Flake takes

Discussion in 'Pipe Tobacco' started by Mister Moo, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. Mister Moo

    Mister Moo Normal Cow Moderator

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    Different takes...
    [​IMG]
    for different flakes...

    [​IMG]

    YouTube - How to fill flake tobacco into pipe for smoking

    How To Fill A Pipe With Flake Tobacco - Video (Try to keep your stomach hairs out of the bowl is my advice)

    Smoking Pipe

    Pressed Tobaccos and Flake Pipes by Tarek Manadily

    How to Smoke Flake tobacco from Leisure Nouveau by Erik Arneson

    There are dozens of flake-how-to vids on youtube. I like the foreign language ones becuase you don't have to listen to what they say. Fold it, bend it, rub it, screw it in, moosh it in - whatever works. personally, I think rookies should start by rubbing flakes out well. Fold and moosh comes with experience.


    Edit 11 April 2013 - bad links removed and updates substituted. Fortunately the stomach hair video is still available.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2014
  2. user0003

    user0003 Well-Known Member

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    That's a nice resource list, Moo. Thank you.
     
  3. Mister Moo

    Mister Moo Normal Cow Moderator

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    So many flakes, so many pipe shapes and sizes, moisture levels are all over the board... weird burns and weird handling instructions compared to nice easy ribbon tobak. How does a pipe smoker ever figure our flakes? It took me a couple of years of by-guess and by-golly and, now, I mostly prefer flake tobacco of one kind or another.

    When someone says, "I just fold it and stuff it in the bowl" you might find, like other filling methods, it isn't as simple as it seems if you're expecting a quick light, even burn and ash to the bottom.

    For new pipe smokers my general flake-take is this:

    1. Get a few ounces of one certain flake and stick with it until you figure it out. One of the great products in my view (it comes in bulk, by the way) is Peter Stokkebye Luxury Bullseye Flake. There are many others that are great introductions to flakes quality and technique but LBF is readily available, consistent, not a hot smoker and easy to handle.

    2. Smoke some half-bowls fill until you figure out expansion. Some flakes will swell up quite a bit a few minutes after lighting and most require the gentlest of tamps to prevent plugging up the works. Been there. Done that. :D If you plug up a bowl with a flake best you just empty it and start again. A lot of pointy-pipe-tool airhole-drilling into flake-plugs just isn't going to further your education at the get go or probably ever. Like the pilots say, "If it's wrong on the ground it only gets worse in the air.

    3. Consider flakes can be:

    quite moist (they bend 90* but don't really break - they're chewy like);
    less moist (they bend and then tend to break somewhat); and
    dry-ish (when folded the bend tends to break cleanly).

    More moist can mean more swelling in the bowl along with the usual dribbles, gurgles and tendency to a hot smoke. Take care with moist flakes as they may bite and/or plug up your pipe. Less moist is mostly good. Dry-ish makes for easy rubbing and, sometimes, a tastier smoke. Try a flake at diffferent moisture levels to see where flavor and ease of smoking is best for you.

    4. Most flakes can be reduced (rubbed out) to shreds before filling. The texture, after rubbing out, is stringy or shag-like and fine to smoke. Some flakes (like Krumble Kake/Penzance) tend to crumble rather than shred. If suitably suitably dry most flakes can be folded and stuffed or screwed in a bowl.

    5. When you just can't get a stuffed/screwed flake to light there is a lot to be said for sprinkling some if it, finely crumbled, atop the bowl and trying a relight. This method often get a flake burning easily AND evenly.


    Knowing how to smoke flake tobak is one of those things you need to experience - there's teriffic stuff out there in Flakeville. Go slow, learn the nuances and don't mess yourself up by having a bunch of different flakes all going at the same time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2015
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  4. babysinister

    babysinister Active Member

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    I've got some PS LBF aging in a jar, but haven't tried any yet. I'm in no hurry; I buy now to smoke much later, like many others are now doing. But when I smoke the other medallion blend, Escudo, I'm following an instruction I received to place it concentrically right over the bowl opening and fold it over as you ease it down the bowl. One or two medallions will do it for me, depending on the size of the bowl.

    With McB Navy Flake, I just fold it and twist it gently into the bowl, then crown it with some "kindling" from the bottom of the tin and lit it up.

    Something like the Krumble Kake found in SPC PP, for example, I just put in a Gevalia coffee grinder (reserved only for this purpose, of course), just being careful not to over grind it.
     
  5. woody

    woody Admin Admin

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  6. Tinderfoot

    Tinderfoot Member

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    Great list of links, Moo! Thanks!
     
  7. ddandb

    ddandb Member

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    I was just rubbing everything out but I've been having such great luck with SG Navy Flake following the first method listed from Mac Baren that I've been sticking to that.
     
