My mm cob is ashy

Discussion in 'Need Pipe Smoking Advice? Ask an Old Fart!' started by Garrett, Oct 18, 2011.

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  1. Garrett

    Garrett Member

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    Admittedly not the most accurate title, but I'll get to my point.

    I only started smoking today, and I've been reading the forum to get a good knowledge base for this new exciting hobby so as to not go do something horribly wrong, and end up hating pipe smoking forever.

    I bought a missouri meerschaum corn cob, and captain black white (i understand this isn't the best tobacco for beginners, it's just all my cvs had). I've smoke 3 bowls today, and enjoyed all 3 smokes for the most part.

    However, there is an ashy lingering smell in the cob, and while I understand building up the carbon in the bowl is part of the breaking in process, I'm wondering if this taste will ever subside, and allow me to appreciate the taste of the tobacco for what it is?

    I apologize if this question has been answered in another thread. After reading more than a few posts, I didnt see this exact question addressed. Any help from you more experienced smokers is appreciated.
     


  2. yinyang

    yinyang Some rim charring is to be expected.

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    There is two possibilities, off the top of my head...

    1-Cobs have pine stems that intrude into the bowl. It usually takes a number of full bowls smoked to burn away that extra wood. This burning pine has an off taste and smell. You may be noticing this, and therefore my answer would be it will subside/go away soon.

    2-Pipes burn tobacco. Ash is a by product of combustion. Since you say you only started smoking, I suppose it's possible you are just honing in on this smell. All my pipes, when I 'sniff' them, could be argued smell ashy. I don't dwell on this, since this doesn't affect them when I'm actively smoking them. If you just expected them, whilst sitting, to smell like sweet peas and sunshine, yeah, you may be disappointed.

    Just remember they are meant to burn tobacco...and that's where they shine.
     
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  3. shadow

    shadow Active Member

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    What you could do is to smear a slight layer of honey inside the bowl.
    Leave it to dry for a while, let's say a few hours, and then fill and smoke your cob.
    The honey will also help cake build up.
    Enjoy your cob! They're great pipes!:)
     
  4. jirohen

    jirohen Member

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    I thought building a cake in a corncob was bad?
     
  5. yinyang

    yinyang Some rim charring is to be expected.

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    It's still being debated in committee.:)

    I'm in the compromise camp....a light cake is best.
     
  6. shadow

    shadow Active Member

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    I do like a bit of a cake in my cobs.... with meers, however, it's a NoNo.
     
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  7. WyoBob

    WyoBob Member

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    No, "crossing the streams" is bad:)

    I've played around with building cake in a few of my cobs and then reaming them out for several cycles (3 natural Diplomats) and I've not had any damage to the bowls due to cake buildup.

    WyoBob
     
  8. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

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    I ream mine pretty regularly - well, actually, I just use a dull blade on my Old Timer pocket knife. The ashy smell is probably a combination of the pertruding stem, the smell of the new cob, and the smell of the tobacco ash. Give it a week or so, and it won't be there any longer - especially if you break it in with a good Burley-based OTC like Carter Hall.
     
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  9. DGErwin11

    DGErwin11 Moderator Moderator

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    You should never let a cake form in a cob, unless you like it that way. Actually, this is an issue that will never be settled. Try both ways and stick to what works for you. FWIW, I like a caked cob.
     
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  10. BradNTX

    BradNTX Well-Known Member

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    I agree with YinYang about the pine burning. It has a burnt pine flavor towards the bottom of the bowl and the cob smells a little funny after the smoke is done. I've found that it usually goes away after 5-6 bowls.

    I don't get an ashy smell in my cobs, but dry ream them with a paper towel or bent pipe cleaner after every smoke. I was taught the benefit of a cob is that is dissapates heat quickly, so see no benefit in having a cake, which would retain heat, though I doubt it would hurt anything either. I know, I know, to each their own...

    Try using a bent pipe cleaner, napkin or paper towel to gently wipe out your bowl after a smoke. Also make sure you let it fully dry between smokes. I like the smell of a pipe that has been smoked, and don't think it smells ashy for the most part. It has a carbon/burnt toby smell unless there are cold ashes left in it.
     
  11. Garrett

    Garrett Member

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    Thanks for the advice everyone.

