Pipes Magazine » General Pipe Smoking Discussion

Search Forums  
   
Tags:  No tags yet. 

To cake or not to cake?

(52 posts)
  • Started 2 years ago by 64alex
  • Latest reply from elvishrunes
  1. User has not uploaded an avatar

    64alex

    Senior Member
    Joined: May 2016
    Posts: 356

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    After having used corn cob and then clay (Lepeltier) pipes I am going to break in my first briar one. I understand pretty well all the break in process for briars but I have one question. I understand the carbonization layer is what is protecting the pipe from burning and that that layer should not be removed at all. But what about the cake, is it useful at all? If for cake we define that layer of tobacco residual building up in the bowl I am not sure it has any protective value and as a matter of fact I see it more detrimental particularly with regard to ghosting. In other words I am thinking there is no need for caking at all and I am thinking to clean the bowl with a wet cloth every time or even running under water (once cooled down to avoid cracking) and keep it cake free but just with intact carbonization layer. Am I right or am I doing something wrong doing so? Any experience with avoiding caking?

    Posted 2 years ago #
  2. User has not uploaded an avatar

    aldecaker

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Feb 2015
    Posts: 4,474

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I'm not much of a cake builder, myself. To me, it tends to make the pipe taste ashy after a while. The thin, hard carbon layer is ideal for me; I wipe out after each smoke, but I just use a dry, twisted up paper towel.

    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 2 years ago #
  3. cortezattic

    Cortez

    A part of the problem since he ...
    Joined: Nov 2009
    Posts: 14,392

    online

    Login to Send PM

    I think using water would be inadvisable. I scrape the walls of the bowl with a pipe knife after every smoke just to clear whatever is sticking to it. I then brush it with a used pipe cleaner that has been folded in half for strength. Periodically I crumble a sheet of printer paper until it's crinkly and relatively soft, then I stuff it into the bowl and use it as a reamer. As a result, the bowl maintains a nice hard, thin layer of insulating crud.

    I do wonder, on occasion, why some veteran pipers keep a thick layer of cake in their pipes (which, by the way, reduces the bowl capacity). Perhaps the thick cake enhances the flavor in some way that I fail to appreciate.

    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 #
  4. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

    Preferred Member
    Joined: May 2015
    Posts: 13,051

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Using water is the way to go!! Running hot water through the chamber and out the airway removes all kind of deposits- tars, tobacco bits and importantly, ash. I know it's not popular, and some folks are jelly-kneed at the thought of water touching their briar, but we wouldn't have briar if it weren't for water!

    Been doing this now for three years with no adverse effect, and plenty of bonuses: Haven't had to salt and alcohol treat any pipe since. And I can smoke it right after drying the chamber with a paper towel, though I usually wait for all the moisture from the rinse to evaporate. Naturally, pipe cleaner in the airway right after and removed, Q-tip in the mortise every now and then.

    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 #
  5. User has not uploaded an avatar

    oldgeezersmoker

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Oct 2016
    Posts: 1,046

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I don't go to extremes, just fluff out the bowl with a doubled up used pipe cleaner. I don't see any issues with using water as suggested, but I have never had a ghosting problem of any great significance. But I think that is due as much to keeping the shank, stem and mortise scrupulously clean.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  6. warren

    warren

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Sep 2013
    Posts: 7,507

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I go with cake. Further, I have pipes I've smoked for more than fifty years and they smoke fine, have never turned "sour." I'd never heard of salt and alcohol until I stumbled onto this site. I keep the cake thin, by eyeballing it, as was suggested many years ago by an old smoker. The cake is scraped with pocket knife or, if I'm doing a Sunday cleaning (cake care, alcohol soaked swabbing of the airway, and a quick buff with a handkerchief) of pipes smoked during the previous week, a three bladed reamer as required.

    Water? I smoke in the rain and snow with no problems. I suppose a bath/shower and good toweling off shouldn't hurt a "cakeless" bowl.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 2 years ago #
  7. mso489

    mso489

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Feb 2013
    Posts: 25,575

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I do like aldecaker. Works great. Pipes I've had for nearing forty years are still smoking fine, have never caked, and best of all have never been reamed. A lot of pipe smokers like to build cake, find it enjoyable and part of the experience. I don't say not to; I'm just saying, this other way of going is fine. It's your choice. Works fine.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  8. anthonyrosenthal74

    anthonyrosenthal74

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Jan 2013
    Posts: 7,439

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I normally corkscrew some paper towel in the bowl after every smoke to keep my pipes pretty much cake free. However, I'm actually currently trying to build some cake in a few of my pipes as an experiment, to try an find out the positives and negatives for myself.

