With Pipe and Pen  Blog » Pipe Smoking

How to Prepare Cake Pipe Tobacco

    May 24th, 2011


By Bob Tate

Cake Pipe Tobacco

In this article I am going to show how to prepare cake pipe tobacco in the included video. But first I am going to explain a little bit about what cake tobacco is.

Cake is another form that tobacco blends sometimes come in. They are sometimes spelled with a ‘K’ such as Kake or Krumble Kake. Cakes are made similarly to plugs as they are both pressed to form the cake or plug. But unlike plug tobaccos that use large pieces of tobacco leaf which are layered and pressed together, cakes and crumble cakes use tobaccos that have already been cut and blended into a mixture. The mixture is then pressed into a cake.
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How to Prepare Plug Pipe Tobacco

    April 20th, 2011


By Bob Tate

Plug Pipe Tobacco 01Plug pipe tobacco is another form of tobacco that needs to be prepared and cut before it is able to be smoked. It is another form of tobacco that can seem intimidating to prepare, but once you know how to do it, it is really quite simple. Plug tobacco is basically large pieces of tobacco leafs that are layered on top of each other and pressed into a block, or plug, of tobacco. To prepare it, all you will need is a sharp knife. You want to either shave off some of the tobacco or cut off tobacco into flakes and then prepare the flakes.
[To see how to prepare flake tobacco, see my article: Flake Pipe Tobacco Preparation]
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How to Prepare Rope & Twist Pipe Tobacco

    April 6th, 2011


By Bob Tate

Rope Pipe TobaccoRope tobacco, also known as Twist tobacco, are tobaccos that are spun together to form a ‘rope’ of tobacco. This process is done almost entirely by hand. Sometimes the ropes are cooked under pressure, and other times they are not. It all depends on how strong that particular blend is meant to be. Rope tobaccos offer a very strong smoking experience and they are not recommended for beginners and/or smokers who have a low tolerance towards stronger blends.

Ropes used to be the most common form of finished tobacco products. It can be chewed, cut and smoked, or ground up into nasal snuff. It was also the preferred choice of tobacco amongst sailors and miners of days gone by.
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Evolution of Pipe Smokers?

    February 24th, 2011


By Bob Tate

Pipe Man EvolutionIn the years that I have been involved with pipe smoking, I have heard and read numerous things from pipe smokers that I do not agree with or just doesn’t make any sense to me. One of the things that I continually see and hear is that pipe smokers evolve over time in their choice of tobacco blends. Some people call it a natural progression. I consider both of the terms one in the same as it applies to this case.

The general meaning of it, as I have heard and read, is that; most pipe smokers start off smoking Aromatic blends because they don’t know any better and naturally progress and evolve into smoking English Blends when they learn how to properly taste and appreciate the flavors of tobacco. (I prefer to use the term Latakia blends instead of English blends. Read about it in my article: English Blends and Latakia Blends - One in the same?).

It seems that the popular opinion amongst pipe smokers is that Aromatic blends are horrible tobacco and that they are for beginning pipe smokers because they don’t know any better and they need time to be able to appreciate the finer tobaccos and blends that are available. It also seems that the general consensus is that Latakia is the top of the pipe tobacco smoking evolutionary ladder and is the ‘end all, be all’ in pipe smoking. Once you get to where you only smoke Latakia blends, then you are considered a “real” pipe smoker.
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Dedicating Tobacco Pipes to Pipe Tobacco Blends

    July 22nd, 2010


By Bob Tate


To dedicate or not to dedicate? That is a question that is asked frequently by pipe smokers. Before I give my answer to this question, I would like to explain a few things. There are some advantages to dedicating pipes to certain tobaccos and there can be some disadvantages as well. The reason why piper smokers wonder about this is; ghosting can and does occur while smoking pipes. A lot of pipe smokers wonder if the ghosting will affect the next blend that they smoke in the same pipe. Dedicating pipes to specific tobaccos mainly apply to briar pipes. Briar pipes have the most tendencies to ghost than other types of pipes. Ghosting is pretty easy to define and understand. It is when the flavor of a blend stays with the pipe after you have smoked it. It can and will affect the flavor and aroma of the next blend that is smoked in that same pipe.

