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Rastislav

New member
Oct 27, 2019
22
28
A newbie question. I tried my first flake tobacco (C&D Star of the East). While I found it very good, I think my ”crumbling” technique could be improved. It seemed like the coarse texture didn’t lend well to packing and keeping lit. What is the best way to break down the flake for optimum smoking?
Thanks.

EDIT: Fixed Capitalization in Title
 
Last edited by a moderator:
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kurtbob

Senior Member
Jul 9, 2019
377
1,756
Townsend GA
A newbie question. I tried my first flake tobacco (C&D Star of the East). While I found it very good, I think my ”crumbling” technique could be improved. It seemed like the coarse texture didn’t lend well to packing and keeping lit. What is the best way to break down the flake for optimum smoking?
Thanks.
If you ask 20 different people you will get 20 different methods but, the way I do it is to ball it up and put it in the palm of my hand and use the other hand to roll it around in the palm like you are trying to make a dough ball. Like I said, you will get plenty of techniques to answer your question;)
 

timt

Preferred Member
Jul 19, 2018
1,084
362
If by optimum you mean ease, what I like to do is rub the flake out when it's still somewhat moist and then let it dry well. This keeps the tobacco fibers intact and less likely to crumble into chunks. Once it's dried well, I pack it fairly loose and gently use the tamper to get the pack where I want it after it's been lit.

Other people will like a different method for "optimum" smoking but I'm getting fond of the ease of a ribbon cut, so this method for flakes works great for me. I still get a nice slow smoke this way.
 

Rastislav

New member
Oct 27, 2019
22
28
If you ask 20 different people you will get 20 different methods but, the way I do it is to ball it up and put it in the palm of my hand and use the other hand to roll it around in the palm like you are trying to make a dough ball. Like I said, you will get plenty of techniques to answer your question;)
Thanks. I am guessing you are trying to produce a consistency at least as small as ribbon cut then?
 
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cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
14,729
1,917
Chicago, IL
 
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cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,514
1,208
Thanks. I am guessing you are trying to produce a consistency at least as small as ribbon cut then?
Flake takes a bit of patients and practice. If you fold and stuff or cube cut and gravity fill, there will be a more open draw, because you don't want to pack these as tight, because the heat will make the flaked tobacco expand. If you pack tightly, it will be a totally restrictive draw.

Staying lit just takes a bit more concentration. For me, the extra puffs to keep a folded flake going offsets the slower burn of a flake, so it's just as well to rub them out and pack as usual... in some cases.

I would advise to just try different packing techniques and find one that fits how you like to smoke best. Trial error. Sorry.

I mean, I could give you a detailed "how I do it" post, but the beautiful part of pipesmoking is that we all have our own way of approaching this, and most of that comes from just trying new ways.
I just sort of switch between techniques depending on my mood, the type of flake, the pipe, and the alignment of the stars. puffy
 

brooklynpiper

Senior Member
May 8, 2018
303
79
Also, the big broken, crumbly latakia-fixed flakes of Star of the East takes its own number in the preparation world. It's its own world and when I've had it it's been very crumbly and thick broken flake pieces, unlike our beloved Stokkebye flakes. I often gently rubbed it out and gravity filled it trying not to get too too many horizontal fixings of flake pieces.
 

Casual

Member
Oct 3, 2019
209
339
NL, CA
I gave up on flakes for the first six months. I got competent with ribbon and coarse cuts, then went back to flakes and was able to smoke them rubbed, stuffed, whichever way.

There are lessons about things like dryness and pipe packing, and it helps to have learned these before the struggle with flake complications.

But I’m sure that’s just one way to go about it.
 
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danimalia

Preferred Member
Sep 2, 2015
1,041
883
I basically use TimT's method. Take out a flake or two, rub it out, let it dry, and then smoke.

Flakes will always be a bit more work and require more relights and such in my experience. The reward is some marvelous, flavorful, slow-burning smokes. Star of the East is 50% Latakia, and Latakia can be a bit stubborn when it comes to burning, as well. So it might not be all you.
 

Frozenoak

Member
Oct 9, 2019
130
487
44
Lake Elsinore, CA
I bought a Burr style coffee grinder to replace my bladed version a while back. Now, I take a couple flakes and throw them in this Grinder, then I let it dry out for a few minutes. It only takes a couple of pulses. I do the same for plugs and ropes.
 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
2,372
2,043
Alaska
I've have used every packing method discussed and have always had the best experience with rubbing the flake out fully, letting it dry at least one hour, and then packing with the three pinch method. YMMV.
 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,796
1,376
United States
I fold and stuff my flakes now but didn't always do it that way. For a while a few years ago I was cube cutting many of my flakes. The cube cut is more user friendly for beginners in my opinion.
20 years ago I would break my flakes into big chunks and then stuff those in my pipe. This was before I even heard of folding and stuffing and cube cutting. That system worked fine for years.
 
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mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,742
1,130
An aside: However you prep your flake, usually it will give you a longer smoke than loose tobacco, so a small bowl pipe can last for 30 or 40 minutes or more. This seems true of flake, coin, plug, or rope, maybe since the pieces are thicker and more dense. I smoked flake outside a concern venue in one of those mini-cobs and it outlasted the intermission.
 

luigi

Member
May 16, 2017
271
291
My main mistake with flakes was not drying them enough. Still learning and finding the perfect way. Different preparing methods und a (un)success are a part of the game, sometimes making you feel a pro and an amateur the other time.
 

redglow

Preferred Member
Jan 7, 2019
1,650
1,038
Michigan
Great info above..... I guess I'm too impatient to rub them out or let things dry. I just stuff & light.

To each their own.
 
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Parsimonious Piper

New member
Oct 12, 2019
33
47
If you ask 20 different people you will get 20 different methods…
And this thread is further proof of that truism.

I happen to enjoy that particular C&D flake. I like it in a tall billiard (or Canadian/Lovat, which is true for me with most flakes—my current favorite cut) where I usually gently fold-and-stuff the bowl with nearly unbroken flake, then rub out enough extra to top the bowl off with a layer that looks like a cross between ribbon and ready-rubbed or cube cut. Makes the light really easy and a tall bowl will last a couple hours with only one or maybe two ash dump/relights.

If you like the flavor of Star of the East but just can’t seem to get the right burn, give everyone’s packing recommendation a shot until you find the one that works for you. That’s how I experimented until I found the “just right” pack for me on most blends/cuts/types. This site is crazy invaluable that way.