Which pipe for the neophyte?

One of the most common and most concrete questions in the world of the pipe is: what is the most suitable pipe for the neophyte.

In fact, in almost all the countries of the world, in the past, it was easy to learn in the family or at work how smoking a pipe, because this wonderful tool for smoking was popular among the population. Almost always there was a parent, a grandfather, an older brother who smoked a pipe and, therefore, to began to smoke at home it was a sort of tradition, a teaching that was handed down almost spontaneously.

Then the spread of the cigarette has, in many countries (especially in Europe), relegated the slow smoking and, above all, the pipe, in a niche or almost. Although, in recent years, in many countries there is a significant return of interest from young people to the slow smoking, today it is not always easy to find someone who smokes a pipe and can provide the right advice to those who approach this culture.

Therefore, the neophytes often question themselves on many aspects of the pipe, sometimes even a little scared by some initial difficulty in managing the smoke and above all by many (too many) voices that want the slow smoke more complex than it really is, coming to mitigate some alleged problems to the point of making it almost a culture for a few initiates.

The choice of the most suitable pipe to learn the technique of smoking is, therefore, one of the most heartfelt questions: in fact, there is a widespread belief that, depending on the type, the way of smoking also varies greatly.

Now, in fact, smoking a pipe certainly requires a bit of technique and experience, but it is not so difficult and there are not absolute truths to reveal to those who approach it. The pipe, like medicine, is not an exact science, especially there is a myriad of variables that affects smoking, many of which are not directly controllable by the smoker: therefore, there are many ways to smoke the pipe, all absolutely valid and above all, impossible to code in a rigid way.

Each smoker must find his way to the smoke, the way that most pleases him, because the slow smoke is not a vice, but it is a pleasure: so a “good” pipe smoker, rather than the “perfect” smoking technique, assuming that there is one and you can define its contours and rules (to date, no one has ever succeeded), must look for the way to smoke that most satisfies him.

Then, of course, there are some tips, that can be given to anyone to make easier to smoke and enjoy the nuances that the various tobaccos can give away, possibly without ruining the pipe (moreover, not so easy as often believed, at least if you respect some elementary measures). But, as mentioned, these are general indications, then each must make his own experience.

So, the choice of the most suitable pipe to approach the slow smoke becomes, after all, a secondary factor: certainly there are pipes that, in the abstract, are a bit more suitable than others for the neophyte, but there are many smokers who have learned smoking pipe that the common opinion considers unsuitable for the beginner because very difficult to manage.

Therefore, we do not want to presume to indicate with certainty which is the most suitable pipe to enter the world of slow smoking, we simply provide some indication for those who were undecided about the product on orientate as a first pipe.

So, the first suggestion that is usually given in these cases is to opt for a straight pipe. In fact, in general, straight pipes, since the path of the smoke from the stove to the mouthpiece is less tortuous and more direct, contribute less to encourage the formation of a drizzle. The production of condensation in the torch and in the mouthpiece is intrinsic to the combustion of the tobacco and, therefore, to a certain extent can be completely normal, but a particularly tortuous path surely entails that the smoke cools in part producing excess.
This causes annoying gurglings that make the smoke unpleasant until it becomes almost impossible: in addition, the smoker in these cases is led to suck more vehemently, with the result that the condensation is not reduced at all because it increases the combustion in the stove, on the other hand pipe overheats excessively, making the unpleasant smoke again. In these cases, in fact, many of the flavors of tobacco are lost, you risk to burn or irritate the mouth and the pipe overheating, in some cases, can get burned.

Obviously, the production of drizzle does not depend in part on the shape of the pipe, many others are the factors that influence it: the type and treatment of the root with which the pipe is made, smoked tobacco, the manner in which the tobacco was loaded, correctness the draft (if the drilling is not correct, there are interstices in which the smoke stagnates, cools and produces a condensation difficult to eliminate), intensity and regularity of the puffs by the smoker, contingent climatic factors, conditions of the coal shirt formed inside the stove, presence or absence of filters, etc.
However, in general, a well-made straight pipe does not necessarily eliminate the formation of condensation, but helps to reduce it.

In addition, the straight pipe is much easier to clean both during smoking, when maybe frustules of tobacco end up clogging the torch or when moisture is formed: just one pass of the brush to purge the pipe and dry the drizzle, to sometimes you can carry out the operation so quickly that the pipe does not go out even. In a curved pipe, this operation is feasible, but it can result (but not necessarily, it always depends on the care with which the artisan has made the draft, more than anything else it is difficult in a straight pipe, even if badly realized, the pipe cleaner can not pass) less immediate for the unwary hand.
And at the end of the smoke, once the pipe cools and proceed to remove the mouthpiece, it is easier to clean a straight of a curve.

Secondly, it is better for beginners to avoid pipes that are too heavy and voluminous: in fact, for obvious reasons, a very heavy pipe is difficult to keep between the teeth. For someone who has to learn, a lighter one is better. Also because, often, are the curved pipes, by their nature (it is the physical law of the lever), to be a little more balanced to keep between the teeth, so the tips better to choose them, when you must learn to keep them in your mouth, not too heavy. The ideal would be not to go beyond thirty – thirty grams, but you can get serenely even to forty.

Thirdly, it is better to avoid stoves with a too high capacity, and in particular better to avoid those too large or those that are too long and narrow: in fact, first of all, a stove that is too large, trivially, contains more tobacco. The neophyte, with a technique still uncertain, may not hold together a very long smoke, either because maybe his mouth is a little irritated, and because, if he chose a tobacco with a high content of nicotine, could try a sense of vertiginous.
In addition, a stove too large has a surface to turn on very large, the inexperienced smoker, often, can not turn on well outside the one, near the walls of the stove, so ends up wasting tobacco. Which, you know, despite differences from nation to nation, costs. Therefore, it is better to avoid stove with an internal diameter of more than twenty-two millimeters.

Fourthly, it is usually not recommended for beginners to purchase, as a first pipe, a so-called “dublin”, because often the flared shape helps to create a little “fund” of difficult management.
In addition, it is a pipe that heats easily (but also in this case, always depends on the thickness of the walls of the stove), so the inexperienced smoker, who perhaps tends to pull too vehemently, perhaps using tobacco that in turn heat a lot, it could damage the pipe, even if the possibility is not so frequent to occur.

Finally, precisely because the inexperienced smoker inevitably tends to heat the pipe a lot, a rusticated pipe or a sandblasted pipe may be more suitable, since, presenting a larger surface in contact with the air, it is said to dissipate heat more easily than a smooth pipe. Moreover, in general, rustic pipes also require less maintenance.

In short, in principle, it is advisable for the novice to start with a straight pipe, usually rusticated, not too big and heavy, with a small cylindrical stove. In practice, a not too big billiard is the pipe that is considered most suitable. However, often the differences are not so marked and many smokers learned without major difficulty even starting with full-bent pipes, smooth and very capacious and heavy.

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