What is a Sherlock Pipe?
If you think about the kind of pipe the classic character Sherlock Homes pipe smoked from, or the types of pipes your grandpa used to smoke his tobacco, then you’ve got a basic idea to the shape of a Sherlock pipe. It can also be described as having the shape of a saxophone, and some clever glassblowers have used this design to their advantage (like this one from Grav Labs). Basically, a sherlock pipe has a bowl at one end with the mouthpiece curved upward and away from the bowl.
Instead of being a straight-shot to the mouthpiece, like spoons, chillums, and steamrollers, the arched design of sherlock pipes allows the smoke to cool for a bit longer before inhalation. This helps lessen the harsh hits that dry hand pipes often produce. Some Sherlock pipes also include a carb on the side of the bowl or behind the bowl to help control the airflow of the pipe. Covering the carb will pause the flow of the smoke, and releasing it will cause the smoke to travel through to the mouthpiece once again. Waiting too long to release, however, can cause huge, hot hits that can be harsh on the throat.
The bowl size on Sherlocks is pretty standard; and if you ever need a larger session, simply repack the bowl with new product. Like other hand pipes, the bowl should be loosely packed full for maximum efficiency. Not enough product will create too much airflow, but too much will restrict the airflow and the pipe will become ineffective. Sherlock pipes are typically constructed from wood, glass, or metal, so there is enough variety in material for every preference. Take a look at some of the differences below.
Wooden Sherlocks — Some users prefer wooden sherlock pipes for a more traditional look. Wood can eventually absorb the smell of the product, so it is recommended to use wooden pipes with only one substance or flavor of substance. Wooden pipes also may burn slightly around the surface of the bowl until they develop a protective layer, so extra caution is required for the first few sessions.
Glass Sherlocks — Like other glass pieces, glass sherlocks can incorporate more intricate designs in their shape and construction. Although glass pipes cost more than wooden pipes, they are also easy to clean, and they keep the taste of the smoke pure from added flavor. Glass hand pipes are usually thick and durable, but it’s still possible to chip, crack, and break the glass. Handle glass Sherlocks with care.
Metal Sherlocks — Metal pipes are the most durable of all types of pipes, but some users report a change in flavor to their smoke using metal pipes. Regardless, metal is easy to clean, and some designs look futuristic or like some type of gear part rather than a pipe at all.
Overall, Sherlocks can be a fun pipe to smoke from, and you may just have to try it to see if you like it. Plus, they do make you look more sophisticated when using one! Luckily, many Sherlocks are relatively inexpensive, so you’re sure to find one in your price range.
- Abbigail Montgomery