Breaking in a New Pipe

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viktor

Might Stick Around
Jan 6, 2024
72
126
57
Ontario, Canada
Hi all, another newbie question. What does it mean to break in a pipe? I asked ChatGPT. It didn't get clearer.

(1) Cleaning before the first use -- OK
(2) Charring the Bowl: this involves partially filling the bowl with tobacco, then lighting it and allowing it to burn out -- can't see how partially filling the pipe helps but OK
(3) Gradual Smoking: during the initial uses, smoke the pipe gradually -- I usually do
(4) Cooling Periods: allow the pipe to cool between smokes -- I always do
(5) Tobacco Choice: Initially, choose milder tobaccos for breaking in a new pipe -- doest it matter if I smoke last year's tobacco that will kill all the pleasant taste?
(6) Avoid Overpacking -- OK, I don't overpack
(7) Patience: breaking in a pipe is a gradual process, and it takes time for the pipe to develop the desired characteristics -- what characteristics?

Basically, I don't get the term. What does the breaking in achieve?

Probably too late for my Raw pipe (I've had it for a month+), just curious and maybe for the next time.
 

bullet08

Lifer
Nov 26, 2018
8,942
37,946
RTP, NC. USA
Do you guys scrap off the tar inside the bowl? It's building up it seems. It looks like tar, not a carbon layer.
After a smoke, just wipe out the chamber with a paper towel. That keeps the cake thin and hard. If you haven't smoke the pipe yet, and you see some black coating in the chamber, those are there to help with "break in" process. Some pipe smokers will remove them.
 

viktor

Might Stick Around
Jan 6, 2024
72
126
57
Ontario, Canada
After a smoke, just wipe out the chamber with a paper towel. That keeps the cake thin and hard. If you haven't smoke the pipe yet, and you see some black coating in the chamber, those are there to help with "break in" process. Some pipe smokers will remove them.
Thanks bullet! That puts me in perspective.
 
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brandaves

Can't Leave
Jan 5, 2020
347
2,663
Kentucky
I clean the pipe with these things from amazon, spiky for the bowl, soft for the mouthpiece.

View attachment 278279
I use JB Long pipe cleaners, there are a ton of decent brands out there. The bristle cleaners are for removing/keeping tobacco from clogging up the airway of your pipe. I generally only use bristle cleaners while deep cleaning a pipe. Soft bristle cleaners I use each end down the bit to the bowl then fold in half and swipe out the bowl. I do that after each smoke and call that good between deep cleans which I do six months to yearly...but I'm rotating 100 plus pipes, of which I smoke 20+ on the regular.
 

Sigmund

Lifer
Sep 17, 2023
1,479
12,599
France
If you are getting a sticky bowl you may need to airdry your tobacco a bit. Generally its pretty wet from the packet. Everyone does it differently but a lot wait until its not moist to the touch. Some dry more. its easier to keep lit as well.

I did have one estate ebay pipe that I really love. It came with a bowl coating. it wouldnt dry even in a couple of days after being smoked. It felt like tar residue after smoking for days. Finally I took it and sanded it out down to the briar. Smokes great still and now it dries as any normal pipe should.
 
Last edited:

HawkeyeLinus

Lifer
Oct 16, 2020
5,602
41,063
Iowa
Hi all, another newbie question. What does it mean to break in a pipe? I asked ChatGPT. It didn't get clearer.

(1) Cleaning before the first use -- OK
(2) Charring the Bowl: this involves partially filling the bowl with tobacco, then lighting it and allowing it to burn out -- can't see how partially filling the pipe helps but OK
(3) Gradual Smoking: during the initial uses, smoke the pipe gradually -- I usually do
(4) Cooling Periods: allow the pipe to cool between smokes -- I always do
(5) Tobacco Choice: Initially, choose milder tobaccos for breaking in a new pipe -- doest it matter if I smoke last year's tobacco that will kill all the pleasant taste?
(6) Avoid Overpacking -- OK, I don't overpack
(7) Patience: breaking in a pipe is a gradual process, and it takes time for the pipe to develop the desired characteristics -- what characteristics?

Basically, I don't get the term. What does the breaking in achieve?

Probably too late for my Raw pipe (I've had it for a month+), just curious and maybe for the next time.
Don't waste time on ChatGPT, waste it here like everyone else and get accurate answers more quickly. :)

Since you are using cigarette tobacco and not sure what types of pipe tobacco you enjoy with it, the tobacco part of the question is hard to answer. No reason "last year's tobacco" should matter if it's been properly stored, nor be less mild just because it's not as fresh.

I have no basis for thinking a bubinga wood pipe can't perform fine, but consider getting a briar/Meer/cob - they can be had for reasonable cost and you may enjoy the differences vs. the materials you are working with at present, at least worth the experiment if you plan to enjoy a lot of pipe tobacco, IMO.

Speaking of wasting time - our first real snow of the season came overnight and 6+ weeks behind schedule (so shouldn't complain - but I need to get out and run the snow blower). The pup's first taste of accumulated snow and understandably nuts - hope she can hold it until I come home for lunch. 🤞
 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
24,725
27,321
Carmel Valley, CA
I read and re-read, but didn't see a mention of cigaret tobacco, nor the type of pipe.

viktor- Any improvement? I'd add: Ignore any thing regarding a charring light- sometimes necessary, often not,.

A photo of your pipe and tobacco could be useful.
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,836
13,904
Humansville Missouri
Hi all, another newbie question. What does it mean to break in a pipe? I asked ChatGPT. It didn't get clearer.

(1) Cleaning before the first use -- OK
(2) Charring the Bowl: this involves partially filling the bowl with tobacco, then lighting it and allowing it to burn out -- can't see how partially filling the pipe helps but OK
(3) Gradual Smoking: during the initial uses, smoke the pipe gradually -- I usually do
(4) Cooling Periods: allow the pipe to cool between smokes -- I always do
(5) Tobacco Choice: Initially, choose milder tobaccos for breaking in a new pipe -- doest it matter if I smoke last year's tobacco that will kill all the pleasant taste?
(6) Avoid Overpacking -- OK, I don't overpack
(7) Patience: breaking in a pipe is a gradual process, and it takes time for the pipe to develop the desired characteristics -- what characteristics?

Basically, I don't get the term. What does the breaking in achieve?

Probably too late for my Raw pipe (I've had it for a month+), just curious and maybe for the next time.

What I think break in does is cook the briar by the intense heat of the ember.

A lot of pipes will have a pungent taste of briar during break in, they get hot, and some snap and crackle.

Those are tannins inside being heated and boiled and altered by the heat.

After they’ve cooked, the pipe starts smoking cooler, and with better flavor.

Grit your teeth and suffer through it.
 

dublinpiper90

Can't Leave
Jul 31, 2023
452
5,463
North Carolina
I’ll run a pipe cleaner of a high proof alcohol preferably bourbon or a brandy, then I pack the pipe half way with half and half wipe out with paper towel he next bowl and the rest are full bowls
 
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