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Removing Ash at mid bowl

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    64alex

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    I am smoking pipe for more than a year. I find the first half of the bowl better than the second. To me in the first half I can better taste tobacco and discern its components particularly when using complex blends. The second bowl looks more monotonous and harsher. Until now I was always leaving the ash until the end, I tried now to remove the ash at mid bowl and it looks to me doing so the taste of the second bowl gets better and more similar to the first half bowl (even if I feel the first half remains better). I also noticed doing so I need less relights in the second half.
    Of course this is a matter of personal preference but I'd like to know if others have the same experience removing ash at mid bowl.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  2. stvalentine

    stvalentine

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    I do that all the time. When in mid-bowl the pipe needs more religths the ash tends to quench the amber so removing the ashlayer works for me.

    "Ride it like you stole it!"

    The Old Swede
    Posted 2 years ago #
  3. balkisobrains

    balkisobrains

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    I like keeping the grey ash out of the bowl.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  4. ophiuchus

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    What kinds of tobacco are you smoking when you experience this?

    I do experience what you're describing. In particular, when smoking a folded/rolled flake or folded and stuffed coins in a deeper and narrower bowl (you know, about 3/4 of an inch narrow), I find that I enjoy a better third act if I start dumping out a little ash about halfway through the bowl.

    I do not mean to imply the application of any science to this.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  5. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Sometimes yes, and sometimes no! But don't find it necessary. I can relight through ash easily enough.

    If you are experiencing a high number of relights, your tobacco may well be too moist before loading.

    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 #
  6. cranseiron

    Cranse Iron

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    I mostly agree 64alex-- depends on the tobacco to some degree, too. But, often times I find dumping the ash improves the latter half.

    Posted 2 years ago #
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    64alex

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    [What kinds of tobacco are you smoking when you experience this? :puffpipe:]

    More marked with complex English/Oriental blends, it looks in the second half of the bowl the taste tend to be compressed to a similar harsher taste where it is difficult to distinguish the single components. It is less marked with simple Burleys and something in between with Va/Per.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  8. jackswilling

    jackswilling

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    What jpmcwjr said

    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson
    Posted 2 years ago #
  9. chasingembers

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    Depends on the size of the bowl.

    I like coffee exceedingly.
    - H. P. Lovecraft
    Posted 2 years ago #
  10. ray47

    ray47

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    If relights are becoming more difficult I'll remove the ash with the pick on my pipe tool. If I'm smoking flake tobacco and leave the half smoked bowl for later, I'll remove the top layer of ash before relighting the bowl.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  11. mso489

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    Yes, sometimes, if there seems to be deep loose gray ash on the top, but unburnt tobacco in the bottom of the bowl. Sometimes, you can simply dump out the ash and tamp down the unburned loose tobacco, and get another relight or two out of the bowl. Sometimes a little stirring with the pick helps. If there is very little unburnt tobacco in the bottom, best to just scoop it out and start over.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  12. ophiuchus

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    It does seem like some cuts deliver the goods if you don't do anything after the initial light and tamp, until getting close to the end.

    Posted 2 years ago #
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    64alex

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    The discussion is shifting toward the relight issue which is a secondary issue to me. My main comment with dumping ash at mid bowl is that to me it improves the taste of the smoke in the second half making it more similar to the first half and in some way decreasing the harshness that I find in the second half if I leave the ash in.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  14. jpmcwjr

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    If you think it so, it is so for you. However, it makes no rational sense why that'd be so in terms of physics, unless the tobacco type and packing is allowing ash to be drawn into the ember.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  15. mayfair70

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    It is not uncommon for me to dump ash 4 to 6 times, or more, during the course of a bowl. In the past year, I find it makes for a cooler, dryer, smoke and better flavor until the occasionally bitter end. Oh yes, less relights too.

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    Posted 2 years ago #
  16. philobeddoe

    Philo Beddoe

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    I'll usually dump the ash 2 or 3 times during a bowl. I tend to dump ash whenever I relight, kind of two birds with one stone. I don't disturb the tobacco, I tip the bowl over the ashtray and let the loose ash fall out, then I retamp the tobacco and relight; I found that if I tried to stir up and loosen as much ash as possible, I was losing good tobacco along with the ash.

    "So it goes." - K.V.
    Posted 2 years ago #
  17. mawnansmiff

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    Perhaps the reason you are getting a better smoke after tipping ash is because you are allowing slightly more oxygen to the furnace than with a thick layer of ash atop it?

