An Important Lesson Learned

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
.

EvertonFC

New member
May 5, 2020
42
74
Philadelphia
Like so many people new to the hobby, I was struggling with bowls regularly going out. As I continued to read this forum, the one thing that got stuck in my head was the mantra, "The tobacco should be drier than you think and the bowl should be packed looser than you think". Unfortunately, as it turns out, I was only having one of these problems (my tobacco was too moist). Consequently, my double-correction led me to using tobacco that was finally the correct moisture level (for me), but now with bowls that were packed far too loosely. After a dozen or so of these bowls, which burned too hot, and mostly out of complete frustration, I tamped down way harder than I should have and it smoked perfectly. I took heed of this "A-ha moment", packed another bowl, dry and now more firmly packed, and it smoked great. Hopefully I'm now a little closer to the path of consistently enjoying bowls, rather than doing battle with them. 😁

So the lesson here is, for any of my fellow newbs, make gradual corrections, not large or multiple corrections. Cheers.
 

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
.

Pipelady20

Senior Member
Apr 17, 2020
426
1,593
East coast, USA
www.pipesmagazine.com
I'm still chasing those eureka moments, and I've been at it almost 25 years. I can somehow pack and smoke the perfect pipe on my 40-minute morning commute, even at tin moisture.

But sit at home and it's still hit or miss - I think I fuss with it too much unless my mind is slightly preoccupied with something else.
Sounds like Murphy's Law and such.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bnichols23

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
30,176
11,559
That's great. Such trial and error can be a gratifying way forward. I'm always finding little techniques and tuning that enhances the smokes, or get back on track with the good habits I've forgotten. Keep paying attention. You can always learn new things, or renew old things you may not have noticed.
 

EvertonFC

New member
May 5, 2020
42
74
Philadelphia
That's great. Such trial and error can be a gratifying way forward. I'm always finding little techniques and tuning that enhances the smokes, or get back on track with the good habits I've forgotten. Keep paying attention. You can always learn new things, or renew old things you may not have noticed.
The "journey" aspect of it all is something I'm very much appreciating.
 
  • Like
Reactions: trubka2 and gervais

EvertonFC

New member
May 5, 2020
42
74
Philadelphia
I hear You Sir, that must a be quite encouraging moment you had, I been there, all this fine art of pipesmoking comes gradually, I keep saying myself, please do not overcomplicate it , keep things simple, it's a good motto for life in general
"Encouraging" is definitely the right word. There aren't many hobbies I've encountered with as steep a learning curve. I'd be fascinated to know which group is larger: people who smoke a pipe vs. people who tried smoking a pipe but gave up.
 

paulie66scandinavian

Preferred Member
Jul 28, 2016
4,568
3,302
Finland-Scandinavia-EU
"Encouraging" is definitely the right word. There aren't many hobbies I've encountered with as steep a learning curve. I'd be fascinated to know which group is larger: people who smoke a pipe vs. people who tried smoking a pipe but gave up.
something tells me that the latter group might be larger, based on what I have heard from a wast number of cigarette smokers many of them at one point have been trying pipe smoking but eventually called it quits' in short order referring to tongue burn, and the awful, strong taste of pipe tobacco, worthwhile mentioning this was all before people had access to internet
 

Worknman

Member
Sep 23, 2019
299
576
Alot of the packing technique depends on the particular cut of the blend. Ive found the finer the cut, like ribbons and shags, can be packed a little tighter, although still not too firm. With dense tobaccos like rubbed out flakes or cakes a gravity fill and light tamp is preferred.
 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
3,476
5,242
I've found it is easy to correct too loose by using a firm tamp but correcting too tight is a bit of a PITA. So error on the side of too loose. If you're having some issues with packing, try to smoke a similar cut most of the time for awhile. I can pretty much fold, twist and stuff a flake with little to no conscious thought, same with broken flake. I don't smoke much ribbon and subsequently have to pay a bit of attention when packing it. But none of this is rocket surgery; dry, pack, light, puff, tamp. Rinse and repeat as often as possible. Experience will be your best Teacher. There's only so many ways you can screw it up, you'll stumble onto the right thing if you stay after it.
 

B.Fee

Member
Nov 28, 2019
262
2,521
Honolulu
Relights are part of my enjoyable pipe smoking experience. I light puff set my pipe down, mess around in the yard, start a meal , what ever my day brings. I suppose if I ever plan on entering a pipe smoking contest I might worry about smoking a 3 hour bowl without a relight. 😁✌
 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
15,211
11,629
United States
I take a flake , fold and then stuff it. If it is too tight I use a pipe cleaner to clear an airway. I prefer a firm pack as it burns slower and cooler for my tastes. It is rare when I have jammed to much into the bowl and a pipe cleaner couldn't fix it. Moisture is also something I prefer over dry. For me dry smokes way too fast and loses flavor. I don't smoke ribbons or other loose cuts. The loosest cut I smoke is the Capstan Gold Ready Rubbed and that smokes pretty well for a non flake. I do make sure I pack it nice and firm.
 

Pipelady20

Senior Member
Apr 17, 2020
426
1,593
East coast, USA
www.pipesmagazine.com
Alot of the packing technique depends on the particular cut of the blend. Ive found the finer the cut, like ribbons and shags, can be packed a little tighter, although still not too firm. With dense tobaccos like rubbed out flakes or cakes a gravity fill and light tamp is preferred.
I'm still trying to get the hang of packing flakes. I'm getting better at it, just dont like wasting half a bowl after 100 relights, it's tiring (i'm exaggerating on the number of relights, but y'all know what i'm saying.) Otherwise, I've got the ribbons down. And yes, the internet is a terribly good resource.
 
  • Like
Reactions: chopper

EvertonFC

New member
May 5, 2020
42
74
Philadelphia
something tells me that the latter group might be larger, based on what I have heard from a wast number of cigarette smokers many of them at one point have been trying pipe smoking but eventually called it quits' in short order referring to tongue burn, and the awful, strong taste of pipe tobacco, worthwhile mentioning this was all before people had access to internet
This last part is key. I fully expect I would have given up on this hobby had it not been for this forum.
 

Magpiety

Senior Member
Dec 7, 2019
312
853
I can pretty much fold, twist and stuff a flake with little to no conscious thought, same with broken flake.
Can you elaborate on the broken flake method? I'm just now getting into some Pease and C&D blends after years of smoking flakes and ribbon cut, and I'm struggling to find what works well. For the most part I've been gravity filling it, but it's very easy to tamp too much and pack it down too tight.
 

Severus

New member
Jul 1, 2020
44
93
Vaughan, ON
Is there a way to quantify how much tobacco should go into a bowl?

I understand that every pipe chamber has different volume, and every cut burns differently. However, I think if I had a measure for a particular volume, say a gram per square cm, I would get a hang of it faster. Once I see how much tobacco should actually go in I would remember and would go by signt every time after that. Of course tobacco amount per same chamber volume would depend on the type of cut and to some extent its dryness, but those are details. In other words, I just need to see once how much should go into a bowl.
 

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
.