Now a lot of you are going to say, “I must dedicate my pipes because I don’t want any ghosting to happen!”. Ghosting is going to happen to some degree or the other with every blend that you smoke. Since every blend tastes different, no matter how small the difference is, it is going to have some type of an effect on the next blend. Sometimes ghosting can be a good thing, so don’t get carried away just yet. When it comes to pipe smokers and pipe dedication, there are basically three groups; Read the rest of this entry »

Tobacco Pipe Packing Methods - Part 2 (Videos)

    November 28th, 2009


By Bob Tate


This is a companion piece to my article, Tobacco Pipe Packing Methods. I apologize that it took me so long to get this piece up, but here it is. It is the video tutorials on how to do the methods described in Part 1.

I am not going to repeat the written directions as you can read them in Tobacco Pipe Packing Methods – Part 1. I am just going to post the videos in this article so that you can see visual instructions that go along with the written instructions. I am going to post the videos in the same order as the methods are listed in Part 1.

So, here they are! Read the rest of this entry »

Flake Pipe Tobacco Preparation

    September 23rd, 2009


By Bob Tate


Flakes are one of the ways that pipe tobacco is made. Flake tobacco is made by pressing tobacco under extreme pressure for a period of time forming a cube. The cube is then sliced into strips called flakes. When you smoke flake tobacco it has to be packed differently than loose cut pipe tobacco. You can not simply fill the pipe and smoke it; you have to prepare the flakes first. There are many ways that flake tobaccos can be prepared. The way that you prepare a flake will have an effect in the taste of the tobacco and the way that the tobacco burns.

The larger you leave the pieces of flake, the stronger the flavor will be and the harder it will be to get the tobacco burning. Leaving the flakes whole or in large chunks will make the tobacco burn slow. This is a good technique to use when you are going to smoke outside as the wind will have less of an effect on the tobacco. Smaller pieces will make the flavor a little lighter and the tobacco will be easier to burn. It will also burn a little quicker as well. In this article I will describe a few of the different methods on how to prepare flakes for smoking. I have also included short videos of how to do each different method. Now onto the methods! Read the rest of this entry »

Reading Between The Lines - Pipe Smoking Tips

    August 24th, 2009


By Bob Tate


I would like to talk a little about the information that novice pipers will come across. The reason that I named this article “Reading Between the Lines”, is because I want to impress upon the readers that you should read between the lines and take all information about pipe smoking with a grain of salt. This even includes anything that I have written. Everything that I read or hear, I always take with a grain of salt. This includes the so called ‘Professionals’ that work at B&M’s, but I will talk a little more about that later.

There is very little in pipe smoking that I consider hard set ‘rules’. Yes, there are some ‘rules’ that should be followed very closely. Such as cleaning your pipes after every smoke and having a good rotation, but even that is debatable. Does cleaning your pipes after every smoke and having a good rotation help the enjoyment of pipe smoking? In my opinion, yes it does. But back before pipe smoking became a hobby and there were a lot more people smoking pipes, a lot of them smoked the same pipe every day and did not clean them after every smoke. They certainly seemed like they enjoyed their pipes just as much as I do. Am I right and they were wrong? Or were they right and I am wrong? The answer is neither. Pipe smoking is all about enjoying YOUR pipes, tobacco, and smoking. Read the rest of this entry »

Pipe Smoking Tips

    August 4th, 2009


By Bob Tate


When I first started smoking a pipe, I had no mentor to talk to and nobody to show me tips on how to make pipe smoking more enjoyable. I had to learn a lot on my own from reading, online message boards, asking questions at B&Ms, and experimenting. I thought that I would share some of the tips that I have acquired with all of you. Most of these tips are more for the beginners, but maybe a few of them will help out some of the more seasoned pipe smokers as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Tobacco Pipe Packing Methods - Part 1

    July 20th, 2009


By Bob Tate


[Editors Note: Be sure to read Part Two of this article, Tobacco Pipe Packing Methods - Part 2 (With Videos), to see instructional videos on how to perform these methods.]

There are a lot of different ways to load your pipe for smoking. Here I will list a few different methods that I know of and give a brief description of them. Remember that there is no exact set of rules for packing your bowl. The goal in packing your pipe is to get a proper draw, it doesn’t matter how or which method you use to do it. The most commonly accepted draw should feel like you are drinking through a straw. When it feels like that, you should not have any problems. I prefer my draw to be a little looser than that.
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