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Pipe Terminology.... c/o McGahey The Tobacconist

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  • Pipe Terminology.... c/o McGahey The Tobacconist

    Was sent this in an email today... thought I would share.

    Air Cured The tobacco leaves are hung in open barns, allowing the wind to blow them dry.
    Amber A fossilised resin from ancient trees. It is clear, translucent, varying in colour from yellow to brow. From it are carved beautiful and expensive pipe steams.
    Apple One of the classic briar pipe shapes, with an apple shaped bowl and medium short stem.
    Aromatic A highly fragrant pipe mixture. Also aromatic flavouring added to tobacco.
    Band A ring of metal around the joint between stem and mouthpiece of a pipe, for strength, decoration or both.
    Bent One of the three main pipe shapes. A bent pipe is easier to hold in the mouth – the centre of gravity is lower.
    Billiard One of the classic shapes for a briar pipe, with medium short, straight stem from which the bowl rises at a right angle.
    Bird’s Eye A special cross cut of the whole tobacco leaf, so that the stalk looks like a bird’s eye.
    Bit The end of the mouthpiece which is held between the teeth or the lips.
    Blend Generally means mixing different tobaccos to create a fine flavour, aroma and smoking quality.
    Briar The root of the Mediterranean heath tree. Discovered around the 1840s by French pipemakers, it is light, strong, tough, has a very beautiful grain and takes a fine finish. Botanical name: Erica Arborea.
    Blond Artificially dried light tobacco with a high sugar content.
    Bowl The round, broad part of the pipe.
    Bruyere French name for the briar, which they discovered and which has become the world’s dominant pipe material.
    Bulldog One of the classic briar pipe shapes, somewhat stubby with diamond stem.
    Burl Gnarled formation in a briar root which yields a curly grain.
    Burley Fine, cool-smoking leaf, a good all round pipe tobacco which is used as a base for aromatic blends.
    Calabash Bottle gourd from the steam which a very handsome pipe is made fitted with a meerschaum cup.
    Calumet The highly decorated ceremonial pipe of American Indians. Often referred to as a Pipe of Peace
    Canadian Classic briar pipe shape with bowl rising at a right angle from stem. Shaped somewhat like a billiard but with a larger oval stem and a short mouthpiece.
    Carbon layer The char which forms inside the bowl of a properly smoked pipe. It is all important to smoking quality.
    Cavendish A generic term for tobacco that is flavoured, then heated and pressed in recurring cycles to produce a richer flavour.
    Churchwarden A very long stemmed pipe. It may either be briar or clay.
    Clay One of the earliest materials used for pipe making, and except for brittleness, one of the most satisfactory. It was dominant until the advent of briar.
    Cool This has two important meanings for the pipesmoker. One is to let a pipe cool before smoking it again, a very wise habit for avoiding sogginess. The other meaning of ‘cool’, is the way a tobacco smokes without irritating the mouth.
    Corncob The phenomenon of the corncob pipe originates from America. As suggested by the name, such pipes are made from a corn cob specially cultivated for the purpose.
    Cut The width of strands of tobacco from fine to coarse. In general, the finer the cut, the easier and faster the tobacco burns. Too fine a cut leads to a hot smoking tobacco.
    Dark Strong tobacco, this is generally air dried and cured.
    Dental A type of mouthpiece made especially for pipesmokers with dentures.
    Dottle The last bit of unsmoked or partly smoked tobacco remaining at the bottom of a pipe bowl. Should be as little as possible, both to avoid waste and to keep pipe caking evening from top to bottom. Knock out the dottle by tapping the pipe again the heel of the hand – never against a hard surface.
    Dublin A classic briar pipe shape. The stem and mouthpiece are straight and of a medium length. The rather high bowl slants out at an obtuse angle.
    Ebauchon A cube of briar toot from which a briar pipe will eventually be made.
    Erica arborea Botanic name of the Mediterranean heath tree. Its gnarled roots provide the light, tough and artistically grained woods for briar pipes.
    Filling The action of filling a pipe with tobacco, which needs to be done properly for a good satisfying smoke. Also the operation of disguising small flaws in briar pipes by filling them with putty.
    Filter A device which absorbs moisture, tar or nicotine when placed into the shank or stem of a pipe.
    Fine Cut Tobacco cut into very narrow ribbons. Most often used in cigarettes, but also found in pipe tobaccos.
    Fire-cured The tobacco leaves are hung in a barn above smouldering fires of special wood and sawdust.
    Flake The tobacco pressed into cakes, then cut into generous irregularly shaped pieces of ‘flakes’. In some countries the term ‘flake’ means sliced pipe tobacco.
    Flavour In pipe tobacco ‘flavour’ means the taste of the smoke, not the taste of the leaf itself.
