Good Way to Prepare GH flakes?

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ParkitoATL

Can't Leave
Mar 11, 2023
378
1,419
Atlanta, GA
I smoke a LOT of GH flake, and after 15 years of messing with different preps, finally settled on this:

--- cut the "bacon strips" into 3/8"--1/2" long pieces "against the grain" with a pair of sharp scissors
.......
PS --- don't worry about the gravity pack falling out. Heat will quickly expand the tobacco against the sides of the chamber and lock everything in place.
Like The Cars said: "I think that's just what I needed!"
 

ParkitoATL

Can't Leave
Mar 11, 2023
378
1,419
Atlanta, GA
I smoke a LOT of GH flake, and after 15 years of messing with different preps, finally settled on this:
So what are your favorites the GH line? So far I really like Ennerdale and have had some great results with Kendal Flake, though somewhat muddled by a poor burn. #7 Broken Flake was like smoking incense which really surprised me. Also have Bob's Square Cut and Dark Flake Unscented which I haven't tried yet.
 
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renfield

Lifer
Oct 16, 2011
4,680
35,873
Kansas
2 thoughts come to mind.

If a tobacco is so difficult to smoke that it needs a thread dedicated to it, is it worth it?

And do we think that the pipe smokers of the past also had this much thinking involved in whatthey were smoking/how they prepped it?
Yes, to the first question, IMO. Many of the Gawith flakes are unique.

Whether they’re your thing or not needs to be determined by the individual.

To the second question, I wonder as well. Back when smoking a pipe was just something many people did, and not a “hobby”, I’m sure there was a simple, practical and expedient approach taken. Perhaps the blends weren’t as moist as they are today. Who knows?
 

simong

Lifer
Oct 13, 2015
2,714
16,222
UK
I smoke a LOT of GH flake, and after 15 years of messing with different preps, finally settled on this:

--- cut the "bacon strips" into 3/8"--1/2" long pieces "against the grain" with a pair of sharp scissors

--- put the segments into the palm of one hand and scrub-smear-grind as hard as possible (not kidding) with the other over a paper plate

--- grab any larger pieces that fall and keep adding them back into the "palm grinder" until everything is soft and has a "fluffed" feeling to it.

--- release everything into a pile on the paper plate, and pull apart any tangle-y clumps or knots until the pile is beautifully even in density

--- taco the plate and slide the pile into a hand-sized wire strainer, and shake and tap the strainer until the dust and finer bits stop falling through

--- then gravity fill the bowl ONE SMALL PINCH at a time, tapping frequently as you go to settle and interlock the fuzzy-fluffy pieces of tobacco into a Magic Balanced Matrix of tobacco and airspace

--- Test the draw, add ONE pinch and press level, then test the draw again. Repeat until the draw is perfect.

--- Top with a pinch of the dust if desired to make the initial light easier

--- Result? It tastes great, draws perfectly, and burns like an underground coal seam fire. (Last night I had one bowl last over two hours without a relight.)


PS --- don't worry about the gravity pack falling out. Heat will quickly expand the tobacco against the sides of the chamber and lock everything in place.


View attachment 222319
Paper plate tacos, baking sieves…….’Bake Off’ level of preparation there George.
IMG_2918.gif
 
Jan 30, 2020
2,053
6,752
New Jersey
To the second question, I wonder as well. Back when smoking a pipe was just something many people did, and not a “hobby”, I’m sure there was a simple, practical and expedient approach taken. Perhaps the blends weren’t as moist as they are today. Who knows?
I'd imagine they did since "back in the day" is where all the BS wives tales came from and were passed on to everyone. Cake, "imported briar", all the wacky designs to out-weird the factory next to them, break in methods, packing methods......the list goes on.

I think it's at least some evidence a good number of people have been playing around with everything at least 100 or so years ago.
 

simong

Lifer
Oct 13, 2015
2,714
16,222
UK
2 thoughts come to mind.

If a tobacco is so difficult to smoke that it needs a thread dedicated to it, is it worth it?

And do we think that the pipe smokers of the past also had this much thinking involved in whatthey were smoking/how they prepped it?
I’ve yet to come across a British made flake that ‘needs’ that type of preparation. Each to their own of course.

Both my grandfather’s smoked pipes. Flakes, plugs & twists. Never saw them (or anybody) go to the extremes of preparation that you see on forums.
 

Piping Abe

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 27, 2021
573
1,584
North Dakota, USA
I’ve yet to come across a British made flake that ‘needs’ that type of preparation. Each to their own of course.