    Arrrrr, shiver me timbers! International Talk Like a Pirate Day is September the 19th!!!
    Brothers Of The Black Frigate
    Posted 2 years ago #
  9. cortezattic

    Cortez

    A part of the problem since he ...
    Joined: Nov 2009
    Posts: 14,392

    online

    Login to Send PM

    Come to think of it, water is in the stem and bottom of the bowl every time you smoke a pipe.
    So, if jpmcwjr has been doing it for the better part of 3yrs. that's good enough for me.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  10. cranseiron

    Cranse Iron

    Preferred Member
    Joined: May 2013
    Posts: 594

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I tried the hot water rinse after it was suggested by jpm. It does a fine job of cleaning the gunk out as he states above and I've experienced no adverse effects. I too, am not a cake builder, but have no argument against it.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  11. toobfreak

    toobfreak

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Dec 2016
    Posts: 1,378

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    It always seems to be the people building cake that have a problem. They see a crack, dent or mark in the cake and they are all in a tizzy. Never had any such problem keeping it down to a thin carbonized layer. After doing the usual scrape and a damp wipe with a paper towel, I run my finger in there to see if it comes out clean. I figure whatever remains on the bowl wall after that deserves to stay there at that point and it always feels nice, hard and smooth.

    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 #
  12. didimauw

    didimauw

    Mod
    Joined: Jul 2013
    Posts: 2,923

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I believe a pipe doesn't smoke good until there's already a nickel worth of cake.

    "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
    Posted 2 years ago #
  13. User has not uploaded an avatar

    Anonymous

    Unregistered

    Posts: 36

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I run a thin layer of cake in all my pipes, cob and briar. Cake cools and protects.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  14. beefeater33

    beefeater33

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Apr 2014
    Posts: 2,580

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I think, if you only smoke one blend in a pipe (Didi- I'm thinkin of you... ) then a good cake is desirable. A good cake will make your smoke taste MUCH better, but if you switch up blends............. all bets are off...........

    "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dream..."
    Willy Wonka
    Posted 2 years ago #
  15. didimauw

    didimauw

    Mod
    Joined: Jul 2013
    Posts: 2,923

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Beefeater, exactly!

    Posted 2 years ago #
  16. didache

    didache

    Senior Member
    Joined: Feb 2017
    Posts: 485

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    This puzzles me a little. I was 'brought up' to believe that a cake is a good and desirable thing provided you keep it trimmed to a moderate thickness. Indeed, the development of a thin cake is, to me, part of the process of breaking in a pipe.

    To each their own I guess!

    "Pipe-smokers spend so much time cleaning, filling and fooling with their pipes, they don't have time to get into mischief." - Bill Vaughan
    Posted 2 years ago #
  17. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Aug 2013
    Posts: 18,148

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I rinse with water occasionally, as JPMC.. suggested. It works. But, most of the time a wadded paper towels reams it out after every smoke. I'm not a caker. But, I did find a bulldog On a stump that I had left out last week in the garden. It smelled clean and fresh, and was ready to be smoked right away. Water does seem to keep them clean smelling. But, still, even with regular paper towel reaming and washing, they get cake. Cake happens.

    Michael
    Posted 2 years ago #
  18. mawnansmiff

    mawnansmiff

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Oct 2015
    Posts: 4,813

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I use a British Buttner reamer after every ten or so smokes. That keeps the cake to an absolute minimum whilst maintaining the roundness of the bowl which is something that a pocket knife in untrained hands might not be able to achieve.

    Also I will second John's use of warm water in the bowl and shank. If sufficiently dried before smoking again there will be no problems in so doing.

    Regards,

    Jay.

    ...take up thy stethoscope and walk...
    Posted 2 years ago #
  19. toobfreak

    toobfreak

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Dec 2016
    Posts: 1,378

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Thick cake is supposed to build up stress and break your pipe. I see some people running major cake here. Anyone ever have a pipe crack from too much cake?

    Posted 2 years ago #
  20. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Aug 2013
    Posts: 18,148

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Toob, I've seen broken pipes with too much cake in antique stores. But, that's not why I don't like cake. I just want as mich tobacco as possible in my bowls, and also cake just adds that tar flavor to my smokes. I'd rather just have the aromas come from the tobacco and the briar. But, everyone is different. Some people like that tar.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  21. mawnansmiff

    mawnansmiff

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Oct 2015
    Posts: 4,813

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    "Anyone ever have a pipe crack from too much cake?"

    When I was buying collections of estate pipes to refurbish I came upon at least three pipes that were cracked and all three were so badly caked one would have had difficulty in putting a pencil into the bowl!

    Regards,

    Jay.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  22. fitzy

    fitzy

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Nov 2012
    Posts: 2,996

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I just generally fold a pipe cleaner in half after a smoke and wipe the bowl down. Keep the cake to a minimum.

