There are many opinions that I’ve seen on this topic. But what is important to note is that if you’re a regular pipe smoker, it’s best to have several pipes that you rotate throughout the week. The reason? A pipe gets moist throughout a smoke because of the natural moisture of the tobacco and saliva from the smoker, therefore, causing a need for the pipe to dry out a bit before smoking again. Keeping a pipe moist can damage the wood and allow for sour smokes. Think about it this way, have you ever had a water bottle that you drink from throughout the day and close the lid every time you’re not drinking from it, then leave the lid on over night? After a few days of this, the bottle opening is likely to start building mildew. This happens because moisture is trapped and the bottle cannot breathe. The same thing applies to pipes.
Just from viewing several opinions, if a smoker is the type to smoke several bowls a day, then it’s wise to allow a pipe to rest and dry out for the rest of the week. For lighter smokers, a couple of days is sufficient for the pipe to dry out. There’s also some discussion whether or not climate has any push on how long a pipe will need to dry. It makes sense to me though. If I’m living in Louisiana, where the climate is generally humid, a pipe may need more time to dry, but if I’m somewhere like Arizona, I can imagine there won’t be much moisture for long.
I’ve seen many pipe smokers have not only the briar pipes, but meerschaums and corn cob pipes within their rotation. Cob pipes definitely seem to allow a transition phase between briar pipes in rotation if the smoker doesn’t have as many pipes to rotate. Cob pipes tend to be cheap and easy to maintain, and allow a good smoke for the interval between rotating briars. Good meerschaums tends to be more expensive, but they are more pleasant to look at and they definitely provide a cool and smooth smoke.
For myself, I smoke maybe a bowl a day. Sometimes, only a couple a week. Now, I may not have an organized rotation, but I know not to smoke the same pipe too many days in a row. By allowing a pipe to dry out, it will allow newer pipes to build a good cake, in my opinion. One might ask me why I have so many pipes then? Because I like how they look and each one is different in the way it smokes. Plus, I’m starting to collect. 🙂
There is one last reason for rotating pipes. It seems that many fellas use this “rotation” to talk their wives into allowing them to buy more pipes. Well, that can be a pretty good reason.
Happy collecting and smoking!