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Are "Bones" pipes worth the hype?

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Not if my example is anything to go by!

This is my most expensive pipe to date, and also. on first impressions at least, my worst pipe to date.

P1050034.JPG P1050035.JPG

Yes at first glance, this might look like a pretty sandblast pipe, with the flaws left in for an authentic natural beauty. However, it took about half a dozen attempts to try to get this damn thing to stand up for a photograph. That's half a dozen attempts each way around, by the way.

P1050040.JPG P1050039.JPG

Sitter pipes are not supposed to fall over!!!

It's not just how gnarly the base is from being shotblast, but how lopsided this thing has been built.

P1050036.JPG

Look at the state of that!

On top of the asymmetrical build, the draught hole has been drilled too deep. Probably about half the drill thickness too deep, at a guess.

P1050033.JPG

I've had Parker seconds and Ben Wades from the Dunhill factory, ranging from £25 to £45. I've had Dr Plumb and Peterson pipes below £50 too. This monstrosity cost £55. ALL my other pipes were made to MUCH higher standards. Even my cheapo pearwood Mr Brog pipes which cost around the same as a cob, were all made far better than this.

Now, here's the dilemma. I bought this pipe, because I couldn't get a sitter in this shape at this price range. If I send it back, I still don't have a sitter pipe in this shape at this price range, and this ... lump... is going to get sold on again to some other unsuspecting schmuck. I could keep it, but I'll have to do a fair bit of work to the bottom. Not just to flatten it, but also to coax it to lean slightly in the opposite way to which it tries to topple due to being built off balance. I'll probably need to dig out my carving tools and try to tidy up the bottom of the bowl too.

I'm torn. I'll sleep on it. I shouldn't have to rework it, but will I get the shape I want for this money, any other way? At least this might be able to be reworked to become what I want it to be.

This is the second time I've spent over £50 on a pipe, and the second time I have been disappointed. In fairness, the first time, I assumed a Sav 305 was a sitter, and it wasn't. My error. There wasn't actually anything wrong with the pipe per se. This time ... well, draw your own conclusions. Maybe some would find this build quality "quaint", or "rustic", or otherwise "endearing". Personally, I say that it all seems like a good marketing to shift poorly made product.

Apologies to the fans of these pipes, but I'm really not impressed.
 
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Mike H

Instagram Famous
I have handle probably a half dozen bones and have 3 in regular rotation. All will easily pass a pipe cleaner, have draft holes dead center, and smoke great. I've actually never seen one like yours with the identified problems. I would reach out to Chris Morgan and let him know your concerns.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
I have handle probably a half dozen bones and have 3 in regular rotation. All will easily pass a pipe cleaner, have draft holes dead center, and smoke great. I've actually never seen one like yours with the identified problems. I would reach out to Chris Morgan and let him know your concerns.

He should already know what it's like, Mike. It left his hands. He deemed it fit to bear his logo and go out into the world. Also, being in the UK and having bought this through his UK dealer, any issues should go back to them, not him. But like I said, if I return it, it will just get sold to someone else. Maybe he knew it wasn't good enough for his home market.

As an aside, it doesn't pass a pipe cleaner through to the bowl, but I consider that standard for bent pipes anyway, so I personally wouldn't fault it for that - just for the stuff highlighted above.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
Not if my example is anything to go by!

This is my most expensive pipe to date, and also. on first impressions at least, my worst pipe to date.

View attachment 1381124 View attachment 1381123

Yes at first glance, this might look like a pretty sandblast pipe, with the flaws left in for an authentic natural beauty. However, it took about half a dozen attempts to try to get this damn thing to stand up for a photograph. That's half a dozen attempts each way around, by the way.

View attachment 1381120 View attachment 1381121

Sitter pipes are not supposed to fall over!!!

It's not just how gnarly the base is from being shotblast, but how lopsided this thing has been built.

View attachment 1381122

Look at the state of that!

On top of the asymmetrical build, the draught hole has been drilled too deep. Probably about half the drill thickness too deep, at a guess.

View attachment 1381125

I've had Parker seconds and Ben Wades from the Dunhill factory, ranging from £25 to £45. I've had Dr Plumb and Peterson pipes below £50 too. This monstrosity cost £55. ALL my other pipes were made to MUCH higher standards. Even my cheapo pearwood Mr Brog pipes which cost around the same as a cob, were all made far better than this.

