Have you ever wondered about the anatomy of the pipe? It’s parts, the functions of the parts, things of that nature? If you are new to the world of tobacco and smoking pipes you have, and are likely trying to keep up with those who are yeas ahead of you in the hobby. Well wonder no more, today were are venturing into the basics of pipe anatomy.
First let’s discuss the materials that can be used in the making of a pipe. Pipes are traditionally made out of a hardwood. The hardwoods can run the gambit from pear wood to briar, and they are used for making the bowl and shank of the pipe. The bowl and shank are carved out of a solid piece of wood, and into this various holes are drill, from the tobacco chamber to the hole in which you fit the stem of your pipe.
The next thing is the stem of the pipe. It can be made from many things as well, from food grade plastic to vulcanite, depending on age and overall price of the pipe. For example most corn cob pipes will have stems made from plastic, where as an expensive briar pipe from Savinelli will likely have a vulcanite stem.
Now to the anatomy of the pipe, first the bowl and chamber. The bowl of the pipe is what you will hold in your hand when your pipe is not clenched in your teeth, and it is the residence of the tobacco chamber. When buying a pipe you should pay special attention to the bowl. How does it look? Does it feel good in your hand? Many factors will play into what you choose to smoke, and sometimes it may just be as simple as what will look good in my collection. The chamber is where you put your tobacco to light and smoke, the size of them depend on the size of the bowl of your pipe. In my collection the smallest chamber is about 1/4 inch deep, where the largest ones are in the 3 inch range. Now you may be asking what this has to do with anything, and I am so glad that you asked. Pipe smoking can take anywhere from say seven minutes to hours, it just depends on the depth and width of your tobacco chamber. So if I don’t have an hour or two, I am certainly not picking up any of my larger pipes.
The stem is next and it has a unique anatomy unto itself, it has a lip and a bit. The lip and bit form the area that you but down on with your teeth, so when you are sitting around reading or wood working, this is the part of the pipe you are holding between your teeth. I haven’t mastered this yet, but am a novice in the pipe world.
The is one more piece of pipe anatomy that needs to be addressed, and that is the filter. The filter is inserted into the stem and the smoke passes through it before making it to you. It keeps ash from getting in your mouth and reduces the tar content in the smoke. Filters can be made out of paper to metal, anything that can be used to make smoking “safer”.
So there you have it, some basics on the anatomy of a pipe.