Breaking in an Uncoated New Pipe

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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,843
14,009
Humansville Missouri
Old school, and one I'd recommend to a new smoker:

Fill half way with a tobacco that's ok. Smoke slowly to the bottom. Repeat 4-5 times, then load and smoke as usual.

Enjoy!
This is excellent advice.

I’d add that coating the inside of the bowl with a dab of honey (not too much,,,just a little) never hurt the process.

And I’d also emphasize smoking all the way down to the air hole, for the first dozen or so smokes.

I am convinced the break in process uses heat to further cure the briar.

After a dozen or two smokes, the briar pipe is good for many, many thousands more and it’s better, than it was when new.
 

sparker69

Part of the Furniture Now
Feb 25, 2022
706
3,693
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
One other tip: don't go nuts trying to burn every last bit of tobacco at the bottom of the bowl. You can char the draft hole that way. If the bowl seems to be almost done, and it's not taking a light, go ahead and dump it.
An interesting comment. I had read that you had to smoke it completely to the bottom, but I think your comment makes more sense. They explained that was why you only start with half bowls - to make sure you smoke it right down.
 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
41,210
60,542
I always give extra points to a new pipe that arrives uncoated. It gives credit to experienced smokers who know how to pack and smoke a pipe, and who mostly sip and smoke slowly, and don't puff wildly and heat up the ember. If you have reached that level of technical knowhow, just pack it and smoke it.

I'm not a cake builder, so after a smoke, I just scoop out the ash, clean the airway with a pipe cleaner, buff off the briar and stem with a paper towel or cloth, and wipe out the bowl with the paper towel. This maintains a thin carbon layer in the chamber but retains the original diameter of the chamber for the life of the pipe thus eliminating the need for reaming and the damage that can do.

Once you have the basics of pipe smoking down, you don't have to change your habits for an uncoated chamber. Just pack and smoke away.
 

JohnnyBeach

Might Stick Around
May 21, 2024
51
28
This is excellent advice.

I’d add that coating the inside of the bowl with a dab of honey (not too much,,,just a little) never hurt the process.

And I’d also emphasize smoking all the way down to the air hole, for the first dozen or so smokes.

I am convinced the break in process uses heat to further cure the briar.

After a dozen or two smokes, the briar pipe is good for many, many thousands more and it’s better, than it was when new.
I have a fairly new pipe that is building a cake in the upper 2/3 of the bowl, but shows raw wood at the bottom because I have not been able to smoke all the way down.
I have a problem with tongue burn that must be from the tar on the tobacco. No matter how slow I smoke, I get the burn.
Should I try coating the bottom with honey? I don't think it could be worse than what I have, now.
 

BingBong

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 26, 2024
610
2,578
London UK
I have a fairly new pipe that is building a cake in the upper 2/3 of the bowl, but shows raw wood at the bottom because I have not been able to smoke all the way down.
I have a problem with tongue burn that must be from the tar on the tobacco. No matter how slow I smoke, I get the burn.
Should I try coating the bottom with honey? I don't think it could be worse than what I have, now.
Could try coating your tongue with honey? Manuka, for healing.
 
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ThomasS

Can't Leave
Apr 30, 2024
312
3,213
51
Bayfield, WI
For all of the briars I get whether new or estate, I am in the "just smoke it like usual" camp. I rarely if ever manage to get all the way to the bottom before the small amount of "unburnt" dottle is kinda nasty tasting charcoal that I don't want to smoke anymore anyway so I just don't worry about the very bottom of the bowl.

It's a little different for the cherry and black walnut ones I made myself, but that tale might horrify some so I'll leave that off for now. ;)
 
Aug 11, 2022
2,493
19,498
Cedar Rapids, IA
I have a fairly new pipe that is building a cake in the upper 2/3 of the bowl, but shows raw wood at the bottom because I have not been able to smoke all the way down.
I have a problem with tongue burn that must be from the tar on the tobacco. No matter how slow I smoke, I get the burn.
Should I try coating the bottom with honey? I don't think it could be worse than what I have, now.

I think that's the fate of a lot of pipes throughout history. People fill them to the top, have good smoking for the top half, and then it gets too wet in the bottom half for cake to form, and the increased moisture leads to tongue burn. I agree with @jpmcwjr, smoke a few partial bowls (skip the honey because it can add to the moisture problem) and you should have better luck breaking in the lower half of the chamber.

Heck, sometimes I will do that even with a fully broken-in pipe if I don't think I'll have time for a full bowl.
 

JohnnyBeach

Might Stick Around
May 21, 2024
51
28
With a new pipe without coating's I always smoke flake, very slowly, I was taught this over 50yrs ago and it works.
My most serious problem is that I am impatient. I WANT IT NOW! Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to success and that thwarts me on most days. But I am having some success with partial bowls, although I see the cake building up very slowly and most times the smoke becomes bad-tasting toward the end.
 
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dad-o-nine

Starting to Get Obsessed
Mar 14, 2020
103
1,715
Missouri
My most serious problem is that I am impatient. I WANT IT NOW! Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to success and that thwarts me on most days. But I am having some success with partial bowls, although I see the cake building up very slowly and most times the smoke becomes bad-tasting toward the end.
Ah, yes. Patience is the ultimate virtue with any new pipe, but especially an uncoated bowl. Half bowls are a must for maybe 10 times. A good Flake like HalOTheWynd is what I use. Not too hot a Flake. Do not try to light the dottle or you may burn the air hole.
 

Choatecav

Starting to Get Obsessed
Dec 19, 2023
240
671
Middle Tennessee
Fill it, light it, and smoke it.
I've noticed on this forum there are questions galore on how to break in, how to pack, how to smoke, how to prevent tongue bite, how to this, that and another. In follow up to those questions are many lengthy, drawn-out and complex answers.
That said, in almost every single example, it is the simplest and most elementary approaches and answers that seem to be the best. This is a simple and relaxing hobby and if ever the phrase, "Less is more" is applicable.... pipe smoking is that case.

Of course, that is my opinion and it, along with two bucks, will get you a cup of coffee. Which, by the way, pairs wonderfully with a pipe. :col:
 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
44,056
112,292
I've noticed on this forum there are questions galore on how to break in, how to pack, how to smoke, how to prevent tongue bite, how to this, that and another. In follow up to those questions are many lengthy, drawn-out and complex answers.
That said, in almost every single example, it is the simplest and most elementary approaches and answers that seem to be the best. This is a simple and relaxing hobby and if ever the phrase, "Less is more" is applicable.... pipe smoking is that case.

Of course, that is my opinion and it, along with two bucks, will get you a cup of coffee. Which, by the way, pairs wonderfully with a pipe. :col:
Over thinking is pipe smoking's worst enemy.