Re: Hand made Syrian pipes vs KM's
Syrian narghiles tend to have main-stems that are made out of solid, cast brass or extruded brass main-tubes which are fitted into cast brass or cast stainless steel outer shells. Egyptian narghiles use spun and brazed sheet attached to a stainless steel main-tubes most of the time. They tend to have ash trays that are screwed into place rather then floating and they usually have a removable brass downtube that may or may not be chrome plated. Syrian narghiles usually have a closed common smoke chamber with 4 holes although from time to time you see Egyptian style smoke chambers on Syrian rigs. The best of the Syrian narghiles have built in diffusers in the hoses ports and, rarely, on the down-stem.
Lastly a great many Syrian (as well as Iranian and Lebanese) narghiles are made to be used with a style of bowl that fits into, rather then over, the top of the main-steam. Typically the main-steams meant to be used with Syrian style bowls have a widened vase or flat bowl style attachment welded to the top of the main-stem. In recent years most Syrian narghiles one sees for sale in Western countries are made to work with standard Egyptian style bowls.
Syrian narghiles are almost always very heavy and sturdy and have a lot of intricate carvings on the main-steams.
The glass is, generally but not always, high quality and mostly free from defects.
Syrian hoses are, for the most part, perfectly average unwahsable hoses although occasionally one sees decent washable hoses from Syria.
As to how they smoke, They tend to be slightly restrictive which I prefer because it improves smoke density. If you can get one with built in diffusers you'll definitely notice and like the difference. I have found that Syrian rigs often have down-steams which are too short which results in less smoke volume then would be idea but given that I smoke for taste rather then clouds it makes no difference for me. The one indisputable downside for Syrian narghiles is that the closed common style chamber is a pain to clean so you do need to buy a brush that is a bit out of the ordinary and spend a bit more time scrubbing. If you need to know where to get such a brush just ask.
A typical Syrian style "male" bowl smokes the same as an Egyptian style bowl. Personally I like the ability to use Egyptian style bowls since it means I can use my funnels, vortexes and super chiefs. Ask for a picture of the top of the main-stem before you buy if you are uncertain about what sort of bowl a Syrian narghile can use.
In the end it's a matter of preference if Syrian or Egyptian narghiles are better. Personally I prefer Syrian designs and I think they have better quality control more often then not. Although my KMs are great I think my Syrians are better still.