January 19, 2018, 8:35 am
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Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of briar do you use?
I primarily use Algerian briar, shipped to me directly from the cutter. However, I also will use briar from other sources to fill in if supplies are low or if I'm waiting for a new shipment of briar to properly cure. I was using Spanish briar for a long time, but my opinion is that the Algerian briar is of superior quality.

Can I smoke my pipe right away?
Yes, and no. There's nothing special you need to do to your pipe before breaking it in, but I do suggest that you allow it to reach ambient temperature before smoking it. This is especially true in winter, when your pipe will arrive cold and possibly frozen. Subjecting the pipe to the heat of smoking at this point may damage it. About an hour should be sufficient, just long enough for you to make the important choice of which of your favorite tobaccos should be the first to grace the bowl.

Why should I break in my pipe?
Breaking in your pipe helps form a "cake" inside the bowl. The "cake" that forms - the layer of ash and residue that builds up on the inside of the bowl - helps protect the briar from the heat of the burning tobacco and prevents the pipe from burning out. Disregarding a break in period, can ruin your pipe, and make smoking it not very pleasureable. For more on breaking in your pipe, see the Pipe Care section.

Do you use stain on your pipes?
On some pipes, yes. I use a combination of alcohol and water soluable dyes. I'll never use an oil based stain.

Do you stain inside the bowl of your pipes?
Never! Even food-grade alcohol-soluable stains can ruin the flavor of a pipe if the stain is applied to the inside of the bowl.

Do you varnish your pipes?
As with some oil based stains, varnishes contain ingredients that, not only smell and taste bad when heated, but also are very harmful if the fumes are inhaled.

Are your pipes polished?
Yes, by and large. I have, however, created pipes with a less lustrous finish for customers that wanted their pipes without a shine to them. The only pipes I've created with this finish are churchwardens, which can look nicer less "dressed up".

This site and all images and documents copyright Kurt Huhn, unless otherwise noted.