Different Break In Methods

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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
When you think about it, a briar pipe just really shouldn’t work.

The idea is to kindle upteen thousand little fires inside a piece of wood. It’s even more improbable a corn cob can serve as a pipe.


But as our friend telescopes relates, briar pipes sometimes burn out in the wind, but otherwise burnout is rare.

One thing I’m completely convinced of is Marxman pipes are easy to break in.

But whether you use honey or spit or smoke it dry, even a Marxman exudes a whisp of burning briar aroma on the first bowl or two.

But tonight after maybe a half dozen smokes, finally filled all the way up with Six Pence, my Marxman Jumbo C is broke in and ready to smoke thousands more bowls.

But why does a brand new pipe seem to get hot to hold, until it’s broken in?

Does the heat of the ember cure the briar out all the way and make it more of an insulator?

The carbon film on my Jumbo C is razor thin. Could that tiny amount act as an insulator?
 

telescopes

Pipe Dreamer and Star Gazer
The insulation on the Apollo space capsules that made up the heat shield was not that thick considering what it was designed to do. I remember looking at the heat shield on an actual space capsule in the late 60s.

But the question you ask, why does a pipe get hot when others don't. - that is a heatedly debated topic. Personally, I think that may have more to do with the density of the briar, the cut of the grain, and the thick or thinness of the chamber walls, everything else being equal such as the smoker.

I have had some pipes just burn hot. Those were the ones that the wind burned out because I was unable to control the other variables myself. I do think a carbon cake would have helped . In each case, the pipes were new.
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
The insulation on the Apollo space capsules that made up the heat shield was not that thick considering what it was designed to do. I remember looking at the heat shield on an actual space capsule in the late 60s.

But the question you ask, why does a pipe get hot when others don't. - that is a heatedly debated topic. Personally, I think that may have more to do with the density of the briar, the cut of the grain, and the thick or thinness of the chamber walls, everything else being equal such as the smoker.

I have had some pipes just burn hot. Those were the ones that the wind burned out because I was unable to control the other variables myself. I do think a carbon cake would have helped . In each case, the pipes were new.

I’ll bet my latest Jumbo C heard the announcement of the start of WW2. It’s 85+ years old. The briar used in it was cured and aged at least five years. It’s so large the burl had to be sixty years, at minimum.

The point is my pipe had a long, long time to age, and no pipe I own has thicker walls.

And the carefully smoked first third of a bowl of Carter Hall got it hot, and it smelled like burning briar.

About eight bowls in this pipe is like smoking a thermos mug. I could get it hot I suppose, but with my regular cadence I don’t.


There’s a tiny film of carbon now, and in addition about all of the right side is turning oxblood, from the heat or smoke or something.

Maybe it’s both the carbon film and some alteration of the fibrous structure of the wood, that insulates it.
 
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Peterson314

Can't Leave
Sep 13, 2019
430
3,264
I'm on team stuff-'n-puff.

I can see why burning sugar or honey would accelerate a carbon coating, but I've never understood what the partial-bowl method is supposed to do.
 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
24,715
27,315
Carmel Valley, CA
Smoke it down to the bottom sounds like smoke a dottle. Yuk.
It need not. Depends on your definition of dottle! For many, dottle is unsmoked tobacco, whenever you've finished with the bowl.
I usually have little to no dottle, and as I smoke tobacco that's been dried, have no trouble smoking it down, till it's all ash.
 
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Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
It need not. Depends on your definition of dottle! For many, dottle is unsmoked tobacco, whenever you've finished with the bowl.
I usually have little to no dottle, and as I smoke tobacco that's been dried, have no trouble smoking it down, till it's all ash.

I usually do not smoke all the way down to the hole, except on break in.

The first reason is I actually read all those little fold out break in instructions when I started. They advise to do that.

The other is, I like a smooth black bowl all the way down.

It just looks better to me, somehow.
 
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Peterson314

Can't Leave
Sep 13, 2019
430
3,264
It need not. Depends on your definition of dottle! For many, dottle is unsmoked tobacco, whenever you've finished with the bowl.
I usually have little to no dottle, and as I smoke tobacco that's been dried, have no trouble smoking it down, till it's all ash.
I've dumped plenty of blends at 1/3 bowl that I thought were cashed, and some blends just start tasting like crap at the end.

Recently, I've been focusing on emptying jars of old stuff, and it's dry as British comedy. I know when I've finished a 5-year-old bowl of MacB Scottish Mixture when I get a mouthful of ash on an unadvised relight.
 

telescopes

Pipe Dreamer and Star Gazer
In high school there was this "kid" who would sit at the table in the cafeteria and would take his food and smear it on his face while everyone else would be enjoying their nice meals. He would take Suzy Qs and smash them up his nose as well as lick buggers off the cafeteria walls.

Why did he do this?

Because he could. Because he enjoyed shocking everyone around him.

No doubt, this kid grew up to be a country lawyer who enjoyed buying the ugliest pipes in all the nation.
 

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
In high school there was this "kid" who would sit at the table in the cafeteria and would take his food and smear it on his face while everyone else would be enjoying their nice meals. He would take Suzy Qs and smash them up his nose as well as lick buggers off the cafeteria walls.

Why did he do this?

Because he could. Because he enjoyed shocking everyone around him.

No doubt, this kid grew up to be a country lawyer who enjoyed buying the ugliest pipes in all the nation.

When I was a kid I put a lot of mustard on things, while at lunch. Mustard is one of the best chip dips I know of, it’s good on French fries, gives zest to school lunch soy burgers, it’s even good on bread as a mustard sandwich.

My friend Johnny once dared me to put mustard on my peaches.

Mustard on peaches is edible, just tolerable. Cottage cheese is better.

But watching me eat mustard on my peaches, made Johnny puke, and they got all mad at me, for making Johnny sick.

There just ain’t no justice in this world, I suppose.
 
Last edited:

Briar Lee

Lifer
Sep 4, 2021
4,835
13,901
Humansville Missouri
View attachment 292039Not every Marxman is ugly. I’ll never understand the need to buy an ugly pipe when their are other choices.

Your oxblood colored Marxman was once puke tan plain ugly.

Ten bowls in my ugly Marxman has helped it color noticeably.

Not only has the color changed, on the polished parts now there is grain visible, I couldn’t see when it was blondish tan.

At the Marx factory all they had to do in order to grade the blocks was wet them, the same as stock blanks are graded.
 
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