I recently posted a video on my YouTube channel in regards to this subject, so I figured I'd make an accompanying blog. The concept of a 7-Day Pipe Rotation is one held by more than a few pipe smokers. However, some would say it's an excuse by collectors to buy more pipes! Others may even say it was fabricated by pipe manufacturer's to sell more pipes. Is it optimal to rest a pipe for seven days to allow it to completely dry out after each smoke? Well, sure. Do I put it into practice? Well...sometimes.
My weekly pipe rotation consists of the pipes I keep on the table in front of me where I smoke the most often, here in what I lovingly refer to as the West Parlor at Gray Manor (which is really my garage & Man Cave). There are usually about a dozen pipes out here, and when I finish smoking a pipe, I run a couple of pipe cleaners through the stem, shank, and bowl to get out the "leftovers" and any excess moisture. Then I'll let it sit for at least a day. That's bare minimum in my book. Since I usually smoke 2 to 3 bowls in any given day, or about 21 smokes each week, I'm able to let each pipe rest for at least that minimum threshold fairly easily.
Do I think you need a pipe for each bowl you plan to smoke in a week? Well, perhaps I'm not the right person to ask that question. The seller part of me says, "Sure! Better safe than sorry!" And the collector in me says, "why so few??" However, my pragmatic side says it's not strictly necessary. But the 7-Day Pipe Rotation concept is a good guideline, and quite the enabler for new pipe smokers who appreciate the pipe as both an instrument of enjoyment and an interesting collectible. So with that in mind, here are a few tips to get you started with a 7-Day Pipe Rotation on a budget!
First, let's just assume that you already have at least one pipe...most likely two or three. If that's the case, feel free to adjust the following recommendations by reducing the number of pipes you need to reach seven, and possibly to include a moderately priced pipe or two from Big Ben, Savinelli, or Stanwell. Because of the constraints of this project, you'll just have to hold off on a Neerup! But for the purposes of this exercise, here are two lists for a beginning 7-Day Pipe rotation in the $100 and $200 ranges, respectively. Keep in mind that these are all personal recommendations that I carry here at The Pipe Nook, and that I personally smoke!
$100 Pipe Rotation
-A Chris Morgan Bones Pipe or Rossi Vittoria (Both Briars at the $40 mark)
-A Mr. Brog Pear Wood Pipe ($25 to $30)
-Three Missouri Meershaum Corn Cob Pipes in the $4 to $7 Range ($21 at most)
-Two Missouri Meerschaum Pipes in the $8 to $10 Range ($20 at most)
$200 Pipe Rotation
-A Chris Morgan Bones Briar Pipe ($40)
-A Rossi Briar Pipe ($39 to $60)
-A Savinelli Series III Unfinished Briar Pipe ($55)
-A Mr. Brog Pear Wood Pipe ($25 to $30)
-Any 3 Missouri Meerschaum Corn Cob Pipes amounting to $25 to $40
As you can see, there are choices to be made to custom fit these lists to your particular tastes. They both include at least one of the three pipe bowl materials that I would recommend for a newer pipe smoker (Briar, Pear, and Cob). Keep in mind that these prices reflect the time of this writing, and may change over time. Also, note that starting with a variety of 7 Briar Pipes would be significantly more expensive, effectively doubling the cost. But cobs and pear wood pipes are wonderful smokers, so don't be afraid to give 'em a go--you may be pleasantly surprised!
Of course if you have never smoked a pipe before and are just looking to kick the tires a bit, I wouldn't recommend investing in a 7-Day Rotation just yet. I would suggest you start with any one of the pipes listed here, and that you not spend more than $60 on your first pipe. This allows for two things. First, if you decide it's not for you, then you're not out a bunch of money. And second, you won't feel the need to sell the pipe to get back your money, which would allow you to come back and give pipe smoking another go in the months or years to come. It took me quite some time before I "got it," but I'm so glad I stuck with it! Patience has never been one of my strongsuits, but pipe smoking has helped me greatly with that particular viture these past few years.
Well, this was a fun little exercise, and one that helped me recall the excitement and joys of working towards the very beginnings of my own pipe collection! I hope you've picked up an idea or two, and that pipe smoking can be as much a source of enjoyment for you as it is for me!
Keep 'em lit,