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How do you know when your bowl is finished?

(24 posts)
  • Started 5 months ago by judcasper
  • Latest reply from warren
  1. judcasper

    judcasper

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    How's that for a noob question?

    Might sound silly that I'm having to ask, but how do you know? Does it just become impossible to light? Of course if you're the type who empties the ash as you go, then you can see for yourself, but I don't empty so I'm only ever looking at a bowl full of ash.

    I suppose if you're an experienced piper you know your own cadence and how long the bowl of each of your pipes lasts, but I'm not there yet.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  2. bassbug

    bassbug

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    You'll taste ash rather than tobacco. That's a pretty good sign you should stop and, if so inclined, reload

    I don't care who you are, you're not walking on the water while I'm fishing
    Posted 5 months ago #
  3. judcasper

    judcasper

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    You'll taste ash rather than tobacco.

    Ah, okay. Heaven knows how much tobacco I've wasted, as when I've had enough (or grown frustrated with re-lighting) I tend to dump out a lot of fresh tobacco from the bottom of the bowl.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  4. hoosierpipeguy

    hoosierpipeguy

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    I don't empty ash, I tamp as I go. When a light produces air instead of smoke, I figure I'm done. More often than not, all that is left is ash and a minimal amount of dottle (if any).

    Posted 5 months ago #
  5. rdavid

    Panhandler

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    Sometimes it will surprise me and smoke all the way to the bottom with only one or two relights. It literally just stops smoking.

    Most of the time, I can start to taste things getting a little bitter or ashy and that’s a sure sign it’s almost done. Depending on how much you dry your tobacco plays a big part also. Wet tobacco usually leaves a soggy bit of mess in the bottom that’s damn near impossible to light and usually tastes really bad. Another good argument for drying your tobacco.

    "May my last breath be drawn through a pipe, and exhaled in a jest." Charles Lamb
    Posted 5 months ago #
  6. judcasper

    judcasper

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    [...]a minimal amount of dottle

    I've just learned a new pipe smoking term. Thanks.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  7. carolinachurchwarden

    carolinachurchwarden

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    As others have said, I pretty much tamp as I go and when it goes out and won't relight to save my ass, I usually know I'm done. Of course you can tell from the change in taste usually when you get near the end. A soggy tobacco in the bottom won't relight for shit, so I typically just dump it. The last quarter of a bowl or so for some blends just turns into a filter and collects a lot of nasty flavors anyway, so you're not really missing out on much.

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

    Posted 5 months ago #
  8. mechanic

    mechanic

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    I have never had a full ash bowl i stop smoking if the flavor gets shitty.

    "I'm a kind person, I'm kind to everyone, but if you are unkind to me, then kindness is not what you will remember me for." - Al Capone
    Posted 5 months ago #
  9. cigrmaster

    cigrmaster

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    When my pipe goes out I will gently stir the ash and then dump it. I do it maybe 3 times a bowl. Once I dump the ash, I use my tamper to scrape the edges of the bowl and then lightly tamp. For me, trying to light through a pile of ash is a pain in the ass.

    I know when I am done by just looking into the bowl. Once in a while I get greedy chasing flavor and get a mouth full of hot ash.

    Harris
    Posted 5 months ago #
  10. ray47

    ray47

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    Taste is everything. When I lose that, it's time to dump.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  11. mso489

    mso489

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    I concur that taste is usually the signal, but sometimes when a bowl stays good to the bottom, it just won't relight for more than a puff or two, and you can see there's little left.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  12. davek

    davek

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    At first I did not understand how people could tell from the taste how their bowl was spent. I'd relight while looking at the reflection of the cherry in my lighter, stir, light empty bowls, etc.. I eventually gave up trying to figure it out by taste and didn't pay attention to that. Suddenly, one day I realized I could tell easily, by taste, that the bowl was essentially spent and had been doing it for a while. Let it go grasshopper. It will just happen.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  13. jaytex969

    jaytex969

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    My wife lets me know.

    Similar to Harris, if it goes out half way through, I very gently poke around the top with the pipe nail scoop and dump the loose ash. Then, scrape the sides in and tamp a bit to level. Then relight.

    Some blends, like ODF, have a great flavor waiting in the last third of the bowl and are worth the effort to me to smoke down. Others, not so much, so I dump them.

    "Listen" to your pipe and your tobacco. They will often give you clues. When tamping, crunchy, smokeable tobacco bits will feel and sound differently under the tamper than just ash.

    In the last quarter, if it won't stay lit, poke around a bit more and pay attention. If you hit the bottom briar without encountering much resistance, it's time to be done. Otherwise you're subjecting your briar to excess heat for a nickel's worth of dottle.

    If you give a stir, you should easily be able to feel the difference between fine, weightless ash and (likely) soggy mass of heavier tobacco.

    For you cob smokers, quit when you taste corn...

    Gunner, Black Frigate. Say "Hello" to my little friend!
    Posted 5 months ago #
  14. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    The bowl is finished when your tobacco stops tasting good. Either that, or when the heel of the bowl turns to cinders and falls off.

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

    It is pointless to argue with a fanatic since a dim bulb can't be converted into a searchlight. - Jesse Silver
    Posted 5 months ago #
  15. judcasper

    judcasper

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    Let it go grasshopper. It will just happen.

    I get this. So many things I didn't understand about pipe smoking eventually gave me a tap on the shoulder and said, "Hey, do it this way..."

    Posted 5 months ago #
  16. chasingembers

    Embers

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    How do you know when your bowl is finished?

    When I have to refill the bowl to continue smoking.

    I've just learned a new pipe smoking term.

    Here's another.

    Lunting - Taking a walk or hiking while smoking a pipe.

    Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you.
    -Edward Teach
    Posted 5 months ago #
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    64alex

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    Generally the first sign is when the taste gets bitter and then a little bit later it stays light for only one or two puffs. The drier the tobacco, the more I can go close to the end without getting bitter, one main reason for me to dry the tobacco (the other being I find the taste fuller and with less risk of tongue bite with a well dried tobacco).

    Posted 5 months ago #
  18. pipehunter

    pipehunter

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    No more smoke.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  19. judcasper

    judcasper

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    Lunting - Taking a walk or hiking while smoking a pipe.

    Thanks. I'm yet to do this.

    Thanks for all the replies, everyone.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  20. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    Lunting is what I do about 95% of the time that I smoke.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  21. haparnold

    Hap

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    We need an equivalent term for driving while smoking. My smoking is about 55% lunting, and 30% happing (see what I did there? patent pending )

    De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum
    Posted 5 months ago #
  22. weezell

    weezell

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    Taste is everything. When I lose that, it's time to dump.
    Sums it up for me...

    "the weez"...
    Posted 5 months ago #
  23. craiginthecorn

    craiginthecorn

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    When it’s no longer pleasurable, I’m done. Life’s too short and pipe tobacco too affordable here in the USA to do otherwise.

    Don’t fall victim to the oft-mentioned idea that you need to smoke to the bottom of the bowl for the benefit of the pipe. Hogwash, IMHO.

    Posted 5 months ago #
  24. warren

    warren

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    Can't give a definitive answer. Bedtime is one indicator. Taste another. You just know when it' time to swap a pipe out for another or ... go to bed. If the last pipe isn't finished, it'll be there to accompany that first cup in the morning. Or, maybe after the first cigarette.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 5 months ago #

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