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Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby Dodger » Mon Jun 29, 2015 10:08 pm

pbielicki wrote:Looking for some advice here. I wouldn't necessarily consider myself to be a noob, but I'm also not an old stager. What I am wondering is how people get their pipes to smoke to the heel. I've read a number of posts where guys describe a tobacco smoking good through to the heel but I cannot for the life of me get a smoke to go to the bottom of a briar. It's a little easier in a meer or a cob but as everyone here probably knows, that's because those pipes smoke drier than briars.
I've always chalked it up to the same as with a cigar. You can't really smoke a cigar down to nothing as you need a portion to hold. The tars and moisture also build up in that last bit of the cigar and ruin the flavor and the way it burns. With a briar, I always get 3/8-1/2" of wet dottle in the bottom which just won't burn and I just abandon it as I would the stub of a cigar. I don't think I'll go the Sherlock Holmes route and dry out the dottle to smoke later.
Do others experience the same results? Or am I not breaking in my briars properly?

Seems you are a wet smoker .Do not know if they are available in the States ,but in the UK Philtpads or wire gauze balls are put in the bottom of the bowl ,so the tobacco does not get wet ,I believe Kev_La uses them .
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby PuFFaH » Mon Jun 29, 2015 10:16 pm

A possible cause is how you pack the tobacco. Try a lighter pack and stay on top with the tamper but don't tamp hard.
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby KevLa » Tue Jun 30, 2015 12:11 am

Dodger wrote:Seems you are a wet smoker .Do not know if they are available in the States ,but in the UK Philtpads or wire gauze balls are put in the bottom of the bowl ,so the tobacco does not get wet ,I believe Kev_La uses them .

I used to use PhiltPads, and found them to be helpful in a number of ways, but they are quite expensive for what they are, and I haven't used them for a long while, now :) I'm still a drooler, though :lol:
They might be worth your giving a try, Pbielicki.
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby ratatosk » Tue Jun 30, 2015 12:21 am

As William said, I wouldn't necessarily worry about it. Until I got serious about pipe smoking a few years ago, I struggled with the same kind of problem off and on, then things just clicked once I got into it full time. But some suggestions-

1. Traditional break-in involves starting with a third or half bowl and gradually increasing over several bowls. I guess it helps limit how much moisture can accumulate.
2. Ribbon cut blends are easier to manage in the bottom of the bowl.
3. Pipes are not like cigars and don't generally taste like crap if you resume smoking the leftovers the next day. Try finishing the remains of one off that has sat overnight and you might be surprised how much easier it has become to get to the bottom.
4. Use pipe cleaners throughout the smoke to mop up moisture.
5. When you tamp, have the bit in your mouth so you can check the draw and make sure it isn't getting restricted too much. Aside from careful tamping, it is also useful to poke and stir the ash with something pointy to open up the air flow sometimes.

More than anything else, this is about practice and a bit of experimentation. Focus on it and you will be spitting out ash in no time! :D
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby pbielicki » Tue Jun 30, 2015 1:51 am

William wrote:I wouldn’t worry too much about it and just enjoy your pipes. :D

Good advice, Willam. Thanks.
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby deathmetal » Wed Jul 22, 2015 3:26 pm

[quote="ruraldean"]You'll see a thousand different ways of filling your pipe on the interwebz from the Franke method to the screw method, from the three pinch method (compress like a child, woman and finally a man) to the scoop method and the air pocket method. Ignore them all. Simply drop your baccy into the bowl, tap the sides and then top up. Add enough finger pressure to keep it in and for it to stay there when you move the pipe about. If you invert your pipe and tap the side of the bowl it should fall out. Always fill looser than you would imagine. [/quote]

Had I found this before I started, things would have been a lot easier in the first year. The language of the term "packing" encourages us to overthink this one. For this reason, I have used the term "fill" as in "fill your pipe" for the last few years.
"My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whiskey." -- William Faulkner
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby William » Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:00 pm

deathmetal wrote:
ruraldean wrote:You'll see a thousand different ways of filling your pipe on the interwebz from the Franke method to the screw method, from the three pinch method (compress like a child, woman and finally a man) to the scoop method and the air pocket method. Ignore them all. Simply drop your baccy into the bowl, tap the sides and then top up. Add enough finger pressure to keep it in and for it to stay there when you move the pipe about. If you invert your pipe and tap the side of the bowl it should fall out. Always fill looser than you would imagine.


