Blog by Steve Laug
I received this pipe through the generosity of a good friend. I had been with him when John posted a pipe like this on his website for sale. When I went to purchase it someone had beat me to it. It turned out to have been my friend so he had John make a second one for me. When the pipes were completed he came by the house to drop my surprise gift off and to sit and smoke the two pipes together. I think of him and his generosity each time I look at this beauty.
In this review I want to look at the pipe from a more technical side and walk through its construction, feel and delivery of the smoke to me. I drew the pipe from the smooth black leather pipe sock, stamped with Crosby’s signature and USA in gold. Here is what I found.
In my hand the pipe is very light weight. I do not have a scale to weigh it in terms of grams or ounces but I can say that the weight is light. It is nicely made and roughly 4.5 inches long. The shape and weight make it easily a sitter even though it is not flattened on the bottom of the bowl or the shank. It is so light weight and balanced that, like the Morrisette I reviewed earlier, it is easy to leave in my mouth without clenching while I am driving home from work. The construction and eye to detail is very good. The finish is rusticated with a craggy tight rustication. John left a band at the end of the shank to facilitate the shank stem junction. The bottom of the shank also has a spot in which John stamped Crosby and the year of make – 09. In terms of stain and colour this is interesting. John seems to have stained it with a series of stains. It is almost matte black when viewed without a bright light. But with light there are hints of browns, reds and blacks. As I turn the pipe over in my hand the colours shift and are visible. The rim of the bowl is also rusticated with the same roughness as the bowl exterior. The rustication and finishing job on this pipe is very well done.
The stem work is nicely made. It is hand cut from acrylic but is soft in the mouth. It is a Cumberland like material in greens, yellows, olives, browns and blacks. The stem/shank joint is perfect – no gap whatsoever. It is a modified saddle stem – asymmetrical in shape. The slope on the top of the stem is at a sharper angle than that on the bottom of the stem. Both are cut with what looks like an eye for tree ring like striations in the acrylic. It is a fairly wide and flat stem that is very comfortable in the mouth. It has a nicely shaped button that is sharply cut and catches well on the back of my teeth. The slot in the button is a smooth V slot that facilitates the movement of smoke across the mouth. The colour on the end of the button is like a bulls eye – rings and rings that almost centre on the whole. The stem is polished with no scratches or file markings at all. Very clean. But the material is such that it goes very well with the matte finish of the bowl. Very nice feel in the hand.
Moving to the inside of the pipe – the mechanics of the pipe are very good. The angle of the drilling of the bowl takes advantage of maximum bowl thickness and depth. The draught hole was precisely where it should be. The bottom of the bowl is of relatively the same thickness as the walls of the pipe. Nicely laid out John!! The bowl was uncoated and very smooth. There are no rough spots where the draught hole entered the bowl. The inside of the airway in the shank and the bowl were very smooth with no extraneous roughness from the drilling. The same is true with the inside of the stem, which was also very smooth. Holding light to the bowl revealed a clean and smooth airway with no impediments. The drilling from the draught hole to the hole in the end of the shank is wide open and unimpeded. The tenon is delrin I believe and is open to draw the smoke through evenly. The opening airway in the end of the tenon is wide open and proceeds to the button in a smooth open path. There is no roughness or constriction where the delrin tenon ends and the stem material begins. This transition is smooth. The airway flattens out like a squeezed drinking straw so that the diameter does not change but is flattened and opened. The draw on this pipe is very smooth – no whistling sound and no sense of having to suck or work to get the air to move through. The draw on the pipe is effortless. From the first smoke it was a very easy pipe to smoke. Once lit it was effortless to smoke. A pleasure to smoke, exactly what I have come to expect from the other Crosby pipe I have and what I hear others saying about his pipes.
JOHN CROSBY PIPES http://www.crosbypipes.com/