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Rehumidifying pipe tobacco, good or bad method?

(23 posts)
  • Started 2 years ago by stefanbessason
  • Latest reply from jpmcwjr
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    stefanbessason

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    Hey hey hey!

    Many months ago I bought a tin of Nightcap and put it in a jar with a airtight lid. All good...except the lid was made of wood, that I'm guessing 'breathes'. But being the newbie that I am, I didn't think much about it.
    Fast forward about a month and I was going to treat myself with a big bowl of Nightcap. I open the jar and... the tobacco is bone dry! I was so devastated (and again, didn't know that much about pipe tobacco) so I deemed it useless, but still left it in the jar for many months.
    Yesterday I decided, finally, that I'd try to revive the tobacco. I found a fairly big plastic container, put the tobacco in, then almost filled a small jar with distilled water that I put in with the tobacco, and closed with an airtight lid. This, I left overnight. And it's really fascinating how much difference it made and was going to leave it for another night, hoping for even a little bit better resault! But I then thought to myself - is this maybe not the best, or even a good way to rehydrate bone dry tobacco? Does this method have any downsides, like more risk of mold forming etc., compared to other methods? Please, share your wisdom!

    Posted 2 years ago #
  2. samcoffeeman

    samcoffeeman

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    Should be fine, but don't leave it in the plastic container too long.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  3. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Your lid was definitely not airtight!

    You may now be over hydrating the tobacco. Try a small bowl and see how it goes! You don't want to get to the point of "feeling" the moisture in the tobacco.

    There's a ton written on how to rehydrate, but what you've done is fine.

    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 2 years ago #
  4. toobfreak

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    You greatly stressed the tobacco by over-drying it, now you are stressing it again with rapid over-rehumidification. Best thing you can do short of leaving it alone is re-humidify it like you would a cigar back up to about 65% RH tops using distilled water over about a week's time. Slowly. Keep it in a glass Ball jar, no wood lids. Or you can leave it mostly how it is now in same jar and give it some warm moist breaths through the pipe to moisten it slightly right before you smoke it. Works. You definitely don't want to moisten it till it actually feels moist!

    To Master Po: Is it not being able to see that makes you tire of life?
    Master Po: No! It is being able to hear!
    Posted 2 years ago #
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    jitterbugdude

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    You greatly stressed the tobacco by over-drying it, now you are stressing it again with rapid over-rehumidification.

    What???????????

    The easiest method is to just get a spray bottle and spritz your tobacco. It'll be ready to smoke in an hour or 2.
    There is a learning curve to this method so if 3 spritz's makes your tobacco too wet, try 2 the next time. Once you start getting a better understanding of tobacco leaf this method will become second nature.

    There are those that like to always add a "ritual" to their pipe endeavors. If that is you, take a wet towel and place it in the tobacco container and wait.... and wait.... and wait...

    Posted 2 years ago #
  6. chasingembers

    chasingembers

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    Pack a bowl, and blow through the pipe until you feel warm air rising from the bowl.

    I like coffee exceedingly.
    - H. P. Lovecraft
    Posted 2 years ago #
  7. woodsroad

    woodsroad

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    I agree with Sam and Jitterbugdude. Either method works fine. I'm a spritzer nowadays, for what that's worth. When I jar dry blends like D&R for the long-term, I always spritz.

    Just a quick spritz will do ya'

    Breathing out through a packed pipe doesn't work for me, though. Unless you are smoking fine shag RYO the tobacco only gets superficially rehydrated.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  8. yazamitaz

    yazamitaz

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    Spritz. HA HA HA

    Posted 2 years ago #
  9. cortezattic

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    +1 for jitterbugdude's advice.

    A quick spritz of distilled H₂O is all you need to do.

    I find myself sitting idly on the line dividing past and future,
    as if I could kill time without injuring eternity. -- Thoreau
    Posted 2 years ago #
  10. hawky454

    hawky454

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    Great method, my man! Hope that there Nightcap is treating you right. Smoke 'er well.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  11. toobfreak

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    Well I see you guys don't spend a lot of time smoking cigars. But then again, I've never left any pipe tobacco go to where it was like sawdust either.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  12. sablebrush52

    sablebrush52

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    Well I see you guys don't spend a lot of time smoking cigars. But then again, I've never left any pipe tobacco go to where it was like sawdust either.

    Smoked many hundreds of them and if this was a cigar I'd agree with you. But pipe tobacco isn't a snugly wrapped structure like a cigar. Spritz, or rehydrate by placing the tobacco in a pyrex bowl and drape a paper towel over the rim that's been soaked with distilled water.

