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Burning down the middle

(12 posts)
  1. alex87

    alex87

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    So i've been at it for a bit now and i have had my share of "learning experiences" and it has rewarded me with a few great smokes of late.

    However i'm noticing that i've been having a problem with my tobacco burning down the center of the bowl leaving the edges closest to the bowl either unburnt or just charred.

    Anyone got any tips or advice on how to not burn right down the middle of the bowl? I've tried a 45 degree tamp to try and get the baccy from the sides towards the middle but it doesn't seem to help all that much.

    When i go to relight, i stir my ash and dump, and what i see is a crater shape in my baccy. Is this something i shouldn't worry about or should i be concerned at the ammount of unburnt tobacco i am leaving on the inside of my bowl?

    Posted 6 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    It's possible you're smoking too fast, which would explain the tobacco burning in the middle like that.

    I suggest you try to smoke more slowly -- sip -- then slow down some more -- sip slower.

    Is your tobacco overly moist? Wet tobacco is a recipe for disaster. Make sure your tobacco is of the correct dryness by doing the "pinch test" (if it clumps, it's too moist -- let a bowlful dry on a plate or paper) before you pack it in the bowl.

    Also, you may want to look into how you pack you pipe; there's tons of threads here and a bunch of videos on YouTube you can check out.

    Lastly, tamping is important. I know you state you do tamp the tobacco, but TBH, most of us experience uneven burning -- a tamp, removing the ash like once or twice during the smoke, and relighting the tobacco evenly moves things along quite nicely.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  3. rosney

    rosney

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    Good question as it is something I struggle with from time to time. Smoking slowly like rothnh said helps a lot. That is what I find is the cause of most of my problems. I haven't found the end all cure so I look forward to some more answers.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  4. matchstickman

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    Are you lighting with a lighter or a match? A wooden match can sometimes help get a better light on that tobacco around the sides of the bowl, but even then, it can be a little tricky. If I've got good ash going on around the center but not on the sides, I sometimes use the pick end of my pipe tool to kind of scoot the tobacco on the edges a little closer to the center and light again to help get everything even.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  5. alex87

    alex87

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    I'm using my Zippo with pipe insert.

    I've been smoking really slowly, almost to the point of relighting every few mins and it seems to start when i light. I'm putting it down to lighting technique rather than smoking technique.

    Slowing down is always good advice though. Perhaps its one of those things that will just come with time. I'll experiment with different lighting techniques and let you know how it goes. I suspect its just a combination of everything, packing, lighting, tamping, and draw....oh well, such is the art of smoking a pipe. Heaven help me, i have to smoke more bowls to practice.../sarcasm

    Posted 6 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    Heaven help me, i have to smoke more bowls to practice...

    Hehe, we've all been there. Patience is the hardest, but most important thing to learn in pipe smoking.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  7. peckinpahhombre

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    I too use an angled wedge tamper to tamp down the sides of the bowl while leaving the middle of the bowl conical. I have found this works for me in terms of getting an even burn. I see you have tried that with no success, which I am a little baffled at. Hmmmm.

    Posted 6 years ago #
  8. taerin

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    The bowl is designed to be in contact with the hot ember, if it's made from briar, you would only have to worry about burning the pipe itself if you smoked it too quickly/hot. Make sure you wipe down the top of the pipe after every smoke to prevent buildup of carbon on the top of the bowl, that way it will continue to look like new, however the rim will darken from the tars in the tobacco over time just like the rest of the pipe will.

    It can be very tricky to get a good burn, the trick is to light the tobacco on top until it turns black, then tamp it down until you have a flat surface for lighting, then light it and achieve an even light. If it is real uneven, I will tamp it down, let it go out, and relight.

    "The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time."
    Mark Twain
    Posted 6 years ago #
  9. pstlpkr

    Lawrence

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    Try to insure you have a good Char-light and a good True-light.
    That should help your ember to cover the top nice and evenly, and with a not overly thick ember...
    IMHO.


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    Posted 6 years ago #
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    wnghanglow

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    Rothnh is right on the mark here, I do want to add that you should time yourself smoking, if you have a "regular" size bowl it should take you at lest 40 min to smoke, if not your still smoking to fast. I know even the most experienced smokers can still struggle with smoking to fast so I doubt you have mastered it yet. *i know I still have to consciously slow down when I smoke*

    Posted 6 years ago #
  11. nsfisher

    nsfisher

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    I just dump the ash, then take my finger tip and run it around the inside of the bowl to the left over baccy, then relight it.

    If at first you don't succeed, have another bowl.
    Posted 6 years ago #
  12. thebadkitty

    Steve

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    Alex, thanks for asking this question. I was just taking a break from homework and smoking a flake, and because I had just been reading this thread a little while ago (yes, instead of doing homework) decided on folding and stuffing the PS LNF, something I don't do a lot because I haven't really been able to get it to burn right. It was an Aha! moment.
    Peckinpahhombre, thanks because it was your recent photo and descriptions of your wedge that made me click a bunch of things I've been reading (thanks everybody!)about flakes which have become a favorite in the last year.
    Roth, I can't thank you and Cigarmaster enough for all your posts, and remember you asking about cob photos. I've been meaning to do a "photo shoot" for you, but have been really busy. A very flat excuse, I know, but this term is kicking my ass on top of all the other major life changes. There. Now I've written it in the open, and I'm committed. My spring break would be better spent doing an amateur photo shoot of another kind, so I will be doing that too haha.
    Lawrence, I don't mean to hijack this thread, but thank you and the rest of the mods and the Big Kahuna because this site has become pretty amazing with all there is to learn and think about.
    Fantastic thread Alex, gave me a *blink* moment during my smoke break.

    Posted 6 years ago #

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