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Turbulence – Fact or Myth?

 What I am about to offer may raise a few eye brows.  Many of us have read lots about how an “open draw” creates a better smoking pipe.  We have also read that the air passage through shank to button must be even and not have any ledges or portions with sharp angles which will create “turbulence”.   The suggestion is that without an “open draw” the fore mentioned practices may create moisture and thus a wet smoking pipe. 

For the past near decade I have followed that thinking as well as many of you.  So with any newly acquired pipes, I would carefully re drill, and file the internal air passages to make for an even air / smoke flow thoroughfare.  I would go through this process even before I smoked the newly acquired pipe.  I would draw on the pipe and of course exhale through and if I heard even the slightest whistle sound I would begin to alterations. 

 As of yesterday I have altered my thoughts completely.  

 For many years I have been on the hunt for a Peterson Silver Spigot.   Not a difficult find, unless there are specific criteria one desires.  First I have never felt comfortable with the P Lip button on a Peterson, so I needed a fish tail.  Also I require a pipe that does pass a cleaner from button to bowl.  No, that’s not impossible for all Peterson’s, just on most.  The shape 999 is one shape that on many occasions is drilled to pass a cleaner well. 

 As luck would have it I happened upon a shape 80S Silver Spigot on E-Bay.  Nice slightly bent bulldog, plus it weighed only 45 grams, passed a pipe cleaner ( as per the description ), and has made in 1996, which is my daughters birth year.   Sounds like the stars and planets had aligned and this is a must have pipe.  So with the Buy It Now I made the purchase.

 The pipe arrived yesterday.  It is exactly as described.  Smoked maybe once or twice, passes a cleaner and weighs 45 grams.   I immediately took a draw on the stem and sure enough …… it whistled, as expected.   Into the shop we go.   Shank opened to 4 mm. 

Now the stem.  A bent Lucite fishtail stem.  It will pass a regular cleaner with ease, but not a bristle.  As my time to do the complete stem operation was restricted I decided to do as much as possible, then finish the process later in the day.  The complete process would require the straightening of the stem and re drilling.  So I only opened the tenon end ( by hand ) with a 4 mm drill bit.  Cleaned the internals and into my home office, pipe in hand. 

 WTF …. Might as well fill it and give it a whirl.  Damn….. it smokes like a champ! I know there is a ledge about 1.5” from the end of the button as you can feel it if you insert a cleaner from the opposite end.  Yes the pipe smoked cool, dry, and flavorful.  I knew exactly the blend I had chosen, as if it was reaching my mouth from one of my favorite Castello’s! 

Now wait … it gets better!

The pipe has a lacquer finish!  Those dreaded shiny finishes that we have been told “seal” the briar and do not allow the pipe to breathe!  Yet this pipe smokes cool and dry! 

It is lacquered, has a slight whistle and still smokes very well.  This makes no sense what so ever.  It should smoke hot.  It should smoke wet.  It should not be a decent pipe, yet it is, and beyond. 

I can only draw one conclusion.  

Dear Fred.  You must be right ….. it’s all in the briar!

Regards

Mike