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Article has come from Savinelli


In the last 10/15 years there has been a great increase in pipe makers.

Danish, Americans, Italians, Japanese, Chinese, who create pipes with peculiar, beautiful shapes, real masterpieces.

They are definitely fantastic objects in which every pipe maker transfers his own feelings, tradition and experience and the briar plateaux is shaped according to different needs and tastes.

Savinelli produces both predefined and free hand pipe and knows that there isn’t a big difference in the production process; the steps are practically the same.

Even though most people might think that Savinelli has an industrial production of pipes, making everything  automatically, this is not the case: every pipe we produce is worked individually by hand: there could be up to 90 steps for every single one.

The interaction between artisans and machinery is essential even while making predefined shapes.

Freehand pipes are also shaped with the help of machinery and everyone needs to follow not only aesthetics needs but also the briar ones. For this reason when a defect in the wood is found we are able to modify the shape according to where the defect is and still manufacture a nicely done flawless pipe. However, a pipe with a predefined shape cannot be modified because of its fixed parameters.

A Giubileo is found only once every 1000 bowls, and it has been more and more difficult over the years. (For those not familiar with the name Giubileo, it is our “perfect” pipe totally flawless and with outstanding grain). 

The paradox in briar pipes is that: the more the briar has a nice straight grain the more are the chances of finding flaws and imperfections. This is due to the fact that the wood is softer on the grain, so it is also weaker and more exposed to the natural impurities of the soil.

Furthermore, every predefined pipe is born with its own mouthpiece, which is shaped in order to fit perfectly with the pipe shank and for this is reason is not interchangeable with others.
Every pipe bowl is carved according to the selected shape, is examined by a human eye that performs a first quality selection, but this quality can change during the numerous steps of the production.

The more bowls you cut the wider quality selection you get, so those who produce a large quantity of pipes can guarantee the highest quality of briar. It is the law of large numbers.

It is important to know that briar burls are cut into two types of blocks: ebauchon and plateaux.

Ebauchons are used for predefined shape pipes and they come in different qualities while plateaux are used for free hand pipes, which are usually bigger and considered having a nicer grain.

Nevertheless, also this kind of briar blocks are not free from imperfections and flaws, often are erased by modifying the pipe shape.

Many pipe makers leave the small flaws untouched, those small dots that do not affect the quality of the smoke, but they are just a natural part of the briar that grows under the ground.

Being a material coming from Mother Earth, we cannot expect it to be perfect: perfection in nature is extremely rare.

The real important aspects needed for a well-made pipe are: a balanced esthetic; good drilling, a mouthpiece completely closed and fitted to the shank; a briar which is seasoned and dried naturally for the necessary time in order to get rid of all the humidity inside, so the briar will be lighter, will not change its shape during time and will be strong enough to handle the heat of the smoke in the bowl.

To smoke well, instead, the important and fundamental features for a pipe are the technical parameters which really make the difference.

This is what Savinelli has been doing for many years and has been doing it well.

Everything else is just personal taste.



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