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Kirsten/radiator pipe lovers talk to me!

So, I’ve got a nice user grade meerschaum that I was generously PIFed a while back by @Ponycarman which I’ve put to the occasional use as I learn this hobby.

Kirsten (and similar radiator) pipes enamor me! I’m trying to keep my eye out for a good beater/user grade one that I might snap up. Just enough flair and shine to look nice without killing the wallet.

What are the ins and outs of owning one? I only have the most basic of supplies. Do they require extensive maintenance/care? Would a beginner like me have trouble maintaining one?

Interested to hear your thoughts and experiences! Thanks ahead of time oh wise pipe masters!
 

Kentos

Wiped out at 25
Moderator Emeritus
I’m no master, but Kirsten pipes are pretty bullet proof, barring the usual wear that pipes get, like burnt bowls and chewed up stems.
Kirsten’s have another component which are the o-rings on the stem and end piece. Earlier pipes had no o-rings.
The main issue with estate Kirsten’s you might encounter is that the stem and end cap are frozen in place due to tar or degradation of the o-rings. Most time careful soaking in alcohol will eventually loosen the joints and you can clean and replace parts as needed.

The nice thing is Kirsten is/was still in business, and most times you can buy new components including stems, bowls and end caps.

Give Kirsten a call to see what their new pipes go for so you know how much you are willing to pay for an estate. Many times a nice estate Kirsten costs more than new, for whatever reason I don’t know.

They are good pipes and easy to maintain.
 
Wiebe Pipes is another radiator brand to look at. I have two stems and three bowls. They are definitely my daily drivers. Tobaccopipes and cup o Joes carries them stateside. You can also purchase them directly from his site, but coming from Canada, the shipping is a little bit slower.
 
Kentos said it pretty well.

If your looking to buy one on line. Make sure they mention or show pictures of the stem and end cap are removable.

I got one that had issue with both. I was able to get the stem off. But the end cap is seized up tight.

I also prefer the larger bowls on them. But if you don't get a Kirsten with a larger bowl. You can buy one to put on it.
 
So, I’ve got a nice user grade meerschaum that I was generously PIFed a while back by @Ponycarman which I’ve put to the occasional use as I learn this hobby.

Kirsten (and similar radiator) pipes enamor me! I’m trying to keep my eye out for a good beater/user grade one that I might snap up. Just enough flair and shine to look nice without killing the wallet.

What are the ins and outs of owning one? I only have the most basic of supplies. Do they require extensive maintenance/care? Would a beginner like me have trouble maintaining one?

Interested to hear your thoughts and experiences! Thanks ahead of time oh wise pipe masters!
Thought you bought your Kirsten. This guy was peddling some discounted bowls on another site I visit. Custom Tobacco Pipes in Briar Morta & Hardwood by DonWarrenPipes - https://www.etsy.com/shop/DonWarrenPipes?ref=seller-platform-mcnav&section_id=32022943
 
I did end up finding a deal on one! A NOS Gen 2 Mariner brass.
454D59F7-002E-4676-A3E3-B9F53D99A261.jpeg
I hear a lot about Don Warren! He’s got some nice aftermarket bowls. It’s another reason I like the Kirsten system, I can buy an extra bowl or two instead of a whole new pipe!
 
It is really easy to make your own Kirsten bowls.
Here is my favorite bowl. It is a small Meer bowl for a small calabash. I just filed the bottom flat to fit the Kirsten bowl hardware and put it together.

It really smokes well, and gives a good capacity that many of the Kirsten bowls lack.
Pipe mod.jpg
 

Kentos

Wiped out at 25
Moderator Emeritus
It is really easy to make your own Kirsten bowls.
Here is my favorite bowl. It is a small Meer bowl for a small calabash. I just filed the bottom flat to fit the Kirsten bowl hardware and put it together.

It really smokes well, and gives a good capacity that many of the Kirsten bowls lack.
View attachment 1206254
That’s a good idea!
 
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