Pipe from Hell

Any of us who have been around the Pipe World for any time has probably run across a pipe that really disappointed us. Mine was a pipe that appeared in the mid 70's, it was billed as a major step forward in pipe technology made of a superb material, a Graphite bowled pipe. The one I bought was "The Smoke" it was a bright shiny red with a flat black bowl and a gleaming black stem. I brought it home and filled it with my favorite Wally Frank blend "Old King Cole", I packed it down and lit up. Where was the taste? The sweetness of the Black Cavendish, the overtone of Madiera Wine, the tang of Latakia? I tried PA...flat, I tried Brush Creek, a tobacco that almost got me busted (The Cop thought it smelled like weed.) ... nothing.

I still have it, I keep it to remind me that "New and Improved" is often neither. How about you, what is your "Pipe from Hell"??


  • Never had a pipe suck all the flavor out of a tobacco. I have had two pipes that were so badly drilled that it was like trying to suck a milkshake through a coffee stirrer. Both of those pipes were years ago and were tossed over the side.
  • Can't say I've ever had that experience.
  • Pappy Joe, I have heard that some people use the Graphite Pipes to test smoke tobacco due to the graphite not absorbing any flavors. Apparently, many people who have purchased them when they sell them, lump them in with the low cost lots on Ebay, even though ones like "The Pipe"  sold for considerably more than the Kaywoodie and Jobeys and even the lower grade handmades of the Wilke NYC sisters on Madison Ave. IMHO they were awful, did you ever smoke one?

  • @woodsman - I have never smoked a graphite pipe. I do have a mini-meerschaum that I use for testing new tobaccos. Meerschaums are good for not absorbing any flavors. 

