How Long Should a Bowl Last?

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sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
11,035
5,497
This is a very, very complex question, one that requires a lot of experience, meditation and study. One cannot approach this search for an answer without feeling some extreme level of trepidation. May pipe smokers have heatedly debated this question. Friendships have been destroyed over it. Duels have been fought over it. Fortunes have risen or fallen over it.

I have certainly devoted much of my waking existence to acquiring the knowledge necessary to contemplate a possible answer that won't see me incarcerated in a sanitarium.

And so, after nearly 49 years of smoking a pipe, I think I have stumbled upon something that could well be described as definitive. Here is the culmination of a lifetime of experience.

How long should a bowl last?

It should last until it is finished.

There you have it. No need to thank me.
 

F4RM3R

Member
Nov 28, 2019
180
417
34
Canada
If the majority of your smokes are of a short length then get a small pipe. I prefer to smoke the whole bowl myself, but relights are fine too. If I don't got alot of time I just choose a smaller pipe.

I also smoke in about the 45 min range, I usually smoke medium size pipes but I'm a constant sipper. I can make it last longer but usually don't because I have other non pipe smoking things to do.
 

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Blackbeard_

New member
Jul 31, 2020
3
8
Aus
I have what I'll call trouble and what others might call a blessing when smoking my pipes. Lately I've only been filling them halfway, and yet they still smoke for 45 minutes to an hour. If it's 2/3 full, it can go an hour and 15 minutes, even if the tobacco is drier than it should be.

Everyone says smoke slow, for several reasons. A lot of people here also say they finish in 30 to 45 minutes--and that's for full bowls! That doesn't sound slow to me. If I want to finish even half a bowl in 30 minutes, I would have to constantly puff; every breath I take would have to be a puff from my pipe.

If I go any faster than my current rate, the outside of the pipe gets hot, I get tongue bite, and the tobacco gurgles. And that's with goopy aromatics like Drew Estates' 7th Avenue Blonde, straight VAs in shag and broken-flake form (Kendal Gold and McClelland No. 27), burleys (Carter Hall, Prince Albert), English or Balkan blends (I don't know the difference, but Plum Pudding, John Bull Royal English, and Frog Morton's Cellar are my examples). You name it, I get these problems if I smoke faster than my current super-slow rate.

Thirty minutes to smoke a pipe sounds good. How can people smoke full pipes slowly for a cooler temperature and no gurgle and still be done in 30 minutes? I know I must be doing something wrong.
i had the opposite problem where I was smashing bowls in 15-25 minutes.

obviously it varies from pipe to pipe but I’d say my avg time is about an hour per bowl now.

As others have said, as long as you’re enjoying it keep doing so.

As for time, as a dad of two young lads I’ll often wake up at 530/6am just so I have a few hours to myself to smoke my pipe in peace
 

saltedplug

Preferred Member
Aug 20, 2013
3,444
780
If I take a full size flake like a Rotary Navy Cut and put it in a group 5 pipe, it will normally smoke for 1.5 to 2 hours. I am a firm believer that a nice hard cake will make a pipe smoke cooler and more flavorful especially if you are dedicating in genres or specific blends. I break in every pipe I own the same way.
I fill it to the top, smoke it to the bottom and always use some type of Va,Vaper or Vabur flake or plug. This builds a nice hard cake after a dozen or so bowls and after each bowl I take a couple of soft pipe cleaners and wipe the bowl of loose tobacco and ash the next day. I have found letting the cake cool over night hardens it nicely.
Your descriptions of your smoking are always so detailed and precise. Makes me suspect that you know what you're doing!
 

Country Bladesmith

Preferred Member
May 2, 2020
1,355
6,156
Louisiana
I will say Havanas are an exception to this rule - you can let them go out, cool down, knock off any grey ash and save for a day or 2 in a Ziploc in the freezer (or out in an air-conditioned room). I've done this many times (out of necessity, not by choice). The only ill effect is upon first lighting, it's a bit muddled until you get past the old char.

