Different Break In Methods

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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,836
13,904
Humansville Missouri
The Marxman pipes I favor came with these break in instructions:

IMG_6740.jpeg

I’ve read where some pipe smokers load up their brand new pipes and start smoking, claiming no break in procedure at all.

But I think most of us go through a little ceremonious procedure of breaking in a pipe.

Bob Marx’s advice is close to all the other break in instructions I’ve seen.

He does advise removing most of the cake frequently in a time when most others advised leaving a cake the thickness of a dime, otherwise he’s right in line with the others.

I would add, I don’t judge a pipe until I’ve smoked it about a dozen times.

I follow the Marxman method more or less, except I like to use a tiny dab of honey, instead of saliva.

What’s your break in method?
 

telescopes

Pipe Dreamer and Star Gazer
There are some pipes, for whatever reason, would benefit having had a proper break in period. Back in the days when I routinely smoked in 40 mile per hour winds, I would have a pipe or two from time to time burn out on me. The wind seemed to create a movement of heat from the bowl to the outside where the wind and pipe met. I am sure there are other explanations, but it doesn't matter. The pipes I owned that were properly broken in never burned out on me, even in the wind. I should add that where I worked was in one of the world's most consistently windy places - the Palm Springs area is known for its many windmill farms.

I have not had a burnout since I ceased smoking in the heavy winds. I really didn't have a choice back then. I lost too many good pipes to those winds.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,836
13,904
Humansville Missouri
Maybe forty years ago I had something of the problem Marx warned about with my pipes getting a thicker cake on the top than the bottom. Back then I was trying to make a cake the thickness of a dime, now I want just enough carbon residue to say there is a tiny film of cake.

Part of break in, I think is the ceremony itself.

Last week I opened a package and there was a brand new Marxman Jumbo C that is crowding 90 years old, smoked maybe half a bowl.

All the black came off. There was a bare, brown bowl that needed loving attention and care.

A dip of honey, a third of a bowl of Carter Hall, and from now on this pipe is my baby.


Only a parent could love the homely thing.:)

IMG_7238.jpeg

Pride of ownership is the best reason to break in a new pipe, I think.

And it can’t hurt it, you know?
 

didimauw

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 28, 2013
9,964
31,878
34
Burlington WI
There are some pipes, for whatever reason, would benefit having had a proper break in period. Back in the days when I routinely smoked in 40 mile per hour winds, I would have a pipe or two from time to time burn out on me. The wind seemed to create a movement of heat from the bowl to the outside where the wind and pipe met. I am sure there are other explanations, but it doesn't matter. The pipes I owned that were properly broken in never burned out on me, even in the wind. I should add that where I worked was in one of the world's most consistently windy places - the Palm Springs area is known for its many windmill farms.

I have not had a burnout since I ceased smoking in the heavy winds. I really didn't have a choice back then. I lost too many good pipes to those winds.
You wouldn't happen to have any after photos of these would ya??
 
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Jan 28, 2018
13,068
136,835
67
Sarasota, FL
I think that recommendation you posted may have came out before electricity was invented. :LOL: People should break their pipe in however they feel most comfortable. I've broken in hundreds and hundreds of pipes and tried just about every approach. I found coating with honey was a total waste of time. The carbon build up from the honey is not hard, high quality cake. And the vision of making the pipe smoke sweeter is a false one.

If I had to make one recommendation for breaking in a pipe it would be to do so with a Virginia blend. It is the least likely blend to ghost. It burns quite hot and seems to leave a nice, hard cake. If someone is less than an experienced smoker, perhaps the gradual loading is a good idea in order to build up some cake in the bottom of the bowl. When I break in a new pipe these days, I load it up the same as I would for a pipe that had a hundred bowls smoked through it. I smoke it the same. Smokers should definitely avoid over lighting efforts when the bowl is near complete but that is true even after the pipe has been broken in.
 

alaskanpiper

Enabler in Chief
May 23, 2019
9,370
42,526
Alaska
Load as normal, smoke as normal, never had an issue. As Mark said though, I do use VA blends to break in almost everything for multiple reasons. First and foremost, I like them best. Secondly, they burn easy, warm, and even and seem to develop a cake well. And thirdly, they won't ghost, so if the pipe doesn't tickle my fancy after it's broken in, I'm not dooming any future owner to a ghastly poltergeist, thus making selling it easier.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,836
13,904
Humansville Missouri
Only if it's a new and coated chamber: flush with hot water; fill the bowl with sugar. Pour it out, and let dry. Load carefully to not displace the sugar coating. Smoke and enjoy.

The sugar will carbonize, covering the coating. Good to go.

I’ve had the pleasure of opening up maybe a couple of dozen Lee pipes that were either unsmoked or like my last pipe, only smoked a half a bowl.

A fresh or new Lee pipe will taste syrupy sweet for quite a few bowls.

I wonder if Lee didn’t cure his briar in a sugar or other sweeting solution.

I’ll try that sugar trick the next new pipe I get.
 
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