    Flue Cured A system of flues is used to blow hot air or steam into a barn in which the tobacco leaves are suspended.
    Freehand A pipe which is made entirely by hand without the use of machines. The design of each freehand is unique, and therefore often extremely original.
    Grain The grain of briar or cherry pipe may be straight, curly, or ‘flame’ according to the smoker’s taste. The choice is matter of aesthetics, not smoking quality. A beautifully grained pipe should not be lacquered but hand rubbed.
    Hookah One name for the Oriental water pipe. As the smoker takes a puff, smoke from the tobacco bubbles through water on its way to the mouthpiece.
    Kentucky Dark fired- cured tobacco grown in the US state of Kentucky, Tennessee, Canada, Italy and Malawi. This tobacco has powerful, smoky aroma and is used as a flavour in pipe tobacco.
    Latakia A highly aromatic, small leafed Oriental type tobacco grown mainly in Northern Syria. It is a distinctive, spicy and smoked aroma.
    Liverpool A classic briar pipe shape quite similar to a Billiard, but is distinguished by the longer stem and the tapered mouthpiece.
    Lovat A classic briar pipe shape quite similar to a Liverpool, but differs by its short ‘saddle’ mouthpiece.
    Meerschaum A light, white mineral found mainly in Turkey. Its literal meaning is ‘sea foam’ which it resamples in its natural state. After long and careful smoking. Meerschaum pipes colour rich, golden brown.
    Mixture Ready blended tobacco to achieve a desired flavour and aroma.
    Mouthpiece The part of a pipe held in the lips or between the teeth. In a briar, it may be called the stem or bit. Nowadays, usually made of vulcanite, but used to be made of amber, bone, horn or cherrywood.
    Nicotiana The generic botanical name for tobacco. It comes from Jean Nicot, French Ambassador to the court of Portugal in 1560, where he encountered tobacco, and became its enthusiastic proponent as a medicine.
    Pack To fill a pipe with tobacco.
    Perique A rare, costly tobacco grown and cured only in the St James Parish of Louisiana. Prized for its rich and unique aroma.
    Pipe Cleaner Cotton wound round a length of stiff wire for cleaning inside a pipe steam.
    Pipe Tool Usually a three-pronged implement used for tampering, scraping and reaming a pipe.
    Poker A classic briar pipe shape, it is medium length, with a straight sided bowl set at a right angle to the shank and the steam.
    Pot A classic briar pipe shape, with a short flat topped bowl.
    Pouch A small bag for carrying tobacco in the pocket. These come in a wide variety of materials, shapes and prices. They are available with zippers, draw strings, buttons and wrap around closing, with built-in pipe compartments, and every conceivable kind of decoration.
    Prince An unusual briar pipe shape with a low, wide bowl and slightly curved mouthpiece.
    Rack Pipe racks are almost as varied tobacco pouches. Their purpose is to hold pipes in a vertical position to cool and dry properly between smokes.
    Ready Rubbed Tobacco leaves are compacted under great pressure and heat is applied for days at a time. The cakes of tobacco are then removed from the press and cut into thin slices.
    Reamer A tool to remove excess carbon from inside of the pipe bowl. The tool presses evenly against the sides of the bowl as you turn it, assuring a uniform carbon, and with no danger of splitting the bowl or cutting your fingers.
    Rhodesian A classic Briar pipe shade, a bent version of a Bulldog.
    Saddle Stem Pipe stem that tapers sharply down in diameter just after it leaves the shank.
    Sandblast A method of finishing briar pipe bowls. It gives them an interesting texture, makes them lighter and keeps them cooler.
    Shag A special, rough cut tobacco. Liked by smokers for the way it packs and burns.
    Shank The straight or curved part of the pipe which forms one piece with the bowl. Sometimes called the stem, though the latter is also used to describe the separate bit or mouthpiece.
    Stem May be used as a synonym for shank, but more often used for separate bit or mouthpiece.
    Straight One of the three main pipe shapes, describes a pipe with a straight shank and stem, as opposed to ‘bent’ which has a curved shank/ or stem.
    Straight Grain The very highest quality of briar pipe. The grain runs vertically up the bowl.
    Sun cured The tobacco is suspended outside in the sun to dry.
    System A tube which can be fitted inside the shank or stem of the pipe to regulate, cool and filter the airflow.
    Tamper An instrument for pressing down tobacco in a pipe bowl, especially when a pipe is being re-lit, and the tobacco is too hot for comfortable finger tamping. Formerly called a stipple. Early stipples were usually clay. Modern tampers are usually metal.
    Virginia General term for the many special varieties of tobacco originally grown in the US state Virginia.
    Vulcanite A vulcanised rubber and sulphur mixture which is the predominant material used for making mouthpieces.
    "Dear heart, you're talking to a man- a real man- who drinks straight Tequilla, with lime and salt on the rim, and smokes cigars" (J Zavala)