How Much Dottle is 'Normal'?

Discussion in 'Need Pipe Smoking Advice? Ask an Old Fart!' started by Calam, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. Calam

    Calam Member

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    I'm breaking in a relatively new briar pipe.

    I know how important it is to smoke to the heel so as to get a good even cake built up. However, sometimes I find the tobacco gets a little too harsh for my tastes near the bottom of the bowl. I don't know if this is normal or not, but often I'll just stop smoking at whatever point it no longer pleases me. Usually it's near the very very bottom.

    When I tap out the ash, I find what seems more dottle than I feel I should expect. It's not a lot, but I assumed that there should be little to nothing left at the bottom. And then I realized-- I have no idea how much 'dottle' is acceptable, especially when breaking in a pipe.

    How much is normal? Or at least, how much is tolerable without being counted as waste? Does anyone have a picture of how much dottle they tend to leave (weird request, I know).
     
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  2. WAMPipe13

    WAMPipe13 Member

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  3. Goat

    Goat Active Member

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    I almost always have a little dottle left in the bottom of the pipe. I do just like you do. When I can't keep the thing lit anymore or starts to taste nasty.. out it goes.
     
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  4. BigJ

    BigJ Active Member

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    Yea what Goat said. The whole point of smoking is the relaxing and enjoyment. If it stops tasting good or some other reason that it stops being enjoyable, out it goes.
     
  5. ted

    ted Member

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    +1 +1
     
  6. Calam

    Calam Member

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    I think my only concern is that if I don't smoke all the tobacco at the bottom, I'm going to fail to build up cake properly there or something. I don't know if that's true or not.
     
  7. Goat

    Goat Active Member

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    don't worry about it... Your fine.

    I used to constantly try and keep that swamp lit because I thought I was doing something wrong unless I had ash all the way to the bottom.
     
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  8. Calam

    Calam Member

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    Awesome! That's exactly what I needed to hear. Now I can let the thing go out without feeling guilty. Thanks!

    No more of those gross final 5 minutes where I struggle to burn the thing to the bottom...
     
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  9. Coda

    Coda Well-Known Member

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    With pipe smoking, there is almost never a "normal"...it varies from person to person. Sometimes, when I am done, there is still unburned tobacco in the bottom...no big deal.
     
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  10. BradNTX

    BradNTX Well-Known Member

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    All the above is true, and I've experienced the same. I will say, the longer I've smoked, the less dottle I end up with. Getting better at loading, lighting and cadence improved results top to bottom. Of course, PSF member advice helped as well.
     
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  11. DGErwin11

    DGErwin11 Moderator Moderator

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    I suggest loading it 1/2 way or a little less for a few bowls. This way you won't have as much moisture to deal with. That will help get the bottom caked. Also, if your pipe is not drilled correctly with the air hole entering above the bottom of the chamber, nothing will help.
     
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  12. Coastal Bend

    Coastal Bend Get off my lawn...

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    It's not a race and no one is judging. Just be comfortable with your smoke. With a new briar I second the need to start with half bowls. It makes it much easier to get the initial cake on the lower part of the bowl. Another factor to consider is the tobacco. If it is too moist it could create more dottle.
     
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  13. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    If it's humid where you're at, that could play a big role too!
     
  14. WrightwoodJohn

    WrightwoodJohn Wrightwood expatriate

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    "A little dottle will do ya"

    (I know that was unbelievably corny, I know... JP; feel free to add it to my personal file, Doug; go ahead and rip me a new one)
     
  15. Ridwaan Gallow

    Ridwaan Gallow Member

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    i agree with smoking half bowls for a while.. I know it makes you feel like a real ''novice'' when having only half a bowl, but for sufficient cake build up.. It's necessary..

    Why do i need ''cake''? I hear you're thinking that? Well, for many reasons.. The main one being, your pipe will last longer, smoke cooler and not get as wet after a while.. It's funny, getting cake is torturous.. But once you have it in your bowl, you'll see what the fuss was about..

    Try smoking slower, i've found that when one smokes slower, the pipe stays cooler, & my Cavendishes ''sing'' in my mouth.. One or two hot puffs and it becomes as terrible as trying to eat ''cold coals''..
     
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  16. Raffxr7

    Raffxr7 Active Member

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    If the draft hole is only slightly higher than the bottom, you can fill the bottom with pipe-mud and it should reduce the dottle.
     
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  17. Ridwaan Gallow

    Ridwaan Gallow Member

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  18. Raffxr7

    Raffxr7 Active Member

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    Cigar ash and a little bit of water, it is a good filler for inner bowl issues. A weak spot from burn out, a crack in the wall, etc. It gives off an ashy taste in some situations, though. Iḿ going to fill my corn cob pipes with it around the shank. Less dottle for them, then,
     
  19. Ridwaan Gallow

    Ridwaan Gallow Member

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    i actually have a ''cracked cob'' from me earlier pipe days.. I'm going to use your pipemud on it.. Thanks man..
     
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  20. Monty

    Monty Sales Account

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    As posted earlier, I'm trying to "rebreak in" some of my pipes that weren't broken in properly when they were new. I have 7 pipes and now have 3 of them done but can't say it wasn't a horrible experience. Trying to get that last bit of tobacco in the heel is not the easiest thing to do without additional lightings and a tongue on fire. I've even sucked some hot coals in my mouth.
    Think I'll revert to leaving a small amount of dottle instead of having this bad experience.
     
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