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How many Pipes should I have?

Ok, I feel silly asking this question. But how many pipes is appropriate for smoking 4 to 6 times a day?

I first got a cob pipe and then a decent basket pipe. Needless to say the cob has taken a beating and is probably ready for trashville. I have been rotating the basket pipe during the day and the cob when I get home, probably 2 or 3 smokes each pipe. Mostly I smoke twice at work, twice at night and that's it.

Anyway, the two answers to my question that pop into my head are a) I need 1 pipe. That's all I need to smoke, no need to have any more. And B) as many pipes as I can afford! :)

But realistically, is one pipe ok, or is it taking too much of a beating? How many pipes do most people use in a daily rotation? How many times a day should a pipe be filled, smoked, emptied and refilled? Am I being too much of a worry wart about this? I like the feel of my pipe and I'd hate to see it end up like the cob... though my technique is getting better, so maybe it will be fine. Should I have more for a rotation though?

I feel like I should at least have a back-up insurance pipe, in case I leave my nice one at work or something or it breaks I won't be pipeless (ghasp!) and have to smoke Captain Black from an apple or something... ;)
 
How often to you smoke? That answers the question.

For briar and other wooden pipes, you should have enough to allow the pipe to rest for a minimum of 24 hours, and preferably 72, between smokes.
There are differences, such as Meerschaum and the old standby corn cob... they can be smoked multiple times daily, but meer is also pretty fragile and perhaps not the best for a "take it with you" kind of pipe.

Cobs are dirt cheap... that's what you take out on the fishing boat!

So for you, 4 smokes a day, you would want a minimum of 4, and preferably 12-16 pipes.
 
Oh briars should only be used once a day... I didn't know that. I only want to bring one pipe with me in to work in the city... and it needs to handle at least 2 bowls, and should probably be durable so it can travel and not get mangled in transit. I guess I could probably pick up a couple cobs, maybe stash one in my desk at work just in case, one in the car, etc. It's nice to have back-ups. I do like the girth of my briar though.
 
One of the great things about pipe smoking is that we can all agree to disagree, and there is no one right answer to any single question.

There are times I will smoke the hell out of one single pipe, sometimes for a week straight (backpacking), there are other times I will smoke several pipes in one day. Usually though, I smoke one pipe for an entire day and then allow it to 'rest' for at least a week before smoking it again, (with a very thorough cleaning of course). My answer would be:

a) a seven day set
b) as many as you can afford until the wife threatens to take you to divorce court for not paying the bills.

I fall into the second category, but I could (and have) made do with a single pipe.
 

73mountaineer

Moderator Emeritus
Probably depends a lot on the pipe. You wouldn't want to smoke a fairly expensive pipe 4-5x per day, every day, but a $20 no-name pipe, why not? Sure it won't last as long, but it isn't going to explode from overuse (will it?:001_huh:) or anything. If you like your cob, grab a couple more and rotate in your "nice" pipe every couple of days. Smoke the cobs 'til you need a new one and chuck the old one. Your good pipe stays good, and you don't go broke trying to buy 15-20 pipes to get you through the week.

That's the practical answer, now here's the B&B answer:

You already answered your own question...as many pipes as you can afford! We're nothing if not enablers around here! :thumbup:
 
I agree on the cob. If you want a pipe that can be hammered on like that the cob is the way to go. For your briars, a bare minimum of 24 hours between bowls would be my rule, and 72 is more like it. A seven day set is even better. I personally have 18 briar pipes and two cobs. They are easy to accumulate over the years when they are your families go to gifts for B-days and Christmas. I pound on my cobs on a daily basis, they can take it, and I load one briar an evening. There are no issues with resting them when you have that many.
 
I am a pretty light pipe smoker and really haven't smoked much in the 10 years I've owned a pipe, but here's my take.

I think the once a day smoke is really about preserving the pipe for as long as possible. I'm guessing there are plenty of pipes that were smoked 5 times a day and lasted a good long time maybe years. So it's either buy one pipe per day per smoke now and have a set that will last a lifetime or a new pipe every few years.

I think smoking style, tobacco, and pipe size will also impact longevity.
 
Metal pipe (falcon is the easiest to get a hold of now) and replace the bowls daily. That way you only really have one pipe but a 7 days worth of bowls will fit into a pocket easy. Wife won't give you a hard time about spending money on pipes because everything can be easily hidden in the back of any drawer. Or really you probably only need two bowls total and that will fit in your pouch.

You will never stop at just one pipe though, and won't stop at just two bowls either...
 
I am a pretty light pipe smoker and really haven't smoked much in the 10 years I've owned a pipe, but here's my take.

I think the once a day smoke is really about preserving the pipe for as long as possible. I'm guessing there are plenty of pipes that were smoked 5 times a day and lasted a good long time maybe years. So it's either buy one pipe per day per smoke now and have a set that will last a lifetime or a new pipe every few years.

I think smoking style, tobacco, and pipe size will also impact longevity.
There was a thread about this a few days ago, and while most people have the impression that depression-era men only had one pipe, a couple of people piped in that what they witnessed from estates and relatives was quite the opposite.

