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Pipes.. Bad Smoker or Bad Smoker?

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by Albert, Mar 30, 2012.

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  1. Albert

    Albert Active Member

    Mar 1, 2011
    Is the pipe the bad smoker, or am I?

    We hear and talk a lot about pipes being great smokers or bad smokers, gurglers, etc. I was wondering when do you finally decide to write off a pipe as a bad smoker? the reason for the thread title is I wonder how often a pipe gets blamed for poor technique and the like. I know I don't have it all down, and maybe what I call my good smokers are actually the ones that are just the most forgiving to my unrefined technique. so for all the guru's out there, what is it that finally makes you say "this thang just don't work." ?

    maybe that's the definition of a good smoking pipe... One that is perfectly set up and adapted to your particular smoking style...


  2. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

    Feb 7, 2011
    I'm going to go with bad smoker since that's my only choice. :D

    There are ways to correct a poor smoking pipe, and good technique is probably the best. Occasionally the tenon/mortise juncture isn't made well and sometimes the draft hole is too high in the bowl, or not centered enough. This is fairly common.

    So it could be either or both. The best thing to do is make sure your technique is sound.
  3. Russell Hartman

    Russell Hartman Stay Silver

    Apr 24, 2011
    I always look at things like smoking pace---you know puffing like a mad man.
    Next--moisture content of the tobacco---if I pinch it, and it sticks together in a glob---I dry it out more.
    With that in mind as long as the pipe itself has good engineering, and the materials are good--I usually have no issues.
    HOWEVER---things like a draft hole that doesn't meet the bottom--perhaps pipe mud here.
    Then things like a connection where the mortise--and tenon, and the stem have a big gap, or is misaligned--I will taper the stem--like a little funnel to help here.
    Maybe the draft hole isn't big enough---I tend NOT to drill this on my own.
    ALSO---perhaps the piece of briar that was used was not cured correctly etc.---I call this GREEN---funny taste that just never seems to go away.
    I usually like to handle a pipe before I purchase it so I can REALLY lok it over first to try to eliminate problems--HOWEVER--I have purchased pipes on line, and have had NO issues except for one I sent back. I always tell folks--if you are going to purchase a pipe on the web----be sure you are dealing with a reputable artison, or carver---save yourself some trouble.
    If after I have perhaps tapered the stem, used a little pipe mud to make the draft hole meet the bottom of the bowl---I know my tobacco is dry enough, and my smoking pace is slow enough-----If that pipe still smokes wet, doesn't seem to draw right-----------It finds a new home. I hate a gurgler. I won't keep that pipe.
    I will agree that perhaps smoking pace, packing of the tobacco, and its' moisture content are probably to blame---but when there not-----I take a closer look at the pipes interior. Many times just a little taper on the end of the stem, and making sure tobby is dry, and smoking pace is all relative will fix MANY problems.
    Albert likes this.
  4. Stonewall

    Stonewall Active Member

    Aug 23, 2011
    Well I've got a lot shatty pipes according to dmkerr, but I agree, over the years I've found my technique, the pack, moisture content of the tobacco, and how I smoke (too fast, back-breathing into the pipe causing excess moisture - gurgling) has a lot to do with my experience being successful/enjoyable or a hassle of re-packing, re-lighting, or throwing the pipe on the garage roof.

    However, there are some really poorly made piece of woods out there...
  5. WrightwoodJohn

    WrightwoodJohn Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2011
    I have a small rotation of pipes (6), however they are all mid to high range and are all good smokers, no issues.
  6. lifeon2

    lifeon2 Member

    Jan 31, 2012
    As much as I back breath into my pipes I might as well start with half a pipe of water :D

    This is probably due to the fact that I suck at sitting still I putter in the garage the whole time I smoke so for me its just pack, light, clench and puff I must be doing something right though as I rarely have to relight and I havent burnt a pipe out yet.
  7. MacNutz

    MacNutz Active Member

    Dec 7, 2011
    I've yet to have real problems with gurgle etc, except ones that I could fix by altering what I was doing. The only time I have the water problems is when walking the dogs with a cob. The hands are busy and I'm looking down a lot. t'aint the pipe but the smoker with any problems I've had, so far.
  8. Dutchking22

    Dutchking22 Member

    Feb 7, 2011
    I cured my grugle issue with sitting the pipe down and using my hands for things other than smoking a pipe
  9. John Long

    John Long Member

    Mar 11, 2012
    Lots of good advice here. Having a handful of pipe gives you clues as to whether it's pipe mechanics or smoking technique. A good excuse to buy a dozen Petes.
    Inspgad and Old Codger like this.
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