Now, here's the dilemma. I bought this pipe, because I couldn't get a sitter in this shape at this price range. If I send it back, I still don't have a sitter pipe in this shape at this price range, and this ... lump... is going to get sold on again to some other unsuspecting schmuck. I could keep it, but I'll have to do a fair bit of work to the bottom. Not just to flatten it, but also to coax it to lean slightly in the opposite way to which it tries to topple due to being built off balance. I'll probably need to dig out my carving tools and try to tidy up the bottom of the bowl too.

I'm torn. I'll sleep on it. I shouldn't have to rework it, but will I get the shape I want for this money, any other way? At least this might be able to be reworked to become what I want it to be.

This is the second time I've spent over £50 on a pipe, and the second time I have been disappointed. In fairness, the first time, I assumed a Sav 305 was a sitter, and it wasn't. My error. There wasn't actually anything wrong with the pipe per se. This time ... well, draw your own conclusions. Maybe some would find this build quality "quaint", or "rustic", or otherwise "endearing". Personally, I say that it all seems like a good marketing to shift poorly made product.

Apologies to the fans of these pipes, but I'm really not impressed.
Return it.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
I have a couple of Bones Pipes. They are terrific. Despite being in the UK, if the dealer doesn’t rectify this, I would reach out to Chris and tell him your issues. He should make it right.

Whether I get a replacement or refund, it's going back to the shop. I's not fair for me to correct someone else's workmanship. I'll not be contacting Morgan Pipes on principal though. A seller just passes on whatever products they receive from the various factories, but the maker has already had full opportunity to not let these problems get in a customers hands. If I get a refund, it will be spent on a different brand.

In fact, they've just emailed me back. They will be issuing full refund.
 
He should already know what it's like, Mike. It left his hands. He deemed it fit to bear his logo and go out into the world. Also, being in the UK and having bought this through his UK dealer, any issues should go back to them, not him. But like I said, if I return it, it will just get sold to someone else. Maybe he knew it wasn't good enough for his home market.


Chris Morgan doesn’t actually make these pipes. He buys pipes from a factory in Italy (they’re factory seconds) I think. From Morgan Bones website:
“MOST OF THE PIPES HAVE COSMETIC BLEMISHES. But rest assured that your pipe will be durable, I stand behind all of my products and will take care of you if you are dissatisfied.” (Caps are from his website, not something I added.)

They are supposedly inspected before sold, but a couple do occasionally get through. I don’t think that your pipe is representative of what you usually get. I would send Chris a email/message at Morganpipes.com along with the pictures you posted here. He is a standup guy and will probably make it right even if you’re already working with the seller in the UK.

I have probably 10 Bones pipes and have none of the issues you have.
 
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Chris Morgan doesn’t actually make these pipes. He buys pipes from a factory in Italy I think. From Morgan Bones website:
“MOST OF THE PIPES HAVE COSMETIC BLEMISHES. But rest assured that your pipe will be durable, I stand behind all of my products and will take care of you if you are dissatisfied.” (Caps are from his website, not something I added.) <snip>
This. What I believe to be true is that Bones pipes all start out as seconds, for some reason or another or maybe multiple reasons. Chris buys them, I suppose in bulk, and salvages the ones he can. I don't know about the rest of you, but my expectations are fairly low on the cosmetic end and hopefully the pipe smokes well. I'm not sure exactly how many I have, more than 5, and they are all decent smokers albeit with varying cosmetic inconsistencies; truly a case where YMMV!
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
Chris Morgan doesn’t actually make these pipes. He buys pipes from a factory in Italy I think. From Morgan Bones website:
“MOST OF THE PIPES HAVE COSMETIC BLEMISHES. But rest assured that your pipe will be durable, I stand behind all of my products and will take care of you if you are dissatisfied.” (Caps are from his website, not something I added.)

They are supposedly inspected before sold, but a couple do occasionally get through. I don’t think that your pipe is representative of what you usually get. I would send Chris a email/message at Morganpipes.com along with the pictures you posted here. He is a standup guy and will probably make it right even if you’re already working with the seller in the UK.

I have probably 10 Bones pipes and have none of the issues you have.

