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Matches or Lighter?

(76 posts)
  1. sparrowhawk

    sparrowhawk

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    I'm wondering if I should always use a match for lighting my pipes. I have a recent, and very small, billiard from Nording that is a work of art, but even with a match the rim is burnt. On my other pipes, especially the darker ones which I favor, there's no significant burning of the rim. So what do most pipe smokers use, a lighter (I use Zippos) or matches (which are a damned nuisance).

    There is no beauty without some strangeness in proportion.
    Posted 5 years ago #
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    lurch76

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    I mostly use Bic lighters but I also have a Zippo pipe lighter that I use.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  3. darthcider

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    I use matches if inside and a lighter for outside, but no real preference.

    Education is important, but motorbikes is importanter.
    Posted 5 years ago #
  4. agnosticpipe

    Orley

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    I have an old Savinelli lighter that I use on occasion if I smoke inside, but mostly I use a Zippo pipe lighter which is much more wind proof. I always seem to burn either my fingers or my pipe with matches. Should get my eyes checked I guess....

    The pipe smoker formerly know as agnostic pipe
    "Fried food, hard liquor, and tobacco, that's the holy trinity!"- Stacy Keach
    Posted 5 years ago #
  5. blueeyedogre

    blueeyedogre

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    I use lighters also exclusively. Saskatchewan is pretty windy and I can never keep a match lit long enough for a light. I carry a Zippo, 3 bics, and a refillable $20 gas lighter.

    "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." - Corinthians 16:13
    "Let us be English or let us be French . . . and above all let us be Canadians." – Sir John A MacDonald
    "The world was to me a secret which I desired to divine." - Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
    Posted 5 years ago #
  6. cosmicfolklore

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    I use a Zippo. I tend to taste a match (even after letting it burn for a few seconds) more than I can taste the fluid in the lighter. But, of course a dozen people will counter me in opinion, so "oh well."

    I just hold my lighter about half an inch above the pipe and draw the flame down with my puffing. I don't get near as much rim burn that way. Whereas, I have to hold a match closer because its not as hot to the tobacco, and this causes matches to burn my rims more.

    I've read several opinions based on a blog a guy did that says that the temperature of the lighter verses a match gives the tobacco less taste and more tongue bite, yaddy yaddy. After the initial light, tamp, light, the tobacco won't continue to burn as hot as a lighter or as cool as a match. Simple chemistry can explain that the tobacco once left to incinerate won't continue to burn as hot as the catalyst. If this were so, if I lit my gas heater off of an ox-acetylene torch, my energy bill would go down. It just doesn't work that way.

    My advice is to just not puff on the initial light too much, if you use a lighter. Just get it going, and let momentum take it from there.

    I would use matches more if they worked worth a flip. I do like the way lighting a pipe with a match looks. It gives ya the Joe Cool look to firing it up

    Michael
    Posted 5 years ago #
  7. foggymountain

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    My Zippo is for outdoors in the wind. A Bic lighter burns hotter and is an easy way to light a pipe. Wooden matches are good, paper matches are ok when there is no gas lighter available.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  8. psychpipes

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    I go for the zippo. Tried matches with bad results (just can't get the damn thing lit). I do keep a supply of Djeep lighters around, and they work great too.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  9. northernneil

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    I'm from the match camp. In the beginning it was a pain to use matches, especially outside. But with practice, I developed a technique where I cup the bowl to protect the match. If the wind is really strong I will use a Bic, but other than that I like matches. I find I have better directional control of the flame when I use matches. But to each his own.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    I use Imco lighters. They are cheap, super easy to refill and they come with a spare flint. I own six of them.

    I've tried matches but never figured out how to light my pipe fast enough to keep my fingers from burning.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    lawmax3

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    Zippo for me

    Posted 5 years ago #
  12. pylorns

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    If I had a bunch of matches, I'd prob. use them, but I always end up running out. So I have xikar pipe lighter, zippo, and a couple other lighters I use most of the time. I definitely have better control of the flame with a match - but if I'm working on a particularly difficult or wet tobacco I find I'm relighting way too much to keep up with matches. Other times - 2-3 matches is all it takes, but on average I never have enough matches.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    dixcreek

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    what every is handy and in my pocket, only thing i won't use is a torch lighter---- too hot for me

    Posted 5 years ago #
  14. craig94yj

    craig94yj

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    Ditto on the Zippo pipe lighter.

