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lithicus

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 9, 2023
127
807
Pennsylvania
Well, I have some quibbles with some of these but done really feel like arguing about it.
I wouldn't take offense to it. This is a VERY subjective write up of my own personal experiences and journey. And, even I wasn't completely happy with my attempts at conveying my thoughts. Especially in the breathe method section.

Feedback is honestly appreciated! I can try something new if I don't know it exists and I didn't already think of it. What works for you may not work for me. But, it's always worth a shot! And who knows, maybe it'll help someone else out further down the line! Won't get any arguing from me!! 😂 😝 puffy

Smaller bowls are also good for blending experiments, which you'll do a lot if you go crazy buying samples
That's a very good point! I definitely did a lot of sampling at first with a bunch of 1oz bulk purchases. I thought I liked english blends the most. I do still enjoy them! I actually just got some Father Dempsey I really enjoy! But, I find Va's and VaPer's to be my favorite broadly speaking.
 

Badger307

Lurker
Jan 19, 2024
8
5
  1. Don't be afraid of cuts. I was terrified of anything not ribbon cut at first. I thought certainly
All of this is very helpful. I got a pipe for Christmas and have yet to feel like I was able to taste the tobacco. I feel like I am definitely smoking too deeply and lighting too often. I was worried that it was my pipe so I ordered a MM corncob pipe online. Should be here this week. I also bought an estate pipe at a thrift store that I am cleaning up, Gold Star Diplomat 9130. It was $15 and at least it is made of briar so I felt like it was worth the risk. The one I got for Christmas is made out of ebony and I can't find any reference that is pipe making material. Does anyone have any recommendations for a beginner who can only squeeze in about 15 min at a time to sit and enjoy a pipe? Is it okay to leave tobacco in the bowl and smoke it later? Can I just put in a little bit and smoke that?
 

yanoJL

Lifer
Oct 21, 2022
1,313
3,821
Pismo Beach, California
... Is it okay to leave tobacco in the bowl and smoke it later? Can I just put in a little bit and smoke that?
Absolutely 💯
You can do either or both of those things. I don't always finish a bowl in a single session, especially with Virginia/VaPer blends. In fact, it's so common, there's even a term for it: DGT (Delayed Gratification Technique).
You might find some blends lose their flavor after sitting unattended for a while, others can sit longer.
I often pre-pack a bowl in the evening, even char light too, then get right into it the following morning. And if I don't finish the bowl in a single session, I'll run a pipe cleaner through to soak up any moisture, and put it on a stand until later.
 

lithicus

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 9, 2023
127
807
Pennsylvania
All of this is very helpful.
Good, I'm glad!

I got a pipe for Christmas and have yet to feel like I was able to taste the tobacco.
I have found that Aromatics don't have much of a taste. If you want to be certain to taste tobacco, try an english blend with latakia 🤣 If you don't taste campfire when smoking that I'm not sure what to tell you 😝

I was worried that it was my pipe so I ordered a MM corncob pipe online. Should be here this week. I also bought an estate pipe at a thrift store that I am cleaning up, Gold Star Diplomat 9130. It was $15 and at least it is made of briar so I felt like it was worth the risk.
Can't go wrong with a MM corncob. Inexpensive, but good smokers. I like tinkering and personally think learning how to clean up an estate pipe is a valuable skill. I'd say worth the risk 100%.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a beginner who can only squeeze in about 15 min at a time to sit and enjoy a pipe? Is it okay to leave tobacco in the bowl and smoke it later? Can I just put in a little bit and smoke that?
You could, in time, get a smaller chambered pipe. Something like a Group 1 size. You can also pack your current pipes 1/2 or 1/4 full for shorter smokes. Also, nothing wrong with letting a pipe go out and coming back to it the next day.

Absolutely 💯
You can do either or both of those things. I don't always finish a bowl in a single session, especially with Virginia/VaPer blends. In fact, it's so common, there's even a term for it: DGT (Delayed Gratification Technique).
You might find some blends lose their flavor after sitting unattended for a while, others can sit longer.
I often pre-pack a bowl in the evening, even char light too, then get right into it the following morning. And if I don't finish the bowl in a single session, I'll run a pipe cleaner through to soak up any moisture, and put it on a stand until later.
Agree with everything you said!!
 
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lithicus

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 9, 2023
127
807
Pennsylvania
Thanks for all the great advice. One last quick question. When I sip, is it like the pipe is barely lit and it is just very light amounts of smoke?
Thanks! I'm glad you've found it helpful.

It sounds like a simple question. I find it's not, but I'll do my best to answer. This is based on my opinions and experiences. I always encourage experimentation to find what works best for you. I'm far from an expert!

Sipping to me is effortless and something I try not to think about. If you try to draw on the pipe, you're puffing. If you try to not draw on the pipe, you won't get any smoke into your mouth and the pipe will go out. Sipping is somewhere in between.

