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Breaking in a cob?

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#1
I bought my first MM Cob today and some CH to smoke. Can someone tell me how to break in a new cob? Do I just pack it full and go or what?

Thanks
 

#7
Like Jimmy and Scott said, just pack it normally and let the inside of the bowl char. Then wipe out the bowl before you smoke it again. Most guys dont let a cake build up as it can swell and crack the cob.
 

User4408

Member
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#9
Most guys dont let a cake build up as it can swell and crack the cob
That's an interesting point, which hopefully some cob experts here might weigh in on.

I've heard of some cob smokers who deliberately build up a cake to seal cracks. In one case it seemed like a cob was nearly split in half, and came back to life by means of a nice cake buildup.

Too much cake might be a problem though, as you say. And it interferes with loading capacity. I like cake, and look forward to developing it in my cobs. But every month or so, I'll trim 'em down with a quick swipe of my Kleen Reem. I have to do this anyway because of the buildup in the shank, which can seriously restrict the airflow.
 

jdto

Active Member
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#10
I like to tamp the ash down around the edges of the shank in the bowl. I don't use the sharp end of the pipe tool, just the tamp. I've found it helps to get it into the little crevices on the sides of the shank and get the bottom nice and caked up.
 

#12
I like to tamp the ash down around the edges of the shank in the bowl. I don't use the sharp end of the pipe tool, just the tamp. I've found it helps to get it into the little crevices on the sides of the shank and get the bottom nice and caked up.
That's a great idea.

Only one of my cobs developed a yawning gap at the bottom of the bowl below the draft hole. This forced me to go through the whole pipe mud ritual. Which worked really well, but it's better not to have to go through that.

Speaking of pipe mud ... even though I got the recipe way too soupy, it still dried hard as a rock after 2 days. Solid protection for the bottom of the bowl as well.
 

jdto

Active Member
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#13
That's a great idea.

Only one of my cobs developed a yawning gap at the bottom of the bowl below the draft hole. This forced me to go through the whole pipe mud ritual. Which worked really well, but it's better not to have to go through that.

Speaking of pipe mud ... even though I got the recipe way too soupy, it still dried hard as a rock after 2 days. Solid protection for the bottom of the bowl as well.
I've mudded the bottom of a few cobs and it does work really well. I used well-sifted fireplace ash and water, as I read somewhere (perhaps right here on PSF) that it cures harder and faster than cigar ash. I have to say, using this ash I've had great results with the mud I've used on several different pipes over time, corn or wood.
 

#14
I've mudded the bottom of a few cobs and it does work really well. I used well-sifted fireplace ash and water, as I read somewhere (perhaps right here on PSF) that it cures harder and faster than cigar ash. I have to say, using this ash I've had great results with the mud I've used on several different pipes over time, corn or wood.
I read that as well. Must have been somewhere on PSF as I remember it being called "pipe cement" instead of "pipe mud".

Enjoy the cob to the fullest extent your tongue will allow and get more as soon as you can. I've never met a cob I didn't like. ...Well.... except for the MM "spools"
 

jdto

Active Member
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#15
I read that as well. Must have been somewhere on PSF as I remember it being called "pipe cement" instead of "pipe mud".

Enjoy the cob to the fullest extent your tongue will allow and get more as soon as you can. I've never met a cob I didn't like. ...Well.... except for the MM "spools"
That's right..."pipe cement".
From this post, right here: Pipe Mud Efficacy
 

#18
From this post, right here: Pipe Mud Efficacy
That's a great read. And if I were pickier about my cob protocols, I'd go fireplace ash.

When I was collecting ash for mud, I'd use only pure filtered Virginia ash. Under the questionable assumption that since Virginia has always built the best rock-hard cakes, it'd work best for mud as well. The assumption is faulty because it's actually the burning sugars that probably build the cake, and none of that remains behind in ash.

The article also shows the pipe mud to be very clumpy, which mine was not. And I frankly can't imagine anything drying much harder than the soupy mud I brewed up. When I hit the bottom cake with the bare tamper or pick, it makes a sharp click and has absolutely no give. And that's good enough for me.

We actually have a fireplace here in Tucson, but it never gets used. I have a ton of pipe ash but no fireplace ash. So that's another vote against pipe cement for me.
 

#19
Like Jimmy and Scott said, just pack it normally and let the inside of the bowl char. Then wipe out the bowl before you smoke it again. Most guys dont let a cake build up as it can swell and crack the cob.
I agree with UncleVint for the most part.
The only Cob of the many I've had that developed deep cracks had a thick (just under nickle size) cake buildup. It was a MM Legend, and even though the cracks didn't go all the way through the bowl it was close enough that I decided to retire it from my rotation.
A couple other of my very old cobs have developed light cracks on the exterior (which is normal as they age), but it doesn't effect the way they smoke at all and they should be in my rotation for a few more years at least.

With my "newer" cobs (over the past few years), I've allowed them to char and develop a very thin cake. But I won't allow it to get as thick as I would a briar pipe.
Hope that helps a bit Sick Sig :puffy:
 

bubbagump

Well-Known Member
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#20
  • Pack it looser than you think you need to.
I can't emphasize this one enough. Early on, I was prone to packing the bowls WAY too tight. The result was me getting frustrated and putting flame to the tobacco every .5 seconds. CH is the perfect blend to start with though. It's very forgiving.
 

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