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Raw briar pipe...how do I break it in?

(27 posts)
  • Started 9 months ago by retreadpipeapprentice
  • Latest reply from Cosmic
  1. retreadpipeapprentice

    retreadpipeapprentice

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    Ok been a pipe smoker for well coming on over two decades but in all this time I never owned a Raw un-carbonized pipe.
    So as a result of a amazing little ebay moment I managed to pick myself up a Peterson "Erica" band spanking new and unsmoked for less than ten dollars (it was incorrectly listed). And yes not playing lottery this month!

    So what I need to know is how to break it in. Heard and seen lots of advice online but would like some from here!
    Thanks again for any help and please excuse the slow reply's!

    Posted 9 months ago #
  2. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Sweet deal.
    My advice on breaking in a pipe, is to merely pack it as normal with whatever tobacco that you enjoy, and smoke it as if you would normally smoke it. It makes no sense to me to do otherwise.

    Michael
    Posted 9 months ago #
  3. chasingembers

    chasingembers

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    "Peterson Erica"

    Erica arborea, that's clever.

    Yep, pack that thing and smoke away!

    I like coffee exceedingly.
    - H. P. Lovecraft
    Posted 9 months ago #
  4. sasquatch

    sasquatch

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    Smoke it carefully is all - don't go out in the wind, that kind of thing.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  5. mso489

    mso489

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    I've had (still have) a succession of unfinished pipes that came with no carbon coating in the bowl, plus a number of pipes with various finishes that came with no carbon in the bowl, and I have never given them any special treatment, just pack and smoke. Some of the old burley blends may be good for this because they burn fairly cool and evenly, but I've also used some English blends and others. I'm one who does not build cake. I scoop out the ash, wipe out the bowl with a paper towel/napkin, use a pipe cleaner, and buff off the entire pipe/stem. No big deal. In the old days, I'd start with partial bowls. Do whatever ritual you enjoy, but I think packing and smoking works just fine. Some of my pipes are around forty years old, and thirty, and twenty, and all are still going just fine.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  6. philobeddoe

    Philo Beddoe

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    Just fill it up and smoke it.

    "So it goes." - K.V.
    Posted 9 months ago #
  7. retreadpipeapprentice

    retreadpipeapprentice

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    Thanks all for the advice and am going to stoke this one up now!
    I have been looking forward to this since I got it.
    Thanks again for the input and the lack of witch doctory!

    Posted 9 months ago #
  8. cortezattic

    Cortez

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    To me, "breaking it in" is all about getting a pipe to deliver great smokes; that is, losing that raw, woody taste. Some people call it bringing the pipe "into season".

    I think a new pipe should be allowed exposure to smoke, oils and tars, etc., for a long time before deep cleaning (as with alcohol). Like mso489, I scour the bowl with a wad of crushed paper after each smoke; and I won't do much more than swab the shank with a dry pipe cleaner until the taste gets really funky. Of course, the stem can/should be kept clean.

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 9 months ago #
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    aldecaker

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    IMHO, you break in a pipe the same way you break in a pair of shoes. To break in shoes, you wear them. To break in a pipe, you smoke it. "Breaking in" isn't so much a thing you do; it's a thing the pipe does.

    A man who serves his country is a patriot. A man who serves his government is an employee. The two are not always the same thing.
    Posted 9 months ago #
  10. alan73

    alan73

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    After breaking in over 20 pipes the last year, the only thing I would add to the above, which may or may not accelerate the whole break in process is to rub ash into the raw wood before smoking, then rub the ash in after smoking for the first 5-10 bowls. To me, it accelerated the carbon formation and the break in process.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  11. zack24

    zack24

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    To me, those first few bowls in raw briar are like caviar....and my advice is the same- pack it and smoke it...

    Posted 9 months ago #
  12. crashthegrey

    crashthegrey

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    I love smoking a bowl which isn't coated. I miss it when it is gone.

    Posted 9 months ago #
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    aldecaker

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    Crash, thick-walled pipes and plenty of sandpaper should do the trick. Brings a whole new meaning to "deep-cleaning" a pipe!