    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 2 years ago #
  13. jndyer

    jndyer

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    It is best to use distilled water, and it is the only water I would use; however, I had an uncle who would just take a cup of regular tap water and just dip his finger in and gently shake it into his tobacco pouch. He never had a mold problem, but then of course he only smoked one blend at a time (well actually he really only smoked one blend) and as much as he liked his pipe the tobacco would have only a day or two to start growing mold.

    As an aside, I am pretty sure he packed his first bowl while he slept as he would come out of where he was sleeping with his pipe already going.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  14. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Depends on your water source. I use unfiltered water from my well, which has no chemicals in it. It is, however, rich with mineral content, some 250 ppm of dissolved solids. If those solids attach themselves to the tobacco, they're tasteless and are the same ones I drink everyday. YMMV.

    I don't know where the admonition to use distilled water originated as a firm rule (Greg Pease?) but I don't think it's related to mold- any over use of hydration of any liquid can lead to that. It is the safest to use, though, so if you have it handy....

    Posted 2 years ago #
  15. toobfreak

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    I can see your guy's points if it was just some average ribbon tobacco laying around, but what if it is a cake, plug, rope or heavy flake? For one thing, the stuff has been left to sit drying bone dry over MONTHS, so obviously you must not care too much about it, so why then all the hurry to rehydrate it in 2 HOURS?

    Spritzing might work but I mostly smoke the types above, and if I ever left something dry out that bad, I think I'd still prefer to let the humidity build back up in it gently and EVENLY by just sitting it in a humidor for a week. But that is just me. If I care enough to try to save the stuff, I can wait a week to let it get done gently.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  16. paulie66scandinavian

    Paul

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    How about using those small rehydrating stones put in the jar over the tobacco and left there overnight,,

    Paul The Scandinavian'
    Posted 2 years ago #
  17. balkisobrains

    balkisobrains

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    Recently I've been placing some of my Blenders Bench tobaccos (ships dry, mostly ribbon-cut) in a small ball/kerr jar 1/4-full and putting five drops of water on it, rolling it around with the lid on, filling it up to halfway with more tobacco, another 5 drops of water, rolling it around some more, letting it sit overnight, and from there I let that damp off over the next couple of days by taking the lid off for a few minutes a day and maybe taking out the tobacco for a minute. After a couple or three days of that, it's usually dry enough to where I'm not worried about mold, but still moist enough to where a pinch out of the jar will need a few minutes of dry-time before packing.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  18. jefff

    jefff

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    I have used tap water on a towel draped over a bowl for years. It has always worked well for me.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  19. woodsroad

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    I think that the reference to distilled water comes less from the aspect of it being distilled and more from the aspect that it's clean. Distilled water is generally assumed to be bacteria-free. Certainly, there aren't any nutrients in it, and you can't say that about all well or city water. Then, also, there's the question of city water being chlorinated. Chlorinated water probably isn't the best thing to spray on tobacco. It certainly isn't the best thing to put in your body.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  20. toobfreak

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    I think a lot of treatment centers are moving on from chlorine to something else now (mine has), but I can't remember what it is called. The problem with chlorine is that it dissipates pretty quickly, the new process does not to the same degree, so the water you get at the tap not only doesn't have that pool water taste, but it is probably actually better quality.

    Bacteria can grow in distilled water as well, if you leave it sit around long enough. I like the idea of the paper towel over the bowl, simple, easy, and any tap water contaminants would stay in the towel.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  21. aquadoc

    aquadoc

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    Back before I lost my pipes, I rehumidified overly dry tobacco by taking a clean glass quart size bell jar, adding a 1/4 of an ounce (or so) of quality sipping dark rum or whisky, closing the jar and shaking it until the liquid was equally deposited on all of the glass, dumping the excess, quickly adding the tobacco but no more than 1/2 full, sealing it up and shaking it every 30 minutes or so. I did this over the course of a few hours. If it was not feeling like it was moving in the right direction. I prepared a 2nd jar and transferred the tobacco and repeated the process. Once it felt "right", I left it for 24 hours, minimum. It always worked for me.

    "If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and sex, you don't actually live longer; it just seems that way."
    Posted 2 years ago #
  22. skraps

    skrapsoftobacco

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    Takes a bit longer, but I find the Boveda packs that are used for cigars work quite well. Place said tobacco in a heavy duty Ziplock, place a Boveda pack right inside the bag and seal. Might take 4 or 5 days, but you eliminate the risk of too wet or encouraging mold. I tend to use the 75% packs.

    "People are not made better by a briar. An idiot before smoking a pipe is still an idiot after smoking a pipe, they're just more likely to speak less drivel with something in their mouth. For that, all society should be grateful."

    - Bob Runowski
    Posted 2 years ago #
  23. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Shards of terracotta work well, but four-five days seems a long time in my experience, at least for the terracotta treatment.

    Posted 2 years ago #

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