2017 Piping Resolutions
12/30/16 by Andrew Wike
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:
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.
My piping resolution for 2017 is to learn to expertly restore estate pipes just like the pros in the SPC Restoration Lab.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.