Smoking a bowl down to the end?

Discussion in 'The Smoking Lounge' started by ChrisB, May 4, 2013.

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  1. ChrisB

    ChrisB Member

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    I find that the last clump, maybe a quarter of an inch is very hard to keep lit. Is this normal? Is it a good idea to smoke it down to the very end, especially in a new pipe? I just can't seem to get it to stay lit unless I essentially light every puff. Thanks.
     


  2. Thuber88

    Thuber88 Active Member

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    You can smoke it, or try to smoke it depending on moisture content, otherwise pop it out and toss it, or put it on top of your next bowl if you want.
    If there is anything worth saving, I will add it to my jar of podge for later smoking
     
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  3. JimInks

    JimInks Active Member

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    Is it too moist because of the tobacco or are you a "wet" smoker? If the tobacco is very moist, dry it a little. Packing it loosely will help, too.
     
  4. Dr Dover

    Dr Dover Member

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    For me, it seems to depend on the pipe I'm smoking. I have a few that allow me to smoke all in the pipe. Most of my pipes have dumping the last bit because of the change in taste.
     
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  5. Thor

    Thor Member

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    i found out that I am a wet smoker, but usually only when what i'm smoking taste really good and makes me start to salivate more, lol
     
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  6. cobbsmoker

    cobbsmoker Active Member

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    Are you puffing your pipe? Is it getting hot as you smoke it? Coming from a cigar smoking background your probably smoking too fast causing a condensation build up as you get to the bottom of the bowl which creates more moisture than the coal can dry and burn as it burns down the bowl, slow down, sip the pipe, a cooler temperature yields a dryer, more flavorful smoke. The slower you smoke the cooler and dryer the burn, condensation is a byproduct of tobacco combustion, the faster you smoke the more condensation in the bowl and it all collects at the bottom of the bowl.

     
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  7. raf66

    raf66 Member

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    I started smoking pipes more than 20 years ago and I'll bet you I could count on one hand the number of times I've smoked through every stitch of tobacco in my bowl. I believe smoking a bowl down to the fine, white ash is what all aspire to and what many will counsel you to do, especially during the break-in period of a new pipe. While many pipe smokers may actually be good at achieving this goal, it's proven to be as elusive as spotting a unicorn for me.

    In addition, I have always had difficulty not only keeping the last part lit but also enjoying the taste of the tobacco at that point. I've always tried to "sip" rather than puff but honestly I'd probably consider myself more of a puffer, which more than likely causes me to smoke a little on the "wet" side. While it hasn't diminished my enjoyment of the pipe, it likely HAS caused me to fight the last bit of tobacco in nearly every bowl I've ever had. Even when I've packed a bowl less than full and/or consciously smoked as long as would seem necessary to burn through the entirety of the tobacco, when I tamp out the contents thinking there will be nothing but beautiful white/gray ash, I invariably have a wee bit of moist tobacco hiding down in there.

    Like others have said, try sipping the tobacco from start to finish to keep moisture out of the bottom of the bowl as best you can. That may help. Also, use pipe cleaners to help remove any excess moisture while you're smoking the bowl. Finally, use a pipe tool to not only gently tamp the tobacco down occasionally while smoking but also to skim off a little bit of the ash that remains on top after after about 3/4 of the tobacco has been smoked. That may help your next light of the tobacco at the bottom of the bowl actually reach the unsmoked tobacco. This may seem a little counterintuitive since the ash on top is typically thought to help insulate the tobacco and assist in keeping a cool smoke. But frankly the few times I've ever actually smoked every bit of the tobacco I've packed were during those occasions where I've skimmed some of the ash off the top as I approached the bottom of the bowl. And don't discount the shape of the bowl you're smoking. I've found that I've got a couple shapes (one Savinelli Acorn in particular) that have proven more conducive to smoking all the tobacco down to ash. Shorter, squattier bowls have been easier for me to complete the task than have taller, more narrow bowls.

    Good luck and remember to simply enjoy the experience. Too much concentrated effort at "doing it right" may prove the undoing of your ultimate enjoyment.
     
  8. ChrisB

    ChrisB Member

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    Thanks, all. This is very helpful.
    Cheers,
     
  9. RodneyWT1180B

    RodneyWT1180B Member

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    One thing I didn't see mentioned: Does the airway for the stem meet at the bottom of the bowl or is it higher up the side? A high mis-drill can lead to the problem you're having as well as the other causes already listed. I haven't had to try it but a little pipe mud would be an easy fix for that issue. I wouldn't worry too much about it though. Realistically you would have to smoke a lot in that pipe for the tobacco that's not being burnt to add up to a meaningful amount.
    Rodney
     
  10. Bulldog

    Bulldog Member

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    I like to throw out the last few unburned flakes...usually too much moisture and ash.
     
  11. BradNTX

    BradNTX Well-Known Member

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    The longer I smoked a pipe, the better I got with this. I smoke about 95% of my bowls to the bottom and don't think a lot about it now. Initial light up being even, smoking cadence, loading style and tamping to me some practice to get there.
     
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