New to pipes, have been reading this forum for a while and just joined today.
My brother shared the hobby with me a couple times this year and gifted me a simple beginner briar pipe for Christmas. I'm trying to compare my experiences against youtube videos and comments on this forum, but I'm still getting mixed results from my smoking. Not sure where to focus on improving my technique.
A simple, umarked briar pipe with plastic stem.
Captain Black - basic "rich black" Cavendish
(I have no other pipes or tobacco at this time)
Currently trying to become adept that the three step packing with light, medium and firm pressure. This usually leaves my pipe about 3/4 full by the third pinch. It seems firm and doesn't fall out when I turn it over. But it doesn't all seem evenly packed by the time I get to the bottom. More on this below.
Tried both matches and lighters, seem to get better results with matches, but can't use them right now unless I'm in the garage. Front porch is my go-to spot for a smoke. There's been a light wind lately. When I pull during the lighting process... I don't feel like I'm pulling very hard, but my mouth tends to heat up really fast. I think my tobacco is just burns hot really easily. It's very easy to get a warm bite, rather than the cool flavorful smoke I'm after.
Lots of re-lighting at this point. I think my minimum for lightings during one smoke is about 3-4 times. I've read that it's not something to worry about, but it disturbs the relaxing nature of the experience for me, so I'm looking to improve. I feel like I get to 'sweet spots' in the bowl, where the burn slows down and becomes even. The smoke gets cool, and the flavor comes out. But as soon as the heat drops down, I pull a little more or make short puffs to try and get it going. One of two things happens. It might heat up really fast, and I get the warm bite. Or it might go out, and I have to re-light, getting the warm bite for a while again until it cools down.
Assuming for now that I will be using the same pipe and tobacco, how do I reduce the chances of that warm bite?
Should I try to dry the tobacco? What are the easiest methods for that?
Could my uneven smoking be due to inexperienced packing technique? What are the easy pitfalls in the three-pinch method? Any other methods I should try?
Are there actual 'pulling' techniques to keep an even slow smoke?
Thanks for your time, and for providing this forum and community.