Andrew Wike
2017 Piping Resolutions

Nearly a year ago, we kicked off 2016 with a number of our own resolutions. No, they didn't involve going to the gym more (though, that was on another list); they were, simply put, pipe smoking resolutions. From taking better care of our pipes to trying a broader range of tobaccos, we all set goals, and many of us accomplished them. So as we roll into 2017, we thought it was time to reflect and plan once again. In that spirit, we reached out to a number of people around the office to see what they'd like to accomplish over the coming year. Take a look:

Ted Swearingen

In 2017, I will keep my pipes shiny; I only really smoke smooth pipes now, so I'll be trying to keep them polished and super shiny at all times, from briar to mouthpiece.

Calvin Miller

My piping resolution for 2017 is to learn to expertly restore estate pipes just like the pros in the SPC Restoration Lab.

Andy Wike

In 2017, I would like to finish my seven day set of Group 1-sized, little Billiards and find a new-to-me favorite blend to cellar a lot of.

Adam O'Neill

I spent 2016 both paring down the pipes I wasn't smoking and filling out my rotation with Ropps and the like. For 2017 I think I'd like to step back up and find one or two artisan pipes, as well as a few blends I can cellar deep on.

Daniel Bumgardner

Like Adam, I slimmed down my rotation this year and filled it out with a few more pipes I like to smoke. I purchased my first bamboo-shanked pipe, and started smoking clays a good bit this summer. In 2017, I'd like to own my first Eltang, while also discovering at least three new blends I like that aren't Virginia flakes.

Chana O'Neill

I want to widen my pipe collection. I mainly have Ropps, but I would like to get into other brands. I also need to expand my tobacco palate. I am usually given tobacco already in a pipe, so I don't have a refined sense of what I really like and what I only kinda like.

Keith Toney

In 2017, I would like to once and for all either give up the cigarettes or liquidate the pipes, one or the other. It would be great to make a couple shows to re-connect with old friends as well.

Chip Kushner

I am not good at keeping my pipes clean. I have become much better at using a pipe cleaner after each smoke or so. That was last years resolution, and I am doing pretty well. I prefer vulcanite stems, and what I still have to work on is keeping the stems from getting oxidized. So this year I resolve to keep my stems oiled and shiny. Time will tell.

Mike Flanigan

I have a few resolutions. First, I would like to build my cellar. Add a few tins I feel that I need, and when I buy one tin to smoke, I would like to put at least one in the cellar, but I will try to put two. Second, I should maintain my pipes better. I barely do anything to maintain them, which I am okay with — I just know that I need to do more. Finally, get more pipes!

Stephanie Smyre

I've got four resolutions. 1) Try one new tobacco a week. 2) Smoke one pipe a day. 3) Enjoy my pipes and the ability to work in an environment that promotes such camaraderie in our hobby. 4) Share my experiences more with others as I learn more about pipes and tobacco.

Eric Squires

My resolution is to smoke a pipe, preferably one nobody else would want, in very-begining-of-the-20th-century style. That is, without relying on pipe-cleaners and letting the cake grow as it desires, as back in those days the little cotton-and-wire wonders hadn't been common yet, and a lot of pipes were treated as disposable anyway. Depending on how the smokes progress this may turn out more of a penance than a resolution, but if so I'll probably deserve it for treating a pipe (even one nobody wants) in such a way.

Sykes Wilford

In 2017, I would like to end the pipe abuse. I like to think of myself as a kindly and temperate man in all things, but my relationship to my pipes belies that as one of those little mendacities I tell myself, at least in the particular arena of smoking instruments. I leave half smoked pipes about. I have pipes littering my office at work, my car, my home office, the living room, the back porch: I have pipes everywhere (of which my wife is broadly tolerant; bless her). I rarely clean my pipes. I have a reamer... somewhere. Ironically, I'm a careful smoker; my pipes aren't damaged in fits of pipe violence; they really just suffer a certain malignant neglect.

So, I resolve to take better care of my pipes. I will find them all. I will organize them. I will carry pipes with me to smoke instead of just leaving them about in all the spaces I inhabit. I will empty them when I'm done. And maybe ream them once in awhile. And I will start by bribing the estate guys with beer and pizza to bring them up to a level that can be sustained. Or I won't. I know myself well enough to know that is another little mendacity. Except for the last bit; bribing the estate guys with beer and pizza to clean my pipes annually is actually a pretty damn good idea.

As you can see, we all have a lot of work to do between now and this time next year — be it using things like obsidian oil on our stems more or just growing our rotations and cellars. What about you? Where would you like pipe smoking to take you in 2017? Do you have any piping resolutions of your own for the coming year? Feel free to share in the comment section below.


