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Why the char light? And do you?

(44 posts)
  • Started 10 months ago by willisk
  • Latest reply from skeeter456
  1. User has not uploaded an avatar

    willisk

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    I do it cause I was taught by y’all in instructional sand testimonials. But last night at music on the square I lit up with some old times and they looked at me like I was from outer space!!
    And then asked why I lit it to put it out then relight lol!!

    Posted 10 months ago #
  2. seanv

    seanv

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    I char light because I find the smoke stays lit better with the second light.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  3. warren

    warren

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    Fascinating! Who is "they"? And, what did you reply to "they"?

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 10 months ago #
  4. jazz

    jazz

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    I do it because I find I get a more even burn going. I don't have to do it, though. I can get it going fine with most tobaccos off of one light.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  5. tschiraldi

    tschiraldi

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    I agree with all above. I find I get a nice even burn and the ash on top provides insulation that keeps the fire going.

    Posted 10 months ago #
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    highwaycobbery

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    I do it because the tobacco will burn more evenly, I also am a believer in delayed gratification. Do your char light( preferably with a match) and then set it down for ten minutes. May not be for everyone but it always makes the bowl more appealing.

    Posted 10 months ago #
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    willisk

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    Warren they is a couple really old school Tennessee hillbilly’s named Roger and Jim!!
    I told them it’s how I learned online ( which evoked another odd look ) they don’t know how to internet as Roger
    Put it. They said they would learn me proper next week and offered to bring me some of Jim’s baccy that he grows and cure himself
    So I’m looking forward to that!!

    On a side note I really enjoyed sharing a smoke and convo with them. Definitely a perk of pipe smoking is connecting
    With old timers, I did not have a pawpaw growing up so I really enjoy hanging out with them when I get the chance!!

    Posted 10 months ago #
  8. mso489

    mso489

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    I end up doing a char light about half the time, and when I do, it is because the tobacco seems to need to settle in the bowl. It burns and expands and is no longer packed. This doesn't relate to how hard it's packed in the first place, more about how it is cut and how dry it is. I admit I'm happier when it just lights up and forms a steady ember, but you can't always choose. I take it in stride.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  9. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Char light: Nice ritual for some. Completely unnecessary 19 out of 20 times, but that one time it goes out, you can say the first time was a charring light.

    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 10 months ago #
  10. mikefu

    mikefu

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    I do a char light with any ribbon or shag for sure, not so much out of methodology, but out of necessity. These tobacco is expand when the flame is put to them, and I find myself having to tamping them down relatively aggressively at first, which leads to the tobacco usually going out. But then, after tamping, I try to get as far as I can without touching the flame to them again, by tamping gently and often. But if you don’t have to relight, there is no reason to do so just because someone says to.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  11. mso489

    mso489

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    New pipers tend to feel they've flunked their dexterity test if they have to immediately relight, and they are feeling self-conscious anyway. Relights come with the territory, charring or otherwise.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  12. warren

    warren

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    I like a nice even char, tamp and relight. It's my style. Don't know if I need to do it as I always do, do it.

    Posted 10 months ago #
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    64alex

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    I was doing char light religiously when I started for the first couple of years. Now maybe 50% of the time. I found that if the tobacco is properly dried many times there is no need for char light as I get a nice even homogeneous light on all surface with a single match (sometime even 1/2 match). In addition to dry appropriately the tobacco another thing I am doing now is loading the pipe in advance sometime even 1 hour before actually lighting up and I suspect this help the tobacco to settle down in the bowl making easier the lighting. Now if I get a nice lighting at the first attempt I don't see any reason to let it go and doing a second start. However, if the first light is not even I let it go down and do a second light.

    Posted 10 months ago #
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    willisk

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    Good variety of responses!!

    Posted 10 months ago #
  15. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    The charring light was invented and promoted by some of these folks:

    Posted 10 months ago #
  16. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Addendum: Don't mean to single out a single company, and these folks might be completely innocent of nefarious promotion of match use. (thought it was old match boxes from four companies, but clearly is not)

    Posted 10 months ago #
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    willisk

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    Probably so lol

    Posted 10 months ago #
  18. pipestud

    pipestud

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    I think a char tamping light depends on a lot of variables, just like about everything else in this crazy fun hobby. If I load up my pipe and its smoking like a champ from the get go, why stop, tamp and relight? If, on the other hand, it is packed a little loose and goes out quickly, then you bet I tamp it down to just the right density and fire it back up and puff until it needs another tamp or two.

    Pipestud
    Posted 10 months ago #
  19. cosmicfolklore

    Cosmic

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    Sounds like these two old people just started smoking pipes. It’s your duty to teach them proper form. Just because they are old and grow tobacco doesn’t mean they know everything, nor do we.
    Really, I don’t always do a charring light, unless (as stated above) there is a necessity, sometimes one will do to the very end. Sometimes the tobacco expands. Sometimes it needs some fiddling. Sometimes I just feel like doing it. There are no rules to pipes. But, it sounds like these guys just felt like ribbing you a bit. You should have snarked them back. Back slapping among pipesmokers is a form of camaraderie. You gotta get you shots back in.

    Michael
    Posted 10 months ago #
  20. npod

    npod

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    Tell them you are a member of an elite team of internet members with secret knowledge of the way of the pipe. But please don't teach them the secret handshake necessary before the charring light.

    Neal
    Posted 10 months ago #
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    willisk

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    Thanks fer the advice Neal and cosmic!! I definitely won’t teach the handshake
    I was sworn to secrecy on that lol

    Posted 10 months ago #
  22. btwes7

    btwes7

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    Everything I smoke gets a char light (except for Semois and Carter Hall). More even ember for me.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  23. olkofri

    Olkofri

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    Heck, I sometimes do TWO charring lights: if when I tap the ash out mid-pipe the tobacco is too unburnt and moist, I have to do a charring light and then a proper one.

