Monday, August 31, 2009


Ok so...I got my new (to me) Peterson today from Ron at estore4 on ebay. Let's just say this will be a very short post, because I am going to go smoke it! Ron is a total class act, from start to finish. I already described the fantastic customer service and follow up in a previous post. This pipe arrived quickly, was packed up safely and securely with a nice note, some pipe cleaners, a shiny sticker and all!

I wish all ebayers were like this! Keep up the fantastic work Ron!

In other news, I took out my Peterson Meershaum today and was a little shocked! The wax job I did must have done something...there must have been a ton of oils waiting to come out...but it has turned golden...literally overnight! The pictures really don't do it justice( compare to first pipe post) , but this thing is just glowing! It must be enjoying all of the attention it is getting.

Ok off to in starting a cake in the new Killarney:) this will be my first try with a we'll see how that goes.

Until next time!

UPDATE: I've heard there are those that like the Peterson p-lip, and those that don't. I have to ask...what is not to like? My new Peterson is top notch, and I had a thoroughly enjoyable bowl of my Old Dublin...I think I am hooked.

Incidentally, now that I have a Savinelli Churchwarden and this new Peterson, I am realizing that my Pete Meerschaum has a BIG bowl. In order to touch the bottom of either of the briars, only my pinky could fit, but on the Pete, my thumb can wonder it is such a long smoker!

Friday, August 28, 2009


I am pleased to report that my new Savinelli Churchwarden (now dubbed Madam Savinelli) is truly a wonder. I filled it up (yeah I know I said I would only do a half sue me) with my Peterson's Old Dublin. I had aired the tobacco for about an hour, and I used the three pinch and pack method, which I seem to be getting better at.

I went out on the deck and looked at the was fan-freakin-tastic! I enjoyed the flavour, I enjoyed the contemplation, I enjoyed the beautiful evening. The pipe burned wonderfully throughout, and I hardly had to relight at all. I tend to err on the side of puffing slowly, so I don't seem to have any tongue problems (or bite as the experts call it). Just billows of lovely white smoke and the sounds of nature.

Before and after I finished my bowl, I decided to test my research on fine tuning my Peterson Meerschaum. Using only what I had on hand, this is what I did... the inside of the bowl was black, and a little tacky. Now, I have learned that the inside of a meerschaum bowl, once smoked will turn black, so it is a bit of a sensitive matter to go poking around in there. All of the experts say that you don't want cake, but you also don't want to gut the thing down to white, or you have gone too far. So...I got some sandpaper, and ever so gently began sanding away in the darkness. I can now describe how you tell the difference. Blackened meerschaum is cool, smooth and hard to the touch, cake is not. Cake is textured, and if you are sliding your finger around in the bowl, will be sticky enough to give some resistance.

Next, I turned my attention to the outside of the bowl. I had some half burned, very high quality pure beeswax candles, that I put into a thoroughly washed can, and put on medium-low heat on my stovetop, and melted it until it was liquid. After wiping down the outside of the bowl thoroughly with a clean cloth, I used a q-tip to paint beeswax all over the outside of the bowl and shank. As it was spread it began to cool and solidify. After about five minutes, I had the whole thing covered, it kind of looked like it had a giant scab all over it. To tell the truth, I was kind of thinking "WHAT HAVE I DONE", but I figured I'd have faith and follow through with what I had gleaned from my internet research. This is where I went out and smoked my new Churchwarden.

When I came back in, I got out some nice soft cloths, a small pile of paper napkins, and my wife's hot air embossing gun. She uses it to make homeade cards and such...that I am using it to refurbish pipes is out little secret;)

Holding the bowl over the napkins I alternately heated the bowl, which melted the wax, and rubbed it with the soft cloth. Heat...rub...heat... rub... some of the beeswax dripped off and was caught by the napkins, but I was amazed that the meerschaum also seemed to drink some of it in. Again, after just a few minutes, no more heat was needed, and I was just polishing the bowl, and it simply glistened like a freshly minted dime. I smiled at me...

