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Loading a bowl?

Discussion in 'Need Pipe Smoking Advice? Ask an Old Fart!' started by Locopony, Jun 1, 2012.

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  1. Locopony

    Locopony Member

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    I often get inconsistant pipe loads, some to loose, some too tight. Is there a more consistant method for getting it right every time?
     
  2. Jussto

    Jussto Active Member

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    I would say just about everyone comes up with a method that works best for them and each type of tobacco, I hate not to give you the secret to pack the perfect bowl, but the best I can offer is that it will become second nature with practice. After 5 years I get it right about 75% of the time. There's always room to refine technique. Just keep at it!

    You might want to watch some youtube videos on the Frank method, cannonball method, and the 3 step to give you some options to try.

    Good Luck!
     
    Smokingmiami, Old Ted, DocB and 2 others like this.
  3. cobbsmoker

    cobbsmoker Active Member

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    I have always used the three step method to load a bowl, it seems to work well for most cuts of tobacco.
     
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  4. colorduke

    colorduke Active Member

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    The 3 step method and practice practice practice.
     
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  5. DGErwin11

    DGErwin11 Moderator Moderator

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    I just dig the pipe into the tub and push the tobacco in. In time you will learn how much pressure to put on it. There is no magical secret, just trial and error. If you watch youtub e videos, becareful that they don't get your head turned around backwards.
     
    psquared, Squall409, Old Ted and 4 others like this.
  6. BigJ

    BigJ Active Member

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    Yea what Jussto said!
     
  7. IrishRover

    IrishRover Active Member

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    I use the three step method for the most part. Once you get used to that, move on to a flake or coin and it'll throw you into a learning curve again. Just be patient and enjoy the journey... with plenty of matches ;)
     
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  8. Gary

    Gary Member

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    I guess I use my own interpretation of three step, but with flakes and coins I pretty much use the 'just stuff,but not too tight' method with great results.

    Edit: oops, I'm no old fart at smoking, but have filled several hundred bowls or more....
     
    Monkey likes this.
  9. Locopony

    Locopony Member

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    I think I just discovered my problem. All of my pipes have different types of bowls. I think I can get it. I like to light a skewer with a lighter then use that to light my pipe. A nice cedar sliver does very nicely.
     
  10. Old Codger

    Old Codger Well-Known Member

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    Further to what DGErwin11 said. Seems that for some reason many new pipe smokers get fixated on getting the bowl full. It's better to have the tobacco loaded in too loose rather than too tight, and then just tamp it down to the best density after a charring light. If it turns out that the bowl is less than two thirds full, relax, it's not an indictable offense.
     
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  11. Brian

    Brian Member

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    IMHO, the Three Step method is probably the least complicated to learn. I would recommend getting comfortable with that first. You can always rub out coins or flakes and use the Three Step.

    Looser is far easier to correct with some post-light tamping than packing too tight.

    Don't beat yourself up if it seems to take some time to get the hang of it. You have to learn the feel for every combination of pipe + tobacco you work with. For pipes I smoke often with my favorite tobacco in them, I almost always get a good fill. Why? Because I have lots of practice filling that one pipe with that one tobacco. You learn the feel of it. Once you have that feel, you can load up fast and easy without hardly thinking about it.

    New blend? New pipe? Even seasoned veterans need some time to get the feel for it, and will pack some off bowls.
     
  12. Old Ted

    Old Ted Active Member

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    +1....and f*#k Frank...whoever he is! :rolleyes:
     
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  13. shadow

    shadow Active Member

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    Yes, the Frank method..... one of THE most redundant filling techniques!!!!

    I've got a real bast#'*d of a Virginia tobacco right now! Very difficult to keep lit after half a bowl!!!!
    Normally I only light once, and then smoke all the way down to a fine ash without relights.
    But this particular toby, a No Name from Dan Pipe, needs a bit more attention and the right pipe to be enjoyed properly.
     
  14. FlatbushPaul

    FlatbushPaul Cellar is in an undisclosed Bunker

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    +2!! Lol. OT, you have a way of putting things in perspective!
     
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  15. Old Ted

    Old Ted Active Member

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    :byg:.....being of Yorkshire farming stock - not noted for tact and diplomacy, I'm afraid I'm sometimes apt to call a digging utensil - a shovel! :p:
     
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  16. bjrobinson

    bjrobinson Member

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    There are so many answers here, and the answer is trial and error (my take).

    I have only 3 or so blends I smoke regularly, and as a result, Ive become old hand at packing those particular baccy blends. However, while Im packing I always test draw as I pack....Cant tell you how many bowls i've saved from test drawing after the first pinch
     
  17. Brian

    Brian Member

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    It is not uncommon for me to run a pipe cleaner through before I light up even, or shortly thereafter. It helps create the essential little pocket of air at the bottom of the bowl. Even with a good pack, it some loose tobacco can sucked up against the hole at the bottom making for a poor draw.
     
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  18. kb7get

    kb7get Member

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    I also use bbq skewers for this.
    [​IMG]
     
    Brian likes this.
  19. Marker

    Marker Active Member

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    I am still terrible at packing bowls. I am experimenting with many different ways to pack/repack/unpack etc. Letting the tobacco dry out a bit before light seems to help the most. Tobacco at the right relative humidity will correct its own burn rather than fight you the whole time.

    Edit: I am not old but I do fart at times.
     
  20. jason1977

    jason1977 Active Member

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    3 step method & make sure it's spongy when you're finished. Everything else depends on whether or not the tobacco is too moist. It's deceiving because you can pack it perfectly when you first begin to smoke a pipe & it doesn't burn right, you have to re-light it, etc.

    Relights are ok. It happens. If you pack it the way you're supposed to, if there's any problems after that, it's not you, it's the tobacco. Moisture. If you check out the threads you see a lot of people drying things out. In reviews, people note how moist something is in a tin when they open it. They gauge the moisture by touch, but also that first smoke. If they talk about having to relight it a few times, then chances are, it's a touch too moist.

    Patience Obi-Wan, lol, you'll get it. My thought would be to smoke something you know for sure burns perfect every time you pack & light it. If that goes off without a hitch, then you know it's not you.
     
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