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My first briar

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by WLJayne, Mar 10, 2011.

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  1. WLJayne

    WLJayne Member

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    Hey guys,

    Hope I'm not being an ANG (annoying new guy) or worse a FNG (I'll let you guess that one) with so many posts in such a short time - I'm just really enjoying getting into this and I already feel right at home on the forum. Anyways, I have another question if it's ok.

    I bought my first Briar yestderday, just a basket pipe and nothing fancy:

    [​IMG]

    Now, before I start smoking it in earnest I'd like to get some advice on how best to break it in, and what kind of maintainance routine I should keep up. I have some pipe cleaners and my intention is to clean out the stem after each smoke, if thats what I should be doing. How can I regulate the cake, and how many bowls should I expect to go through befoire a decent cake appears and it is broken in - if that's possible to tell me I realise every pipe is different. I would really like to get the best out of it as I think it is quite a charming pipe, am I correct in identifying it as a bent apple configuartion? The only info I have on the make is what is stamped on the stem, it says "DARVILL REAL BRIAR," does that mean anything to anyone?

    Anyway I am nursing both a sore tongue and a mild cold, so I thought I'd get some advice before I start smoking again. Thanks :).

    Will.
     


  2. cellophane

    cellophane Member

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    Smokingpipes.com has a nice series of write-ups for beginers: http://www.smokingpipes.com/information/howto/
    Pipedia also has some newbie information: http://pipedia.org/index.php?title=Pipe_Packing_and_Smoking_techniques
    and a nice section on cleaning: http://pipedia.org/index.php?title=Pipe_care/cleaning

    A lot of people recommend smoking 1/2 bowls for the first few to get a cake along the bottom of the bowl, then moving to a full bowl. This also will let you get some practice packing if you are new to it. Others say don't worry about it and smoke full ones on the outset. I'm sure some of the longtimers will chime in and correct / ammend me.

    Before long you will want additional pipes to give that one a rest - cob's are a great buy - some people smoke them exclusively. I'd pick one up sooner rather than later and get a headstart on your PAD. :roflmao:
     
  3. Major

    Major Member

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    Congrats WL.... who cares if its a basket pipe. Looks like a fine briar to me. For that burnt tongue I reccoment a product we have here in the USA called Biotene. Its a mouth wash for dry mouth. Works great and I think alot of the guys here use it too because they're always reccomending it.

    Enjoy your new pipe.
     
  4. Young Gun

    Young Gun Member

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    I don't know much about that particular brand of basket pipe, it does look nice though nice buy. :) I started with half bowls like chad recommended, and I did not notice a real cake build up for a while. Several bowls, although I do not recall the particular number. I'm now smoking full bowls, and I try to keep the ash packed evenly as I run the bowl down for a nice even cake. You should notice the more you smoke it, the cooler the pipe gets with each bowl. It will definitely start out hotter, just take it slow and set it down if it gets too hot.
     
  5. Bri2k

    Bri2k Active Member

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    That's a fine looking pipe and I hope you have many good years with it! I'm a lazy pipe smoker so I only clean and ream when absolutely needed and I don't worry much when breaking in a new pipe except to go easy on it for a while. One thing I noticed was when I finally got around to reaming out pipes I'd started with a year ago, the cake was thicker near the top of the bowl as it took me a while to get the technique down so I was smoking all the way to the bottom. It hasn't seemed to hurt these pipes, just something to keep in mind.
     
  6. Schmitz Bitz

    Schmitz Bitz Member

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    The one thing that cannot be stressed enough when breaking in a new pipe is to take it slow! Learn from my mistakes!
     
  7. JuJu McMojo

    JuJu McMojo Member

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    Nice looking pipe--I'd call it a bent billiard. Call it what you will, looks like you made a good purchase. I broke in my first briar by smoking 1/3 bowl-fulls, and I think I was well served by that advice. Smoke it slow n easy--the pipe, and your tongue, will thank you for it.
     
  8. ruffinogold

    ruffinogold Ruffinogold-Mayor, I.R.G.E.--At Large. Mayor

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    Fill er all the way and smoke imho . She'll break in .. no worries
     
  9. Major

    Major Member

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    :withstupid: load that bad boy up to the rim and throw caution to the wind lest the pipe pixies catch up and give you a surpize latakia enema :bigeyes2:
     
  10. Falconeer

    Falconeer Active Member

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    Hi All,

    I don't know the name Darvill but I have seen them on Ebay quite a few times. From the pictures I wouldn't classify/write them off as basket pipes - they seem to be polished rather than varnished and the stems seem good. I supspect they might be either manufacturers seconds or have been made for a larger tobacconist chain at one time.

    "Second" by the way does not mean a rubbish pipe - a top of the range maker would reject a pipe with more than a certain ammount of fills, unattractive grain or slight mis drilling - none of which will really affect the pipe's smoking qualities. I have had friends who would smoke nothing else other than Peterson Rejects and it never put them off that the miltary mount was squarer and the pipe was stamped "reject."