  8. t-bear

    t-bear Active Member

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    I like my flakes folded and stuffed, mostly in a smallish bowl. I take one flake, fold in thirds and kinda twist it into a cylinder. If it's too small in diameter to snuggly fit the bowl, I'll fold another flake and add just enough of it to make a cylinder of tobacco that fits in the bowl....work it in then press it to near the bottom. There's usually some space at the top (good thing) that I fill with a bit of rubbed-out flake....kindling! It usually takes a few lights to get things going, but once started, I seldom need a re-light.

    This mornings pipe was a smallish meer billiard that I filled with PS LTF...1 1/3 flakes did the trick. The bowl dia. is a shy 3/4" and the depth is 1 1/2". The pipe lasted for an hour and there's still a bit left....LTF DGTs nicely! LOL

    I like flakes dry enough to break when I fold them....that may have something to do with the slow, steady burn?
     
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  9. Mister Moo

    Mister Moo Normal Cow Moderator

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    Add on from elsewhere -

    Flake preparation is almost as personal as what color Speedo you prefer. All the above is exactly right if you think it's right.

    More to the broad strokes...

    Flake tobacco is compressed and, since everything really is physics, it must somehow come uncompressed.; When you light it and warm it up and moisture finds its way through the bowl of tobacco the stuff is going to expand. Fill or tamp a flake poorly and your pipe will be plugged tighter than Dick's hatband and better than all the gulf BP engineers could ever arrange. Plug a bowl with flake and forget messing with a pick - you need to put it out, empty the bowl and start over. You cannot smoke an airtight wad of tobacco with a single hole down the middle - it won't happen.

    If you are unfamiliar with a given flake tobacco and start out by rolling and stuffing it into your pipe I believe you will probably have an unrewarding experience. Each flake type is like a stranger, maybe an important stranger, that you need to get to know slowly so as not to hurt anyones feelings by doing the wrong thing.

    Learn a flake by breaking it up thoroughly, adding enough to fill the bowl and compressing down to halfway, approx; you're looking for a light load (about half) and an even top plus an very open draw. If you can manage to light the bowl across the top enough for a char, tamp it WAY GENTLY, leaving the draw slighly restricted, and relight. have at it but never overcompress the bowl or you end up but a non-combustible airtight wad (which, by the way, you will fry your tongue and suck your cheeks off trying to relight and smoke).

    Flakes. I love flakes and they are all my best tabak buddies but each one took a little investment of time to get to know. Flakes have much to reveal to the patient puffer; producers have taken generations to get their flake the way they want it - secrets will not be given up instantly to the brash. There are hard flakes, soft flakes, dry flakes, wet flakes, crumbling flakes, leathery flakes, easy flakes and damn-near-impossible flakes. Some come too wet and need a little drying - some get too dry a day after the tin is cracked and like a little moisture. At any given moment they may break, fold, roll, splinter, rip, roll or bend, light easily, refuse to light or fire right up.

    Find a flake and take your time - I'm talking a few days here, not years - crumble it up and get to know it damp, middling and dry. Try short fills and don't overcompress.

    Flame on!
     
  10. Puff The Magic

    Puff The Magic Active Member

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    I usually cut my flakes across grain into 1/4-1/3" "bitz" (cut plug-ish?) and allow to dry then load up into speedloaders or rub it out a touch and then load up into a bowl (gravity fed). Flakes are so versatile. Anyone can load ribbon/rough/shag, but you have to "know" what to do with a flake! :cheers:

    Great thread Moo!

    :bow:
    Ed Puff!
    cogito ergo puff
     
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  11. ruffinogold

    ruffinogold Ruffinogold-Mayor, I.R.G.E.--At Large. Mayor

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    I think MOO is spot on all the way ... Ya really gotta "play" with a blend for a bit to figure how it's gonna work for you . Me , I'm a rubber .. I rub all flakes ...some more than others . Some blends are flakes that are rubbed already ... but maybe they need more .Ya gotta play with them .The filling or packing ... well ... depending on how you rub or not will affect the way you'll pack .It just depends . All the links are good to help .In the end ....you wont have to think bout rubbing out one of your fav. blends . You'll just go ...HMMM ... I'm in the mood for blend x ...and Wham .... you do your thing and youre smoking a min. later
    '
     
  12. Smokingmiami

    Smokingmiami Member

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    So I tried my first flake today and it did not go as planned. I did dry it out for about 20 mins, then cut it in half and rubbed it out. Packed well and started to smoke great. About half way down the bowl it would not stay lit. I was trying out SG FF. It has a strong aroma out of the tin and the casing was very strong at the beginning of the smoke. Once it started to smoothen out a bit it went out. After relighting a couple of times I just said forget it. Any ideas??
     
  13. Mister Moo

    Mister Moo Normal Cow Moderator

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    Packed. You said packed and you got packed. Unpack and FILL...

    1. If the draw felt more than a bit restricted then the tobacco couldn't get enough air to sustain combustion. Things maybe got too tight down yonder as you went along; the tobacco expanded a bit and, combined with a little too much tamping pressure things got choked. Or

    2. If the draw did NOT feel restricted then maybe things are just too soggy at the bottom. Pick out the dottle and have a look see. If it isn't soggy at the heel of the pipe...

