Sunday, February 3, 2008

S.M. Frank-era Kaywoodie straight billiard

Here is a scannergraph (a photo that I took with my old scanner) from several years ago, right after I had done some major restoration on this pipe. It is one of the more modern Kaywoodies that are made by the S.M. Frank company. This pipe, along with the Dublin in the previous post, was one of the pair of pipes that were my first Kaywoodies ever purchased.

There's nothing special about this pipe. A plain straight billiard with a heavy finish, it is reliable and has stood up well to repeated smokes with little or no rest between. But it will serve as an example of something that, when it comes to pipes, fills me with rage.

In this photo I took this morning (overcast and dark, so it's not the best but it will do), the billiard in question is at top and the apple that I posted on a few days ago is beneath. The stem of the apple shows a typical Kaywoodie "stinger," or screw fitment. Stingers are not all identical, but they should all look something like the one pictured. As you can see, the billiard has been mutilated.

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to take a hacksaw to the stinger of a Kaywoodie pipe. If there is a moisture problem, the aluminum fitment makes it perfectly safe to unscrew the stem while the bowl is still warm so you can run a pipe cleaner into the shank or wipe off the stinger itself. If you want to cut it off because it makes cleaning the stem more difficult, well then, that's a personal problem you need to deal with. You still have no business castrating a Kaywoodie this way.

This pipe will also serve to show an example of the difference between Kaywoodie logos. The old logo is a white material (I don't know what it is) set into a cloverleaf-shaped indentation in the stem (or on older Kaywoodies, the shank). The modern S.M. Frank Kaywoodies simply have a cloverleaf outline on the stem which is originally marked in white. It is cheaply done and the color wears off easily, as you can see.

In spite of all its problems, this has always been a very reliable pipe for me. It can bang around in my truck all day with no problem, and handles strong Perique blends with aplomb. Since it is not an original American Kaywoodie and also since the stinger has been cut off, I would never try to sell it. It is just an everyday pipe and remains part of my collection for the examples it provides--and it smokes well, I must admit.

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