There are five main parts to a pipe along with several sub parts that work to operate the pipe. These main parts include the bowl, shank, stem, lip and filter. There are internal parts of a pipe as well as external parts. Sometimes certain parts in a pipe are completely optional such as a filter. The designs can vary with each pipe, but for the most part, there are main components that are necessary in all types of pipes to be able to successfully smoke tobacco from them. Learning about the different parts and how a pipe functions can make for better judgment when choosing the right pipe.
The bowl is used to hold the tobacco that will be smoked. This can vary in size with each pipe. Some people prefer large bowls, while others prefer small bowls. The preference really depends on how much tobacco a person likes to smoke in one sitting. Some people prefer to smoke a small amount, while others like to have their pipe with them all day to smoke. Collectors tend to have a mixture of different pipes with odd bowl shapes and sizes. There are unique bowls that are created in the shape of a fan.
The shank part of a pipe is the neck of the pipe that connects the bowl to the stem used to inhale the smoke. The shank is an important part of the pipe, because it determines how much smoke gets into the stem and past the filer so a person can inhale. Narrow shanks provide a limited amount of smoke and wide shanks provide a larger amount of smoke. Depending upon the amount of tobacco one wishes to inhale at a time, they can choose the pipe according to the shank size.
The stem of the pipe is where the smoke travels to before it is comes out of the lip part of the pipe. This is also important in determining how much smoke escapes. This is also a determining factor in how large or small the pipe is. Pipes that are considered to be short pipes will have a shorter stem than a standard sized pipe will have. This is a telltale difference between the two.
The filter is usually in between the shank and the stem of the pipe. The filter is an optional part in some pipe. This part is used to remove some parts of the tobacco and smoke before it is inhales. Many parts of the tobacco including the tar and toxins can have a negative affect when smoked often. Generally people who smoke pipes will notice a difference in the intensity of a pipe that does not have a filter. People who prefer raw tobacco smoke generally do not like the addition of a filter in the pipes that they smoke.