A few newb questions, if you don't mind

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jhblaze1

New member
Jan 8, 2019
13
0
Hi guys...been smoking the pipe for a few weeks now and I do better on some bowls/smokes than other. The other night I smoked a whole bowl of Captain Earl's Reflections all the way to the bottom without relighting but had to tamp the ash down during the smoke a bunch of times. Since then, I've had trouble replicating that 'success'.
Anyway so my questions:
1) Smoke production...I understand that a pipe won't product thick clouds like a cigar and that's all well and good. When that's what I'm after, I can just smoke one of my cigars. BUT, often times, after the pipe is lit, I'll draw and can visually see the ember glowing but almost 0 smoke comes out. I have to take several sips in quick succession to get it smoking and then it's easy for me to end up with a hot pipe......What might cause this? I pack using the 3 step method but am really not sure if I'm too tight or too loose.
2) Similar to question 1, when I get the pipe smoking decently, sometimes even if I maintain a moderate cadence, it just goes out....is that common? To clarify, I'll be sipping away with a cadence of a sip ever 5-10 seconds getting good smoke and then suddenly each sip produces thinner and thinner smoke until nothing....then I have to tamp, stir, and/or relight.
3) Sometimes to remedy the situation in question 2, I either have to keep tamping the ash down a bunch of times, or get in there with a poker and really stir up the tobacco and re-light. Is this indicative of a problem with the way I packed or am smoking?
Thanks in advance. I continue to read around the forum and search for answers, but the search function is a bit wonky. I really enjoy the aromoas and tastes of pipe tobacco (really digging GL Pease Quiet Nights the most so far) and just want to try to fix some of my issues to keep the frustration down so I can focus more on just enjoying the smoke.

 

ashdigger

Preferred Member
Jul 30, 2016
5,271
32
Getting "good smoke" is a mistake. When I smoke my pipe there is barely any smoke. Too much billowing smoke ruins the flavor, overheats the bowls, fries the mouth. There is no upside.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,879
801
Monterey Peninsula
I don't stir tobacco, though use a tamper regularly to keep the ember in contact with unburned tobacco. Dumping ash is generally not needed, as heat passes right through the ash to ignite the tobacco underneath. Nothing amiss with flicking out the ash, though.
I'd pay attention to the moisture level in the tobacco before you load. If it's at the right level, you need no technique to load*, relights are fewer, and you'll not risk compacting the bowl via tamping.
* Ropes, plugs and flakes do need some finesse.

 

judcasper

Senior Member
Jan 9, 2019
306
1
I've often wondered about the 'smoke' thing, and now wonder if it comes from watching too many Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes films. When Holmes or Watson light up, the smoke billows thick and heavy as though from a cigar, but I think that's probably down to the black and white photography and camera lighting.

 

saltedplug

Preferred Member
Jul 24, 2016
1,909
4
For a fews years I was obsessed with the amount of ash in the bowl, and I would use a pipe tool to get it out, or I'd gently tap the bowl on the side of the ashtray. But at about 7 or 8 years in I thought to use my finger to tamp. It got to be automatic and the problem disappeared. I'd only dump ash when the above didn't work, which was infrequently. Tamping with your finger not recommended after a light, but then again when it is the light was a minute or three ago. It leaves you with an ashy finger but is so much more convenient than having to reach for and manipulate the tool.

 

jhblaze1

New member
Jan 8, 2019
13
0
thx for responses guys....I think it might just take some time to get used to the difference in smoke production being a cigar smoker. Watching some youtubes I do see that most people aren't blowing out big clouds. I guess getting such thin wisps of smoke kind of surprised me and I assumed I was doing something incorrectly.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,237
435
Pipes don't give volumes of smoke like cigars, but if you love that aspect of smoking, blends based on Cavendish or including substantial amounts as condimental leaf will give you some smoke-rings. Cavendish can be low nicotine and is often used in highly flavored aromatics, so you have to balance those with the desire for volume smoke.

 

judcasper

Senior Member
Jan 9, 2019
306
1
They could have been using a cigar blend. There are a few blends that are heavier in smoke than most.
Ah. In fact there is one film, House of Fear, where Holmes identifies the tobacco one of the guests is smoking as a Havana.

 

olkofri

Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2017
2,326
175
the smoke billows thick and heavy as though from a cigar, but I think that's probably down to the black and white photography and camera lighting
As some others mentioned, the ingredients matter. Burley is known for producing those glorious clouds: burley burn characteristics.
And of course, yes, lighting can bring out or diminish the visible amount of smoke; but I think in that case it was mostly the blend.

 

blendtobac

Preferred Member
Oct 16, 2009
1,218
41
Actually, you can get a higher volume of smoke depending upon the tobacco. As Cosmic said, blends that contain cigar leaf will create more smoke. In one or two cases, I used it in a blend for that specific purpose. Also, Burleys, especially the darker types will produce a fair amount of smoke as long as they haven't been heavily flavored. One other that works well is dark-fired or air-cured Kentucky. What do they all have in common? Higher oil content. Virginias are lower in oil and higher in sugar and I'm pretty certain that's why they produce a thin smoke.
Russ

 

jhblaze1

New member
Jan 8, 2019
13
0
interesting....smoke volume isn't paramount, but I kind of like a bit more than wisps...it might also be something I need to just get used to given my cigar background.
Flavor is really important and so far I'm really liking english blends....can anyone recommend a burley/latakia blend?

 

olkofri

Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2017
2,326
175
Well, don't be to quick to dismiss smoke volume as a caprice. There was one study done in which cigar smokers were given a cigar to smoke in a well-litten room, then they were given another cigar to smoke, but this time in the dark. The results were that the smokers reported a more satisfying experience when they could see the smoke. So, flavour isn't everything. If you want to see plumes rising, go for blends that will give you that.