    I did see two of "The Pipe" at one of the antique/collectible shops I went to this past weekend. I knew I passed on them for a reason.
  • My two Pipes From Hell are based on the fact that they burn so hot it's almost impossible to hold them when smoking. And they happen to be pipes made from a synthetic product and not wood or Meerschaum ... "The Pipe" and "Venturi". 
  • KenofAhwlbyKenofAhwlby Enthusiast
    I smoke ‘the pipe’, ‘venturi’, and ‘the smoke’ regularly,,, I have several of them and find them to be the best smoking pipes, of all....and so easy to care for..easy to clean,,,,no worry about maintaining a cake, etc...
    Very happy with them,,,, always on the lookout for more.
  • @KenofAhwlby ; You are absolutely right about the ease of maintenance of the pipes ... and they do smoke well ... they just burn so much hotter than any of my other pipes. And another positive element to them is like a cob, they don't ghost. Simply wipe them out after using and you've exorcised any possibility of a ghosted pipe.
  • motie2motie2 Master
    Sticking almost exclusively with EA Carey's pipes, I've never had a negative pipe experience (as opposed to a negative tobacco experience), except for the one large vintage billiard from eBay  that was Latakia ghosted. With the help of @PappyJoe and the suggestions of a couple of others I exorcized that sucker.
  • My pipe from hell is an Electra Zulu.  It is Briar that I had to line with egg white/chalk to hold the cracked out bowl piece in place.  It smokes as hot as hell, can barely hold it.  It has a huge spiral stinger.  I have never smoked it without it....hmm maybe that’s the trick...leave it out🤔   I’ll have to give it another go.
  • ZouaveZouave Connoisseur
    My pipe from hell was a gift from my wife, after asking some of her co-workers who were "smoking experts"  she settled on a Fess Churchwarden. It's probably the worst pipe I have ever tried to use. The draw in it is awful and the metal stem has a terrible fake wooden covering on it. At least she tried. I've never told her how much I dislike it. She made up this year with a nice new BC pipe. 
  • @Zouave ;
    I have always been skeptical of those Fess pipes....they always looked kind of sketchy, kind of like Sanmoutain pipes.
  • KA9FFJKA9FFJ Master
    @Zouave .Can't hardly go wrong with a BC pipe...
  • I've tried one of the Fess churchwardens. That's a pipe that I cannot get a pipe cleaner to pass through the stem of no matter what. The draft hole is just too small at the bit end to insert a pipe cleaner, and the nature of the bend they put in the stem stops any cleaners poked through from the tenon end. I end up using a straightened-out small paper clip to clear the damned thing every time (often enough for how seldom smoked) it clogs up.
  • Some times people try reinvent the wheel and new stuff came out. I'm more traditional and keep going with my briars, meerschaum and CB. My hell pipe was a gift from my wife, it was lacquered and smoke really hot, when smoked. I stopped trying smoke it but kept the pipe, sentimental reasons.
  • KenofAhwlbyKenofAhwlby Enthusiast
    My graphite pipes don’t smoke hot, at all,,, however, neither do any of my other pipes.  I have never smoked a clay pipe,,,have a few, but can’t see why.
    So I guess it’s the way I smoke that doesn’t ’ let a pipe get ho.
  • @KenofAhwlby ;
    You must be a perfect pipe smoker with crazy skills and all of your pipes are perfect and perfect tobacco moisture?   I don’t possess those skills yet.   I have a few that smoke hot....especially the Super Electra I had to reline the bowl with a thin hard chalk layer.  It smokes ok, it’s just that the outside of the bowl heats up almost instantly with different tobaccos too.  It acts like a clay pipe.  Maybe I will have to cut a briar insert....or maybe another meerschaum liner for it?
  • KenofAhwlbyKenofAhwlby Enthusiast
    edited April 26
    @RockyMountainBriar. Thanks for the compliment, however I am far from a perfect smoker,,,,now on the other hand my pipes are ‘perfect’ for me!,,,,may not be so for others...  tobacco moisture,,,,,it needs to be different for different activities... so I sort them out...they all wouldn’t do for everything,,  I never studied my technique so I don’t know why I don’t smoke hot....???    Though looking at them,,, almost all my pipes are pretty similar....though that doesn’t really explain why my ‘Pipe’, for example, smokes the same to me as a MM, or a Kirsten,,,,,,,,,or some of the ‘less expensive’ pipes I have,,,, do I’m definitely not perfect,,,, at this point , more confused.
  • @KenofAhwlby
    Now I'm jealous....I want to know you secret :)
  • KenofAhwlbyKenofAhwlby Enthusiast
    @RockyMountainBriar. I don’t know how to explain it,,, I just smoked my Venturi this evening,,,all the way to the bottom, and while the bowl got slightly warm to the touch,, nothing I would call hot, at all,, just barely warm...took about an hour for a full bowl,,,,yes, a relight or too.. but nothing annoying,  Captain Black Cherry blend......had a good taste and smell,,, my wife liked it..  So I don’t know what’ to tell you,, I smoke more for relaxation now,,, probably 80%,  so maybe that’s it.....not rushing,, enjoying every puff.   Wish I could tell you more...
  • KenofAhwlbyKenofAhwlby Enthusiast
    edited April 27
    @motie2. Yes, that’s the pipe.,,, and the Smoke, and the Venturi... I like penholic resin better than graphite,  but it is what it is.. I like all the links...I wonder what is going to happen to Billie’s collection.. I corresponded often with him years ago when he was growing his collection..  There are many advantages to these pipes,, but I hope everyone keeps thinking they smoke ‘hot’, so I can buy more of them cheap[. B) 
  • KA9FFJKA9FFJ Master
    edited May 2
    This pipe from @Corey562 hardly smokes warm, much less hot. Can you guess the main reason why? 😀
  • motie2motie2 Master
    Nope. Except, maybe, probably, it was crafted properly by a craftsman-artiste.

    Now for a change of pace but staying in the neighborhood of pipes from hell, this, from our friends at Smokingpipes.com:

    The Cursed Pipes of Transylvania
    Thursday, May 2, 2019 by Chuck Stanion

    This weekend at the Chicago pipe show, when in the late hours only a few conversational groups are left in the smoking tent, you can be sure that someone there is retelling the tale of the Cursed Pipemaker of Transylvania and the three cursed pipes he released upon the world.

