How long to break in Pipes

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will346

New member
Nov 30, 2015
45
0
Hi
I'm new to pipe smoking, well relatively. Started years ago the odd pipe, maybe at Christmas. Cigarette smoker otherwise. Have now switched completely to pipe and have several Peterson pipes. None of them have that 'nutty' flavour people refer to and none of them smoke particularly sweet. I'm smoking mellow virginia. Are they just not broken in or what?

 

briarcudgel

Junior Member
May 6, 2016
84
0
Do you have an appreciable amount of cake, do you run a pipecleaner through after every bowl, do you clean the shank and stem of tars with Everclear after a period of use? All of these can contribute to a less than sweet pipe. As far as the nutty flavor, try smoking some Burley. Breaking in a pipe on Prince Albert or Carter Hall tends to do a quick and good job.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
36,083
37,147
Be fussy about cleaning pipes after each use. Be sure they're stored where they dry out well. For now, I'd do what some of us do all the time, avoid cake building and scoop and wipe out the bowl with a paper towel, napkin, etc. after each use. Do a good general cleaning of the pipes, remove stems, thorough pipe cleaning, to get re-started. Also, I'd get a quality Missouri Meerschaum cob or two, since they are easy to keep clean and smoke pretty dry, generally. I think these steps will eliminate the funky flavor and give you a sweeter smoke.

 

bigpond

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2014
2,019
12
Depends on the pipe. If your Peterson's came with a bowl coating (black inner bowl) then you may not get much of a nutty sweetness from the briar. I've found Peterson's tend to loose a bit of the flavor from the bowl coating (acrid) after the 4th smoke or so.
Nutty and sweet are descriptors that come from tobacco and briar both. What are you smoking? Keep in mind most Va's benefit from a slow and cool smoke.

 

jefff

Preferred Member
May 28, 2015
1,915
2
Chicago
In the past, I have sanded coated bowls. I'm not sure if this would work on a Peterson dip stained pipe.
The last one I did was an Eltang cutty. Tom is a fine carver but he puts the coating on thick.
I start with 220 and stop at 400 grit. It has served me well.

 

samanden

Member
Jun 11, 2013
238
30
Alexandria, VA
I started pipe smoking with a Peterson as well. Bigpond is right; Peterson's black bowl coating makes for a terrible first few smokes. Since I was new to pipes at the time, I didn't think to sand off the coating as Jeff describes, so I was left to tough it out; was like smoking the leg off a coffee table.
Having gone through that, my advice for breaking in any pipe is 100 smokes. After 100 smokes you'll notice an improvement. That Peterson has 400 smokes or more and is one of my most consistent pipes. I've dedicated that pipe to VaPers and always look forward to it when it comes around in the rotation.

 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
19,684
14,750
Carmel Valley, CA
Time and number of bowls?? It can vary widely.
If a pipe is a bit sour, and other cleaning advice is followed, I'd remove the bit, and do a thorough cleaning of the mortise. But put the stem back in right after so the area doesn't overdry and cause a loose fit for the tenon.

 

davet

Preferred Member
May 9, 2015
3,813
286
Estey's Bridge N.B Canada
Finally broke in :rofl:


 

samanden

Member
Jun 11, 2013
238
30
Alexandria, VA
Yup, 100 smokes has worked for me. I've got 12 pipes and they all smoke great after hitting that 100 threshold. But of course, it may be considerably more or less depending on one's disposition.

 

tmb152

Senior Member
Apr 26, 2016
392
3
Peterson makes a nice pipe. If you want a sweeter smoke, try Mac Barens Virginia no.1.

 

atboth

Junior Member
Dec 7, 2012
58
0
It usually takes twelve to fifteen smokes for a basic break-in, around thirty for a proper job. In the case of Dunhills considerably more, for Savinellis you will often find that it's nice by around the sixth or seventh.

This assumes, of course, that you sanded out the nasty pre-carbon that some manufacturers coat the inside with.

 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
18,042
38,187
63
Sarasota Florida
I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news but Peterson pipes never break in. You can smoke them for 20 years 5 times a day and they will not break in. Sorry.
Well maybe after 20 years they will.

 

jefff

Preferred Member
May 28, 2015
1,915
2
Chicago
On some pipes i find the first smoke to be the best... at least for a while. Both Castello and Tinsky have a bright flavor that really pleases me.
After that, I find 20 bowls breaks it in. Shortly after that it settles in and reveals it's self, becoming great again. At 100, it is an old friend. If it can't make 100, it goes.
Hell, if it can't make 20, it goes. Life it to short to smoke shitty pipes.

 

ahmadothman

Preferred Member
Apr 26, 2016
751
3
Egypt
Well, I actually rarely break in a pipe in the standard procedure.. I just get a full packed bowl and smoke it till the end slowly and try not to make it overheat..It works out every time and start collecting cake quite well.. I defer from scrapping it with my tool and use a soft tissue to get any residue out of it.. And it turns out okay

 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
19,684
14,750
Carmel Valley, CA
I don't care for the first few bowls of any new pipe, but after a half dozen to a dozen or so, I am pretty good to go with a quality pipe. And I've broken in the old tried and true way of partial bowls as well as pack her up full and light; no discernible difference after a dozen smokes.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
36,083
37,147
To answer the question in the title, I'd generalize twelve to twenty bowls to break in a pipe, so it smokes well, whether you are a cake builder or prefer not to do that. However, some pipes take a long time to reach their prime smoking point after being broken in. I have a Peterson rusticated slightly bent author that was okay for several years and then hit its stride as a fine big-bowled cooker. I'm not sure what made it turn the corner, but it is a definite improvement. It was satisfactory before, but is good now.

 
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