    As has been said everyone has their own ideas on break in. Here's mine, but they are just personal opinions. I believe that a pipe will have a tendency to smoke wet ( and this is a big consideration if you like to smoke moist tradtional British Tobaccos ) unless the bottom of the bowl has cake on it - so I think it is important to smoke the pipe right down and build cake from the bottom up. To that end I go with the traditional idea of starting off with 1/3rd bowls, going on to half bowls gradually and then progressing to full bowls.

    How long does it take to build a good cake? Depends on the pipe, the tobacco smoked and your own definition of a good cake. Falcon says the ideal is 1/16" - burley tobaccos build cake quicker - in terms of Brit tobaccos that means Gold Block and frankly as it's on the mild side, you need good tecqnique or else you get a burned tongue. Otherwise if you want burley you need to look at 4Noggins Site and American OTCs like Carter Hall, Prince Albert,5 Brothers etc.

    Just take the whole thing slow and easy and it'll all come together just fine,

    Best to all

    Gerry
     
  11. WLJayne

    WLJayne Member

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    Hehe thanks guys I'll bare all that in mind. I'm going to try some Gawith and Hogarth's Cherry Vanilla blend when I fight off this cold, from reading around it is milder than the other blends I have.

    Also, my eyes went wide with excitement yesterday, I was visiting Nottingham where I will be moving to in two weeks, and I dicovered Gauntley's. They have everything, literally. If it's awesome, they sell it. They have a wonderful selection of things to try for all budgets, and I can't wait to make it my local. A nice surprise, to be sure.

    Will.

    Edit: Gerry, you're right it did smoke wet, there was alot of moisture in the bottom of the bowl when I emptied it so I'm letting it rest a while. I think you're right, it wasn't actually in a basket in the shop, it was next to the falcons etc so I think it may be a second as you said. Either way, it seems nice and has no obvious flaws that I can see. Should I dry my tobacco a little for next time?
     
  12. Falconeer

    Falconeer Active Member

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    Hi Again,

    and thanks for the link to Gauntleys - have added it to my favourites!

    To dry or not to dry is the question!? I never have until recently - it was those damned Americans that persuaded me! I prefer Brit tobaccos still as they come - moist, but some such as the Sam Gawiths come sopping wet and I do dry them. Personally I think a good pipe should handle a moist tobacco. A little moisture in the bottom of the bowl when you have finished smoking it, paricularly if the pipe is new ( all new pipes cast a lot of moisture until they are burned in ) is quite normal. Just blow down the pipe, and if there's a lot scrunch up a tissue and dry ream the bowl, otherwise it'll dry out quite soon any way.

    I smoke each of my pipes for a whole day at a time. I blow through after each smoke, then at night run whisky smoked pipe cleaners through them until they come out clean, then the pipe goes into the rack bowl down til is time comes round again. I think with this routine you can manage with three briars for long enough so long as you are not filling another bowl as soon as you have finished the last.

    Do not allow spirits to come in contact with polished wood - they will strip the polish!

    Like everyone else though, in time you'll probably build up a much larger collection than you need....after all who really needs 26 Falcons to say nothing of my other pipes!

    Happy smoking

    Gerry
     
  13. WLJayne

    WLJayne Member

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    Glad you liked Gauntleys, it is a magnificent traditional shop but for once a shop has had the foresight to pay for a really modern and easy to use website and is even taking advatgage of social media. They are clearly very smart people. I don't know if you noticed but they also do fine wines and spirits, the cigar section is a sub-site of the main one.

    I'll try drying the Gawith Toby a little next time, sounds like it might help. I'm sure that sooner or later I will aquire more pipes than I need - the same has happened with my RC Gliders and Airsoft guns.....

    I'm really hoping that my freinds in Nottingham get curious and want to try pipes for themselves, it would be lovely to do it as a social activity. Much nice than sitting around gulping down cigarette smoke.

    Will.
     
  14. perch

    perch Member

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    As a new pipe smoker myself I can relate as I was where you are a few months ago.

    If this is your first pipe you need to go out and get 2 more right now. Cobs are great. My first 2 pipes were cobs and I'm glad because I would have messed up briars if I had had them.

    Another good thing is to get an estate pipe with a cake already built up, then you will be able to tell the difference between smoking a caked and non-caked briar.

    I cannot stress the 1/3 bowls enough. Smoking a full bowl without a cake will leave the bottom of the bowl soaking wet, inhibit cake formation at the bottom, taste icky, and make it *really* hard to smoke the lower half of the bowl because the tobacco will be wet.

    If the pipe starts to taste a bit sour while you're smoking, 99% of the time it can be fixed by running a pipe cleaner through the pipe (careful to not go too far and mess up your packing) to soak up some moisture. There will be plenty.

    Also, pay mind to your tamping. Too loose and it'll burn too hot and mess up your pipe and taste bad. Too tight and it won't stay lit at all and be hard to draw.

    Draw through the pipe way, way, way, way slower than you think you should. Just *barely* pull through. To get it puffing it a little stronger put a couple fingers over the bowl to increase air speed, it works wonders.

    And really, take it slow. Mastering the pipe is all about becoming more and more patient. Keep it clean. Be mindful. It'll come together but there is simply no way to rush it, so enjoy your progress.
     
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