Both my grandfather’s smoked pipes. Flakes, plugs & twists. Never saw them (or anybody) go to the extremes of preparation that you see on forums.

Thank you for your insight. I love these blends, as a lot here do.

Always curious about how things have changed and why they changed.
 
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jpberg

Lifer
Aug 30, 2011
3,083
7,121
I’ve yet to come across a British made flake that ‘needs’ that type of preparation. Each to their own of course.

Both my grandfather’s smoked pipes. Flakes, plugs & twists. Never saw them (or anybody) go to the extremes of preparation that you see on forums.
Right answer, finally.
 
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ParkitoATL

Can't Leave
Mar 11, 2023
378
1,419
Atlanta, GA
I smoke a LOT of GH flake, and after 15 years of messing with different preps, finally settled on this:

--- cut the "bacon strips" into 3/8"--1/2" long pieces "against the grain" with a pair of sharp scissors

--- put the segments into the palm of one hand and scrub-smear-grind as hard as possible (not kidding) with the other over a paper plate

--- grab any larger pieces that fall and keep adding them back into the "palm grinder" until everything is soft and has a "fluffed" feeling to it.

--- release everything into a pile on the paper plate, and pull apart any tangle-y clumps or knots until the pile is beautifully even in density

--- taco the plate and slide the pile into a hand-sized wire strainer, and shake and tap the strainer until the dust and finer bits stop falling through

--- then gravity fill the bowl ONE SMALL PINCH at a time, tapping frequently as you go to settle and interlock the fuzzy-fluffy pieces of tobacco into a Magic Balanced Matrix of tobacco and airspace

--- Test the draw, add ONE pinch and press level, then test the draw again. Repeat until the draw is perfect.
This has been a game changer for me. Haven't had to use the sieve yet, but overall, these flakes are smoking 100% better now. Last night, I smoked a bowl of Kendal Flake in my small Peterson 05 Calabash, and it smoked for over an hour. Needed a few relights but tasted so lovely. Thanks again!
 
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AJL67

Lifer
May 26, 2022
5,501
28,082
Florida - Space Coast
2 thoughts come to mind.

If a tobacco is so difficult to smoke that it needs a thread dedicated to it, is it worth it?

And do we think that the pipe smokers of the past also had this much thinking involved in whatthey were smoking/how they prepped it?
There are already a dozen threads here and more elsewhere about prepping all types of tobaccos.
 

jaingorenard

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 11, 2022
649
3,036
Norwich, UK
I’ve yet to come across a British made flake that ‘needs’ that type of preparation. Each to their own of course.

Both my grandfather’s smoked pipes. Flakes, plugs & twists. Never saw them (or anybody) go to the extremes of preparation that you see on forums.
I've begun to wonder recently if climate or export or something makes a bigger difference than we realise. Every pipe smoker I know in the UK smokes G&H blends at least occasionally, and I know no one who uses any different preparation method for them. I've never had a problem getting Ennerdale or any other G&H flake to burn. I let them dry a bit out of the tin, but not crispy, and I usually rub them out to a greater or lesser extent.
 

pip01

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 3, 2018
519
6,593
NJ
I really rub out the flakes well on a plate and then let it sit outside in direct sunlight for 10 mins. Perfect all the time. Add a few more minutes of drying time for a chopped and rubbed out rope.
 

ParkitoATL

Can't Leave
Mar 11, 2023
378
1,419
Atlanta, GA
I really rub out the flakes well on a plate and then let it sit outside in direct sunlight for 10 mins. Perfect all the time. Add a few more minutes of drying time for a chopped and rubbed out rope.
I never thought about letting it sit in the sun. That would be great for humid days here in Hotlanta.
 

pip01

Part of the Furniture Now
Apr 3, 2018
519
6,593
NJ
I never thought about letting it sit in the sun. That would be great for humid days here in Hotlanta.
Works like a charm. Especially in the summer. It will dry very fast. Just make sure it isn't too windy or it will blow all over the place!!
 
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The Clay King

(Formerly HalfDan)
Oct 2, 2018
6,093
56,614
42
Chesterfield, UK
www.youtube.com
Thanks for all your advice; I kept getting unburned GH Flake in the bottom of my clay pipes! I'll follow your advice on GH flake and also ropes & plugs. I'll have to get some GH twist for re-enactment smoke.
I tend to smoke loose GH tobacco due to it being sold loose and better for the environment than plastic packaging! A re-enactor I met said "you don't want a baccy that burns like gunpowder":)
 
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