    • bryan webber on January 1, 2017
    • It made me laugh how many resolved to stop abusing their pipes. lol

    • unclebuccs on January 2, 2017
    • Seeing the cellaring of tobacco mentioned more than once, I would love to read more blog posts dedicated to this topic. What types of tobacco, any special care for vacuum sealed tins, or whatever other topics. Even maybe some behind-the-scenes peeks at a few personal cellars... For example sending Shane down to Texas for an on-location video with pipestud might be epic!!!!

    • william green on January 2, 2017
    • i counted last night while sitting in the man cave..i have 47 pipes witch all except 2 ive smoked..not bad for only been doing it less than 12 months..but i need to learn how to car for them..but saying this i have learnt a lot from your thank you and i hope all your wishes for the new year come true bill

    • Gayl A Liebman on January 2, 2017
    • I have been a pipesmoker for 50 years so I've learned a thing or two about pipes, smoking and tobacco. For what it's worth, I will share three secrets for those who may be interested. First, always insert a pipe cleaner all the way into the bowl of the pipe before filling. This will insure an unimpeded draw and allow the tobacco to burn all the way down. Second, fill your pipe in layers to insure an even burning smoke eliminating the need to relight often. Third and most important, smoke only pure, raw, unadulterated tobacco and avoid those that are heavily cased with chemicals and humectants because they will never burn properly nor will they age over time. It is impossible for embalmed tobaccos to age or burn correctly.

    • Jay Smith on January 3, 2017
    • I was surprised to see how many are going to take better care of this pipes this coming year. That is one of my main goals. I would like to add a few more pipes to my stable and start a tobacco cellar which I do not have at this time. I have a friend that is a pipe smoker but I am not sure he has ever experienced the taste of real great tobacco so I am going to get him some and gift it to him.

    • Keith wilcox on January 3, 2017
    • I'm not sure what this part is all about.

    • Adam O'Neill on January 4, 2017
    • @Bryan Webber Hah, you'd be amazed. For a group of people who handle pipes all day with tender love and care we're surprisingly hard on the ones in our own collections.

    • Adam O'Neill on January 4, 2017
    • @Unclebuccs We've got some stuff coming up I think you'll like! BTW, that hot toddy recipe you sent me got the job done, thanks again.

    • Adam O'Neill on January 4, 2017
    • @William Green That's quite the collection for a relatively new pipe smoker, well done :D

    • Adam O'Neill on January 4, 2017
    • @Gayl A Liebman Thank you so much for the invaluable insights Gayl!

    • Adam O'Neill on January 4, 2017
    • @Jay Smith What are you thinking of putting in this care package?

    • Sam Blau on January 4, 2017
    • For Adam and Daniel, I'd be curious to know what # of pipes you gentlemen are currently keeping, since you both pared down. I imagine working where you do, it must be hard to keep the Pad at bay.

    • Nick on January 4, 2017
    • My resolution is to give my English blends more love and attention. VAs have been in my chambers for years while my English blends sit there in their jars. Time to let the Latakia have some fun.

    • Adam O'Neill on January 5, 2017
    • @Sam Blau I can't speak for Daniel but even pared down I'm staring down about 40 pipes, though that includes cobs and maybe 15 pipes I'll never smoke but am hesitant to let go of (gifts and more ornamental pipes).

    • Gayl A Liebman on January 5, 2017
    • To Adam O'Neill - you are very welcome. Hope my suggestions enhance your smoking enjoyment.

    • KevinM on January 10, 2017
    • For a couple years, I've qualified for "free shipping" by adding a cob to the order. So the other day I pulled out the "unsmoked cobs" box and counted 22 of them. This is in addition to the 18 smoked cobs I keep handy for enjoyable, low maintenance smokes. And of course, my 50 briars. Must stop.

    • Johnny 3 on January 16, 2017
    • I thought to slow down on buying pipes. Got 50 now.

      Rrally enjoyed the read, especially nice to see where all those vintage ropps fly off to.
      ; ).

      1 to seeing some of your cellars and pipe collections.

      I would write more goals, but got to get back to pipe shoping.

    • Kelly Cheese on January 17, 2017
    • If like to try a bit of tobacco blending and maybe attempt a few cake presses this year.

    • Jim on February 6, 2017
    • Really appreciate Gayl sharing those three pipe "secrets!" Thanks! I've been enjoying and collecting pipes since 1975, and I've used the pipe cleaner technique before filling to keep the draw free and clear many times -- so now you folks at know why I ask so often whether a pipe I'm considering buying passes the infamous "pipe cleaner test"! Best to everyone!

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