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Testing the F.E.S.S. churchwarden pipe – day #2

This is the second day of testing the F.E.S.S. Churchwarden Wooden Pipe #317RL. This week were are breaking in the pipe by partially filling the bowl, smoking it down and repeating the process in order to gradually build up a thin layer of carbon inside the bowl in order to minimize the risk of burning a hole into the lining of the pipe bowl which is made from a hardwood, possible Indian rosewood.


I’ve smoked a few bowls already and performed a cleaning. So far, the pipe is behaving properly, hasn’t jumped out of mouth, bitten my tongue, become excessively hot in hand or mouth.

Conclusions after day 2

  • The insert with the metal condenser (see post for Day 1 which outlines the pipe and its parts) was hard to remove from the shank. The insert fits smoothly, almost, but not quite loosely, into the metal stem, but was difficult to remove from the shank of the bowl for cleaning. It would be wise to remove and clean the insert after every bowl, or at least after smoking a few bowls. Otherwise the insert will get plugged with residue.
  • The mouth piece which fits into the top end of the stem is no snug, but will not come out by just holding the pipe by your teeth. It turns easier than what I expect from a good briar pipe.
  • While the bowl gets warm to the touch, the metal stem does not. At least, at this point with only a partially filled bowl, and not being smoked heavily. Given the conductivity of metal, this was an early concern of mine, but has not proven to be an issue.
  • Overall the pipe smokes well. The construction may not be up to Dunhill standards, but then again this pipe sells for under $50.

One thing I did notice is that moisture tends to build up during smoking and gets the junction between the shank and stem wet with the nasty smelling tobacco juice, so it would be better to hold the pipe by the bowl or else further up the stem and avoid touching the joint where the stem and silver color metal band meet. And again, after smoking, let the pipe cool then separate the stem from the bowl and clean that condensation insert.

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