Let Them Smoke No Cake

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mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,240
440
I've mentioned from time to time, about fifteen percent (out of thin air) Forums members do not develop cake in their pipes, but scoop out the ash and wipe out the bowl with a sturdy paper towel or napkin. This maintains the circumference of the chamber and eliminates the need for reaming. This is no disparagement of building cake, just a different way of going that makes some of us content. Just mention it from time to time for people starting out with pipe smoking. It is a reasonable option. My pipes that go back thirty and forty years still smoke great and seem to appreciate this approach.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,240
440
"Let them smoke no cake." Isn't that what Marie Antoinette said when she was packing her Missouri Meerschaum with Big'n'Burley?

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,878
803
Monterey Peninsula
Agree also. I think what's to be avoided is a crumbly, soft cake. Such a cake is comprised of ash and half burned leaf. With the paper towel "reaming" and/or a flush with hot water, ash and loose bits are removed and the cake that's left is hard and thin.

 

trubka2

Senior Member
Feb 27, 2019
420
601
I took up this practice recently after reaming and cleaning most of my pipes back to near-bare wood. I've been very happy with the results - much cooler, drier, cleaner smokes. Let me smoke no more lumpy, soft cake!

 

scloyd

Preferred Member
May 23, 2018
1,852
138
For me...paper towel wipe after every smoke and hot water rinse often.

 

oldtoby

Preferred Member
Dec 7, 2011
778
223
There's so many variables concerning cake.
Some of my pipes benefit very much with about a dimes thickness. Others get the twisted paper towel treatment resulting in a hard carbon cake. YMMV. :wink:

 

pianopuffer

Senior Member
Jul 3, 2017
464
25
NYC
I am definitely a swab it out after each smoke. Works well for me. I’m also a subscriber of the hot water flush as some here practice.
I wonder how that hot water affects vulcanite stems, as I’ve been told sunlight and moisture are the devil on these materials.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,878
803
Monterey Peninsula
I've been flushing out my vulcanite stems with hot tap water for over two years with no deleterious effects. I also sometimes scrub the outsides with a wet scrub sponge, let dry, and depending on the quality of the vulcanite, will give a very light rub with a dab of mineral oil, or just leave it be.

 

pianopuffer

Senior Member
Jul 3, 2017
464
25
NYC
Ok gotcha. I suppose as long as the water/moisture is removed via pipe cleaner inside the stem there wouldn’t be any residual effects.

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
13,668
679
United States
After each bowl I smoke, I clean my pipe. One of the things I do to clean my pipe is to use a couple of bent over soft pipe cleaners and wipe the inside of my bowl, getting any left over ash or tobacco. A nice hard cake builds in my pipes as I smoke flakes and plugs almost exclusively. I like a dimes worth of cake as for my tastes the pipe burns cooler and with more flavor as I also dedicate all of my pipes.
I am a long time member in the cake is cool club.

 

madox07

Preferred Member
Dec 12, 2016
1,422
48
Not a big cake guy myself, I do like a thin lair and nothing more. For some reason those heavily caked pipes are a turnoff, it sort of tells me that the user doesn't take good care of their pipes. What I usually do is take a fluffy pipe cleaner, u shape it, and ream the bowl a couple of three times with it. Cake builds up non the less, but not at that fast of a pace.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,240
440
I take a relatively rough paper towel or napkin, after I thoroughly scoop out and scrape out the bowl with a pipe tool, and pack the bowl with the paper towel and turn it around in there. It drags out quite a bit of soot and ash. Then I puff out any residual over the waste basket or an ash try. Over time, this maintains a thin layer of carbon, not really enough to call cake. There's no caking. But the thin carbon layer remains and keeps the inside of the bowl intact. Nothing builds up, not over decades. Works well for me, and as someone else said, makes for a nice dry clean smoke.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,878
803
Monterey Peninsula
(jpm)
I've been flushing out my vulcanite stems with hot tap water for over two years with no deleterious effects. I also sometimes scrub the outsides with a wet scrub sponge, let dry, and depending on the quality of the vulcanite, will give a very light rub with a dab of mineral oil, or just leave it be.
(PP)
Ok gotcha. I suppose as long as the water/moisture is removed via pipe cleaner inside the stem there wouldn’t be any residual effects.
That is certainly the better way to go. However, over the last year or so, I don't bother with a cleaner in the airway unless there's an obstruction. The water flowing out the stem being clear and free flowing is enough for me. I love to see the first flow of brownish water, which tells me some crap is being removed from the stem, esp. the mortise.

 

bnichols23

Preferred Member
Mar 13, 2018
2,762
104
SC Piedmont
I'm lazy. I also like getting my hands under the hood & becoming one with the pipe. But mainly I'm lazy. When they need gunk cleaned out, that's why God made both bristle cleaners & 91% alcohol cheap. But primarily I'm lazy.
B

 

pappymac

Preferred Member
Feb 26, 2015
1,843
17
After restoring some fairly gunked up estate pipes, I've become an advocate of the paper towel brigade. I found that I can smoke whatever I want in the pipes and just wiping them out prevents any ghosting.