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Anyone Try Clay Pipes?

The title says it all. Tell me about clay pipes if you´ve tried them. I´m new to pipe smoking, though I have smoked cigarettes for years. I´ve tried homemade cobs, a Dr. Grabow briar (my best smoking pipe), and crappy MM ozark hardwood pipes that are garbage. It seems to me that clay pipes would smoke wonderfully, and wouldn´t sour as fast as wood or cob pipes if you happen to smoke a number of bowls without cleaning. The obvious issue with clay pipes would be their fragility.

Am I correct in thinking that clay pipes smoke well, and do not sour as quick? Cobs smoke pretty good, but I do prefer my briar pipe. Unfortunately, I cannot afford a full rotation of briar pipes at the point (though that is the ultimate goal). Clay pipes are pretty cheap, are they decent smokers?
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
I threw mine away. I'll never go that route again.

I can get pear wood pipes for about the same price as a cob, and they do a much better job than clay pipes in my opinion. They do get hot, but not as hot as clay, don't stick to your lips and peel skin off (which I have had with clay), and are considerably more durable. As to briars, I just phased mine in over time, and now have fifteen, seven of which cost just £25 new. All of them cost under £45 new.
 

Kentos

Wiped out at 25
I feel that they smoke well, and the clay is quite porous and absorbs moisture. The only downside is that they are quite fragile.

As far as souring, I don’t think they are immune to it, but cleaning them is as easy as heating them over an open flame to burn off all the residue.

The clay heats up a lot more than other pipes so you would have to hold it by the stem. They also can smoke hot for me so I have to be careful to slow down my cadence.

Finally, the draw is restrictive compared to an open bored Briar/Cob so if you like a wide open airway it might take some getting used to.

Overall I would say get one, I think you will like it.
 

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Kentos

Wiped out at 25
I threw mine away. I'll never go that route again.

I can get pear wood pipes for about the same price as a cob, and they do a much better job than clay pipes in my opinion. They do get hot, but not as hot as clay, don't stick to your lips and peel skin off (which I have had with clay), and are considerably more durable. As to briars, I just phased mine in over time, and now have fifteen, seven of which cost just £25 new. All of them cost under £45 new.

That peeling skin of the lip supposedly leads to lip cancers so many clay smokers wrap the stem with materials to avoid that.
 
I threw mine away. I'll never go that route again.

I can get pear wood pipes for about the same price as a cob, and they do a much better job than clay pipes in my opinion. They do get hot, but not as hot as clay, don't stick to your lips and peel skin off (which I have had with clay), and are considerably more durable. As to briars, I just phased mine in over time, and now have fifteen, seven of which cost just £25 new. All of them cost under £45 new.
Yeah the goal for me is to phase in enough briar pipes for my full rotation. I suppose I need to try more things, but honestly of the three types I´ve tried (cob, briar, and some other unknown hardwood)... briar pipes all the way. I really do want to try pearwood too.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
That peeling skin of the lip supposedly leads to lip cancers so many clay smokers wrap the stem with materials to avoid that.
I decided to encase the whole pipe with my rubbish bin, and haven't had any such problems since :biggrin1:

I had tried tapes and chapstick, but both were horrible in use, and as I wasn't enjoying smoking the pipes anyway, it was simpler to just get rid.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Yeah the goal for me is to phase in enough briar pipes for my full rotation. I suppose I need to try more things, but honestly of the three types I´ve tried (cob, briar, and some other unknown hardwood)... briar pipes all the way. I really do want to try pearwood too.
All my pearwood pipes were from Mr Brog. I have owned four, and three of those remain in the current array. The fourth had an issue with the sten closing up, but I discovered a cob stem fit perfectly, so that kept it in circulation longer. I've recently put it to one side, as it's now surplus to requirements.

It's been a steady crawl for me to get the pipe array as I want it, and I've been gradually putting it all together since around 2013. Take it steady, as you'll learn more about your likes and dislikes along the way. My biggest quirk is hating pipes that don't sit upright when you put them down. I did try to like pipes that need stands, but eventually had to accept that they aren't for me. However, I also discovered that I like smaller capacity pipes too, and it took some time to discover smaller sitter pipes.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Another option, if you can find them where you are, is Falcon pipes. Get one stem and multiple bowls. That'll give you something to get a bit of traction with, until you're in a position to outlay on more conventional briar. Here in the UK, the bowls can be had for £15 to £25, and a stem isn't expensive either.
 
Sounds like they are an option, but there are better ones. As they can be found for around 10 bucks, I´ll probably try one to say I did. What I really want is a meerschum honestly.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Well, meerschaum lined briar bowls are available from Falcon, and Falcon compatible block meerschaum bowls can be bought from a couple of places in Turkey. More ways to dip your toe in the water with minimal outlay. There are also places that do cheap pressed meerschaum pipes. Not as robust as hand carved from block, but again, a budget start point. I don't think these guys ship overseas...


... but at least it shows you what's available at relatively low cost. I have had a couple of the small ones with the black stems in the past, and the bowls on those were about the same size as a simple clay pipe.
 
Well, meerschaum lined briar bowls are available from Falcon, and Falcon compatible block meerschaum bowls can be bought from a couple of places in Turkey. More ways to dip your toe in the water with minimal outlay. There are also places that do cheap pressed meerschaum pipes. Not as robust as hand carved from block, but again, a budget start point. I don't think these guys ship overseas...


... but at least it shows you what's available at relatively low cost. I have had a couple of the small ones with the black stems in the past, and the bowls on those were about the same size as a simple clay pipe.
+ 1
Go with a Meer if you want to smoke all day long. I only tried one of those dinky clay pipes for tasting tobacco and it was utter rubbish. Much better to get the cheapest cob than waste time and money on those.
 
We all want meerschaum, @5whiskey. But for some (like me) it's just not in the cards yet. Cobs act similar from what I hear. Smoke them all day long, ghost resistant, light and dry smokers. But they come with their own drawbacks (they look like what they are and there's no way around that).

So what is it you're looking for when you asked about clay? Perhaps we can find other alternatives?
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
We all want meerschaum, @5whiskey. But for some (like me) it's just not in the cards yet. Cobs act similar from what I hear. Smoke them all day long, ghost resistant, light and dry smokers. But they come with their own drawbacks (they look like what they are and there's no way around that).

So what is it you're looking for when you asked about clay? Perhaps we can find other alternatives?
I have two high end meerschaum pipes and honestly I prefer cobs.
 

nortac

"Can't Raise an Eyebrow"
Strambach Meers are reasonable and smoke well.

On edit, it looks like prices, at least on eBay, have gone up since I bought mine.
 
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