Breaking em in

Discussion in 'Corn Cob Pipes' started by Highwayman, Dec 27, 2013.

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  1. Highwayman

    Highwayman Member

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    I am fascinated (as a new member here) at all the different conversations regarding breaking in a corn cob pipe and corn cob pipes in general. I always thought the whole point of a corn cob was to buy it (or make it), fill her up to the rim and enjoy a perfectly sweet smoking experience.
    I just bought 6 new cob pipes (MM, CG's) and realized I have some personal preferences as well.
    First I remove the "varnish" (or whatever that sealer is)
    Then I heat up a mixture of mostly beeswax and mineral spirits and apply it to the exterior (including the shank)... this is the same "finish" I use on the game calls I make, but I digress.
    Then I remove the filter.
    I fill her up to the rim (repeat)
    and smoke her to about 99%. (I don't enjoy a "dottle")
    I smoke a relatively dry tobacco (in fact I don't think I have ever smoked tobacco right from the new container. I always thought drying tobacco to your liking was a part of the whole deal). I don't eat ham that contains extra water either, I fry it or roast it or smoke it (to MY liking), again I digress.
    I never even considered trying to burn the portion of the shank that is inside the bowl. I never heard of (until joining here yesterday) "pipe mud."
    Normally, I have a nice cake in the bowl after a month or so and I ream that cake like I would with a fine briar. And, continue reaming every month or so (depending on how often I smoke that cob) til a nice cake wall is built up (about the thickness of a coin). And, that portion of the shank is buried or gone.
    After a year or so it is usually long past the time to buy a few new cobs. I break em or lose em or burn em up in our West Texas wind or drown em in a monsoon rain or crack em in subzero weather.

    The reason I smoke a Corn Cob Pipe ???
    I have always considered it to be the "hallmark" of American Pipe Smoking. I feel connected to that heritage when I smoke one. I don't worry about smoking different tobaccos and getting the slight taste of that previous tobacco (if I were ever to ruin the taste from one, I'd just throw it away). I don't worry about losing it or breaking it or scratching it or getting my dirty working hands around it and wouldn't risk my life to save it if I dropped it in a rushing stream or off a mountain or down a well or crossing a busy street or... And, the sweet notes are unmistakably... A Corn Cob Pipe. A simple, basic, inexpensive and reliable source of personal enjoyment.

    Enjoy the smoke
     
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  2. Ephraim

    Ephraim Member

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    Well said.

    I suppose all us Cob devotees have our own methods of breaking in cobs. I allow just a little bit of cake to form. I don't intentionally burn off the shank that is inside the chamber, like you I allow the normal process of smoking to char and cake it.
    I will also occasionally sand off the varnish on the outside of the bowl, although I haven't really noticed any difference as far as bowl heat goes. I just think some look better without the varnish.
    Unlike many people though, I treat my cobs as if they cost ten times as much :) I had to retire a 12 year old Legend recently due to the cracks entering the chamber. On that one I had allowed the cake to get way too think. With my newer ones I'm being a little more careful...perhaps excessively so.

    Yeah, Corn Cob pipes are awesome. :puffy:
     
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  3. Highwayman

    Highwayman Member

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    Ephraim,

    I actually have several that I am careful with (maybe I sounded like I treat them like junk and that's not the case). They are very very old. Interestingly, what led me to this forum, was, I did a search for "customizing corn cob pipes." which led me to a blog. which led me to this forum. I have been working on an old MM Danish bowl customization for a couple weeks (thought this was a "unique" idea, boy was I wrong). I'll post pics in a couple weeks when it's finished. (or now that I see there is a custom cob contest of sorts, maybe I'll just hang onto the pics until summer) LOL

    Enjoy the Smoke
     
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  4. Ephraim

    Ephraim Member

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    Oh, no you didn't sound like that at all. In fact just the opposite :) I was just thinking about how many other people think that Cobs don't last very long.
    I liked your post quite a bit. It's always nice to have other brothers of the Cob around :puffy:
    Pics are always nice, btw. I never tire of seeing Cob mods. :)
     
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  5. Highwayman

    Highwayman Member

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    Let's see if I can remember how to load a picture...

    (nope)
     
  6. Highwayman

    Highwayman Member

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  7. Highwayman

    Highwayman Member

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    Pipe on the left is 5 years old, pipe on the right has been smoked once.
    (edited)
    ps, that tin of Escudo is 10 years old... I try to break my new pipes in with something from the cellar.
     
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  8. sillyoldbear

    sillyoldbear Active Member

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    I'm pretty sure Doug and Jim have cobs around the same age as me.
     
  9. Highwayman

    Highwayman Member

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    unless you're in your 90's I have cobs that are older... LOL
     
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  10. 5H4N3

    5H4N3 Active Member

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    My Dad went into a BIG pipe shop without me back in November, and got into a conversation with the proprietor. Pop told the man that his son had gotten him back into pipe smoking after many years away, and he told the man that his son (me) likes corncobs, and smokes them more than anything else.
    The man made a face (like something smelled bad) and said "cobs are fine for a camping trip, or somewhere you are concerned about loosing or damaging a real pipe, but they only last a few months, are are more or less just a disposable pipe".

    I told Pop, "with all due respect, that guy doesn't know his azz from a screen door about corncob pipes".
     
    Ernest, Rodfather, Skrymr and 5 others like this.
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