Tonight I decided to work a bit on the stem. When I received it, it had clearly been cleaned, but the stem was entirely brown. I looked up all the recommendations on how to clean stems, and as I mentioned before, decided to do what I could with what I had on hand. I got myself some comet with bleach, a new scrubby sponge, and a little bowl of water. I poured some comet powder into a dish, and added just enough water to make a thick paste. I sat down at my table, and for 10-15 minutes just scrubbed the stem up and down it's length. The paste began turning yellow, and I knew I was getting somewhere. the occassional rinse off, and I just kept scrubbing.

Once I figured I was done, I rinsed it all off under running water, dried it with a towel, and ran a pipe cleaner through it several times to ensure it was thoroughly dry. Then I re-heated my can of beeswax (I see no end to the usefulness of this stuff) and applied it in exactly the same manner as I had done to the bowl, using a q-tip. After letting it sit until it was totally hardened, I used the hot air gun and did the same heat and rub method. It seems to have worked like a charm. The stem is now totally black and shiny. I also used a tip I got, and rubbed a bit of oil from the side of my nose (nose oil) onto the finished and buffed stem. It may sound gross, but ZOWIE that puppy just shines!

I have to say, I went into the process of prettying up this pipe ready for a serious battle, but I have to say, it really wasn't that hard. If you are at home, thinking about it, just go for it! If you have any questions about my tiny experience, please just ask, I'd be happy to help. I have to say, that little hot air gun has been a HUGE help, I am really glad my wife is crafty. If you haven't got one...I say...GET ONE!!! You won't regret it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Here's a tip...

If, like me you are a once in a while kind of smoker, and you start smoking a pipe, it may not be advisable to smoke two full bowls in under eight hours.

I have to say, I really enjoyed the bowl of McClelland no. 22 that I had yesterday morning, but my nicotine blood level went from zero to hero and I spent the rest of the day feeling pretty green.

Back to the smoke though, it was fantastic! I did a much better job of packing, and had a fantastic draw. I found the smoke to be wonderfully layered, and got richer to the taste as the bowl burned down. I didn't have to relight much, and at times was utterly transported. Having a quiet hour to smoke on my own is a rare treat, that I will have to try to make a whole lot less rare.

Scent wise, both of the tobaccos that I have tried have been very cigar-esque, but the taste is really wonderful, as after all I love a good cigar.

I have read a lot about terrible goopy aromatic blends, and I will do my best to avoid those. However, I wonder if anyone has a recommendation for a good quality aromatic, that doesn't have too much in the way of additives (and by additives I don't mean Rum or Vanilla, but rather anything with chemical names like propo-glyco-sodium-triglutimate.) I know they are out there, and wonder what you recommend.

Today I also received my second ebay pipe in the mail. This one is a Savinelli Churchwarden, a big long slender thing. Rather you can see in the picture. I think I'll go have a little puff...but maybe just half a bowl tonight;)

Until next time...

Oh before I go... I went into Goodfellas yesterday. It seems that the state of pipe smoking culture in Victoria is pretty bad, I am thinking about having a once monthly hike and smoke where pipe smokers can walk together to some secluded spot on this beautiful island and share some of their favourite tobacco with their pipemates. Also, I was thinking as I puffed away, that the internet is great and all, but if there are any experienced pipe smokers in Victoria reading this, I'd love to chat and gain the benefit of your experience in simple things like cleaning and maintaining my pipes. Just let me know you are out there!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Huzzah! My first pipe arrived today! I picked it up on ebay from a fellow in North Carolina. It's a Peterson Meerschaum #999. I was impressed when it arrived, because it looked even better in person. The colour was very nice, and it came ready to smoke. Finding the time to actually smoke it was more challenging however. It arrived at 9am, and what with family politics, personal responsibilities, and work, on top of the fact that I wanted to give my first bowl my full attention...I have only just finished the first bowl, and it's midnight.

I had two types of pipeweed to choose from, Peterson's Old Dublin, and McClelland's Aged Virginia no.22. I figured one Peterson deserved another, and went with the Old Dublin. For those newbies like myself, this is "a medium English blend." I have been reading up on everything pipe for a couple of weeks, so I think I managed to avoid some of the major pitfalls. I took my time, tamped appropriately...sipped and kissed and all that. Overall it was quite lovely...being a once-every-month-or-so smoker, I am still a really mellow way.

