Guest Blog by Robert M. Boughton
Member, North American Society of Pipe Collectors
Photos © the Author
Last week, a blog of mine called “Giving It the Old College Try, As a Favorite Substitute Teacher Used To Put It” [https://rebornpipes.com/2014/09/24/giving-it-the-old-college-try-as-a-favorite-substitute-teacher-used-to-say-robert-m-boughton/], about a Monarch apple with an absurd tenon contraption that screwed into the shank with more or less permanence. Really, the nice-looking briar apple, as it was designed, was the worst example of pipe engineering I can imagine – and the maker even had the nerve to patent the monstrosity.I described my great difficulty trying to keep the pipe intact with its worse than useless tenon and my eventual semi-success by removing an obnoxious, bulbous extension that protruded from the shank to connect to the stem, much as a Space Shuttle docks with a station way up beyond the limit of the Earth’s atmosphere. However, at the time, I was so caught up with the notion that the tenon was necessary as to miss the obvious. Here was my final effort, which was far from perfect in its sturdiness.After writing that I wouldn’t even give the ridiculous pipe away to anyone who purchased another one on my Web store, I became more and more fixated on finishing the project some unknown right way – using the right stuff, so to speak. I considered all kinds of possibilities, including tracking down a replacement rod of appropriate length and design to replace the original. Now that, I must admit, was stupid.
Then I showed the pipe with all due meekness to Chuck Richards, my friend and mentor, describing its imperfections and showing him the reason. But all he had to say was that the stem had a minor crack in the lip anyway, and it would break altogether in time. I figured that meant sooner than later. And so my immediate brainstorm was to go ahead and offer the pipe for free with another purchase and include both the original and a prepared replacement stem.
Still, the only real solution eluded me! But at last, by George, I got it! Remove the whole wretched tenon and replace the stem!
And so, that I did, spending hours sanding down the new stem’s tenon to fit. I even added a brass band to make up for the dorky faux band that was attached to the original tenon-lunar module piece.Satisfied of a job done right, I filled the bowl halfway with some good Gawith Full Virginia Flake and spent the next hour or so puffing away in delight. I could taste the natural sweetness of the Virginias all the way through. Minus the tenon and with a stem that attached without it, the old Monarch became a good pipe after all.
I have decided either to keep the unique but dreadful tenon as a souvenir or maybe donate it to the local space museum.
That is all.
Sometimes the answer is just a fleeting thought away and you need a nudge.
And sometimes it takes a shove so hard it knocks the wind out of you and almost sends you over into the abyss! Thanks.
Ahhh, yes Grasshopper. Life is so much easier when we give in to the obvious.
Enjoy that lovely old bowl, now that liberation is complete.
Many thanks to you, Master Po. I am eternally indebted for the wise guidance you provided.