Sometimes I draw on a pipe on purpose to bring it back to life if it seems like the ember is going out. I'll also puff and tamp if it seems like the ember is going out. Sometimes I avoid drawing on a pipe on purpose to let the ember settle down. I'll do this as well if the pipe is heating up, but not so hot I have to set it down.

If I just lit my pipe, I might retrohale more smoke. As you get further into the bowl, you won't be blowing clouds of smoke. But in my experience, it's also more than a wisp.

One thing I've noticed lately is that if I'm clenching, sipping, retrohaling, and I randomly take the pipe out of clench to wipe drool off the stem (😝), I can see smoke just inside the button. Smoke is literally just lingering inside of the entire length of the stem. Sipping, I think, is allowing this cool smoke to freely and slowly flow into your mouth. And with practice and occasionally tweaking your cadence, this is enough to keep the pipe lit. Maybe half a dozen relights total. Don't be afraid of relights. It will get better with time.
 
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kbussell

Might Stick Around
Jan 8, 2024
71
144
58
Highlands Ranch, CO
Absolutely 💯
You can do either or both of those things. I don't always finish a bowl in a single session, especially with Virginia/VaPer blends. In fact, it's so common, there's even a term for it: DGT (Delayed Gratification Technique).
You might find some blends lose their flavor after sitting unattended for a while, others can sit longer.
I often pre-pack a bowl in the evening, even char light too, then get right into it the following morning. And if I don't finish the bowl in a single session, I'll run a pipe cleaner through to soak up any moisture, and put it on a stand until later.
My issue is that I can never tell how far I have smoked the bowl down... and I have read posts that make me apprehensive of smoking it all the way to the bottom and have shied-off of too much tamping.
So, it seems I always end up wasting some good tobacco, and I end up dumping it... I've been afraid that the tobacco remnants would taste old and burned. I mentally wrestle with myself saying that tobacco is cheap, and to just pack a fresh bowl... I am glad to hear that I can come back to it!
I have purchased a smaller 'Prince' bowl to experiment with for this very reason and am hoping this arrives by mail-call today.
Thank you for all the tips in this posting.
Smoke-on Brother!
 
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Sigmund

Lifer
Sep 17, 2023
1,479
12,600
France
Dont be afraid of the bottom of the bowl. It tastes a little different but if its good tobacco its not like its offensive and nasty. Smoke until you dont enjoy it. Its a gradual progression at the bottom and some folks like it more than others. If its wet tobacco its not as nice.
 

lithicus

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 9, 2023
127
807
Pennsylvania
My issue is that I can never tell how far I have smoked the bowl down...
This might be one of those things that just comes natural to me. Your tamp, or even your finger, should help you figure out how far down you are. Just stick it down in the chamber and see how far it goes.

I have read posts that make me apprehensive of smoking it all the way to the bottom
That's interesting! I have read that dottle can sometimes be wet. And, it takes a lot of heat so smoke wet dottle. So, you have to be careful about causing burnout in the bottom of the bowl due to the amount of heat it can take to smoke it. You'd feel this heat holding it. However, I've also heard that smoking to the bottom, especially when breaking in a pipe, is important to build cake at the bottom of the chamber. And, this cake will help prevent the bottom of the pipe from getting overly hot.

So, it seems I always end up wasting some good tobacco, and I end up dumping it... I've been afraid that the tobacco remnants would taste old and burned. I mentally wrestle with myself saying that tobacco is cheap, and to just pack a fresh bowl...
If the tobacco remnants taste old and burned and you don't like it, just dump it out. Yea, it may or may not be cheap. But, pipes are to be enjoyed! Don't do something you don't enjoy. If you do not find the remnants off putting, then smoke away!

I am glad to hear that I can come back to it!
Absolutely, I do it all the time when I'm working! It may also help dry some of that dottle, if wet. Hard to say though as it can get quite wet at times depending upon the pipe and how you smoke.

I have purchased a smaller 'Prince' bowl to experiment with for this very reason and am hoping this arrives by mail-call today.
My only small bowl is also a prince! I think you'll like it for shorter smokes. I find it smokes Va/VaPer flakes really well too!

Thank you for all the tips in this posting.
Smoke-on Brother!
Not a problem at all!!

Dont be afraid of the bottom of the bowl. It tastes a little different but if its good tobacco its not like its offensive and nasty. Smoke until you dont enjoy it. Its a gradual progression at the bottom and some folks like it more than others. If its wet tobacco its not as nice.
100%, couldn't agree more!
 
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I have no idea why people say "don't overthink it." I mean, most post that are stupid, usually come from NOT thinking. At what point has one stepped over the thinking line into "over thinking"? So, I am not sure what that means.
If pipes are anything, they are thinking machines. For example, when you say, "smaller chamber," I don't agree. I mean, yes, try a smaller chambered pipe, but I do not agree that this means instantly shorter smokes. I can smoke my smallest pipes for as long as my largest. Some of them. What I suggest is to look for smaller depth of chamber... not just smaller, because there is a ratio. a=diameter, and b=depth, so if you get a a1xb2 ratio 1"x2" chamber, it can smoke for as long as a .5"x1" pipe, in my experience. For a shorter smoke, maybe try something along the lines as a .7"x.9" pipe. This will give you much less burn time.
But, of course experiment with it yourself. Don't hotbox a smaller pipe to get a shorter smoke. Try to keep the cadence as slow as you would a larger pipe.