Had I found this before I started, things would have been a lot easier in the first year. The language of the term "packing" encourages us to overthink this one. For this reason, I have used the term "fill" as in "fill your pipe" for the last few years.

Same here but the internet wasn't around in 1988 for me and even if it was, I'd probably still learn the hard way. That said, this advise is the best in concise form I've seen. "Always fill looser than you would imagine."
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby 4nogginsmike » Sat Jul 25, 2015 8:36 pm

For years I layered the tobacco and pressed it down with my little finger, lightly. But it was customary to have to run a cleaner into the bowl several times at the start to establish a reliable draft.

So after thinking about the other packing methods, and it seemed loose at the bottom and tight at the top was a commonality.

Now I gravity fill unless the tobacco is cut such that it doesn't reasonably but loosely fill the bowl, at which point I lightly tap the bowl to get it to settle. Whether or not I tap, I complete the gravity fill and pile tobacco up over the top of the rim. Nothing unusual in this method yet; but then, I use very, very light pressure to ease the tobacco down into the chamber. This is light, not firm pressure with my finger only entering the bowl at the very top. I try to anticipate at what point the tobacco will hit bottom or achieve a firm enough pack such that it feels like it has, and stop before that point.

I know the bowl is more loosely filled using this method than that I previously used, and I know I use less downward pressure as well. I still have to use cleaners to open the draw, but probably about half the number.

For years I was obsessed with filling the bowl to the maximum, chasing a longer smoke. But the idea did not serve me well. When others would say that gravity filling was best, I went my own way. But avoiding problems with the draw and enhancing the burn are big returns for a loose pack, and in any case the best strategy for a longer smoke is a slow smoke.
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby KevLa » Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:43 am

4nogginsmike wrote:...in any case the best strategy for a longer smoke is a slow smoke.

In any case where a long, slow smoke will satisfy, I agree :)
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby Josh1982 » Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:46 pm

Esteemed pipe smokers:

Considering the title, I felt that this may be the most appropriate place for my inquiry. I recently purchased several tobaccos from a popular online retailer, among these were H&H’s Black House and Magnum Opus; two blends that I had already had the pleasure of enjoying. Yet, when I cracked these two tins the other day I noticed that they were abnormally dry, and I was sorely disappointed. I’m reluctant to come to terms with the fact that they actually require a bit of rehydration, instead of the customary drying time. Upon smoking a bowl of Black house I noticed that it burned slightly hot, and lacked in its characteristic sour note. The last time I rehydrated a baccy it was Squadron Leader, and the bowls that followed were utter crap. To rehydrate, I put the dry tobacco in a medium sized ziploc, I then place this medium ziploc(open) into a larger ziploc along with a folded, moist paper towel and seal it, leaving it for a few days, remoistening the towel as needed. I’ve had varying levels of success with rehydration(of only two experiments with pipe baccy and a couple of cigars).

My question is, by y’alls experience, is my method sound? And if you have ever undertaken the unpleasant business of rehydrating one of your favorite baccys, did it noticeably change its flavor??
“A pipe is the fountain of contemplation, the source of pleasure, the companion of the wise; and the man who smokes, thinks like a philosopher and acts like a Samaritan.” -Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby William » Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:35 pm

Josh1982 wrote:Esteemed pipe smokers:

Considering the title, I felt that this may be the most appropriate place for my inquiry. I recently purchased several tobaccos from a popular online retailer, among these were H&H’s Black House and Magnum Opus; two blends that I had already had the pleasure of enjoying. Yet, when I cracked these two tins the other day I noticed that they were abnormally dry, and I was sorely disappointed. I’m reluctant to come to terms with the fact that they actually require a bit of rehydration, instead of the customary drying time. Upon smoking a bowl of Black house I noticed that it burned slightly hot, and lacked in its characteristic sour note. The last time I rehydrated a baccy it was Squadron Leader, and the bowls that followed were utter crap. To rehydrate, I put the dry tobacco in a medium sized ziploc, I then place this medium ziploc(open) into a larger ziploc along with a folded, moist paper towel and seal it, leaving it for a few days, remoistening the towel as needed. I’ve had varying levels of success with rehydration(of only two experiments with pipe baccy and a couple of cigars).