    Not the sweet, new grass with flowers is this harvesting of mine;
    Not the upland clover bloom...
    Posted 10 months ago #
  24. mikethompson

    mikethompson

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    , but that one time it goes out, you can say the first time was a charring light.

    that's me!

    Posted 10 months ago #
  25. jjmitchem

    Jim (Chap)

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    Ive found that the Char helps to dry the top bit of tobacco even further giving it a better ember once lit

    - Chap
    “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 10 months ago #
  26. bnichols23

    Bill Nichols

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    Usually I will, but often not, depending on whether it's a blend like 3 Nuns that'll stay lit from the first. If it does I don't.

    Head Black Frigate keelhauler, boss powder monkey, & troublemaker 1st class.
    Posted 10 months ago #
  27. davek

    davek

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    I end up doing a char light about half the time, and when I do, it is because the tobacco seems to need to settle in the bowl. It burns and expands and is no longer packed. This doesn't relate to how hard it's packed in the first place, more about how it is cut and how dry it is

    "There is even a brand of European smoking-tobacco that
    I like. It is a brand used by the Italian peasants. It is loose
    and dry and black, and looks like tea-grounds. When the fire is
    applied it expands, and climbs up and towers above the pipe, and
    presently tumbles off inside of one's vest. The tobacco itself
    is cheap, but it raises the insurance. "

    Mark Twain

    Same with me, I char light if it needs it.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  28. bnichols23

    Bill Nichols

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    Seldom, I like that. Well said, & in few words to boot!

    Posted 10 months ago #
  29. arvetus

    arvetus

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    New pipers tend to feel they've flunked their dexterity test if they have to immediately relight, and they are feeling self-conscious anyway. Relights come with the territory, charring or otherwise.

    Yes, I admit I was feeling pretty flustered the first few times, but the more videos I watch, the more I see old time pipers constantly relighting. Then I didn't feel so bad. I'm still by all means a n00b, but feeling a bit better about it and gaining some confidence.

    Posted 10 months ago #
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    willisk

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    Thanks for all the input. I’ve been playing around with a few of talks techniques!!

    Posted 10 months ago #
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    oldtoby

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    I find giving the bowl a good charring light, light tamp, and about a ten minute DGT to cool off allows the heated tobacco to meld and the sugars to caramelize a bit. Makes for an amazing taste once the "true" light is performed.

    To my palate, this works well with Viginias as well as Latakia mixtures. YMMV.

    But then again, depending on said mood and situation, I'll just fire it up with one match and let 'er go, never giving it a second thought.

    Smoking can't be bad for you. It cures Salmon.

    -Unknown-
    Posted 10 months ago #
  32. arvetus

    arvetus

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    you could have also told them about the secret "turn the bowl upside down to get a better light" trick.
    Just don't show them how to do it. It's one of those "you just have to do it" tricks.

    Posted 10 months ago #
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    willisk

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    Seriously turn the bowl upside down?

    Posted 10 months ago #
  34. tslex

    tslex

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    Char light, especially for shag or other loosely cut or "springy" types, help to settle and compact the top of the tobacco load.

    I will do a char light, gently tamp, then true light with the result that I get a nice, cohesive cherry to carry the burn all the way through the bowl.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  35. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Seriously turn the bowl upside down?

    Only if you want to smudge or char the rim, risk fall out, or look silly.

    Posted 10 months ago #
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    willisk

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    That’s what I was envisioning in my head lol. But ya never know I’m learning new tricks almost daily.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  37. arvetus

    arvetus

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    Sure, why not? My theory is that since the flame tends to burn upward, if you turned the bowl upside down, you could char the tobacco throughout the bowl instead of trying to suck the flame down to char only the top layer. It's a fine theory and you ought to try it out for yourself, and then go tell the old timey pipers what they're missing.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  38. bnichols23

    Bill Nichols

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    Seriously turn the bowl upside down?

    Only if you want to smudge or char the rim, risk fall out, or look silly.

    Or if it's raining, right, John?

    Posted 10 months ago #
  39. crashthegrey

    crashthegrey

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    I totally turn a bowl upside down in the rain or the shower. But I never light it that way, that is guaranteed rim char.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  40. bnichols23

    Bill Nichols

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    But crash, that's what the torch is for!

    Posted 10 months ago #
  41. saltedplug

    saltedplug

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    Whether you char I don't think has any real effect on the number of lights it takes to produce a well-burning bowl. Charring is supposed to produce a good light on the second light but I remember any number of smokes that took more lights, whether or not I charred. My point is that the cut of the tobacco and the pack determine how easy it is to light the pipe. One lights until the pipe is lit, and in this charring is not significant.

    Posted 10 months ago #
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    willisk

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    Y’all are too funny!! I tried upside down in the shower and it was too wet to light!! Lol
    Reminds me of a old joke about Quiting tobacco. They said to try carrots but I couldn’t get them to light!!

    Posted 10 months ago #
  43. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    I totally turn a bowl upside down in the rain or the shower. But I never light it that way, that is guaranteed rim char.
    Or at least smudge!

    I recall the Dean of Students at my university walking out of his office with me in a downpour, and turning his pipe upside down so quickly and naturally that I was dumbfounded. Brilliant, I thought. But it's also sensible and, now knowing that "trick" I do it, but with less aplomb.

    Posted 10 months ago #
  44. skeeter456

    skeeter456

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    Always do! I think it lites better imo

    Posted 10 months ago #

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