All in all, this is a very good post. Keep it up, and enjoy the adventure.
 

lithicus

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 9, 2023
127
807
Pennsylvania
I have no idea why people say "don't overthink it." I mean, most post that are stupid, usually come from NOT thinking. At what point has one stepped over the thinking line into "over thinking"? So, I am not sure what that means.
Yea, I can see where you're coming from and I tend to agree. It's easy to say, "don't overthink it." But, that is likely coming from someone who has been smoking for a while and things are second nature to them. Someone new to the hobby might use a torch lighter to light their pipe. Because why not? They aren't thinking about it. They aren't overthinking it. But, we know this is often a bad idea as it can scorch the tobacco removing a lot of flavor or even burn the rim of your pipe. That being said, I'm sure many use a torch with their pipe without complaints.

Some things that are common sense to most seasoned pipe smokers aren't to newcomers.

I think there is a baseline amount of thinking/knowledge required to learn how to smoke a pipe. I'm not sure what the baseline is or when someone is deemed to be overthinking it. My best guess is that when people say this, they mean don't take anything you read or see online too seriously. Discover this hobby for yourself. And, I certainly agree with that!

If pipes are anything, they are thinking machines. For example, when you say, "smaller chamber," I don't agree. I mean, yes, try a smaller chambered pipe, but I do not agree that this means instantly shorter smokes. I can smoke my smallest pipes for as long as my largest. Some of them. What I suggest is to look for smaller depth of chamber... not just smaller, because there is a ratio. a=diameter, and b=depth, so if you get a a1xb2 ratio 1"x2" chamber, it can smoke for as long as a .5"x1" pipe, in my experience. For a shorter smoke, maybe try something along the lines as a .7"x.9" pipe. This will give you much less burn time.
But, of course experiment with it yourself. Don't hotbox a smaller pipe to get a shorter smoke. Try to keep the cadence as slow as you would a larger pipe.
Wow, this was really a interesting read! It makes a lot of sense! I never thought much about these ratios in regards to smoke time. Usually only thought about these ratios in regards to what tobacco might be best to smoke out of the pipe. For example, a dublin or billiard might be better for Va's/VaPer's whereas a pot might be better for an English blend. Of course, this is not always the case.

I thought I had mentioned a Group 1 pipe around the small chamber talk in my OP. But, I did not! And, even Group 1 isn't very clear size-wise as it can very from shape to shape and is (as I understand it) originally used for Dunhills. So, it doesn't even really apply to other manufacturers except in very broad strokes.

I would say that my average sized Group 3/4 pipes last me 1.5-2.5 hours, but I mostly have billiards with fairly similar chamber shapes and I take my time. I don't always relight right away. But, no pots or bulldogs or anything like that yet for me so my pipes are all fairly similar smoke times. My Group 1-ish prince lasts me 45mins to an hour, despite being significantly smaller. So, to your point, a smaller chamber doesn't always mean a shorter smoke. It depends on what ways the chamber is smaller; depth, diameter, both?

FWIW, my only small pipe is a Comoy Sunrise Featherweight which I believe to be a prince shape, but could be an apple. Still learning shapes 😝 The chamber diameter is ~0.6875” and the chamber depth is ~1". So, fairly close to your .7"x.9" suggestion!

And great point about not forcing a shorter smoke. Don't puff hard on a small pipe (or any pipe) just to finish it sooner. It might seem difficult, mentally, but you should smoke your smallest pipes just like your largest ones; nice and slow!!

Thanks @cosmicfolklore for chiming in!
 

grand wazoo

Lurker
Jul 25, 2023
30
27
69
Western N.Y.
I have not been smoking all that long. If you're interested, you can see the early part of my journey in this very subforum where I posted about my first dozen or so bowls, how things seemed to be improving, and a variety of topics being covered.

I've had a sort of breakthrough in pipe smoking that happened without me realizing. But, upon reflection when smoking a pipe recently, I realized I'm more comfortable holding a clench for extended periods of time. I've gotten breath smoking down pat. I'm smoking seemingly slower than ever and not needing an unnecessary amount of relights (which was in the dozens and now is down to half a dozen or sometimes less).

All of this led to me smoking a pipe mindlessly, reflecting on my journey as a pipe smoker and thinking about what I've learned. How could I quantify or explain it? What changed and why am I enjoying my smokes more than ever?

I thought it might be interesting to explore this as it might enhance my smoking techniques even further. Please understand this is just my personal opinion and experiences. Everyone's journey of pipe smoking will be unique to the individual. Do not be afraid to explore.

incoming wall of text
it's a zen thing!
 
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