I have never had this experience with Dominicans, Nicaraguans and the like.
I tried to relight a Punch Habana once and it was garbage on the relight. I’m not arguing your experience, but I would not say your experience is an across-the-board thing. I did not put it in a freezer and all that though. I smoked about 1/4 of it, then there was an emergency I had to tend to. Came back to it a couple hours later and finished it, but it was definitely not as good. Tasted like your typical relit cigar. 🤷‍♂️
 

GlassMan

New member
Jul 13, 2020
44
87
Tempe
This is an interesting topic because I can RARELY get a bowl of anything to last over 30 minutes in any pipe. Plum pudding sr in my massive neerup is the longest smoke I ever have. But any rubbed out VA in my castello or radices is rarely over 30 minutes. I also hate relights, so I try to keep it going at all costs. But yes, my pipes get hot. I only smoke about a bowl a day, so I don’t think I’m doing any damage. I have a minuscule Ropp that I’ll smoke a power bowl through if I’m jonesing (just quit vaping....)
 

pantsBoots

New member
Jul 21, 2020
44
93
Ain't no place I'd rather be
I tried to relight a Punch Habana once and it was garbage on the relight. I’m not arguing your experience, but I would not say your experience is an across-the-board thing. I did not put it in a freezer and all that though. I smoked about 1/4 of it, then there was an emergency I had to tend to. Came back to it a couple hours later and finished it, but it was definitely not as good. Tasted like your typical relit cigar. 🤷‍♂️
Inconsistency in a Havana cigar? You don't say! Oddly enough, from memory it seems I've done this most with the Por Larrañaga Monte Carlos, a long n skinny cigar I smoke regularly. Perhaps the vitola dictates how well it works?

While I would love to know the answer, with current shipping woes and price hiking going about, I'll stick to cigars when I know I have the time to enjoy them and pipes for the remainder.
 
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jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
16,532
7,403
Monterey Peninsula
I never really concern myself with time of smoke. I smoke till I'm done. If i want more reload and go again. Smoking a pipe is to be enjoyed. I guess I dont get the technical side of it.
Totally agree on the smoking side of the equation. But as to how dry the tobacco is, how to care for the pipe, I try to get a bit scientific. Maybe a lot compared to how I read others.
 
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mortonbriar

Preferred Member
Oct 25, 2013
1,246
818
I think there is room here for one more....opinion?

Get a small bowled pipe! There are a lot of nice options in briar, cob and clay.

Also, having a half smoked bowl kicking around to light back up later for shorter intervals can be handy too. I often pack another full bowl late enough in the day that I just end up smoking most of it the following day, run a pipe cleaner through before you put it down if you want but it certainly does not have that soggy cigar problem.
 
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lawdawg

Preferred Member
Aug 25, 2016
1,109
1,260
I never really concern myself with time of smoke. I smoke till I'm done. If i want more reload and go again. Smoking a pipe is to be enjoyed. I guess I dont get the technical side of it.
I only consider the technical side of pipe smoking as a means to more enjoyment. I will say that in the past years, treating it like a bit of a science and making a point to experiment with various levels of dryness of tobacco and firmness of packing for various blends has really helped me to get the most flavor and enjoyment out of my pipes. Done well, smoking a pipe is a science, but feels in practice like an art.
 
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saltedplug

Preferred Member
Aug 20, 2013
3,444
780
This is a very, very complex question, one that requires a lot of experience, meditation and study. One cannot approach this search for an answer without feeling some extreme level of trepidation. May pipe smokers have heatedly debated this question. Friendships have been destroyed over it. Duels have been fought over it. Fortunes have risen or fallen over it.

I have certainly devoted much of my waking existence to acquiring the knowledge necessary to contemplate a possible answer that won't see me incarcerated in a sanitarium.

And so, after nearly 49 years of smoking a pipe, I think I have stumbled upon something that could well be described as definitive. Here is the culmination of a lifetime of experience.

How long should a bowl last?

It should last until it is finished.

There you have it. No need to thank me.
"Friendships have been destroyed over it. Duels have been fought over it. Fortunes have risen or fallen over it."
True, too true.
In sum, brilliant! Brilliant, I say!

I've thought that burning a bowl is a negotiation between technique and cut, moisture and the innate qualities of combustion of a particular type of tobacco. The practiced smoker, I should say the very practiced smoker, assesses them and adjusts his draw accordingly. In this taste is his guide, and perhaps he establishes that with this smoke in conjunction with memories of past smokes of the same or similar tobacco. He knows what his taste is looking for and adjusts his draw to get it.

(I never did any of this; just cogitating.)
 

PipesRock

Junior Member
Jan 21, 2020
94
410
Florida
Holy cow. My evening smoke was HU Louisiana Broken in a Rossi Lucca 8111 and at 105 min I was done even though I had a fair amount of very smoke-able good "dottle" left in the bowl. About 8-9 relights, 2 or 3 in first half and 5 or 6 in second. This pipe will be 2/3 bowls most often and very few full ones. I was getting loopy at 100 min in so I'm not responsible for whatever I posted just before this one somewhere else in the forums. ;)
 
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