Common Pipe Terms

  • Amber: A petrified pine resin used in the 1800's as a source for mouthpieces and stems.

  • Bit: The end of the mouthpiece that goes in the mouth.

    • Saddlebit: A stem that radically decreases in thickness to a slimmer bit.

    • Tapered Bit: A stem that slowly tapers throughout the length to a slim bit.

  • Bowl: The chamber of the pipe where the tobacco is packed, lit, and smoked.

  • Briar: The wood from the burl found at the base of the White Heath Tree used in pipe making. Found only in the Mediterranean Sea area.

  • Carnauba Wax: The wax applied to briar pipes that enables the pores to breath and protects the wood from dirt and stains.

  • Cumberland Stem: A stem made of composite materials giving it a vein or stripped appearance.

  • Ebauchon: The center portion of the briar burl characterized by having an undefined grain pattern.

  • Fill: An area that covers a minor imperfection in the wood and then stained.

  • Firewood: A term referring to carved pipe blanks that are discarded or burned because of a major defect in the wood.

  • Fraising Machine: A pipe-making machine that shapes the bowl, shank, and heel of the pipe by turning the block of wood while a chisel cuts the wood automatically.

  • Meerschaum: A soft stone of fossilized sea animals used to make pipes. Often mistaken for ivory, this medium colors as the pipe is smoked.

  • Military Mount: A friction fit stem that does not use a tenon and mortise construct. Often the entire diameter of the stem fits into the mortise of the pipe.

  • Mortise: An opening in the shank of the pipe where the stem fits snugly into the bowl.

  • Mouthpiece: The part of a pipe the smoker places in his mouth to smoke and balance the pipe.

  • Plateau Briar: The outer cut of the burl and is distinguished by tight, straight grain.

  • Rustication: A surface treatment of a wood pipe to give it a rough texture.

  • Sandblast: A finishing technique in which the pipe bowl and shank is sprayed with sand to texture the surface.

  • Shank: The area of the pipe that connects the bowl to the stem or mouthpiece.

    • Diamond Shank: A shank that is diamond in shape in respect to the bowl.

    • Oval Shank: A shank that is oval in shape in respect to the bowl.

    • Square Shank: A shank that is square in shape in respect to the bowl.

  • Spigot: Similar to the military mount but in which both the stem and shank are capped in metal.

  • Stem: Synonymous with mouthpiece.

  • Tenon: The projecting part of the stem that fits into the mortise of the shank of the pipe.

Uncle Bob