does absorb some moisture from the smoke.

Mouthpieces are made using various materials, for example; plastic, vulcanite, lucite, ebonite, bakelite and amber (although rare). A lot of Briar pipe stems commonly use vulcanite or acrylic.

Vulcanite
Vulcanite is a hard rubber material, it's designed to be used for the stem allowing pipe smokers a comfortable and softer feel. Bear in mind, for those that chew on their stems it'll affect the life expectancy due to it's soft material. The drawback of Vulcanite is that it does oxidises, which results in bitterness towards the taste gradually over time. To reduce the cause of Oxidation will require regular cleaning/polishing maintenance.

Acrylic
A tough robust material that doesn't oxidise and has simple cleaning maintenance. All pipe stems will generally vary with there pro's and con's based on the material's used, although it mainly affects the low-end budget pipes as the quality of the materials generally uses cheaper soft plastics.


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