    Posted 9 months ago #
  14. crashthegrey

    crashthegrey

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    Haha, that is always an option. Instead I find myself perpetually breaking in pipes. Going to run out of budget if I keep it up. I forget to smoke the broken in ones sometimes.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  15. saltedplug

    saltedplug

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    IMNHO, pipe smoking is full of myths with logic that suffers from a paucity of fact. Does it make sense to say that the cake protects the briar from burnout? Yes, but cake or bowl coating have not been demonstrated to do so. The lesser logic of unproved, unmeasured, unstudied myth drives this discussion to almost no purpose. Most say to simply smoke the pipe and in effect denying the notion of the need to break-in. Some advocate the need for some care, such as avoiding smoking in the wind.

    No evidence for bowl coating and almost none for break-in. Myth supported by logic without fact.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  16. alan73

    alan73

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    crash: I have the opposite problem, I always reach for the well broken in pipes. Maybe you can break in pipes as a service, as I know I am not the only one who doesn’t like the break in phase.

    I do love the virgin smoke of a pipe, something sentimental about it.

    Break in to me is about taste not the fear of burnout. I have a Novak pipe that I’m breaking in, the flavor the pipe gives off is kind of overpowering the tobacco, after 20 or so bowls

    Posted 9 months ago #
  17. workman

    workman

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    That one is pretty!

    Smoking is one of the leading causes of all statistics.
    Posted 9 months ago #
  18. nitemair13

    nitemair13

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    I have an unfinished Sav similar in shape. I love the unfinished pipes because they color and become unique as you use them. As for breaking it in, just smoke the thing like everyone else said. It's a pipe, it was built for that.

    “A pipe is the fountain of contemplation, the source of pleasure, the companion of the wise; and the man who smokes, thinks like a philosopher and acts like a Samaritan.”
    -Edward George Bulwer-Lytton
    Posted 9 months ago #
  19. crashthegrey

    crashthegrey

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    Mark Twain hired people to break in pipes. From now on, if anyone needs a pipe broken in send it this way. I'll even clean and buff it when I am done. Talk about trying lots of styles of pipes.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  20. retreadpipeapprentice

    retreadpipeapprentice

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    Now there is a business I sure someone with too much money would pay for!

    Posted 9 months ago #
  21. retreadpipeapprentice

    retreadpipeapprentice

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    Just so you all know sparked up the new pipe with some P23 burley and black and was a great smoke. Yes to slightly woody but not unpleasantly so. Nice draw and good burn.
    The pipe looks to have had its p-lip just ground down (it just has a round hole at the end of the stem)....which honestly I found most enjoyable as I often have mixed feelings about the p-lip I own. Will give the pipe a rest now and try her again in a few days. Lets just say I have great expectations for this pipe.
    Thanks to all for their input really helped me put all the new pipe old wifes tales to bed!

    Posted 9 months ago #
  22. tenfiver

    tenfiver

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    Like everybody has said, it's all personal preference. I don't think there's any method that is a make or break deal. My ritual consists of smoking full bowls of Carter Hall or the good Prince for awhile until the pipe starts taking on a bit of cake. After a bowl, I might shake/rub ash into the bowl on occasion. Then I just smoke it as normal.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  23. mothernaturewilleatusallforbreakfast

    mothernature

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    A dozen 3/4 bowls of Carter Hall... or anything anyway you want of course.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  24. foggymountain

    foggymountain

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    Prop it up, fill bowl with brandy or scotch or bourbon. When it evaporates and is soaked in, do it again. Then let pipe dry and fill 1/3 and smoke slowly. Let dry a few days and fill 1/2. Gradually get up to a full bowl. When it starts to taste good, it is broken in.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  25. saltedplug

    saltedplug

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    Foggy, is the alcohol seasoning the briar for taste rather than heat protection? If so this would seem only a short-term measure; that is, can you still taste such seasoning 6-12 mos. later.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  26. crashthegrey

    crashthegrey

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    This alcohol seasoning is a first for me. Interesting I suppose.

    Posted 9 months ago #
  27. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Some guys say that they detest the taste of the first few smokes, but I rather enjoy it. It will be your first taste of the aroma of the pipe. Later, after the so called "breaking in," you don't notice it as distinctly as you do in the first few smokes. But, it gives the pipe a chance to get into your DNA.
    All briar pipes have an aroma that they add to the smoke, but after you are acclimated to it, you never notice it much again. So, this "breaking in" gives you the best opportunity to know what flavor your pipe is going to add to the smoke. YMMV

    Posted 9 months ago #

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