    His name was Dick Rakoczy. We don't know if it was his real name, but his neighbors called him Dick. He lived in a half-dream world where monsters and goblins lurked, biting at his ankles and clawing at him from overhangs. A second-generation doomsayer of the 1890s, he grew bitter with lecturing the townsfolk about the end of the world, and devised a plan for making pipes.

    He made only three pipes, and they were the most gruesome monsters ever to house a tobacco chamber, imbued with the full bitterness of his doomsaying animosity. Even Dick couldn't look at them without his eyes watering his soul withering. The evil wafting from these pipes was easily detected by a visceral cloud of paralyzing fear emanating from their blistering, deformed surfaces, causing a buzzing in the ears that took on the resonance of an evil rasping voice, rumbling, "Spread the doom. Be the doom."

    Dick's intent was for the owners of these pipes to become monsters like himself and help him change the world to one of appropriate despair and anxiety, where doomsayers would be admired and feared. Had he not been so evil, we might have forgiven the impulse. He was lonely and wanted more evil doomsayers around, for office parties and comparing doom notes, perhaps.

    He offered the first pipe to a passerby, who was horrified when he held it. He said, "I feel...doomed," and was immediately struck by a bolt of lightning that transformed him into a smoldering ash pile and the pipe into a burning ingot of evil that probably continues to eat its way toward the Earth's core. The hole left behind still spews brimstone today.

    "Interesting," said Dick, nodding and taking a few notes. "That was the first and evilest of my pipes. I miscalculated its effect on common folk. I'll be more selective."

    But he had underestimated his own evil and the diabolical weight of his bitterness. Waiting for just the right Rasputinesque passerby, Dick stood in the road outside his house with his two remaining pipes until a particularly disreputable rapscallion happened by, muttering about all the neighborhood children he'd like to see hauled elsewhere. Dick offered him the pipe.

    The man was enraptured. He started smoking it immediately, declaring the flavor exceptional with a delightful sulfur topping. Moments later, his eyes began to glow sickly yellow, and he started yelling at Dick about the end of the world, and then started confronting random people on the street with violent shouts. The police came, and when the pipe was forced from his hand it burst into flame and, like its sister pipe, is still burning its way into the earth. They arrested Dick, too, because he was dancing around in such joy that he just needed arresting. No records exist of his life following that day.

    The third pipe was not recovered. It disappeared at the scene, and we continue to speculate about it. We know it was not destroyed because there was no commensurate, permanently smoking hole in the ground. Did a member of the crowd pick it up? There were no immediate reports of aggressive doomsaying, so it's unlikely to have found another victim. It's a mystery.

    The pipe community lives in fear that the remaining Dick pipe may yet reveal itself at a pipe show or in some forgotten batch of estate pipes. That's why, at every pipe show, pipesmokers discuss the Rakoczy pipes, and when browsing estate pipes are careful lest they touch the forbidden, diabolical lost smoking instrument. If you're lucky enough to be attending the Chicago show this weekend, enjoy, but be vigilant, watch for friends who suddenly start shouting about the end of the world, and spread the word. A dangerous pipe like this requires the vigilance of the whole community.
  • @KA9FFJ ; That's a beautiful looking pipe. Love the stem. Corey is a master craftsman. My guess would be thickness of the bowl - and most important of all - the way you smoke it. If you puff like a freight train you're just itching for a sever case of tongue bite and a hot pipe. But if you sip it and use the breath method you should keep the bowl slightly warm to the touch.
  • KA9FFJKA9FFJ Master
    @ghostsofpompeii You guessed it. Assuming most here at TPL know how to pack, sip, and tamp a pipe properly, the thickness of the bowl and craftsmanship make it one the coolest smoking pipes I own... That's my story and I'm sticking to it... ✌
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