The Senior Pipe Reamer is a precision tool designed to remove and maintain a suitable layer of cake within a pipes tobacco chamber. I’m pretty sure if you have been smoking pipes for a while you’ll have considered adding one of these to your arsenal? Same here to be honest. I’ve pretty much used a knife in the past and while it does a good job, you have to be mindful of gouging the chamber out of round. Also cake can be quite delicate in places and its all to easy to get carried away and remove way too much or equally bad produce an inconsistent cake depth (thicker one side than the other).
The Senior Reamer is quite expensive compared to a small smokers knife, but it is definitely built to last a lifetime – it looks and feels bullet proof to be honest.
The reamer itself comes in a small glossy black box and surprisingly no instructions are included. Suffice to say they aren’t really necessary as the unit is a simple twist to adjust size design. The reamer is around 14cm/6 inches long and machined primarily from aluminium with the business end (the three blades) made from hardened steel. The handle and knobs are knurled and provide good grip. There is a circular tension spring wound around the 3 blades and this provides the resistance for adjusting the cutting diameter.
Concealed below the knurled knob is a drill bit designed to clean the pipe shank and draft hole. This screws neatly into the handle of the reamer. It is just shy of 10cm/4 inches so will work on just about all shanks even Canadian pipes that have a longer than average shank. There is also a cleverly conceived hole drilled through the tip of the bit so that a very thin pipe cleaner can be wound around the drill bits length for thorough airway cleaning.
I thought I’d try the reamer out on my Peterson Deluxe 11FB which had developed quite a hearty carbon build-up.
I screwed the knob in an anti-clockwise direction to tighten the head mechanism and thus reduce its diameter so that it would fit in the bowl without touching the sides. I then slowly wound open the knob so that a slight resistance was felt. Once at this stage I rotated the reamer slower and a very satisfying grinding noise was heard. After a couple of slow turns I removed the reamer and knocked out the dusty deposits. I could see that the reamer was doing the business but it would need a few more rotations to produce the desired effect.
In total I adjusted the reamers cut three times – checking between “grinds” that it was even and smooth. I stopped at about 1mm cake depth and was amazed at the uniform look to the chamber – perfectly smooth and much better than using a knife.
I would imagine the reamer could damage the bowl if excessive force was used and be mindful it should be inserted vertically and kept that way while turning it. The Senior Reamer is perfect for most pipe chambers – all but the very smallest will accommodate its use. Most of my pipes are billiard style and it fits them all with ease. I don’t suppose it will remove a heavy carbon build up in the heel of deep conical chambers but that can be achieved with sandpaper and a dowel.
The Senior Reamer is probably not something you’ll use everyday, unless you restore estate pipes, but it is definitely a highly recommended accessory to add to your pipe collection for when you do. Its easy to use, clean and built like a tank.
A cracking bit of kit!
Stay tuned for more tobacco, pipe and accessory reviews that I have in the pipeline (no pun intended).