A smoking pipe that is specifically made to smoke tobacco typically consists of a chamber (the bowl) for the combustion of material and a thin stem (shank) ending in a mouthpiece (the bit). Pipes can range from the very simple machine-made briar pipe to highly-prized handmade and artful implements created by renowned pipemakers which are often very expensive collector's items.
The bowls of tobacco pipes are commonly made of briar, meerschaum, corncob or clay. Less common are cherrywood, olivewood, maple, mesquite, oak, and bog-wood. Generally a dense-grained wood is ideal. Minerals such as catlinite and soapstone have also been used. Pipe bowls of all these materials are sometimes carved with a great deal of artistry.
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