I've always been a fan of the Peterson Systems Pipes. They seem to be consistently good smokers. I currently own a #307, a #309, and a #314 (my favorite). All of these were full bent shapes. In the Systems line, there is one (the #31) that is a straight pipe. Curiosity finally got the best of me and I purchased the #31.
The #31 is a lightweight pipe (1.2 oz) in a, I think, billiard shape. The light weight of the pipe is partially attributable to the small size of the bowl and the thin wall of the bowl (the thinness in my collection of Petersons). The pipe measures 5 3/4 inches in length.
Is it a true Systems pipe? Most definitely. There is a moisture trap which runs horizontally under the bowl, a little past the center point of the bowl. The smoke hole is bored at a steep angle from the chamber through to the trap. The mouthpiece ends in a classic P-Lip. However, a metal stem runs from the end of the mouth piece to the end of the trap.
So how does all of this work. With its small bowl, the #31 Systems pipe is good for short smokes. The small bowl is made all the smaller by the moisture trap which runs under the bowl. This all makes for a lightweight pipe which is easy to clench in your teeth. However, this also limits smoking duration to 15-20 minutes of nirvana. The metal stem produces the occasional dreaded gurgle. I don't know why this was included in the design. However, the stem
can be unscrewed (its threaded in) and discarded which, for me, resulted in a better smoke without the gurgle. This did not affect the moisture trapping function.
The smoke hole which is bored from the chamber to the moisture trap presents an occasional problem. Remember, the hole is bored at a steep angle down. If the hole is blocked, there is no way of clearing it and you have to dump your tobacco and start all over. In my other Systems pipes, I can use my pick and simply poke the obstruction clear and continue smoking. The same goes for loosening up a too tightly tamped bowl of tobacco.
So how does the #31 pipe smoke. Once boken in, it provides the same consistently good smoke that my other Peterson's have. What more is there to say? Would I recommend the #31 pipe. To each his own, however, I prefer my other Systems pipes. My main concern with the #31 pipe is the limitations on clearing the smoke hole. For this reason, I would not buy another #31 pipe.
Agree? Disagree? Do comment: