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How Can I Make Flakes Burn More Evenly?

(49 posts)
  • Started 1 month ago by carolinachurchwarden
  • Latest reply from jpmcwjr
  1. carolinachurchwarden

    carolinachurchwarden

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    I've been trying my hand at some ODF flake again, folding and stuffing it in a bowl that fits it nicely.

    I've noticed that after I light it, the whole top looks nice and even and I smoke on it for a while. After some time, it goes out and I try relighting and it goes out again fairly quickly. I scrape off the ash just to give it some air, then notice that it burned more like a bullseye and conical, starting wider at the top, then narrowing as it burns down. Then I dump the middle ash, scrape the sides and relight and it works great again.

    Is there something I should do differently, or does it just burn the way it burns and you just have to dump ash, scrape and relight? Just curious.

    "If you can't send money, send tobacco." - George Washington

    Posted 1 month ago #
  2. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Flakes dry slowly, from the edges. So, what feels dry is possibly still moist in the middle. This might account for what you experience, and cough, cough, further drying may be the solution.

    Let us know!

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  3. anthonyrosenthal74

    anthonyrosenthal74

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    Make certain it's not packed too tight, or too loose. When you pack the flakes into the bowl a little bit of looseness is recommended, as once you set flame to the tobacco, it's going to expand, thus filling the bowl more. I fold the flake but instead of putting the folded up part (notice how it breaks apart and looks uneven at the bend) into the bowl, I place the more uniform end into the bowl. I take my tamper and I lightly scrape, without any downward pressure, the broken up pieces of tobacco sticking up in the bowl. Any fine broken pieces, dust from the tin/jar or where I was preparing tobacco gets lightly sprinkled on top of that. It makes great kindling and helps that first light to be nice and even. I think the charring light and secondary lights being uniform and even are key to how the flake is going to burn throughout. Lightly tamp often. With no pressure to keep the embers down on the tobacco. Only add pressure when you must.

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    Posted 1 month ago #
  4. weezell

    weezell

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    Is there something I should do differently, or does it just burn the way it burns and you just have to dump ash, scrape and relight? Just curious.
    That's mostly how I do it. I'm always open for suggestions...

    "The weez..."
    Posted 1 month ago #
  5. donjgiles

    donjgiles

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    I really like cube cutting flakes. I take a flake and fold it with the grain and cut them up with scissors. I like to load them, tap the sides and gravity fill to taste.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  6. carolinachurchwarden

    carolinachurchwarden

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    Well, they might could use a little more drying time, but if they dry too much more than they are right now, it'll crumble apart, seen one do it already, which kind of defeats the purpose of the fold and stuff method.

    Anthony, I tried your method a few times and it's been a good way to get it going. Been flat out perfect, until I discover it burns the way it does. Not that I mind doing what I've been doing, but I just wondered if by the way it burned, I needed to adjust something.

    Maybe it could be too tight. Don't think I've ever made it too loose, but I have noticed that if and when I tamp, it's just stiff. As in, it won't tamp at all.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  7. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    You could try stuff and fold the day before you're going to smoke it. It will dry down in the chamber. It also helps to reserve some to rub out and sprinkle over the top to act as kindling.

    It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain

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    Posted 1 month ago #
  8. carolinachurchwarden

    carolinachurchwarden

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    I've done that before as well, but maybe my fold and stuff was a little off then. I gave the method a break and opted for just rubbing it out, but I really liked the idea of fold and stuff enough to want to give it a try again. Maybe I'll try to fold and stuff again and just leave it in the pipe for a day or so and see what happens. In either event, I'm enjoying smoking them more now since I at lease have gotten something right... I think, because I'm not smoking it too fast and I'm getting very lovely aroma and taste from it.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  9. npod

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    I do it like you Carolina. I have similar results. I now kinda know when I need to dump some ash and get some oxygen to the wad. Like Anthony said, leaving a little wiggle room between the tobacco and sides helps. I smoke flakes almost exclusively now and it took me a long while to learn to think ahead about my weekly rotation and dry out flakes ahead of time. I us3d to just look in the cellar and say, “ooh that blend looks good tonight.” Then rush to smoke the flakes with poor results. Now I do the quick grab and smoke only with ribbon cuts style tobaccos.

    Neal
    Posted 1 month ago #
  10. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Yeh, when I fold and stuff, this is what I get too. All tobacco burns like a cone down the center of the bowl, but with flakes it's slightly more annoying, as I have to push the sides of the bowl down, or else I end up with craggy canyons along the edges. As a clencher for most of my smokes, I prefer ribbons, as they will burn like that, but eventually they end up burning along the edges also. But, flakes, I have to remove my pipe from, my mouth and fiddle with them, using my tamp. Sometimes, this is ok, but when stopping to fiddle is an issue, such as working at my bench or driving, I just prefer to cube cut or go for a ribbon. Ultimately, after years of doing this, I have found very little significance in pleasure from flakes verses a looser cut. But, YMMV.

    Michael
    Posted 1 month ago #
  11. georgebmcclelland

    georgebmcclelland

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    I really like cube cutting flakes. I take a flake and fold it with the grain and cut them up with scissors. I like to load them, tap the sides and gravity fill to taste.

    I second this motion, this is by far my favorite way to enjoy a good flake. I feel as though it gives me the most flavor, an even burn with no unexpected re-lights, and leaves no dottle in the bowl. I definitely believe that this is the most efficient way to smoke a flake, in my opinion.

    If you definitely want to fold and stuff, the advice from Anthony and jpmcwjr pretty much says it all, especially the bit about the flake drying from the edges. You can also cut the flake lengthwise and have two skinny flakes that will dry at a more even rate.


    It also helps to reserve some to rub out and sprinkle over the top to act as kindling.

    Seconded. Sometimes if I'm smoking in a large enough bowl to fit two or more stuffed flakes, I sprinkle this kindling in increments throughout the bowl, and have had good results.


    just leave it in the pipe for a day or so

    This has totally worked for me. It first occurred by mistake when I packed a bowl of Bold Kentucky one morning, but was called in to work and left it at home. I got back late, fell asleep exhausted, and when I woke up the next morning and smoked it, the flake was so well behaved that I've repeated it quite often on purpose.

    I definitely recognize the pleasure and merits of folding and stuffing your flake, and do it quite often myself. Like others have said, the dry time will be longer. I had a great smoke once with folded and stuffed flake that was dried out way past what I normally would consider much too dry.

    In the end, though, I really like the cube cutting that Don first mentioned. I just take my flake to my bread board and chop it up laterally, across the width of the flake. Then, as Don says, gravity feed it. This approach requires almost no drying time, I've found.

    It's obviously a subject which can be approached in so many different ways and, along with the very few additions of my own, I heartily agree with everything that has been posted here so far.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  12. carolinachurchwarden

    carolinachurchwarden

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    Yes, I have done a lot of these things and have even tried to cube cut a couple of times, until I had bits flying all over the damn place, trying to scrape them all back up and get them in a nice, neat pile.

    Basically, I had some ODF gifted to me, some was from a bulk source, some from a tin source and aged about 2 years or so. I left one bunch in a plastic bag and lost it behind my tub shortly after getting it. Should have jarred it when it arrived, but didn't even occur to me at the time. When I found it, it was so dry that you couldn't fold it and stuff it, because it would just crumble before it could fold. I'd rub that out and smoke it, but didn't really find the flavors that many other experienced.

    I jarred the other from a bulk source and it has stayed relatively pliant, but maybe it does need to dry more, I'm just afraid to dry it too much and have it break up on me as I try and fold again. I have actually tried to stuff it in a bowl and let it dry over a day, but I think I packed it too tightly.

    This latest attempt, I pulled out one whole flake, folded it in half, folded it in half again and stuffed into my meer. It wasn't too tight, but it was a little tall, so I scrapped off the top with my tamper until it was below the rim and piled those crumbs on my plate and sprinkled some in for kindling. This was when I noticed the conical burn pattern. Maybe it was still too tight. I'm enjoying the process of figuring this out for myself, but I WILL say this: I have had much better smokes from the ODF that wasn't dried to a crisp and it's really making me want to just buy a pound of this stuff.

    Thanks for all the tips and insights guys!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  13. georgebmcclelland

    georgebmcclelland

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    Oh yeah, I bought a pound of Bold Kentucky, and a couple ounces of bulk ODF from Pipesandcigars, and I'm so glad that I did. I love this stuff, and it's great to have a bunch on hand and a bunch in the cellar. As far as the cube cut goes, I've definitely had that happen to me, too. I've found that when I do it with a good, sharp kitchen knife instead of scissors, the cubes don't go flying and stay right in the little pile like they should.

    As far as the conical burn goes, when this happens I have tried to push the un-burned sides gently onto the the center with my scraper and then gently tamp. Sometimes it helps, but flakes are usually pretty high maintenance. I'd be very interested to hear any new insight, so when you make any discoveries, let me know!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  14. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Some feel that the beauty of flakes happens in the making and aging of the flake, and that rubbing out before loading doesn't diminish the smoke at all. YMMV.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  15. georgebmcclelland

    georgebmcclelland

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    Some feel that the beauty of flakes happens in the making and aging of the flake, and that rubbing out before loading doesn't diminish the smoke at all.

    I'm inclined to believe this, and second the motion as well, though without the proper knowledge to give any informed assurance, or press any certainty of fact on the matter. I can say that, in my personal experience, I have not noticed any loss of enjoyment or fullness of flavor from a rubbed out flake. If anything, the flavor has been amplified by the process, along with a much more evenly paced smoke.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  16. mso489

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    Rubbing out or otherwise prepping flake -- as well as coin, plug, and rope -- is a matter of personal taste, but it seems to me the smaller the pieces the more even the burn, though folding and stuffing or minimal rub-out are often preferred. Grating or grinding flake pretty small, in a hand grater or spice grinder, gives one kind of result, and burns nice and evenly, though you don't want to overdo it. And many wouldn't care for this approach at all. I do various ways, depending on the blend and my mood. Hand grating gives small, even pieces that burn evenly without ruining the flake quality. Again, some would like it, others not.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  17. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    I'm inclined to believe this, and second the motion as well, though without the proper knowledge to give any informed assurance, or press any certainty of fact on the matter.

    Who in the world needs proper knowledge to express certainty on any matter here?

    A well crafted post, BTW!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  18. carolinachurchwarden

    carolinachurchwarden

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    I could see that a rubbed out flake doesn't change things much, but what about when you have coins and with respect to something you mention that speaks to intent of the blender with regards to the beauty of the blend is in the aging and pressing? Specifically something like LBF? Those coins have a little bit of Cavendish in the middle, right? I've folded and stuffed them before as well, but is the actual intent meant to smoke them folded, whereby as you smoke, you ease into that center? If you rub one of those out, then you could effectively be blending the entire coin together. Now obviously intent from the blender doesn't always mean it has to be followed by the consumer, your tastes are what they are, but I like to try what the actual intent of these things are just to see what it's like.

    In the case of my ODF, I've tried rubbing them out to create what I would call, tooth pick diameter strands and then just breaking those up more, but I'm always curious whether I have it rubbed out enough or not. I know that they always still look compact and tight from the compression, but I don't want them to break apart too much I don't think.

    When rubbing one out, and then gravity filling your bowl, how far below the rim do you typically stop the rubbed out pieces to allow for proper expansion?

    I know the rubbed out pieces already seem to be compact in the bowl, touching the sides and what not, and even when I've tried, tamping really does nothing to them it seems, not like a ribbon or shag cut. I'd think trying to tamp a flake is like trying to compact gravel or rip rap stones. Just no give.

    So do you just drop the rubbed out pieces in, keeping the pieces well below the rim, much more so than ribbons, then light and go, with not much tamping at all until the ash raises a good bit in the bowl?

    Posted 1 month ago #
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    panamacharlie

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    One thing that makes a big difference in the burning characteristics of flake is the shape of the pipe bowl. A conical bowl, like my Preben Holmes, burns as you described, a chimney down the middle with the sides untouched. a tall skinny cylindrical bowl works the best for me.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  20. cosmicfolklore

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    intent of the blender

    Sure, sure, some people care about the blender, and I appreciate their work. But, if they intend to instruct me on how to appreciate or how to pack my pipe, they can have a sit and spin. Their work ends at putting the lid on the tin. After that it is all mine to do with as I please.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  21. timt

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    On thicker cut flakes, whether I cube cut or rub out, I always leave a 1/4 inch or so below the rim to allow for expansion and not scorch the rim. Once I get a char, I just smear the ash around without pressing down and really just keep this up until it gets good and going.

    Tim
    Posted 1 month ago #
  22. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    Some smokers swear by the stuff and fold method and others swear at it. I've done stuff and fold, but much prefer either to cube cut or rub out the flake.
    When cube cutting, I cut between 1/4 and 1/8th inch cubes, then leave to dry until it's nearly but not quite, bone dry. When I gravity feed, I tap the pipe and will also lightly tamp. I fill to about 1/4 inch from the rim.

    When rubbing out the flake, it all depends on how fast I want the burn rate to be. Generally I'll take the rubbing out past the toothpick stage, sort of to the long grained rice stage. Dry, gravity feed, tapping lightly and a very light tamp at the end of filling the pipe.

    I'm happy with the result.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  23. workman

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    The easiest way to smoke flakes is to rub them out. I do it with a spice grater(is that the word?). It works well. Gravity feed and smoke. Tamp as little as possible. It still lasts way longer than ribbon cut and needs more relights. Sometimes I'll fill a bowl half-full to avoid a two-hour smoke. Also, I think flakes are more prone to collect moisture and give tongue burn.

    Smoking is one of the leading causes of all statistics.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  24. carolinachurchwarden

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    I don't care so much about the intent of the blender as much as I want to see what their intent was, more so out of curiosity. Maybe I won't ever adhere to it, but maybe it tastes or smokes better by following their intentions than by doing it my way. I'm just going to smoke it however I feel it smokes best, but I always like to follow intent at least a few times just to see if there's a difference or not. Maybe one day, I just won't care, but I enjoy attempting to follow the intentions of a blend, or at least smoking one the way the blender envisioned it working. If I don't like it, I'll change the way I smoke it, but that's just me.

    Okay, I just cut up some more ODF like you mentioned, Sable, and I've got it drying on a plate nearby. I'll give the better part of the afternoon and see how she's drying. Maybe I'll like it better this way. Cube cutting it while somewhat moist was a lot easier than the drier flakes I tried before.

    When I'm ready to smoke it, I'll leave the 1/4" space and try that to see if that give me enough room. The last time I know I had too much in there as the ash was attempting a mad scramble over the side of my bowl.

    I don't own a spice grinder/grater, but I imagine of the shops around me that sells one of those things for the "green leaf" might work just as well, and they seem pretty cheap. I could give that a shot in the future as well, but I've just been balling up the flake in my hand and smashing into it with my other and swirling them around to rub out the flake. Just seemed to work best for me. Always up for trying something new.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  25. donjgiles

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    With Bullseye Flake, I pop out the center, fold the coin in half and cut it into chunks with scissors. Then I cut the bullseye into smaller bits and mix it in. Scissors are becoming a very valuable part of pipe enjoyment in my camp.

    Don

    Posted 1 month ago #
  26. cigrmaster

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    Carolina,

    Then I dump the middle ash, scrape the sides and relight and it works great again.

    That is how a fold and stuff works. I fold and stuff almost exclusively now where as before I used to cube cut most of my flakes. A soft flake such as Capstan Blue is perfect for fold and stuff. It comes at the perfect moisture level. Old Dark Fired needs a bit of dry time as the flake itself is thicker and denser than a Capstan type. I only cube cut my Samuel Gawith flakes as those need a ton of dry time and when cubed they dry faster.

    One thing I never do is rub out my flakes. For my tastes it burns too quickly.

    Harris
    Posted 1 month ago #
  27. unadoptedlamp

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    Carolina- If you are curious about what the blender intended, here is Mac Baren's take on the flake and why they make it: Mac Baren flake explanation

    The blender, maybe - probably, chose the flake for the specific qualities it has when burned. What you are tasting when leaving the flake unmolested by rubbing out is what the blender was thinking of when they thought you might like it too.

    If you like it rubbed out, then who cares?

    Personally, I leave all my flakes as is and after some disastrous results, can now load any flake, including FVF in the fold and stuff method and have great results. To my tastes, it is very different from rubbed out. The heat of the smoke, the intensity of the flavours, the burn time. It's all very different to me than a ribbon cut or rubbed out flake. It just takes a good amount of practice to get a consistent burn and draw. It can be done.

    Whether you want to spend the time getting there is another story. And when you do, you might find you like it rubbed out anyway.

    Posted 1 month ago #
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    robcapp

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    Personally, I don't mind at all having to dump some ash, scrape the sides and tamp gently.
    It's like being around the campfire and having to tend to it, and keep it burning with the pace and vigor you want.... I actually find it quite relaxing and a bit of the pipe smokers ritual that I enjoy..... delicate prods and pokes to achieve the desired smoking experience.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  29. crashthegrey

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    It is not a moisture issue. Flakes stuffed lengthwise into a bowl burn like this, leaving some flakes standing toward the outside of the bowl. I just fold those in once in awhile as I am smoking and they burn right along with the center. I don't find it to be too annoying. Just fold a small area of outside flake in here and there throughout the bowl and no need to relight.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  30. cajomu

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    I use both the fold & stuff and rub out methods with flakes, depending on the moisture level of the flake and my mood. Fold & stuff requires a fairly dry tobacco, especially if you want to pack the bowl tight. Rubbing out works best on a flake that isn't too dry or you will end up with a lot of tobacco dust. Packed properly and tended carefully, a given amount of tobacco will burn a lot longer and cooler if folded rather than rubbed out. If I want an extra long smoke, I'll pack two folded flakes, one of top of the other, in a tall cob like a MM General. I can keep that baby burning for what seems like forever. When rubbing out, I simply roll it between the palms of my hand until I get the consistency I want. Never had a problem with that, even when the tobacco was very moist -- just let it dry out for a couple of minutes before putting it in the pipe. Using the rubbing technique, if the tobacco is moist enough, you can even rub out a flake to its individual threads and use the result to roll a cigarette.

    Maybe it helps to have been a Boy Scout, but most of this is common sense and what isn't is readily acquired with a bit of experience and practice. Frankly, I think that a lot of pipe smokers, for whatever reason, like to make the hobby sound more complicated than it is. It isn't brain surgery. However you put the tobacco in the pipe and light it, as long as you don't pack it too tight and the pipe draws well, it will burn. If you have trouble keeping your pipe lit, pack is a little looser next time. If it burns too fast, pack it a little tighter. And don't be afraid to experiment. That's how you learn what works best and what you like best.

    Posted 1 month ago #
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    panamacharlie

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    Why bother to buy flakes if you are going to cut or grate them into tiny bits, just buy tobacco that is already prepared to your liking. I fold and stuff, or gently roll them in my fingers, pack loosely, and puff for up to 2 hours.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  32. sablebrush52

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    Why bother to buy flakes if you are going to cut or grate them into tiny bits, just buy tobacco that is already prepared to your liking.

    Because it's the process of marrying different components under pressure that creates the flavors that flakes develop. Once it's fired up, it's just burning tobacco. There's no magic to any one of these methods.