My question is, by y’alls experience, is my method sound? And if you have ever undertaken the unpleasant business of rehydrating one of your favorite baccys, did it noticeably change its flavor??

Josh, it is unfortunate that you have to rehydrate new tobacco but your method seems sound to me. However, I would make one suggestion: use only distilled water (as tap water can cause molding and/or alter the flavor of the tobacco).
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby Josh1982 » Wed Aug 05, 2015 7:05 pm

...
> My question is, by y’alls experience, is my method sound? And if you have ever undertaken
> the unpleasant business of rehydrating one of your favorite baccys, did it noticeably
> change its flavor??[/quote]

> Josh, it is unfortunate that you have to rehydrate new tobacco but your method seems
> sound to me. However, I would make one suggestion: use only distilled water (as
> tap water can cause molding and/or alter the flavor of the tobacco).

Thanks for the advice; much appreciated!
“A pipe is the fountain of contemplation, the source of pleasure, the companion of the wise; and the man who smokes, thinks like a philosopher and acts like a Samaritan.” -Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby ratatosk » Wed Aug 05, 2015 11:35 pm

I think that the best, first choice for rehydrating is to mix the dry with a large-ish amount of the same blend that is not dry and give it a week to sort itself out. At least 50/50 but the more of the moister portion the better.

My other choice is to just use the little water pillows that the cigar people like. Seems to do the job ok, although I've not used to bring a baccy back from the dead, just to touch things up a bit.

An aromatic probably would not rehydrate well, but other stuff seems to recover reasonably well. I've salvaged 10 year old Penzance, Early Morning Pipe, Dark Twist, etc., and they were quite nice to smoke. They just would have been better if I had taken care of them properly to begin with.
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby 4nogginsmike » Mon Sep 28, 2015 7:00 pm

Any takers for the conclusion that once a tobacco is allowed to lose most of its moisture, and although the moisture can be brought back up, it looses something in the process? I in fact have read that the nearer the tobacco is to dust the less chance that it can be revivified.

A popular pipe seller's blog had someone saying that a vintage tin that was very dry on opening had been restored more or less fully by hydration. Water is a necessary presence in viable tobacco, allowing graceful aging.

But then again a blender told me that en route to his shop, the moisture in a tobacco is added and subtracted a half-dozen times between the initial curing and its arrival, ready for use, by his shop.

There goes my argument. Added to this is the recently released Mac Baren video stating that they receive their baled tobacco very dry, which allows it to remain in a state of suspended animation. But for how long?

The two viewpoints reconcile if we add that very dry tobacco can so remain for the duration of a blender's career, and that the open air for the bale and the airway into a vintage tin are mostly benign, and that the tobacco was kept at room temperature.
Pipe smoking: the most cultivated taking of tobacco; a good friend and a sublime addiction; but give me a cigar, too. But so expensive: smoke up and smoke less.
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby KevinP » Sun Nov 01, 2015 2:25 am

The few times I tried rehydrating tobacco, I smoked a bowl or two and thought it was good, if not as good as before. But even though I had removed the moist paper towel, a couple days later the tobacco was moldy and unsalvageable.
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby HowlinWolf » Sun Nov 01, 2015 12:21 pm

I use a plastic bottle cap with a small cube of dampened sponge in it. It seems as though having the damp source directly in contact with the tobacco is probably not a good idea.
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Re: Advice for Noobs (and old stagers?)

Postby hooboy » Thu Nov 05, 2015 6:04 pm

Good advise An I am in agreement on all except letting a pipe cool before taking down. I have been a pipe smoker 30 years plus and I have NEVER broken a stem while taking down a warm pipe.
That being said IF I am trying to take down a pipe and it is fairly stuck I go extra careful in the process . After it is down I always make certain that is Not so tight in the future.
Like I said this is good info and IF one is uncomfortable taking down a pipe that has not cooled WELL excrcise your own judgement I say again I have Never broke a pipe by taking one down warm and I have broke my share of pipes in the past by other means, Mostly by dropping!
Your millage may vary .
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