Unusable Tobacco in Chamber

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cranseiron

Preferred Member
May 17, 2013
576
1
Biloxi, MS
I have a fairly new pipe that I've been breaking in. It was quite a long break in process, but it's finally come around and the Virginias I usually smoke are tasting as they should. My perceived problem is that the last third of the chamber's capacity the tobacco becomes ashy and very skunky. I smoke dry tobacco, take it slow and pack lightly. This is a commissioned artisan pipe, it has a good light draw and I'm very satisfied with it except, as I perceive it, the amount of tobacco getting quite nasty at the end. Does the image below seem like it's on the plus side of unsmokable dottle? Most of my other pipes don't have this much. Chamber size is 1 3/4" deep and 3/4" diameter. Also, at half bowl things start to get a little ashy so I usually dump ash at this point which helps, but that last third is consistently skunky.

Regards, Eric


 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,883
809
Monterey Peninsula
Is this much larger than your other pipes?
How often are you smoking it?
Taking a paper towel to wipe out the ash after a bowl will help. Even dryer tobacco will help.

 

raevans

Member
Apr 20, 2013
271
3
The only time that I have had an issue close to this is when I had a pipe that the hole was drilled a bit high in the chamber. Pipe would smoke great until it hit the area where the hole was dilled. Then it was like smoking ash. (Actually I was smoking ash). The tobacco below the hole was goopy and couldn't be smoked.

 
Mar 16, 2014
1,596
20
My guess is bad briar, and that you got the top 3/4 of the chamber to build some cake; cutting down on the skunky taste, but that the last 1/4 didn't build the same cake and you're still getting the bad taste at the end? Again, just a guess. Otherwise, I'm not sure what's going on?

 

cranseiron

Preferred Member
May 17, 2013
576
1
Biloxi, MS
John, this is not a large pipe and I try to smoke it twice a day and have smoked only this pipe the past month or so. Very dry tobacco doesn't seem to have much effect one way or another.
Draft hole is at the very bottom of chamber. The pipe started out smoking a bit wet, normal for a new pipe, but smokes very dry now-- just light moisture in the shànk.

 

josephcross

Preferred Member
Dec 30, 2015
945
2
Have you tried a half bowl or maybe a third. I'm curious to know what the flavour is like toward the bottom if you don't fully load it up, and if it will burn to ash?

 

cranseiron

Preferred Member
May 17, 2013
576
1
Biloxi, MS
josephcross, I started the break-in with half bowls and those got ashy pretty quick but not so much skunky, so no doubt with a full bowl the tar accumulation makes it go skunky. It always had dottle and never burned fully to ash.

 

didimauw

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 28, 2013
3,436
443
30
WI
I agreewith mothernature, sounds like a cavern in the bottom of the bowl that isn't as caked as the rest of the pipe. Happens to me all the time.

 

cranseiron

Preferred Member
May 17, 2013
576
1
Biloxi, MS
didimauw/mothernature, maybe that's it. This pipe was/is a tough one to break in and might not be there yet. I think I'll go back to half bowls then and work on the lower chamber.

 

didimauw

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 28, 2013
3,436
443
30
WI
That's one way, or you can lightly scrape the top half back slightly to even it out. That way you don't have to smoke half bowls for what sometimes feels like forever.

 

mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
4,794
0
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
Eric, I've had a similar experience, in my case with tall and deep bowls. I have tried solving it by removing ash half way through but the problem persists.
My recently purchased estate 'freehand' is a prime example...always has a pile of unburnt tobacco at the bottom of the bowl :roll:
Regards,
Jay.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,243
445
I'd try around with different blends and cuts. As the carbon layer develops, cake if that's what you do, I think this trait may recede.

 

hawky454

Preferred Member
Feb 11, 2016
3,041
284
I usually dump about that much with every smoke. I prefer large chambers so it doesn't bother me. I'm not one to get a cake all the way down to the heel cause I can't stand smoking the very last bit. To me it always smokes way too hot and ashy at a certain point. When I stop enjoying my pipe, I dump it. I've been doing it like this for the past 8 years and have never had a problem with my pipes and their lack of heel cake.

 

mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
4,794
0
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
"If your tobacco near the heel is frequently too wet to smoke comfortably, simply dry it out a lot more before loading."
With all due respect John, though I agree totally with your solution, I have loaded a tall narrowish pipe with pretty dry tobacco, forgotten about it for almost three weeks yet it still refused to burn to the heel of the bowl.
The dottle though not soaking was nevertheless still wet even after sitting there all that time.
I put it down to the geometry of the pipe.
Regards,
Jay.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,883
809
Monterey Peninsula
The narrow tallish pipe might be loaded first half with very dry tobacco, the top half same or slightly more moist. Yes, geometry makes it more difficult to overcome, but it can be overcome.