    "These are ghosts that are more at home in a girdle-filled drawer than one of my pipes." Quote by Neil Archer Roan on lakeland ghosts
    Posted 2 years ago #
  23. toobfreak

    toobfreak

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Dec 2016
    Posts: 1,378

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    So there is no critical point of over-caking. I mean, they tell you to keep it down to a dime thickness but I don't see any evidence that it might stress a briar pipe to break until the cake has grown massive!

    Posted 2 years ago #
  24. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Aug 2013
    Posts: 18,148

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I've never really even heard of the briar breaking because of cake, till I heard you say something about it a few weeks ago. I connected the dots and thought of the pipes at the antique store, but really me not liking cake has nothing to do with the pipe breaking.
    But, if you like cake, then... enjoy. Lots of guys like their cake.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  25. crashthegrey

    crashthegrey

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Dec 2015
    Posts: 2,825

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    The cake is a lie.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  26. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

    Preferred Member
    Joined: May 2015
    Posts: 13,051

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Real Question, then: Can you have your cake and eat it, too? Yes, I think yes!

    Let them smoke cake!

    And cake happens.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  27. toobfreak

    toobfreak

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Dec 2016
    Posts: 1,378

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I saw some cake in didi's pipe that I thought I could break off a chunk, roll into a ball, put back into the pipe and smoke itself! It looked like it had little bits of leaf all through it!

    Posted 2 years ago #
  28. didimauw

    didimauw

    Mod
    Joined: Jul 2013
    Posts: 2,923

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Yeah apparently the amount of cake I have in my pipes AFTER I ream them, is the amount people have when they START to ream them. Mmmm cake....

    Posted 2 years ago #
  29. hugodrax

    hugodrax

    Member
    Joined: Jan 2013
    Posts: 227

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I like a lot of cake. I do ream them once a year or so, though.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  30. unkleyoda

    unkleyoda

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Aug 2016
    Posts: 1,087

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    The cake is a lie.

    If you escape, there is cake.


    So you say you can drink? Well, I'm from Wisconsin. Try to keep up.
    Posted 2 years ago #
  31. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Aug 2013
    Posts: 18,148

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Cake is just another word for nothin' left to lose...

    Posted 2 years ago #
  32. toobfreak

    toobfreak

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Dec 2016
    Posts: 1,378

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Let the peasants eat cake. Or a shoe. Take this hammer and beat the shoe!

    Nehy, I have not the heart to beat an innocent shoe!

    Thou art the Dumb-Cluck!

    I do not lie.

    And neither does the cake.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  33. ravkesef

    ravkesef

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Aug 2010
    Posts: 2,626

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I'm one of those who keeps a thin layer of cake in the bowl; never more than the thickness of a dime, if the cake starts to build up--a rare occurrence--I take a reamer to it and trim it back to my desired thickness. I've been smoking for 58 years, and I've got some pipes that have been with me for over half a century. Never a problem with excess cake, as I clean the bowl with a folded up pipe cleaner after every smoke. If I perceive that more is needed, I do what Anthony does: corkscrew a paper towel in the bowl. All my pipes smoke sweet and clean.

    Eric
    Posted 2 years ago #
  34. User has not uploaded an avatar

    jabo

    Senior Member
    Joined: Jan 2016
    Posts: 326

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    After each smoke, when I clean my bowl. I take a paper towel, wad it up, stuff it in the bowl and swab it out. Yes, it still builds a cake but a firmer one in my opinion. Do this on Briars and cobs. On merschaums and clays,try to keep them at none. My method, others know better, it works for me and no teeming ! Hurrah

    Posted 2 years ago #
  35. eaglebleyes

    eaglebleyes

    New Member
    Joined: Jan 2017
    Posts: 11

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Agreed with Jabo.I have been doing the exact same process with the paper towel for years and it does seem to build a harder cake but it takes a while.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  36. toobfreak

    toobfreak

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Dec 2016
    Posts: 1,378

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    If you dampen the paper towel with a little water, I've found it provides most of the benefits of washing it out with running water and removes all the dirt that might have gone to form cake build-up; what it leaves behind is, like you say, good, firm hard cake that remains thin.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  37. User has not uploaded an avatar

    instymp

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Jul 2012
    Posts: 2,051

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Cake here too, dime to a nickel.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  38. dragospiper

    dragospiper

    New Member
    Joined: Apr 2017
    Posts: 21

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Wow, as a beginner I have found so much great information on this forum! I just wanted to thank everyone!

    Posted 2 years ago #
  39. yohanan

    yohanan

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Oct 2011
    Posts: 1,650

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Cake is delicious, but to much cake will make you fat.


