My friend Steve once complained, “I went to Germany and all I got was this crappy t-shirt and a porcelain hunter pipe.”
They also had to pick him up off the sidewalk outside a Munich beer hall on several occasions during his tour of Germany, but that’s another story. So it goes, I suppose, that most hunter pipes are bought by tourists in order to prove to their neighbors that they actually went somewhere exotic and vaguely quaint, rather than something to add to their vast pipe collection. Let it be known that the noble Hunter Pipe is not just a trinket, but is, in fact, a venerable smoking instrument capable of holding at least twice as much tobacco as your typical briar pipe.
Not your standard pipe
Our porcelain hunter pipes have several parts – a bowl, a base, a hazelnut stem*, a horn mouthpiece, and a lid. The bowl is inserted into a cork fitting in the base and the base is attached to the stem with another cork fitting. The horn mouthpiece screws into the top of the stem. The bowls are adorned with a variety of pastural or woodland scenes generally depicting a buck patiently waiting to be slaughtered by the hunter who is too busy smoking his pipe to pick up his rifle.
Some things to keep in mind
The pipes are functional.
As a collector’s item, you may wish to keep the pipe unused for display purposes. The porcelain hunter pipe, however, is a functional pipe and can be smoked just like any other smoking instrument. Cleaning is fairly easy. You can simply scrape out any ash and residue with a standard pipe tool. You may want to remove the bowl from the base to run a pipe cleaner into the bowl or remove the base if you ever need to clean the inside of the hazelnut stem.
CAUTION: The cork fittings that hold the base to the stem and the bowl to the base can break apart and cease holding the parts together. So only remove the bowl and base when absolutely necessary.
The pipes are fragile.
Porcelain is clay with a glaze baked in so these pipes are as delicate as the other clay pipes we sell and will break if they hit a hard surface. So take care not to drop the pipe. You will notice the green string attached to the wind cap. When secured to the hazelnut stem, the string will save the bowl from landing on the ground should the bowl become separated from the base, or if the base drops away from the stem. So be sure to securely wrap or tie the green cord around the stem.
The nickel lid does not need to be snapped down while you smoke. It will come in handy if you are smoking outdoors in a brisk breeze, but it can sit loosely on the top of the bowl when smoking indoors or on a calm day outside. Be aware the hinge holding the lid in place has a very small metal pin that slips through the knuckles and can easily come out and disappear into the fourth dimension. So watch out. Try to work on a flat surface when cleaning or filling the pipe. If the pin slides out you will have a decent chance of finding it.
Filling and Smoking the Pipe
If you choose to smoke the pipe, you will find it does not require a breaking in period as do natural briar pipes. The clay can withstand higher temperatures than those produced by the smoldering tobacco inside the bowl, but you will find the bowl gets very hot to hold. Gripping the stem with the thumb and forefinger while resting the base in the palm of your hand will both stabilize the pipe and protect your hand from direct contact with the hot bowl.
The tobacco chamber on the hunter pipes can be very large. You do not need to fill the bowl to the top. If you find the stem makes it awkward to fill the bowl, you can gently remove the bowl from the base and that will make it easier to fill the pipe. Remember to reattach the green cord to the stem and be careful not to disturb the cork fitting.
A clay pipe needs no resting time between bowls. To clean the pipe, simply empty the bowl. It is best to use a tool designed for scraping a pipe bowl to gently remove the ash and remaining tobacco. Never bang the bowl against a hard surface to dislodge the remains. I personally find it best to let the pipe air-dry.
- Some hunter style pipes come with vulcanite stems and no lids