A Guide to choosing your first Pipes

Beginner’s Guide to Pipe Smoking by Ted

Briar Calabash Pipe owned by Mr. James

There are tons of information to read about how to pick your first pipe and if you read it all you might understand half it which was how I felt when I first started out trying to buy my first pipe so in here I will simplify it all for you.

First thing you must consider is money! How much you have to spend on this but since no one wants to waste money in the case that you tried and in the end concluded that pipe smoking isn’t for you you wouldn’t have a $100 pipe sitting around collecting dust and because the price of a pipe made from good quality briar is tremendously higher than a basket pipe (which for every 10 has one or two decent smokers) or a low quality briar pipe. this is what i would suggest.

Buy a Corn Cob Pipe instead of buying its much more expensive cousin for several reason i shall illustrate below:

Note: the two main materials used to make into pipes are briar wood and the cob of a corn.

Corn Cob Pipe from Missouri Meerschaum corn cob pipe

Corn Cob Pipe

1. An average corn cob pipe smokes a lot better than a cheap briar pipe. You need to understand that the quality of the briar used to make the pipe greatly effects its smoking quality. So in a nutshell a quality briar could cost at least 40–60 dollars to make one pipe thus the finished pipe might cost two times that price if not more which might already be more than you would want to spend when you are not even sure you like smoking or not. A good corn cob cost only about 10 dollars and if you don’t like it just throw it away no harm no foul.

2. It only cost 10 dollars its like going for a meal at Mc Donalds! There is a deal 10 pipes for 29.95 it might not look perfect but the smoking performance is just fine what a steal!!.

This is the website for corn cob pipe we had a vote and they say this is the best:


3. Gives you a pure smoke that doesn’t effect the taste of the tobacco at all like some briar pipes. You will taste fully the taste of the tobacco perfect for beginngers whos taste buds haven’t fully developed yet.

Right now if you still want to buy a briar pipe from the get go we shall also explain the details for you here. There are 6 key points which are your preference of pipe aesthetics, quality of the briar wood, proper drilling of tobacco chamber and shaft from the chamber to shank, weight, balance and feel of the pipe and lastly the thickness of the stem on the end that you bite on. However these can be a bit too advanced for beginners so below are the brief guidelines.

Guidelines for Picking your first Briar Pipe

So how can we be sure that we are buying decent pipes? Well these are some beginner guidelines you can follow:


First and foremost the most important question is!! Do you like it? Its that simple. Try holding it, handling it, imagine you smoking it. Does it make you feel good? Does it feel right? Pipes is all about personal preference, even if its made by a world famous pipe maker if you don’t like how it looks, it all for nothing because if you don’t like how it looks you won’t smoke it.

Vava Pipes Briar Smooth Finish Free Hand
Castello Natural Virgin Briar Pipe
Vava Apple Briar Pipe


As I said a good quality briar costs a lot so if you find a pipe with the price of 2000 baht or less odds are its not going to provide you with a good smoking experience. Usually the bench mark price for a reliable brand is $100 or about 3000 baht if you see one of the brands I mentioned below with prices lower than that its a good deal!


Brands of pipes are another thing that can help you select a pipe. Good brands for beginners who’s price isn’t through the roof are Savinelli, Peterson, Stanwell and my personal favorite Vava pipes which are hand made right here in thailand by a danish pipe maker Mr. Fisher who makes absolutely beautiful pipes. These pipe brands you can trust to make good reliable pipes. A good first choice brands for beginners. Price can range from 2700 baht and up depending on shop promotions. So i say again folks 2700 is still a pretty penny to be shelling for a hobby you are not even sure you are going to like so if in doubt go with a cob you can’t fail.

Pipe & Pipe equipment sales Websites are as follows:

  1. http://www.smokingpipes.com
  2. http://www.vapourhouse.com/
  3. http://www.4noggins.com

4. http://www.vava-pipe.com/home.aspx

I will keep updating this list as more comes along

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