At this point, it is interesting to explore this theme, since the pipes that have this feature are considered among the most valuable (if not the most valuable ever) and desired.
First, the ” straight grain pipe” is a pipe smooth that presents more or less regular veins on the surface of the stove that start from the bottom and reach the upper edge.
When the veins are very thin, regular, evident and uniformly present on all sides of the vase, the flame is called “angel hair”.
In most cases, flamed pipes are made from briar plates and not from briar wood. In fact, the plates are obtained from the outer part of the log, the one with the most veins, as the plant grows from the center outwards.
In general, flamed pipes have on the edge of the stove the so-called “bird eye”, that is a series of circular patterns that recall, in fact, the eye of a bird and which are constituted by the section of the grain that constitutes the grain.
Often, this design is also found in the lower part of the stove. The circular patterns, in this case, are the “root” of the vein which then extends to the outer walls of the vase.
Sometimes, the craftsman decides to work the plate or the sketch in a different direction than that of the flaming and, therefore, obtains a pipe that presents the bird eye on the whole surface of the stove and often also of the torch.
Even in the latter case, if the design of the wood is very evident and regular, the pipe is considered valuable.
As mentioned, even pipes that have a beautiful flame can be colored, the choice is of the craftsman. Some opt for a color, usually with warm colors, which immediately enhances the grain of the wood, making it very showy even in the new pipe.
Sometimes, but not necessarily, with this type of painting, in the long run, when the smoked wood in smoke tends to darken, it may happen that the grain becomes less evident than it was originally, and eventually the pipe takes on a more uniform color that makes it look lived and elegant.
Some artisans, on the other hand, prefer not to paint very flamed pipes, merely protecting them with shellac and polishing them with carnauba wax. In this, the new pipe remains of the natural color of the wood, only polished: the vein, at first, may seem less evident, but smoked in smoke, with the darkening of the wood, becomes more marked and the pipe takes on a more warm and personal, as well as more flamboyant.
From a functional point of view, the finish and appearance of a pipe do not affect the quality of smoke and not necessarily, therefore, a very valuable pipe smokes better than a cheaper one. The quality of smoking depends mainly on other factors: soil in which the plant has grown, exposure to the sun, various climatic factors, boiling of the wood once cut, time and method of drying, draft made by the artisan, etc.
However, some smokers believe that straight grain pipes make the smoke slightly softer and sweet from the beginning.
Others claim that the fibers of the flamed pipes are slightly softer and less compact, so these pipes would be a little more delicate. So, especially when they are new and the crust of coal has not yet formed inside the stove, it would be advisable to try to keep them warm as little as possible: and this recommendation is valid for all pipes, even the most sturdy sandblasted and rusticated.
See our selection of straight grain pipes: https://www.briarandfire.com/categoria-prodotto/smooth-pipes/