    " I always wanted to be somebody. Now I realize I should have been more specific. " - Lily Tomlin
    Posted 5 years ago #
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    pseudonym

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    I use matches when weather permits (flame is easier to control IMO), otherwise I use a lighter. I was using Bics, but I found that I can't seem to get an even light with them. It's probably a technique thing, because the more concentrated flame just seems to scorch the tobacco right down the middle (even when I deliberately try to light all the way around the bowl).

    Since the Zippo fluid hasn't really been bothering me (YMMV), I decided to switch to a Zippo pipe lighter rather than try to figure out how to use a Bic properly in 30km/hr winds.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  16. rmbittner

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    I use matches 100% of the time. Wooden matches, never paper.

    If you're burning the rim with matches, though, I would encourage you to take a look at your technique. Once the head burns off, get as much of a charring light as you can immediately, then move the match away. Puff a bit, then bring the match back to the bowl, holding it high enough to keep it off the rim of the bowl but close enough to be able to pull down the flame.

    If you want to stick with matches, you might also want to look into getting some cigar matches, which are about 2-3 inches long. Or even boxed kitchen matches can be helpful. I use these for the charring light and then pull out a small box of matches only if I need to relight down the bowl.

    Bob

    Posted 5 years ago #
  17. andystewart

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    I used to use matches indoors and an angled jet outside, but now I really just use the jet. I find I have much more control over the direction of the heat, saving my rim, and if you just run the end of the (lowest) flame across the tobacco then it doesn't nuke the stuff. I tried a Bic and still have the scars to prove it. By the time I've worked out which way is up my fingers are alight while the pipe stays cold. Ho hum.

    Andy

    "I don’t know how else to say it: you don’t see bums smoking pipes." Charlie Kramer
    Posted 5 years ago #
  18. latbomber

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    I also only use matches, super cheap and you can easily reach inside the bowl without burning it.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    elpfeife

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    Wood matches are primary for me. I do have a pipe lighter and carry it with me when outdoors.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  20. bryanf

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    Standard zippo lighter nearly always. If not that, a bic. Matches are a pain in the arse for me to use, and my rims don't get burnt because they're covered with cake!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  21. aquilas

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    A mixture of both for me.

    From the false light to about half the bowl, I'll use my zippo. But once I get below half the bowl, I seem to have trouble drawing in enough flame from the zippo to keep the tobacco lit, so I'll switch to using matches.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  22. jmill208

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    Matches are just too inconsistent in quality. And due to our 'leaders' trying to save us from ourselves, the strike anywhere matches are scarce. Zippo all the way for me.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  23. virginiacob

    virginiacob

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    I like my Zippo with the insert for use with pipes. I also only use Zippo lighter fluid in the black can. I have used matches, but as you say they can be a "nuisance" and I'm a little leery of where I dispose of "spent" matches. The Zippo works great for me and if I strike it and get a faint lighter fluid odor, I simply let it burn off before lighting my tobacco.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  24. bullbriar

    bullbriar

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    Zippo for outside/windy conditions and a Corona Old Boy for inside or low wind. I use matches only if I run out of fuel!

    If you could kick the person in the pants most responsible for your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month.

    Theodore Roosevelt.
    Posted 5 years ago #
  25. mortonbriar

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    matches for life!

    I don't really care if the cup is half full or half empty, I just want something to sip on.
    Posted 5 years ago #
  26. number6

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    The Thermodynamics of Pipe Smoking (matches versus ?)

    matches versus lighters

    Posted 5 years ago #
  27. jmill208

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    I've read several opinions based on a blog a guy did that says that the temperature of the lighter verses a match gives the tobacco less taste and more tongue bite, yaddy yaddy. After the initial light, tamp, light, the tobacco won't continue to burn as hot as a lighter or as cool as a match. Simple chemistry can explain that the tobacco once left to incinerate won't continue to burn as hot as the catalyst. If this were so, if I lit my gas heater off of an ox-acetylene torch, my energy bill would go down. It just doesn't work that way.

    If however, you light your pipe with an ox-acetylene torch, your 4Noggins bill will go up. Way up. Every time.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  28. anglesey

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    Lighter for me. Preferably a cricket. I find matches too contrived and a lot of a farce. Plus where I live's windy as hell so I may as well try fart the thing lit as use matches.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  29. hawke

    hawke

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    Beattie Jet Lighter!
    The mirror like finish lets me see in the bowl for my initial light and the jet shoots deep into the bowl for the relights. It takes a few seconds for the jet to start up so it sets the mood for me to slow down and enjoy all the rituals that come with the experience.
    Plus they are antiques from the late 40's which I find so cool! They dont make em like this anymore!