These men did not have collections as we tend to have today, where we have 7-20 pipes of different styles from different makers, but they did indeed have multiple pipes... they were just the same style and brand! They would select a pipe that they liked and it became a part of their identity, rather than treating the pipe as an "accessory" where the bulldog goes with one suit and the Dublin goes with another.

The problem with smoking one pipe 5 times a day without giving it time to rest is it will not dry out, will smoke wet, and will go sour.
This can be corrected, but by having a daily rotation, it can be avoided for the most part.


And yes.... smoking style has a BIG impact. A problem that current and former cigarette and cigar smokers have is they puff too hard and too quickly, trying to get that "mouth full" of dense, rich smoke.
Pipes are not intended to be smoked that way. It's a matter of enjoying the flavor.
I'll admit to puffing too hard and too fast, but even at that, a bowl will last me an hour.

The secondary problem is that type of smoking runs the pipe hot, which will char and crack the briar. Once that starts, it gets progressively worse because the cracks form hot spots. After all... you are burning tobacco in a wooden bowl.
Granted, briar is used because of it's resistance to burning, but it will burn, char, and crack. Ultimately, you get burn-through and the pipe is due for the bin.
 
I personally believe you should have a pipe for each day you smoke. I like to smoke a bowl 5-6 days a week to relax and kick back, so I have 6 pipes. I smoke a pipe and let it rest the rest of the week.
 
I personally believe you should have a pipe for each day you smoke. I like to smoke a bowl 5-6 days a week to relax and kick back, so I have 6 pipes. I smoke a pipe and let it rest the rest of the week.
Same here.

I have a full 7 day set.
I'll enjoy a bowl during the drive home from work. Maybe not every day... maybe only 3 or 4 days.
I may or may not enjoy a bowl on the weekends... more often not, VERY rarely both days.

But the pipes I reserve for the weekend are the 2012 B&B LE Tinskey, and the freehand that I made last month....

$finished2.jpg
 
There was a thread about this a few days ago, and while most people have the impression that depression-era men only had one pipe, a couple of people piped in that what they witnessed from estates and relatives was quite the opposite.

These men did not have collections as we tend to have today, where we have 7-20 pipes of different styles from different makers, but they did indeed have multiple pipes... they were just the same style and brand! They would select a pipe that they liked and it became a part of their identity, rather than treating the pipe as an "accessory" where the bulldog goes with one suit and the Dublin goes with another.

The problem with smoking one pipe 5 times a day without giving it time to rest is it will not dry out, will smoke wet, and will go sour.
This can be corrected, but by having a daily rotation, it can be avoided for the most part.


And yes.... smoking style has a BIG impact. A problem that current and former cigarette and cigar smokers have is they puff too hard and too quickly, trying to get that "mouth full" of dense, rich smoke.
Pipes are not intended to be smoked that way. It's a matter of enjoying the flavor.
I'll admit to puffing too hard and too fast, but even at that, a bowl will last me an hour.

The secondary problem is that type of smoking runs the pipe hot, which will char and crack the briar. Once that starts, it gets progressively worse because the cracks form hot spots. After all... you are burning tobacco in a wooden bowl.
Granted, briar is used because of it's resistance to burning, but it will burn, char, and crack. Ultimately, you get burn-through and the pipe is due for the bin.
Thanks for all the good info! Certainly made me rethink my opinion.
 

jwhite

Moderator Emeritus
I would say a seven day set is what you would want for your rate of smoking, the pipes will last and though they'll be wet by the end of the day they'll have plenty of time to dry out. I have about 25 counting cobs and they all get smoked in the course of a week and I fall in the same range as you.
 
Plenty of older folks like my grandparents smoked briar pipes constantly with no rotation and it didn't explode or do anything crazy. The guy up by me who owns the pipe shop smokes his constantly without rest and has had his for years. Intresting from a guy who owns a pipe shop but to each his own.
 
Ok, I feel silly asking this question. But how many pipes is appropriate for smoking 4 to 6 times a day?
The simple, B&B approved answer is "Many."

Smoking 4 to 6 bowls a day I would suggest at least four pipes. Leave two at the office to smoke on alternate days and have two at home that you rotate daily. You can add to these over time, but I think 4 would be a minimum.

My smokes tend to take three different forms depending upon whether I am at the office, my mid-week apartment, or my home in the country. Thus I have a rack of pipes at each one and those pipes differ.

The pipes at work are four briar basket pipes. I wanted something that wouldn't be too terrible a blow if they walked off some night, but want something classier than a cob since I work in a corporate environment. These are my pipes with smaller bowls, to help keep smoke breaks short. They are all bent or half bent pipes since I prefer those when walking or standing outside.

At my non-smoking apartment I keep four or five better pipes and some large cob pipes. Since I can't smoke inside I normally take a four mile walk each night. Again, they are all the bent pipes. These pipes tend to have larger bowls so as to last the duration of the walk.

When at the house on weekends I can kick back and have a smoke in my recliner with a side table and ash tray handy. This is where I keep my Meerschaums, the straight pipes, and a few other odds and ends that just didn't make it into the racks at the apartment or office.
 
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