So...a few observations. I definitely need to work on my packing skills. I used the traditional method because I wanted to just start with the basics. I think I packed the first pinch too hard, as the draw was fairly slow. I did the "charring light" and tamped the ash, and relit, and was having a bugger of a time getting anything out of it at all. About a quarter of the bowl in, I sucked a tiny piece of tobacco right up out of the pipe into my mouth, and BINGO all off a sudden my mouth was filled with creamy white smoke a-plenty. I was having a cup of tea with some friends as I puffed away, and as the bowl wore on they headed home to bed. I had been smoking for about 40 minutes, and I figured I was about done.

After my friends headed out, I pulled out my handy dandy pipe tool (tamper-pick-scoop/reamer) and started picking out some ashes. I noticed that there seemed to be a fair bit of brown tobacco still in there, so I relit. Wow... I don't know what I did, if it was the lack of distraction, or the bottom of the bowl, but the next 20 minutes was FANTASTIC. The draw was really smooth, the bowl was warm in my hand, and the flavour really came through nicely. It was quiet and cool outside, and I was nicely buzzing from the smoke...I couldn't wipe the smile off my face.

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship...

After breakfast tomorrow, I'll try the no.22. I can't wait!

Monday, August 24, 2009


Ok is the question. If you could only have one tobacco to smoke for the rest of your life...what would it be?

No hedging, no "either this or that" blend by one brand.

Which one? Why?

Answer in comments below.


I have heard this term thrown around on some of the discussion pages and blogs, and wasn't sure what to make of it. Well... let me tell you... I won the auction on this lovely Peterson the other day, I think I really got it for a song!

I had a couple of questions for the seller, who I have to say has a store full of absolutely amazing pipes that are WAY out of my range (Ron from estore4) and he was very quick to respond, and get the pipe in the mail, (he even refunded excess shipping fees). Judging by the calibre and look of his pipes and ebay operation, I asked a couple more questions, and asked for some advice, figuring he might be willing to help me out.

WELL...not only did he respond, he called me personally long distance to offer some help, support, and brotherhood. Ron, let me are awesome! I'll start saving my loonies now so I can eventually buy one of your uberpipes.

But for now, I can say I have found my first Brother of the Briar...


So...I hit ebay after reading several postings that suggested that you could get really outstanding pipes at a fraction of the cost of a new pipe. All I can say is that this can be dangerous... I can say I now understand the term P.A.D.(Pipe Acquisition Disorder).

First I bought this fantastic Peterson #999 Meerschaum...then a Savinelli Churchwarden...then a...then a... MAKE IT STOP!!!

Needless to say, I am awaiting the delivery of several good quality pipes. I have no idea what I am in for as far as making them ready to smoke, but I am eager, and I feel like I have ample resources to deal with it.

In the mean time, I figured I would do some research, and get myself some good tobaccos. Here in Victoria, we are lucky in that we have two (2) Brick and Mortar shops downtown. Old Morris Tobacconist and Goodfellas. Old Morris is a staple in Victoria, and has been in the paper recently as there has been a ban on the public display of tobacco products. They have a lovely big display window out front, that has been reduced to showing off chess sets and shaving kits. Or rolled up kraft paper in a cigar case...sad.

I went in and was greeted by a young fella at the pipe counter. He said he had a pipe and smoked it, but I was clear from the drop, he was no expert. He didn't have much interest in what I was doing, what I was interested in or where I was coming from. He made some suggestions based on what he liked, which as far as I could tell was all about how much nicotine he could suck out of a bowl, and was totally not where I was headed. He was a nice guy, but as far as salesmanship and knowledge of pipe smoking. He needed some work.

I'll go back there I'm sure, but here is some both tobacconists in town. Start working on the smoking culture. With the internet being so available and used, and with smokers being attacked in real time, you need to collect your customers in community. It can be done via the internet. When a customer comes in, ask them if they are tourists or locals. Get a little note book and ask the locals to write their email addresses in it. Send them messages about deals, workshops or gatherings. Spread the word about informative websites, good tobaccos or new pipes. You only stand to benefit.