    Are those Tobacco Brownies?
    Posted 5 years ago #
  30. skapunk1

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    Matches at home, zippo pipe lighter for outdoors....

    Warren
    Posted 5 years ago #
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    wilson

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    Old Boy lighter. A gift from a good friend so I always use it.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  32. smokeytay33

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    I have found that bic lighters give the tobacco a terribly taste (in my opinion.) I enjoy the natural, smokey flavor of matches from time to time, but I mostly use my Zippo Pipe Lighter. It gives a different taste to the tobacco than the matches, but it doesn't add anything unnatural like the bic lighters. Hope this helps.

    "All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." -Walt Disney, fellow pipe smoker
    Posted 5 years ago #
  33. escioe

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    Zippo pipe lighter most of the time. I keep a couple boxes of kitchen matches on hand for if it's nice out and I'm taking my time and smoking out on the porch. But I'm almost always on the move while smoking, hiking here or there, and I don't want to litter with spent matches. Also a Zippo is a lot less of a hassle if you're on the go.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  34. terrygoldman123

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    Matches first, a BIC outside if it gets too windy.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    rmason

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    I like to uses matches when the mood strikes, but I always carry a Djeep lighter on me, I find them to be much better than Bics as the Djeeps have an adjustable flame and hold more fluid.
    ~Ron

    Ron
    Posted 5 years ago #
  36. metalheadycigarguy

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    I have no preference, but I usually use a lighter. If I'm smoking either of my two meerschaum pipes then I typically use matches. If I use a lighter I'm usually using a Bic as my Zippo's usually leave a brief fuel flavor on the initial couple puffs. Which is annoying.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    I have an IM Corona Old Boy that I use all the time. Nice soft flame and I can never taste it. It's just too much of a pain for me to constantly pull out matches, and I fumble with them too much for them to be worth it.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  38. neoil

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    I use matches if inside and IMCO "Super" in outdoors.

    Smokinghard
    Posted 5 years ago #
  39. rolldog

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    Another +1 for Zippo cigar ligther

    Posted 5 years ago #
  40. petes03

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    I try to use matches as much as possible, but I always have a Bic or Zippo on hand to use when matches aren't convenient. The one thing I would never use is a torch lighter!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  41. hammerhorror

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    I used to be an exclusive match user until my wife bought a Vector pipe lighter for my last birthday. Love that thing.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  42. tamer291

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    Lighters for me. Zippo with a pipe insert. The only problem with the zippo is I find myself constantly refilling it with lighter fluid.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  43. ravkesef

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    Let's start with a fundamental statement: "the temperature at which a pipe is lit will make a significant difference to the taste of the tobacco and may even cause damage to the pipe itself." If you don't agree with the fundamental statement, then it really makes little difference whether you use a match or a torch to light your pipe, since you believe that neither the taste of the tobacco will be affected, nor will you be risking any danger damage to the pipe itself. Alternately, you may believe that prudent lighting technique is more important, and it is possible to use a torch with impunity.
    Why is this important? Because different lighting fuels burn at different temperatures, and the difference is not insignificant. In terms of fuel temperature, we have, in this order:
    Wooden matches/hemp string
    Zippo or other fuel lighters
    Butane lighters
    Torch lighters

    Both the butane and the butane torch burn at significantly higher temperatures. Whether you use a Bic or an Old Boy, the fuel will burn at approximately 1,970 °C, more than 1000 degrees hotter than a Zippo, while the torch will burn at approximately 2600 °C. By way of contrast, the Zippo lighter will burn approximately 150 degrees hotter than a wooden match. I was unable to find a precise temperature for the hemp string because every site is a marijuana related site, and while they start off with the basic question, they wander off in all sorts of irrelevant directions. Guess they're getting something from their smoking that we're not.

    It's a good idea to read the article by Neill Archer Roan referenced by number6 (above,) as it reflects his experience with different fuels. My own preference is to use wooden matches and hemp string, as I believe that the cooler flame tends to destroy less of the volatile flavor compounds present in the tobacco, and has less of a tendency to damage the rim/bowl through careless use. Of course, I also have--and use--a Zippo, a Nimrod Commander, and a Nimrod Sportsman. Love 'em all. And for certain social occasions, I pull out my Old Boy, because it looks super cool.