    I will often tip ash out midway but am always very careful when smoking cube cut plug as it's easy to lose your baccy along with the ash

    Regards,

    Jay.

    ...take up thy stethoscope and walk...
    Posted 2 years ago #
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    64alex

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    [Perhaps the reason you are getting a better smoke after tipping ash is because you are allowing slightly more oxygen to the furnace than with a thick layer of ash atop it?]

    I think allowing more oxygen after removing ash could very well be a reason. In addition it could be that the ash may in some way act as insulator making the smoke hotter. Also it could be that when relighting through ash we are actually burning again the ash which can give a bad taste.
    It looks however there is a consensus that for whatever reason removing ash can help the quality of the smoke.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  19. mawnansmiff

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    "...we are actually burning again the ash which can give a bad taste."

    Alex, one cannot burn ash, ash itself is the result of prior combustion, it does not and will not burn a second time.

    It does however act as an insulator in a pipe bowl hence folks tipping it from time to time to allow more oxygen to the 'burn'.

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  20. downinit

    downinit

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    I completely agree with the OP about dumping at a mid bowl relight to improve the taste of the remaining tobacco. After dumping any loose ash I also use the pick to break up the half burnt layer and dump that to get to the fresher tobacco that remains. Makes a huge difference IMHO.

    [No man has the] right to mislead others, who have less access to history, and less leisure to study it. . . . Thus substituting falsehood and deception for truthful evidence and fair argument.
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    Posted 2 years ago #
  21. jpmcwjr

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    Anyone really think that there's a problem getting too much oxygen to the ember?? It's almost always the opposite, resulting in too fast a burn. Now, if your tobacco is wet and you tamp on it, it will inhibit oxygen flow. But that's a whole other thang.

    Dumping ash is fine, you can make it a ritual, but please don't add it to a "must do" list that some feel they must adhere to.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  22. crashthegrey

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    Interesting how many dump ash. I never dump the ash and nearly always smoke to the bottom of a bowl. I actually find about half way through a bowl is when the tobacco is best, and it usually lasts until the last third or so that way. Early I find that the flavors are separate and late its just getting to the condensed tar and tobacco. Ash has never been an issue for me.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  23. jmill208

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    Dumping ash is against the rules. Read the rule book.
    I don't do it, and nor should you.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  24. toobfreak

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    If things are going along fine, leave well enough alone. But if I have to tamp, why press those sooty ashes down in there? They can only get caught up in the taste and drawn into and through the baccy into the pipe further. Once the pipe cools, I just stir the ashes with a spent wood match then tip and let them fall out. Maybe repeat to get them all out. Then you can break any cake away from the wall with your finger which is probably prime stuff now, and move it center to replace that ash. Relight. Puff. Enjoy.

    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 #
  25. jamespworth

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    This was something I thought about the other day. I do this but depends what pipe I'm smoking and what tobacco, if it improves the smoke I do it. Some tobacco just smokes all the way down I've found pipes with a cone shape bowl benefit more.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  26. alexnorth

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    I usually don't dump ashes mid bowl. However, the other day i let a bowl of across the pond go out and then re-lit 10 minutes later and the first few draws were amazing. It was like the flavor had condensed and concentrated!

    Posted 2 years ago #
  27. whitesands77

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    Interesting. Ive pretty much tamped so Ive had not to many problems with relighting or burning the tobacco at the bottom of the bowl. I always thought the tamped ash helped it not burn too hot. I guess the ash might affect the flavor... I'm going to try this dumping technique.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  28. jkrug

    jkrug

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    I do this often but not always.
    I'll use a pipe nail to gently loosen the ash without disturbing the tobacco below then carefully dump out the ash. It usually makes for a better last half smoking experience.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  29. balkisobrains

    balkisobrains

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    I actually don't dump, I just blow some air across the top of the bowl. Most grey ash goes away, there might be a little in the center. if there are any black or un-burned chunks above and surrounding that, I'll just move those carefully on top of the remaining grey ash stuck in the center, re-light, and then once that (usually quickly) burns to grey, I'll just blow it off again and I'll have a fairly even and clean layer of tobacco to continue smoking. If some grey ash falls down, I might put my tamper above the top layer of tobacco and gently blow out from the stem to the bowl, followed by a blow across the bowl top, to kick it up and out. I can tell exactly when I need to do this because the flavor changes for the worse (to me) and it's tougher to stoke the cherry when the grey ash layer is too thick.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  30. madox07

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    Personally I'm with jpmcwjr .. I sometimes do it, usually when I am not paying attention and I pack the pipe too tight, but I prefer not to. This is possibly due to the fact that I have not noticed a taste problem with the second half of the bowl. For some time now I have been practicing and enjoying what some call the breath method, and let me tell you a number of pipe smoking problems have become obsolete using this method. Look it up online ... there is a guy on youtube, I believe mutnchop piper is his nickname, that explains it quite well.