    Smoke What You Like, And Like What You Smoke...Regardless Of What Anyone Else Thinks...
    Posted 2 years ago #
  40. greenmonster714

    greenmonster714

    New Member
    Joined: Apr 2017
    Posts: 6

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I tend to allow build-up of cake. I don't really have an explanation why except it gives off a certain flavor I enjoy. I dont enjoy breaking in a new pipe. It just doesnt taste right to me.To each his own though.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  41. balkisobrains

    balkisobrains

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Jun 2016
    Posts: 1,506

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I starting to go with the aldecaker/MSO489 method on a new briar, and I cut back to a nearly non-existent cake layer on two others to begin treating them the same way. Except that I am using a dry pipe cleaner to brush off ash and remove any tobacco pieces, and then while the bowl is still warm, my finger to move the oils around instead of a paper towel. The towel would drag and lint was getting worked into the oils. With my finger the oils will roll up and fall away, and are also starting to build up a slick on the briar. So far it seems to be working pretty well.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  42. hugodrax

    hugodrax

    Member
    Joined: Jan 2013
    Posts: 227

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I tried both. Now, I cake.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  43. cranseiron

    Cranse Iron

    Preferred Member
    Joined: May 2013
    Posts: 594

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    hugodrax, I'm curious, what do you find advantageous with cake now that you've done a comparison? Thanks.
    Eric

    Posted 2 years ago #
  44. philobeddoe

    Philo Beddoe

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Oct 2011
    Posts: 4,495

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    No cake in my pipes.

    "So it goes." - K.V.
    Posted 2 years ago #
  45. hugodrax

    hugodrax

    Member
    Joined: Jan 2013
    Posts: 227

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Eric,

    I can only say what worked for me. I used to keep a minimum of char in a pipe while all the older smokers said I'd be happier with the cake. One day, I took a Peterson Rosslare and decided to just let it go.

    I found the pipe with a thick cake needed a lot less rest and could be smoked back to back to back with just internal cleaning. I liked it, so now I do it with all of my pipes.

    So the benefits for me are a sweeter smoke and less maintenance. But the cake can and will sour--when it doesn't taste good, I now know to just ream it for instant results.

    Paolo

    Posted 2 years ago #
  46. jefff

    jefff

    Preferred Member
    Joined: May 2015
    Posts: 1,945

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Cake free here. One burn out in 30 years of pipe smoking.

    I am pretty sure it was because the pipe was a cheap ass basket pipe.

    I will say that I really did burn the shit out of that pipe though.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  47. cranseiron

    Cranse Iron

    Preferred Member
    Joined: May 2013
    Posts: 594

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Thank you for your explanation, Paolo.
    Best Regards,
    Eric

    Posted 2 years ago #
  48. jravenwood

    jravenwood

    Senior Member
    Joined: Apr 2017
    Posts: 401

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I run a bristly pipe cleaner or a regular pipe cleaner after smoking, so I am forming a cake, but very slowly ...

    "It is quite a three pipe problem..."
    Posted 2 years ago #
  49. jtaggie320

    John

    Member
    Joined: Jul 2012
    Posts: 230

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I do the corkscrew paper towel in the bowl method/thingy.....Very scientific. Not always after every smoke but at least every 2-3 bowls. I find that it still allows some cake to build but in a very thin yet hard layer. Admittedly I've never just let one go to find out if I liked it or not.

    Jesus said to him "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." - John 14:6
    Posted 1 year ago #
  50. paddypiper

    paddypiper

    Member
    Joined: Mar 2017
    Posts: 159

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    Mmm cake, tasty tasty cake.
    Most of my briar pipes have cake except one which seems to keep that smokey ashtray taste if there's cake in it. So it's really up to you whether or not you prefer cake.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  51. mso489

    mso489

    Preferred Member
    Joined: Feb 2013
    Posts: 25,575

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    You need a carbon layer, but a no-cake thin layer will do. When you don't have to ream, the bowl doesn't take that damage, peeling off a little briar with the cooked on ash, and also the stress of reaming on the bowl. Also, this maintains the full capacity of the bowl, which is useful with any blend, to give it full room to unfold. I'm making my case for the way I do it, and if I liked a good thick layer of cake, I'd argue for that. Do what pleases, first. This is what pleases me.

    Posted 1 year ago #
  52. User has not uploaded an avatar

    elvishrunes

    New Member
    Joined: Jun 2017
    Posts: 23

    offline

    Login to Send PM

    I believe I have a good answer here... -sorry I haven't read all replies, but the general consensus is no cake and I agree! I clean my bowls with paper towel, and stems with pipe cleaners, and old antique purchases with the same but add rubbing alcohol.

    Even if you clean regularly you're still building a cake, but only with the strongest resin that remains, not loose bad tasting stuff. This really tough small carbon layer will protect your pipe and builds up tough over the years! It's thin, but will enhance the taste and longevity of your pipe... Technically it's a cake, but a very thin one.

    Posted 1 year ago #

Reply

You must log in to post.

 

 

    Back To Top  | Back to Forum Home Page

   Members Online Now
   renfield, cortezattic, ben88, sablebrush52, lightxmyfire, mumbles, dmcmtk, odobenus, mortonbriar