    Returning to my fundamental statement, the extent to which you believe it to be true will have a bearing on your choice of a lighting method.

    Eric
    Posted 5 years ago #
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    shutterbugg

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    I only smoke outdoors, and it's usually fairly breezy here, so it's a Zippo+pipe insert for me. Matches tend to go out before I get the pipe lit. When I travel I buy a disposible butane lighter when I land.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  45. ravkesef

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    Shutterbug, I do the same thing when I travel. They won't let us travel with matches, and nobody wants to have a good lighter confiscated, so buying an inexpensive butane lighter on landing is a good practical solution.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  46. eastwoodaudio

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    I tend to use both. Kitchen matches when I feel like putting a little more effort into the process, and a Zippo pipe lighter when I need a quick light.

    I'm one stay surprised by the amount of folks who use zippo pipe lighters!!!

    Posted 5 years ago #
  47. broth

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    I pretty much always use wooden matches. I'd like to get a lighter with a directed flame just for when I get the top of my pipe only partially lit. It would be nice to have a good directed lighter to be able to just even things out. But I've been using matches since I started smoking a pipe in 2007 and they've always worked for me. Granted, it can be a huge pain in the butt when trying to smoke outside if it's windy...but usually I'll just step into a doorway or go into my garage to light up and then move outside.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  48. andystewart

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    Gentlemen, thank you. This thread has been a revelation to me. As I say above, I have drifted from matches to a torch lighter - mainly through laziness. I have also found my smoking experience steadily deteriorating as pipes continually burn hot, tobacco tastes foul as it turns into charcoal, I have continual relights, and more than 3 pipes in a day turns my mouth and tongue into a scorched wasteland. Now I know why. Ravkesev's common sense explanation led me to read Neill Archer Roan's article and "Eureka!" I'm back on track. Neill's comments almost exactly match my own experience and the last two pipes, lit by match, have been wonderful! Full taste, consistent burn, no hot bowl, only 1 relight per pipe and pleasure all the way to the bottom. So simple and so bloody obvious. I have to watch my rims, but I can do that. The torch is gone and I've just bought a Zippo pipe lighter for outside. What it is to know what you're doing (wrong)!

    Andy

    Posted 5 years ago #
  49. condorlover1

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    I am in agreement with Ravkesef and his very interesting and informative posting. I personally always use matches and for the most part Swan Vesta which will strike on any surface. As an aside UK safety matches would light if you strike against a pane of glass or they certainly did back in the early 1980s as I remember a chum of mine doing it in Euston Station! Zippo and other petrol lighters just kill the flavor although I do like using those long cedar matches that are for lighting cigars.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  50. yazamitaz

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    I SOOOO wanted to be cool and just use matches, but was a new pipe smoker and this just added to my frustration of packing, smoking cadence, etc. It has been almost a year into the hobby and I am a fan of this guy here, a Xikar Resource:

    I think I paid about $35 with shipping from Amazon and haven't used a match since buying this 7 months ago.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  51. anglesey

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    I am in agreement with Ravkesef and his very interesting and informative posting. I personally always use matches and for the most part Swan Vesta which will strike on any surface. As an aside UK safety matches would light if you strike against a pane of glass or they certainly did back in the early 1980s as I remember a chum of mine doing it in Euston Station! Zippo and other petrol lighters just kill the flavor although I do like using those long cedar matches that are for lighting cigars.

    I had no idea you could light safety matches on glass! Wow, you live and learn. Whenever I use matches I just buy non safeties and light them on the sole of my shoe.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  52. johnnyiii

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    I cant fit a box of wood matches in my pocket.

    Tried bics, and the special pipe butane lighters with the built in tools, and both scorched my rims no matter how careful I was.

    I found I have to reallllly try hard to scorch a rim with my zippo pipe lighter. Been using it ever since. The carbon build up growing on it though is another story. I wish I could build a cake as well.

    I humbly reserve the right to post an intuitive thought here ... When ONE comes to mind.
    Posted 5 years ago #
  53. sparrowhawk

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    Well, it seems obvious to use matches for "special" pipes, i.e., those that have very narrow rims or a plateau, and modify my Zippo with a pipe attachment. Hope the Zippo people can help me with this. I've always have been very fond of the Zippo.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  54. johnnyiii

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    You don't need an attachment, just the one with a hole in the sides of the cage surrounding the wick. Should find at least one in any zippo display rack.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  55. judd

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    My Zippo pipe lighter or my Bic. The Zippo is much better if there is a breeze.

