Blog by Pat Russell
It is a pleasure to have Pat Russell posting on rebornpipes. I have been reading about and observing Pat’s refurbs on Pipe Smokers Unlimited (PSU) for a while now and thoroughly enjoyed his attention to detail. I enjoy seeing what challenges he takes on and how he creatively deals with them. Pat posted this comparison of the Castleford and PipNet reamers on PSU and I wrote him a quick email to see if he could post it here on the blog as well. He graciously consented to have it here. Have a look at the Thanks to Contributors page here on rebornpipes to read more about Pat and the other contributors to the blog. Without further introduction here is Pat’s first contribution to the blog.
I was gifted a PipNet Reamer by a good friend who also restores pipes. A lovely gesture which provides me with the chance to share a side by side comparison.
I’ve only ever used the Castleford Reamer. When I started doing restoration work I read as much as I could on reamers and which offered the most control. The PipNet Reamer was well reviewed by many, including here by Steve Laug https://rebornpipes.com/2012/05/31/my…rs-a-review-6/ and it came out on top. My problem was access, when I was building up my kit I couldn’t find one. So I opted for a Castleford Reamer set. I liked that it had four fixed blade heads, that it was unlikely to slip and seemed to afford some control.
I’ve used my Castleford Reamer for over 70 pipe restorations, and it was coming to the end of its life. So not only was this spontaneous gift a surprise, it was a fortuitous one. The problem with my Castleford set was that the plastic which is used to make both the reamer and the handle is soft and it wears down. Two of my four reamer heads for the Castleford are so stripped now, that they won’t stay in the handle. The PipNet does indeed seem to be made of a stronger/sturdier acrylic than the softer plastic of the Castleford.
Here is a closeup of one of the reamer blades from my Castleford. You can see the wear in the centre and on the edges of the toothless side of the blade which is inserted into the handle.
Aside from the material difference, the blades of the PipNet are thicker, and one-sided. There is definitely more material in the blades of the PipNet, and the mass of the blade seems to make for a smoother cut through cake. The thinner steel blades of the Castleford blades seem to catch on cake more easily.
The other piece that I like about the PipNet Reamer is the extra length in the handle. It affords just a little more purchase and mechanical advantage.
I look forward to the next 70 pipes with the PipNet, and will report back on how it performs. But if the first seven are any indication it and I are going to be long friends.