Smoking a bowl: Remove or leave the ash?

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Senior Member
Dec 2, 2014
Hi folks, got another newbie question for you all:

when I began smoking (not very long ago!) I never removed any ash while I smoked; I just tamped the ash down as I smoked. I read the recently posted article on how to pack and smoke a cool bowl for beginners, a nice essay, and he recommends scooping out the ash before tamping down on the tobacco in the bowl. I had never heard about doing that before I read the article, but what do I know just starting out with this wonderful hobby. I am curious if removing the ash is something you all do, or not. Also, to this point: sometimes while smoking I will gently blow into the stem to stoke the bowl and help keep the pipe lit. Is this proper pipe smoking technique? I am pretty sure that I am packing my bowl correctly, and my pipe draws easily, I am not having too much trouble with the pipe getting too hot or gurgling, but I do need to relight more than I think I should, perhaps my tobacco is too fresh from the tin before I smoke it.
Thank you,




Preferred Member
Apr 26, 2013
I am still on the fence. If the smoke is going well, I don't mess with a good thing. If I have had to do 4-5 relights anyway, sometimes I dump the ash and tamp a bit and that seems to help.



Preferred Member
Jul 29, 2014
Suffolk, VA
Personally, I do not remove any ash while I'm smoking.
As to "blowing" back into the bowl while smoking, if I recall correctly that is part of the "breathe" method of smoking (used most often by clenchers) so not unheard of. Of course, breathe/blow too much and you've got a geyser of hot ash and embers burning your nose and your clothes and whomever may be downwind of you. So, proceed with caution.



Preferred Member
Dec 14, 2013
Pack it - leave it.
I've never consciously blown into the stem but the ember keeps going simply because I clench at times and will be breathing into it. Seems to work out rather well for me.



Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2012
Not too sure if it makes a huge difference. I personally tend to dump out some of the ash about half way through the bowl. After that I give it a little tamp and I feel that it helps the tobacco at the bottom of the bowl burn a bit better. I very rarely have any unsmoked tobacco at the bottom of my bowl.



Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2014
I leave it alone unless it seems to be a hindrance to the flame. :twisted:
Like Wyfbane said, "If the smoke is going well, I don't mess with a good thing."



Aug 12, 2014
I tend to leave the ash and find that the tobacco tastes better with the ash on top when I have to relight. Another advantage is that I think the ash keeps the bowl lit and sort of insulates it. Maybe experiment a little. I tamp a lot so the ash stay pretty compact. it works pretty well for me.



Senior Member
Dec 10, 2013
Cooler smoke give us more flavor. That is sure. So for that "leave the ash" as possible.

But when I puff with too much ash sometimes little ash comes to mouth and give tongue bite.

So just by up-side down the bowl at about middle of bowl take out some ash will do the job.



Preferred Member
Apr 1, 2013
I leave the ash for a long, cool, sweet smoke.
Removing the ash enharshens the smoke, makes for a weak pipe cake, and causes the smoke to be at least 25 degrease hotter.
This is an indisputable fact, like global warming.



Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
Mostly I just smoke it down, tamping before relights if it seems needed. However, if the pipe isn't staying

lit, I'll sometimes dust out the white ash, and if the unburned tobacco seems packed too tight, I'll loosen

it a little with the pick or scoop, and relight. This is fairly rare, but it sometimes gets another ten minutes

of good tasting smoke. It's not routine, only very occasionally. A good smoke usually takes few relights

and just a tamp or two. Low maintenance.



Senior Member
Sep 30, 2014
I usually leave it, if I'm outside and enjoying the pipe, occassionally I will loosen the ash with my finger to a stick and either tip the bowl upside down and gently tap the base of the bowl, or just blow it out.



Jun 12, 2012
I'm a total newbie so I'm probably doing this wrong, but i find that past the halfway point it gets significantly harder to get the pipe lit again when it goes out, so I puff like a hoover on relights and scorch my tongue. I dump the ash, ruffle the top tobacco layer a bit with the czech tool if it seems too tight, apply flame while puffing lightly and I'm set, usually ALMOST to the bottom of the bowl.



Preferred Member
Oct 17, 2013
Most of the time I will leave the ash where it is. Only time I don't is if I am out hunting and then I'll just tip the pipe and let the loose stuff fall out. I was out one day and lining up a shot and a gust of wind blew the loose ash up into my eyes fouling the shot. Doesn't help that most of my pipes and wider bowls and stubby shapes.



Preferred Member
Jul 29, 2013
I leave the ash unless it starts to affect the taste of my smoke. For my palate there seems to be threshold where it requires a light tapping upside down to knock off the ash and the ashy taste. I give it a light tamp afterwords and carry on. That's my style.