Matches vs. Lighters

Traori

Member
Member
#1
So my uncle has been my pipe smoking mentor. He's been smoking a pipe for 53 years and has been a wealth of knowledge when it comes to helping me along with my technique, tobacco knowledge, pipes and the who’s who in piping history. He uses matches exclusivly.
We have had a few pipes together when time permits and he noticed my use of a Zippo. “Boy quit that, fuel belong in s gas tank not your pipe”!! I have been using matches here tonight and although I don’t notice a difference so muchin taste im schooled in the fact it will save the rim of my pipes and I do get a more direct light to my tobacco a bit more evenly.
What are your folks thoughts on this technique vs using your fav lighter??
 

Blackmouth

Active Member
Member
#7
So my uncle has been my pipe smoking mentor. He's been smoking a pipe for 53 years and has been a wealth of knowledge when it comes to helping me along with my technique, tobacco knowledge, pipes and the who’s who in piping history. He uses matches exclusivly.
We have had a few pipes together when time permits and he noticed my use of a Zippo. “Boy quit that, fuel belong in s gas tank not your pipe”!! I have been using matches here tonight and although I don’t notice a difference so muchin taste im schooled in the fact it will save the rim of my pipes and I do get a more direct light to my tobacco a bit more evenly.
What are your folks thoughts on this technique vs using your fav lighter??
Ahh..the age-old question.

After 53 yrs of piping you're uncle may be stuck in his ways. And that's fine.
But there are pros and cons to each lighting option, even if he refuses to see them.

The world of piping is both fraternal AND individualistic. The choice in how you light your tobacco is as much of a personal preference as the tobacco you choose to smoke.

I use zippos primarily, a xikar as secondary, bics as backup to those lighters, and matches only occasionally.

I'm sure your uncle means well. But choose your own lighting option. And next time, make sure you share a smoke with him on a windy day. ;)
 

IMpipedude

Active Member
Patron
#9
At one time or another, we're all guilty of thinking that our preferences should be everyone's preferences. If you smoke indoors, any method of ignition will work. As far as Zippos are concerned, I've never noticed an off-taste due to the fuel, but then again I often don't detect many of the flavors that others detect in various tobacco blends. I should also add that I'm a fanatic about keeping the rims of my pipes free of char and residue, and I generally use a Zippo. Outdoors, the choice for me is clear (I smoke exclusively outdoors). With even the slightest breeze, I find matches to be frustrating. No matter how much I cup my hands or seek a location free of turbulence, I often can't keep a match lit long enough to get a good char on top of my tobacco. I seldom have a problem when using a Zippo with pipe insert. But again, so many aspects of pipe smoking are matters of personal preference, and this includes how you light your pipe.
 

beeswax

Active Member
Member
#10
@Traori, funny you mention this I was only talking to a reliable English piper of long standing, @Cousin Ivan about this very subject. He had the courage to service his Ronson! However - For me it’s matches I have boxes on standby. In this modern world they are so inexpensive. However I had a trusty old Zippo showing its age badly you know loose hinge worn casing etc. I kept saying to myself must send it away and take advantage of its lifetime guarantee. The aging Zippo was always there for the times when a match wouldnt work... you know outside in the slightest breeze. Trouble is I misplaced the Zippo a few months back and can’t bring myself to use the word .. loss .. lost it :( so as it’s misplaced I can look forward to being reacquainted.

Basically if you are not indoors then the outside match for a pipe is a Zippo :th1: what gas? Using Zippo ⛽️ fluid does not taste. I understand your uncle, but my nephew has an all singing bells and whistles gas pipe lighter.. (gas in the English sense of the word, Butane to US readers).. ;) I am quite envious and of Ronson owners too. Well I must get and look for that Zippo :(

@Traori when you have been smoking a pipe for 53 years you’ll reflect on much about pipe folklore... my grandad smoked a pipe he was given several Zippos by US Bomber crews during the war, but indoors always lit his pipe at home with a wood Spil or taper off the fire. :bing:
 

Toshtego

Active Member
Patron
#11
I prefer matches. The UK had great smoking matches years ago. Sadly, in this country match quality has deteriorated to the point of uselessness. Blue Diamond Matches misfire frequently, a waste of time and money. Writing the company about this problem, they told me it was necessary to reformulate the match head to conform to regulations in California. As a result, misfires are to be expected. I make no comment about that.
 

RedScot

Member
Member
#13
It all comes down to personal preference. My mentor was primarily a cigar guy, and of course that part of the spectrum has the same ongoing debate of matches or lighter.
I love using matches. I love the ritual of lighting, up to and including the pause one must take to let the phosphorus and sulfur burn off. I love having ready-made picks lying about, should I need one. I love being able to aim the flame to the exactly desired spot.
There are moments, however, when matches are wholly inadequate. Wind. Driving. Being out and about running errands. In those instances, I use a lighter. Has nothing at all to do with preference; it is simply pragmatism.
I haven't ever tasted any difference that mattered or lingered. Fire is, after all, fire.
 

rondel65

Misplaces Lighters
Patron
#14
I reach for my Zippo first and if I can't find that I look for one of several Bic's I have laying around here. Matches would be fine but I'm primarily an outdoor piper. A slight breeze would make it frustrating trying to light a pipe with matches. A Zippo gets you going plus I like the classic "clink" sound it makes when you close the lid.
 

Old Toby

Active Member
Member
#17
I use matches almost exclusively. I guess I’m one of those weirdos who really does taste the butane from a pipe lighter. A match is always going to be a softer, more neutral light (assuming, of course, that you give a match a few seconds to burn off the sulphur).

Then again, I don’t often get the chance to smoke while out and about. I smoke at home. Matches are much tougher to use outdoors.
 

Zembla

Active Member
Member
#20
Matches. Exclusively.

Like @RedScot mentioned above, I, too, like the almost ritualistic motions of using a match.

But here's where I reveal myself to be a hardcore traditionalist, perhaps, I know, to a fault. I use matches especially because that's how it's supposed to be done, damn it. I'm letting history be my guide here. Of all the countless times I've seen guys light a pipe in old movies, advertisements...virtually anywhere in the nostalgic past...it has been with matches.

Piping is a most traditional endeavor. There's a reason our pipes look much like, or even exactly like, like those of of our grandfathers. There's a reason that piping, contrary to so many other things in modern life, has not given way to the constant, sometimes completely artificial, drumbeat for technological "innovations" or design changes (think the fashion world, where planned obsolescence is the norm) that would make things "new-and-improved-better" in a way that would dramatically change the face of piping.

The pipe, at its heart, is an anachronism...a throwback pleasure.

No, I use matches because, to me, that is what piping is supposed to be, just like I use a Weber charcoal grill because that's what outdoor cooking is supposed to be. And I still use my 40-year-old pup tent (Man, the strange looks I get!) because that's what camping is supposed to be. And I still carry traditional knives...not those things that look like props from a sci-fi movie...because that's what...well, you get the idea.

Yeah, and I'm the same guy (wow, what a rant this has become) who still bemoans the introduction of the designated hitter rule almost a half century after its introduction, because, at my age, I reserve the right to be a cranky old man, dag-nubbit.

Edit: At least I know I am 100% justified in my feelings about the designated hitter.