Ahhh... I was under the impression he made them. Fair play. However, after just visiting his website to read what is said, another quote: "I personally inspect every one of the pipes and discard those that do not meet my standards for the Bones line." In fairness, he does go on to say what he checks for, and that doesn't necessarily include what I found.

I see no reason to pursue him "to make it right" if I'm getting my money back from the seller. I would feel very dishonest doing that. However, I don't feel it unfair to share what actually happened in this instance though, and nor do I feel that a mis-drilled pipe, or sitter that wants to lie down, is a cosmetic blemish. The bottom line is, that's the pipe I got after it had been personally inspected by Mr Morgan. I'm not happy, I'm getting my money back, and I'm spending it elsewhere. Obviously, everyone else is entitled to decide for themselves whether or not they would have made the same call. :)
 
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I’ve oftern wondered about his statement of personally inspecting each pipe. He sells a large volume of pipes and has other more current interests such as knife making. I have a hard time believing that he sits down and inspects a batch of say 1500 pipes each time he gets a shipment.

Edit: @AimlessWanderer I would not have accepted the pipe you received either.
 
I'm sure its a bit more of a batch inspection or something but I'm not sure. All but one of my bones have been smoked perfectly. A few have been rougher than others but I bought them as "gnarly pipes" so I knew that going into the purchase.

The one pipe that I had a problem with was a high drilling. It smoked fine but would leave a portion of the bowl unburnt at the bottom. I contacted Chris and he refunded me immediately and I re ordered the same pipe. Got to keep the original pipe as well which I redrilled to fix. He is a good guy and good service but bones pipes aren't for everyone. Of course I bought directly from his website and am in the usa so that made it a bit simpler.

The original pipe
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The replacement
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That said if I was in your position I would probably return the pipe. Especially if I wasn't happy with it 👍.
 
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AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
This. What I believe to be true is that Bones pipes all start out as seconds, for some reason or another or maybe multiple reasons. Chris buys them, I suppose in bulk, and salvages the ones he can. I don't know about the rest of you, but my expectations are fairly low on the cosmetic end and hopefully the pipe smokes well. I'm not sure exactly how many I have, more than 5, and they are all decent smokers albeit with varying cosmetic inconsistencies; truly a case where YMMV!

Yeah, I fully expected the aesthetics to be pretty much as received. That wasn't an issue. As to the rest, I can get better for less money... though not in every shape I want :p

He is a good guy and good service but bones pipes aren't for everyone. Of course I bought directly from his website and am in the usa so that made it a bit simpler.

I think the main issue here, might simply be that I have "too many" other budget options available for Bones pipes to have the same appeal. We can already get numerous great smoking European seconds, without them having to travel to the States and back. Plus the ones we can get at less money, have been tidied up somewhat too. OK, so the flaws are made a "feature" in one, but not in others. I still get a great smoker for under half the price.

As I said before, I only bought this one, as I haven't found that shape as a sitter from my usual sources yet. :}
 
I would let Chris Morgan know anyways. By all means, let him know the UK distributor is taking care of you. But shoot him that email anyways. I know from my own experience that this is something management likes to know about. Maybe he can tighten up his QA processes or have a talk with whoever let that one out or whatever. So this doesn't happen in the future.

I'm willing to bet the batch inspections are grabbing a few from the latest batch and checking those. Maybe 1 in 20 or more gets physically looked at after an initial once over.
 
I can't imagine inspecting 1500 pipes and not have things slip through the cracks as the day wore on. At the very least #1 would receive a much more critical eye than #1500. I'd let the vendor know, then let Morgan know if that doesn't settle things. You shouldn't be left with a defective pipe.

For what it's worth, I don't own any but that is the worst bones I've heard of.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
If the seller does what they've said they would, there's no need for me to complicate matters further by opening a new dialogue with someone else. Pipe goes back to seller, money comes back to me, I look for different pipe. Sorted!
 
If the seller does what they've said they would, there's no need for me to complicate matters further by opening a new dialogue with someone else. Pipe goes back to seller, money comes back to me, I look for different pipe. Sorted!
It's not a matter of complicating things, or complaining. First, a good craftsman will want to know about something slipping out that's not up to his usual standards. It might help the next guy out. And second, he'll know his UK supplier is up to his standards.
 
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