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Ash - tamping vs. dumping vs. ignoring

#1
In my short time (two weeks) of piping again, I've done all three and noticed benefits and difficulties.

My main principle is to leave well enough alone. But sometimes action is needed.

Are there any secrets to when to tamp, when to shake out the ash on top, and when to just leave the ash alone (and relight through it, for example).

I started out tamping before a relight, and now tend to dump out the loosened ash after the tamp. But I've also had smokes where I ignored the pile of ash, and just relit through it. Sometimes I get a nasty sip of ash.

I working in the (slightly smoky) dark here.

WOOF (Wisdom Of Old Farts) officially requested.

Lee
 

ruffinogold

Well-Known Member
Mayor
#2
If I have a pipe go out and theres a bit of ash .. I always dump the ash by turning the pipe upside down and do a little tap on the heel of the bowl but nothing drastic . I only tamp when I sense the fill job is to open [ while during a smoke ] . I'll leave the ash alone and light through it only when it's shallow enough to where dumping it wouldnt do anything anyway
 

piper965

Member
Member
#3
I always leave the ash in the pipe. I feel this adds to the dynamic of the smoke and let's the flavor morph as the bowl burns. It acts as sort of a filter before the air gets to your tobacco. I also tamp if the bowl goes out. A lot of this is personal preference. That's the beauty of pipe smoking, you will find what works for you best and make it your own. That's the true secret.
 

muddler

Member
Member
#6
I normally dump the ash maybe twice through the smoke. I also tamp & rearrange the tobacco in the bowl to ensure even burning. Normally needs a relight afterwards. Especially with flakes, which I smoke a lot of. I find I get better flavor this way.
 
#7
I normally dump the ash maybe twice through the smoke. I also tamp & rearrange the tobacco in the bowl to ensure even burning. Normally needs a relight afterwards. Especially with flakes, which I smoke a lot of. I find I get better flavor this way.
Ah! This reminds me. I left out gently stirring the pot, or perhaps what you are calling rearranging the tobacco. Mixing the ash and the tobacco a bit. A few times I have tried this.
 
#9
what are you talking about.. when Im driving the truck I just open the window and dump it out, and sometimes it relights the pipe.. now I do worry a little cause my gas cap is on the same side...
 

Whalehead King

Active Member
Member
#10
I rarely (almost never) dump the ash. I will tamp first, puff away until there is almost nothing left, and then, only then, turn the bowl upside down and attempt a relight. And then I do it gently. I don't know what's in the ash cap, just as I don't know what is underneath. I prefer to leave well enough alone and tamp gently as I go. When you tamp there is little to shake loose and it isn't worth it anyway. Who complains about too much flavor or the bowl burning too slowly?
 
#11
what are you talking about.. when Im driving the truck I just open the window and dump it out, and sometimes it relights the pipe.. now I do worry a little cause my gas cap is on the same side...
In this part of Texas, during the summer, I'd burn down half the county doing that. We have grass fires regularly on the side of the road from people tossing butts. Much further east, there's more rain, so fewer fires. Much further west, there's no grass to burn. :)
 

floyd

Member
Member
#13
I typically tamp and roll once the pipe is good and lit. while reading though I seem to tamp too much and too hard compared to other people I prefer my draw to have about the same resistance as a large cigar with a punch cut rather than an open loose draw. it helps me not burn too hot and too quick.
 
#14
Ah! This reminds me. I left out gently stirring the pot, or perhaps what you are calling rearranging the tobacco. Mixing the ash and the tobacco a bit. A few times I have tried this.
Do you find that doing this too close to the end of the bowl ruins the flavor a bit? That has been my experience, usually because I end up with a mixture of good baccy, wet dottle and ash. I think I'm just mixing to thoroughly or too late? or possibly smoking too fast and ending up with moisture? I'd appreciate some input from everyone.
 

BradNTX

Well-Known Member
Member
#16
I find that I tamp differently with flake verses rubbed or broken. I wait until the smoke starts to thin, then tamp to keep the cherry thin and even. With rubbed tobacco, I tamp very lightly to make sure I only compress the ash. For flake, I tamp a little more firmly, as the area just above the cherry is sometimes stiff and crunchy. I think its mostly due to using the fold and stuff method with flake, but it works for me. The flake took more practice, but I don't even think about it any more.
 

mongo

Active Member
Member
#17
(are you considered an old fart if AARP has sent you stuff in the mail, and you have more grey in your beard than you'd like?...)

I find that this whole question varies greatly with the pipe I smoke, and which tobacco I smoke out of it. Therefor, thusly, ergo and henceforth... it cannot be answered succinctly. I just kinda go with the flow and number of relights.....
 

Tompf

Member
Member
#18
If my bowl is smoking fine, I leave it alone. If I've been smoking it a while, like 20-30 minutes, and then it goes out, I will take my pipe tool and barely touch the ash, just enough to loosen it up, and then dump it. I then take my pipe tool and grind the remaining tobacco from the bottom all stir it all up real good. Then I pack it very lightly and relight. After that process, I usually won't dump anything further and will just relight through the ashes. That usually gets me down to fine ash and the bottom of the bowl.
 

Tompf

Member
Member
#19
(are you considered an old fart if AARP has sent you stuff in the mail, and you have more grey in your beard than you'd like?...)
I think being an "old fart" is more of an attitude. I've seen old farts who are barely 30, and I've seen old men in their 80's who are still spry, open, and cooperative with the rest of society.
 

Belbe

Member
Member
#20
After smokin Clan for half a dozen times I just had to ask this as well! Clan is known for burning very well and blowing tons of fluff smoke! that's all fine since everyone loves the smell (even if the taste is boring), but the problem becomes the ash! I have some tobaccos that produce very little ash and I actually need it to keep them lit as they seem impossible to tamper well enough without it. But Clan, like a few others makes tons of ash and if I don't throw it off now and then, I start tasting like I licked an ashtray! :eek: is this normal? is dumping ash really a mater of taste or does it really have to do with the tobacco blend?