    Flakes and plugs were developed as a convenient way to carry around tobacco. There's no magic to keeping a flake intact. Cube it, rub it out, stuff and fold, whatever. They all work to burn tobacco.

    Getting the most flavor out of the blend? That's another story, and I yet to experience taking a flake straight from the tin, stuffing and folding it and then setting it afire, to provide the depth of flavor available when the flake is brought to a drier, sometimes much drier, moisture level.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  33. jpmcwjr

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    Was composing a reply that reflects the first sentence above, but lost it. Jesse's reply is much more thorough, anyhow.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  34. krizzose

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    One thing I try to do after it’s been a lit a minute or two is to gently tamp down the outer edge so the middle of the tobacco is just a bit higher. It doesn’t eliminate a burn cone, but does seem to mitigate it a bit. At the very least, I’ve convinced myself that this is true, so it’s pretty much gospel.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  35. georgebmcclelland

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    Flakes and plugs were developed as a convenient way to carry around tobacco. There's no magic to keeping a flake intact. Cube it, rub it out, stuff and fold, whatever. They all work to burn tobacco.

    I'm with sablebrush all the way on this one. I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter how you put it in the pipe; it's the same tobacco. Folding and stuffing it is just a quicker way of getting it in the pipe. Cutting it up into cubes or rubbing it out doesn't reverse anything about the process (the pressed tobaccos won't transform back to their original individual components), it's just smaller pieces of the same thing. Rubbing out a flake won't give you ribbon cut, it's just a rubbed out flake. I feel like the lovely marriage of the tobaccos, the longevity of freshness, and the ability to just throw it in your pocket and go sailing 'round the roaring seas are what flakes and plugs are all about. I sincerely doubt that there's a single blender out there loosing any sleep over how you smoke it.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  36. tennsmoker

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    I have stuffed and folded, folded the flake into a kind of Z shape before rolling the thing up and stuffing. I have cube cut, rubbed out and finally placed the flake into an old time coffee bean burr cut and let 'er rip for a couple of seconds.

    If you are confused by all these shenanigans, then guess what I am?

    So, today, I fold it, stuff it. It if it too wet to plow, I let the pipe and stuffed tobacco sit a spell all on its lonesome whilest I smoke another pipe. I return to said dried fold and stuffed and light 'er up.

    I'm not sure where I was going with this, but there you have the saga of fold and stuff from my little postage stamp of terra firma.


    The past is never dead. It's not even past--Requiem for a Nun
    Posted 1 month ago #
  37. mothernaturewilleatusallforbreakfast

    mothernature

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    A folded stuffed flake always burns from the inside out for me. Tamp the center, scrape the sides, even it out and relight. It evens out about halfway and lasts forever, no tamping, and great flavor; but be prepared to relight every now and again.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  38. cajomu

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    How you prepare a tobacco for smoking affects its burn rate and that affects its flavor. A folded and stuffed flake will burn slower than one that has been well rubbed out, and that can deepen the flavor. As to the proper degree of drying, that depends to some extent on how you wish to prepare it. I agree that, if folding and stuffing, dryer is better than moister but, if rubbing out, the opposite is true.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  39. sablebrush52

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    I agree that, if folding and stuffing, dryer is better than moister but, if rubbing out, the opposite is true.

    Not my experience at all. Regardless of the prep, drier tobacco delivers more flavor to me. As for the burn rate, I can smoke the same flake, whole, cubed, or rubbed out, and make a nice long, long smoke out of it. At the WCPS, one of our group gave jiminks a gift of a vintage tin of Edgeworth flake. Jim offered me some and I gladly accepted it, rubbed it out, and was still slowly smoking that bowl for a good 45 minutes after everyone else had finished theirs, and mine was a medium sized bowl. I probably got a good 1 3/4 hour smoke out of that small bit of rubbed out flake. It burned beautifully, tasted great, and was a joy to smoke.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  40. unkleyoda

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    The best results I've had is. Fold into a U shape, then twist the flake so the middle is narrower than the top and bottom, stuff into pipe, making sure it's not too tight. Light, and smoke. I get the least amount of 'tobacco not burning near the walls' affect with the fold/twist/stuff method.


