Pipe Smoking Frustrations

Discussion in 'Need Pipe Smoking Advice? Ask an Old Fart!' started by LawMonkey, Jun 24, 2012.

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  1. LawMonkey

    LawMonkey Member

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    Gentlemen, I am finding myself subject to pipe smoking frustration again. Now I am devoted to the cause, if only because no one will make me a nice VaPer cigar, but that does not make the frustration any less frustrating!

    The very notion of smoking anything to the bottom of the bowl seems a fantasy to me at times. I smoke and smoke, using copious amounts of matches. Eventually I get down towards the bottom of the bowl, and I either can't get the thing lit in any meaningful way, or trying to get it lit involves much more heat coming up the stem than I'm happy about, or it just tastes like hot ass. So I figure that's it, and I dump it out, and what do I get? A load of dry dottle! Not just a few flakes, either; a healthy little amount. Now I wouldn't care, but my pipes are new and I have been told that Cake Is Very Important. (This varies from other realms, in which the cake is a lie.) So when I get this dottle, it makes me sad, it does.

    I think that's mostly it. I mean, the bit where I'm keeping Diamond Match in business is bothersome as well, but I'm mostly OK with that--I've accepted it as fairly normal, since I don't have anyone else to compare to on that. But people out there in the big world do seem to make it to the bottom of an occasional bowl. Am I doing this wrong?
     


  2. sarge564

    sarge564 Member

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    I'm going to guess it may be the packing. I would suggest you only pack about 1/3 bowls for a spell. See if that is too hot, if it is.....packing is a problem.
    Otherwise, I find myself getting to the 1/3 bowl mark dumping ash, stirring around a bit and tamping.
    Just a thought.
     
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  3. Mister Moo

    Mister Moo Normal Cow Moderator

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    Often best to start with Prince Albert and a cob so we have a common experience; that makes tune-ups easier.

    I agree with sarge. The one-third fill sorts out a lot of problems quickly. And, in general, when you do the same thing over and over and it doesn't work then you need to make a change. What tobacco are you smoking, by the way. And in what pipe.
     
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  4. Snake

    Snake permanent ankle biter

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    Drying time may be another issue. 30 minutes minimum
    for wetter tobies.
     
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  5. Bent

    Bent Member

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    Suggestions:
    1.- Revise your packing method. The 3 step method works quite well.
    2.- Dry your tobacco before packing.
    3.- Revise your lighting technique. Char, tamp, light.

    Some relights are to be expected.
     
  6. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

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    My guess would be that the tobacco is a bit too moist and is being packed a bit too tight. And perhaps an uneven smoking cadence.
     
  7. cobbsmoker

    cobbsmoker Active Member

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    If you're that concerned about heel cake smoke 1/2 bowls of either CH or PA for a half dozen bowls or so then smoke full bowls and finish the pouch, you should have a nice cake started by then and smoke slow, give the coal time to evaporate the condensation produced by smoking as you work your way down the bowl and you should end up with a dry bowl at the bottom.

     
  8. LawMonkey

    LawMonkey Member

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    Tobaccos and pipes vary. Last night it was Half and Half in my Mr. Brog, but I do have trouble with getting to the bottom across pipes and tobaccos. And I do use the three-step, though it appears that I may be doing it wrong somehow. There's also not a moisture issue as such that I can tell--I don't have gurgle, at least, which I used to have in my earlier days. I admit that I've never felt the dottle after a smoke to test it for dampness, but it looks dry, at least. I have experimented with dumping and stirring the ash, which does help, though things do get uncomfortably warm.

    I suspect that what I may need to do is attend a meeting of the NY pipe club, which is a bit of a bother as they meet on weekday evenings. Once there, I can beg advice in person.
     
  9. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Sales Account

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    Tamping when? I don't see it mentioned, and it's key.
     
  10. LawMonkey

    LawMonkey Member

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    I generally give it a tamp when things seem to be stalling out, so to speak. Gently, not using too much more pressure than the weight of the tamper, and puffing at the same time so that I don't just wind up stubbing it out like a cigarette.
     
  11. Snake

    Snake permanent ankle biter

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    Correct tamping technique, as far as I'm concerned. :th1:
     
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  12. cobbsmoker

    cobbsmoker Active Member

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    And some tobaccos don't always burn down to ash but dry dottle, have you stirred the dottle in your bowl to see if it turns to ash before you dump it?
     
  13. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

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    Everyone should know how and when to tamp, and have a nice tamper to do it with! I'm happy you agree. :ohyh:
     
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  14. LawMonkey

    LawMonkey Member

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    That carries extra weight from the master tamperer himself!
     
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  15. LawMonkey

    LawMonkey Member

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    As I don't have any of the specifically recommended OTCs, I'm going with SWR in my Johs Canadian tonight. We'll see how it goes.
     
  16. raf66

    raf66 Member

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    I think many of us go through this every now and again. Can't really add to what the more intelligent chaps on here have already contributed. Fill up only 1/3 to 1/2 a bowl when trying to break in a new pipe. Some old pipesters gave me a tip many years ago of rubbing small amount of honey inside the rim of a new pipe before packing the first couple of bowlfuls to help build up the cake. I don't know how effective that was, and frankly I haven't tried it in a long time. I will also say that if you plan on stirring around the remaining tobacco in the bowl as you get nearer the bottom of the bowl, make sure you FIRST dump out the burnt ash on top. Otherwise you'll likely get a mouthful of ash with your first relight after you stir. I won't tell you how I know this but it be the truth.:ohyh:
     
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