How to smoke a clay.

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undecagon

Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2011
593
0
Chicago, IL
Well, my clay should be here when I get home today, so I wanted to get some input on the mechanics of the things.
1) I've read no pipe cleaners, as they're likely to snap the thing. True?

2) In my other thread on the topic, I was told not to put the bare clay in my mouth or else my skin will need the repair and maintenace! I've since read of wax, or dunking in beer. Any other suggestions? What type of wax? I was thinking just some chap-stick, but am worried about taste. Would chal stick on the lips alone be enough or would i need to coat up the end of the pipe? The beer seems like a better idea, but I don't drink beer too often, will scotch work? And really, is this 100% a must? I don't remember seeing Bill the butcher or reading of Sherlock prep their clays for smoking...

3) How often do you clean, and what method do you use? I want mine to get all blackened up, but if it starts to smoke bad and must be cleaned, I like the sound of burring it in the coals of a hot fire.
Thanks!

 

cleidophoros

Member
Dec 12, 2012
118
0
Hi
1. Bad idea yes. Airway is most probably not completely open or it's crooked and especially with a churchwarden clay stem could snap if you try and force a cleaner into it.
2. Many clays have a glazed tip such as this one here http://www.pipomarket.com/images/products/00/19/20/1920_buyuk.jpg

If it's not glazed yeah it might be a problem indeed. If you are a cigarette smoker you might be familiar with this problem; it happens when your lips are dry and the cigarette (in this case clay) gets stuck to your lip. Might indeed take part of your lip with it. Just wetting your lips should solve it most of the time.

I have one of these http://www.pipomarket.com/images/products/00/19/19/1919_buyuk.jpg and a churchwarden clay without a glazed tip; I didn't have any problems so far.

You could use carnauba wax I suppose. Or if you don't mind the taste you could use a plastic bit, the ones used with vulcanite stems or even just a bit of sellotape.
3. I haven't cleaned mine yet after almost 50 uses. You could put it in fire or even in on oven to clean it. Some say clays crack in fire, others say they crack in oven; YMMW.

 

taerin

Preferred Member
May 22, 2012
1,851
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1. Never found a clay in danger of snapping from a pipe cleaner, I use them on my clays no problem, mabey if it was a really thin clay and a poorly made airway, there could be a problem.
2. The type of clay pipe you ordered comes feeling like rough coral, I use the wax to make it feel smooth, I just use ordinary pipewax, I have used chapstick before and it works fine. Since clays absorb really really well, they take quite a bit of waxing when you first get one.
3. I just use a pipecleaner very roughly in a U shape around the bowl to help keep a cake from forming, if one does I just dip a bristled one in everclear and do the same thing. I'll also use a bristled one down the shank in alcohol if I had to do the bowl. The whole cleaning by fire or oven thing kind of defeats the coloring of the clay, I would just let it be when it comes to deep cleaning.

 

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thesmokindragon

Preferred Member
Jul 12, 2011
3,811
5
1.) I do use cleaners, just be careful not to put pressure on stem

2.) I dip untreated ends in a little beer or single malt , takes care of that

3.) A deep-fire coal bath does wonders if you get a blockage, but

otherwise I like the look of a heavily used clay

 
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