    Sea Wolf Pipers

    "Like the mariners of old, a loner is acceptable but a pipe is best enjoyed in a pack"
    Posted 2 years ago #
  31. toobfreak

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    Lots of variables involved I think. It will depend on the pipe, the tobacco, how you smoke and especially the pack. Sometimes I remove the ash at various points, sometimes I smoke it straight down. No right or wrong answers here, it is all in what you like and works best for you at the moment.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  32. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    If you never remove the ashes, then you can just keep putting new tobacco on top of the ashes... there go your "cake in the heal" issues and no more need for filters. Sure, sure, every now and then you'd have to poke a hole through the packed down ashes, but it still keeps you pipe fiddle free. I hate fiddling with the bowl as I smoke, because then I have to take the pipe out of my mouth. Nope, I am anti-dumping and pro-ash.

    Michael
    Posted 2 years ago #
  33. theloniousmonkfish

    theloniousmonkfish

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    "If you never remove the ashes, then you can just keep putting new tobacco on top of the ashes"

    You been watching me do yard work? All glory to the ash. No relights here, one match one bowl, sometimes two bowls.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  34. jerwynn

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    I am only recently discovering the joy of occasional ash-dumping... usually in deeper bowled pipes where I really want to get to where the tobac really shines! An ash dump and then a wee very light handed stir of remaining ribbons with as gentle a tamp as a pat on a baby's bottom. Ahhhhhhhh.... Butt normally I leave my ash undumped in happy bowl-enthroned bliss.

    “Deep peace of the running wave to you.
 Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
 Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
 Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
    Deep peace of the infinite peace to you." - Fiona Macleod
    Posted 2 years ago #
  35. madox07

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    As many opinions as smokers, I guess. Since we are discussing the subject, I wanted to ask this - on the rare occasions I do dump my ash (as I said, for me it's done only if I must), I find that the remaining tobacco is so unevenly spread around the bowl that sometimes it is difficult to relight. I mean, if I look up in the bowl the ash has the shape of a totally unsymmetrical crater. Did anybody else notice this, or am I doing something fundamentally wrong here - such as maybe poke the ash to deep or something.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  36. jpmcwjr

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    Nothing wrong. If I notice same, a wee tamp straightens it out. If this occurs a lot, perhaps a bit of tamping along the way will even things out.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  37. downinit

    downinit

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    Dumping ash always(?) leaves a crater so I always tamp down the edges to "fill in" the crater. The crater is formed by the fact that the burning of the tobacco follows a direct line to the draft hole on the bottom (kinda like water circling a drain)

    On another point... I believe that smoking too fast and hot generally causes more of a need to dump ash and causes more of not totally burnt baccy leading to bitterness in the 2nd half of the bowl. That is why IMO that I need to clean down to the fresher tobacco on a relight. Proper drying of your baccy and slower smoking helps prevent this and maybe the need to relight at all. (Still learning as an impatient newby on proper technique)

    Posted 2 years ago #
  38. btsteve

    btsteve

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    I am in the dump camp, at about the half way mark. It seems to freshen up the smoke.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  39. toobfreak

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    Left on top, the ash becomes something of a good insulator keeping more heat in making for a hotter smoke or a hotter pipe in some cases. Think of the carbon tiles on the Space Shuttle. Ash is very, very fine and will almost certainly find its way down through the tobacco as you draw and eventually into your mouth to sully the taste at some point. so I usually remove it at least once. You wouldn't smoke a cigarette or a cigar down with the full ash still attached to draw through, would you?

    When I dump the ash, I usually let the pipe go out and give it a chance to cool. That allows a lot of moisture to dry. In a bad pipe, it might also allow it to gurgle up. But that is a good time to take your finger or tamper and break off the unburned tobaccos from the side wall to fill in the cavity where the ash used to be for a fresh new smoke.

    Posted 2 years ago #
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    64alex

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    [that is a good time to take your finger or tamper and break off the unburned tobaccos from the side wall to fill in the cavity where the ash used to be for a fresh new smoke.]

    That's absolutely what I found, removing the ash midway and filling the hole in the mid of the bowl with the tobacco on the side and I get a fresh smoke very close to when I started the bowl.

    Posted 2 years ago #

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