    So you say you can drink? Well, I'm from Wisconsin. Try to keep up.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  41. cajomu

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    @sablebrush52

    "Regardless of the prep, drier tobacco delivers more flavor to me."

    Sorry, I wasn't clear. My point was that it's easier to rub out a flake when its a bit moist, not that moistness equates to flavor.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  42. carolinachurchwarden

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    The best results I've had is. Fold into a U shape, then twist the flake so the middle is narrower than the top and bottom, stuff into pipe, making sure it's not too tight. Light, and smoke. I get the least amount of 'tobacco not burning near the walls' affect with the fold/twist/stuff method.

    Sounds interesting. I might give this a try and see what shakes out.

    One last question I have is if you had to guess how much a flake expands, what would say? Double the size of a strand? Triple? If I had to guess, I'd think a little over double. Placed some loose bits on top of my bowl that had burned down to below halfway just get rid of them as they had dried almost to a crisp. I watched as I lit it up and I was amazed at how much they expended under the flame.

    I know it can be a challenge early on when trying to find a pipe that works for you and also in trying to determine just how much flake is enough to create the balance between too tight and too loose once flame hits the tobacco. Thanks for all of your ideas, it's given me quite a bit to try and play with to figure out what works best for me.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  43. cosmicfolklore

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    if you had to guess how much a flake expands, what would say? Double the size of a strand? Triple?

    Tobacco is a very organic thing, and not all flakes are made the same way, so it would probably not be a very consistent answer. Even among the same exact tin, you will probably get variations, but I don't think it doubles in size.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  44. mso489

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    Even when I choose to rub out and even grate flake, I do it only a bowl or two at a time, and to me, it seems to have kept better, and in fact aged better, so the constituent tobacco is more melded together. As mentioned in the earlier post, I understand that many flake smokers like to leave the flake as much intact as possible, but it retains some of its desirable characteristics even when prepped, or over-prepped, more.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  45. carolinachurchwarden

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    I do the same, Tom, just playing with one flake at a time. Trying this, trying that. Just might have to go ahead and order myself a pound of ODF to keep practicing until I get what works best for me, right. I just leave all the flakes in a jar and pull out one at a time when I want to do something different. I have been folding and stuffing different ways, then yesterday, decided to cube cut one and let it dry a bit. I plan on smoking it later this evening in my Peterson 999 Christmas pipe. Maybe I'll like it enough to just start cube cutting it as a I go. I also think I want to try Mac Baren's Vanilla Flake as I have been wanting to try me a new vanilla tobacco. Just love the aroma it gives.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  46. crashthegrey

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    the least amount of 'tobacco not burning near the walls' affect
    is still a lot. Just part of the method.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  47. User has not uploaded an avatar

    instymp

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    I pre-dry ODF till its right, put it in its jar. When I want to smoke some, put the pipe over the jar, grab some, work it loose a tad while stuffing, twist/fold till full, tear, tamp with finger & light. Do it many times a day.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  48. economistandfisherman

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    I think it's the way you're packing it; generally, there are two popular ways--one burns the way yours is, the other burns more evenly but retains a flavor from your hands (what I call hand funk :). The former you simply fold them up and pack them in, the latter you put a flake between your hands and rub them together until they break apart...i.e., looking more like a ribbon cut. I don't do either. I break my flakes down into long strips about an 1/8" wide, then fold them and pack them in one by one. The benefit from doing this is (1) the tobacco gets all the way to the bottom of the bowl and as you fill it there are no air pockets, and (2) you aren't getting as much hand funk on the tobacco from rubbing it out because you are only using your fingertips. Maybe give this a shot?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  49. jpmcwjr

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    Interesting. And welcome.

    But my hands are usually clean, so, no funk. Or maybe I just can't taste it - kinda depends on what I ate last night.

    Posted 1 month ago #

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