    When you're retired, every day is Saturday!
    Posted 5 years ago #
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    Anonymous

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    Cigar matches or long kitchen matches indoors. Zippo pipe lighter outdoors as it gets very windy here in Yorkshire and nothing else will stay lit.

    Posted 5 years ago #
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    plateauguy

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    Yaz, I have the same lighter only in black, no problems so far, but it could be because out of habit I reach for my Zippo.

    I tried the butane insert for the Zippo, but I wasn't really happy with it, which is why I bought the Xikar. But somehow the first thing I reach for is my Zippo with the standard pipe insert. Yes, constant refills are a pain, but now I'm prepared, fluid in the travel trailer, truck, and house.

    The Old Boy that my wife bought me comes out when we have company.

    Sparrow, I noticed that ebay has a ton of new Pipe Zippos lately. They seem to have expanded due to demand.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  58. puffdoggie

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    I use matches at home on the patio but out on the trout stream or elsewhere outside I use a Zippo. It also solves the problem of used match disposal. Happy puffin',

    Dave

    Edit: just got done reading number6's post of the Thermodynamics of Pipe Smoking. My conclusion - moderation in all things is best, including lighting & puffing your favorite blend.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  59. brudnod

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    I am a matches lighter, mostly for the temperature issue with the rim of the bowl (oops, almost put an "e" between the w and the l). I like to keep the rim pristine since many of my pipes have lovely birds-eyes there.
    Spencer

    Posted 5 years ago #
  60. lordofthepiperings

    lordofthepiperings

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    I did use matches for a while, but for the past year or so I've only been using my Old Boy style lighters.

    "The thinking man always smokes a Peterson." -Peterson of Dublin
    Posted 5 years ago #
  61. apatim

    apatim

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    Real men do it this way:

    Enjoying my days on earth.

    Tim
    Posted 5 years ago #
  62. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    I just stick my face into the fireplace and light it right off a log. It also keeps my beard under control.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  63. igloo

    igloo

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    Just a good ol Bic or a regular Zippo . http://www.instructables.com/community/Fire-Balls/

    “There was an awful suspicion in my mind that I'd finally gone over the hump, and the worst thing about it was that I didn't feel tragic at all, but only weary, and sort of comfortably detached.”
    Posted 5 years ago #
  64. ruger414

    ruger414

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    I prefer wooden matches whenever possible, but when the wind gets to be too much I keep a zippo as backup.

    "Never laugh at live dragons."
    -J.R.R. Tolkien
    Posted 5 years ago #
  65. onepyrotec

    onepyrotec

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    I use MAYA cerillos matches (cactus quill matches) & a Colibri soft flame Tortoise & Gold pipe lighter.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  66. carcosa

    carcosa

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    I found it a pain to keep refilling a lighter every week, so I use a bic which lasts longer. Dont fill your bowl to the brim and you wont burn the rim.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  67. adam2

    adam2

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    I normally use matches for the first few lights of a bowl after that I use my old boy Corona lighter. In my opinion the Corona lighter is very very close to the match experience.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  68. layinpipe

    layinpipe

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    Matches inside and outside when it is not windy. My Zippo pipe lighter inside when i am feeling lazy and not like dealing with matches and outside when it is windy. On a side note, i used to use (and still occasionaly use) those snake light type long BIC lighters with the flexible heads. They are used to light candles, grills, outdoor fires when camping etc. Anyways, they are awesome for lighting your pipe, especially if you are using a pipe with a deep bowl. They don't heat up either except on the end, which you never touch. I'd recommend picking one up for the house for your pipes as well as other uses if you don't already have one.

    Posted 5 years ago #
  69. frost

    Butterfield

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    I found a refillable butane pipe lighter for about $12 that works great. The soft flame that comes out on the side is nice. I also read here about always keeping the bowl level during lights which has really helped to limit my rim scorching.

    "A cup of tea and a pipeful of tobacco are a sublime combination; one that speaks to a contemplative repast, a sense of ritual, and a repudiation of worldly cares." ~ E. Roberts
    Posted 5 years ago #
  70. fearsclave

    fearsclave

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    Wood matches here, but I only smoke inside, so...

    Posted 5 years ago #

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