    3. Bad luck! Firedance Flake is one of those things that people say is just plain hard to keep lit. Rub it out a bit more next time and don't let the bottom half of the bowl get over compressed when you fill the pipe. Try half-fills and see what happens. Gotta say this about flakes here - sometimes some of them just want to char and get hard near the bottom of the bowl. Let the pipe cool, scrape it out and have another go, no worries.

    As flakes go we all have our preferences. I happen to love SG products but their flakes, which tend to be moist and very well compressed (even leathery) are not always the easiest to figure out. Try drier tobacco and make sure you're smoking from a dry pipe; swampy at the heel does not help a bit. Rub it out well - don't overcompress the fill or the tamps - try to get an even light across the top.

    Here is a common language for flake moisture level. If you bend a flake in half (180*) and:

    1.0 the ends don't splinter, it's pretty darn moist.
    2.0 the ends sort of fracture and sort of bend, it's not too moist.
    3.0 the ends all snap it's real dry
    4.0 but the stuff crumbles in your hand before it's bent 90* the stuff is dried out

    Take two aspirin, try your tobak around 2.5 and call me in the morning.

    Flame on!
     
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  14. Smokingmiami

    Smokingmiami Member

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    You are spot on thank you Mr. Moo. Ended up smoking something else but I'll let you know how it goes the 2nd time around. Thank you for the advice.
     
  15. BradNTX

    BradNTX Well-Known Member

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    Great info & thread Mr. M!

    I smoked for a year before I even figured out what a flake was. My favorite to date is Hamborger Veermaster and I like medium moisture. I pull a flake apart into coarse shreds and fill the first 3/4 of the bowl. I then rub out a patial flake and top off for easy lighting. I don't know why but I enjoy messing w/flakes almost as much as smoking them.
     
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  16. t-bear

    t-bear Active Member

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    I prefer mine at 3.0 on the *MOO* scale. I almost never rub flakes any more. I prefer taking my time with the load, nursing a good char light from the kindling, and sitting back to enjoy the myriad flavors this method brings to my smoking experience. For me, rubbing a flake detracts from the intent of the manufacturer, and lessens the flavor.

    But....that's the beauty of the hobby, and this forum. We all have our "special" way of doing things. Sharing those ideas actually brings us closer together, and serves to broaden the experience for all of us.
    Smoke flakes like any other form, in the way that works best for you. After all, it's the "pleasure of the pipe" that counts.
     
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  17. cmw00

    cmw00 Member

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    I have a little story to tell about flakes...

    When I first bought a pipe, I went to the JRs in Burlington, NC. I walked through the cigar humidor and back where the pipes were. I was really overwhelmed with all the pipes and tobaccos. I think the guy's name was Carl, a middle aged black gentlemen, in case anybody has ever been in there and may know him. I told the guy I wanted a to give pipe smoking a try. He recognized me from buying cigars all the time. He recommended MB's Navy Flake. For a pipe, he recommended a Cob or a Captain Black pipe. Not knowing any better, I bought the Captain Black. He loaded it up for me, pretty sure he used a fold and stuff technique. He then pulled out a pipe of his own, loaded it up, and we moved to the sitting area next to the pipe counter. He gave me a few instruction on lighting, and away we went! I was in love immediately. Smoked the whole bowl as we chatted a little and a few other customers joined us. I didn't have many relights, basically only when I talked too much and let it go out.

    Sadly, I could never match that packing or experience with the Flakes. But I loved MB's Navy Flakes when it smoked ok for me.

    I'm really thinking I'm gonna make a JRs run over in statesville in the next day or two and hope to score some Navy Flake among a couple others.
     
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  18. Cygnus

    Cygnus Member

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    How is the JR in Statesville? I've only been to the one in Burlington, and I know they have a superb cigar and pipe tobacco selection.
     
  19. cmw00

    cmw00 Member

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    The JR's in Statesville appears to have an equally superb cigar selection. Their pipes are a little less. I haven't looked at the pipe stuff in Burlington in awhile, but I remember them having a ton of tinned and bulk blends, as well as a large selection of pipes. Statesville seemed to be pretty lacking in comparison on pipes and tobacco.

    Plus I like the layout in Burlington much better with the Pipes/smoking area, and Cigars in two separate rooms.

    Can people still smoke in the lounge/smoking areas? I keep forgetting the Peoples Republic of North Carolina banned indoor smoking.
     
  20. Mister Moo

    Mister Moo Normal Cow Moderator

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    I shop mostly at the Selma store on I-95; they all have more or less the same selection. Inventory of pipe tobacco has been very slim pickins for the past two years. About three years back they always had a substantial range of MacBarens, C&D, McClellands, Rattrays, Samuel Gawith and Dunhill on the shelves. Always good company at the Selma lounge, though. I was puffin there with a few pals yesterday.