    I think the problem I contributed to the pipe was actually my fault. I kept letting the smoke bite my tongue, which I believe has heavily impaired my ability to fully appreciate the flavors.

    I'm going to wait a good day or so to get a fresh start, wipe down the bowl of the cob a little, and give the stem a good cleaning. I've done a bit of reading on all the basics of knowing when you've lit a good pipe, but I'm sure like everything else, it takes practice.

    One think I'm quite certain that is still wrong with the pipe though is the hint of plastic in each smoke, which I hadn't mentioned before. I'm not sure if all MM cobs have cheap plastic stems, but this one does. Is it as big of a deal as I'm making it out to be?
     
  12. nesta

    nesta Well-Known Member

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    They all do, and it's not a big deal regarding what I think your concern is. Touch the shank at some point during the smoke, and you'll notice it only gets warm. You won't burn the stem unless something's REALLY going wrong, but at that point you wouldn't still be smoking it :P

    Here's an idea, though. Being what they are, cobs are not a single piece of material carved into the shape of a pipe like a briar or meerschaum pipe are. The pine stem must enter the chamber of the cob through a hole cut in the side. It's not JUST a tight fit that keeps the shank in place - they glue it in. Once in a while, a little glue my be evident on the inside or outside of the pipe's chamber. Keeping in mind that generally we aren't inhaling the pipe smoke, this is nothing to worry about as if it is inside the bowl and giving it a funnier taste than you'd get from just the pine alone, it will go away after the first several smokes along with the odd burning pine taste.

    As for the tongue bite, keep trying to smoke slow and take it easy, pack with a light touch. If your MM has a filter, and chances are it does, replace it after using it. You can use it for two or three smokes if you want, but let it dry outside of the stem between smokes. Clean the whole shank and stem set up between smokes, too. Most of us seem to just pitch the filter entirely. This is okay, but the draw will be wide open and I personally find myself a bit more prone to tongue bite in that situation. If you don't care to buy filters but want the tighter draw, snip off a one inch segment of pipe cleaner, fold it in half and stick it where the filter went. It will absorb moisture and keep ash and embers out of your mouth, and will restrict the draw a little bit without making it hard to smoke. All of these things are likely to make for a more comfortable smoke. This will need to be discarded after each smoke, and you're not really saving money in the long run but it doesn't require you going out and spending money on filters right now.
     
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  13. BradNTX

    BradNTX Well-Known Member

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    I don't like the cheap plastic stems from MM either. You can get a very nice Forever Stem from Walker Briarworks that will eliminate that and add a lot of looks to your cob.
     
  14. Garrett

    Garrett Member

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    Thanks for the stem advice. I was wondering what a good source for new stems would be, but the thought of paying up to 6x for a stem than I did for my pipe makes me wince a little :/
     
  15. 1stGenRex

    1stGenRex Member

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    an alternative would be to get a couple of the Danish stems, they are a bit less "plasticky" and a bit more durable than the see-through yellow ones some of the models have on them.

    http://www.corncobpipe.com/home.php?cat=278

    The forever stems are nice looking, but I haven't picked one up yet because, like you said, they are sort of pricey compared to what they are going on. I will be picking up a bent saddle stem for my PSF Pipe of the Year though, if it would look decent on it.
     
  16. Garrett

    Garrett Member

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    1stGenRex, I might do that instead.

    As well, I figure since this thread was originally intended for the faults in smoking my cob, I should give a little update.

    Having given about a week to break it in, as well as learning some good techniques for smoking it correctly, I am now quite content with it. I am not experiencing as much bite now, and the smoke is more enjoyable.

    So, if anyone new to smoking is looking at this and feeling unsure about buying a cob, don't be. So far, I've been fairly satisfied with mine, being new to pipes myself.
     
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  17. BradNTX

    BradNTX Well-Known Member

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    You can look at it that way. I think of it as a better alternative to replacing the cheap plastic stems when you chew through them, don't have the plasticy taste to start with, can be transferred to another cob IF you wear the bowl out, are comfortable to clench, and they look cool. Well worth $20 or $25 to me and w/cob it is still $30 or so.
     
  18. Smoker99

    Smoker99 Active Member

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    Cobs are going to taste a little rough the first several bowls, should get better. You are burning pine stem and corncob for a while. Cobs are rather crude smoking instruments, but they get a lot better if you persist.
     
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