Next, I went to Goodfellas. This place was swamped, there were A LOT of people there looking at cigars and smokes of all types. Unfortunately there was only one staff person in the shop. He was a youngish gent sporting a trim beard. He was managing the crowd well, and without any anxiety. When he asked me if he could help me, I told him I was looking for a good example of both English and Virginian tinned tobaccos, as I was new to pipe smoking. Although the store was full, I felt like I had his full attention. In the end we settled on a tin of Peterson's Old Dublin, and a tin of McClelland Virginia No. 22. I also bought myself a little pipe tool, which my studies have revealed to be indispensable. Since then, I have been opening and playing with this tobacco every night (I am not kidding) as my pipes have yet to arrive. I am loving the smell, and I am just DYING to smoke them both!

Last night, I ordered a bag of "Shortcut to Mushrooms" from Just for Him in the US. I am curious to see what the shipping, duties etc. end up costing me. If you live in the US and travel to Victoria with any frequency please let me know. You have just been nominated my new best friend:)

I have now decided to put a freeze on all acquisitions...except that one pipe I am bidding on...until I actually start smoking something. I am about $300 in now...and I haven't even had a puff. I own 2 Petersons, 1 Savinelli, 1 Wally Frank...and am committed to winning this current auction. I haven't seen a single pipe yet!

To be continued...


What can I say? How strange it is to find myself embarking on this adventure. In a country that is getting more and more anti-smoking (and honestly as far as cigarettes go, I am all for I a hypocrite?)

I smoked cigarettes from the time I was six years old (not really smoking mind you, just lighting my sisters' cigarettes from the stove or toaster). As a teenager I took up smoking heavily, and continued at about a pack a day until I was 22, when I quit.

During that time, I also tried other tobacco products, including chewing, pipes, and cigars. I did a fair bit of fishing back then, and chewing or pipe smoking (I had a very cheap cob pipe) had the wonderful advantage of allowing me to fish, and get my hands wet, without snapping my cigarette in two. At about the age of 17 or so, I discovered the world of high quality cigars.

At the time I was working a very low paying retail job, and I was living at my parents home, so my overhead was pretty low. I would spend an awful lot of my take home pay in a little mall shop that sold some really nice cigars...Upman, Monte Cristo, and I remember really liking these very small El Rey Del Mundos.

Anyway, time has gone on...I met a wonderful woman, quit smoking, moved across the country, began working in my dream job, got a dog, had a couple of kids, and have been loving life in Victoria. I am now in my late 30s.

Did I say I quit smoking? Well, I did...except of course for the occasional good cigar. Literally occasional as in, on special occasions.

Recently, for some reason my thoughts have been drawn to the wonderful smell of a pipe. Maybe it has been walking by Old Morris Tobacconist on Government Street, maybe it has been my regular ritual of watching "The Lord of the Rings" every couple of months...I really can't say. I just figured, "hey, I enjoy a good cigar, and I love a good ritual...I bet pipe smoking would totally ROCK!".

When I smoked a pipe as a younger man, I was looking for the nicotine hit. I got a cheap corn cob pipe, some cheap tobacco (I think Borkum Riff) and smoked my brains out. The internet hadn't really hit, and I certainly didn't have a computer of my own.

When the inclination took me recently, I took to the web and found some outstanding websites.
An outstanding discussion board which holds years of pipe smoking knowledge of all kinds. The board is moderated, so posts are slow to come up. The trade-off is that it is well organized and clean.
Pipe Tobacco Aging and Cellaring
This is an outstanding resource for learning about tobaccos and the storage of them.
Tobacco Reviews
Looking for a good weed? I have spent hours just browsing the different blends and what more experienced pipe smokers have to say.

I've put these and other helpful links over to the side so others can enjoy them too.

Ok, so armed with some information...I made my way to ebay to get some estate pipes. This is where the fun begins.

To be continued...