Packing a Pipe

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DavidThomas

Lurker
May 18, 2023
7
34
Lincs U.K.
This is only my second post. Being relatively new to a pipe.I have been struggling with the Black Art of packing a pipe. After countless you tube videos on the Frank method and the Three stage method. I came on an old thread discussing the Palm Swirl method, I looked into this and found it really works for me. Enjoying my smoking much more enjoyable. I feel this forum is going to be a great source of information for me. Took the advice given me in my first post and purchased a selection of English tobacco’s which has also enhanced my enjoyment.
 
May 23, 2023
20
74
I'm very green as well, roughly one year smoking. I've never been able to wrap my head around any method other than the 3 step. The rest seem too complicated, glad you found one that works for you
 
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HawkeyeLinus

Lifer
Oct 16, 2020
5,614
41,232
Iowa
This is only my second post. Being relatively new to a pipe.I have been struggling with the Black Art of packing a pipe. After countless you tube videos on the Frank method and the Three stage method. I came on an old thread discussing the Palm Swirl method, I looked into this and found it really works for me. Enjoying my smoking much more enjoyable. I feel this forum is going to be a great source of information for me. Took the advice given me in my first post and purchased a selection of English tobacco’s which has also enhanced my enjoyment.
Is that a clockwise or counterclockwise swirl? :) ✌️

Welcome!
 
All of these packing techniques are really just for the newby. Once you get the general idea, most seasoned smokers will just put the stuff in the pipe without giving it any thought. Heck, I don't even recall packing the pipe I am smoking now. It's just a rote memory. I just scoop it in, no worries.

But, in the beginning, you are trying to guess where the tightness needs to be. No other reason for all of these bullshit techniques.
Think of it like a drinking straw. If the straw has no resistance, when you draw on your stem before lighting, your pack is too loose. If it is like a milkshake, it's too tight. If when you draw on your stem it feels like you have a tad resistance as in a full drink, then you've got it. Plus, it's always better to pack a little looser than you think it needs to be.
 

Peterson314

Can't Leave
Sep 13, 2019
441
3,504
I wish we could magically erase the 3-pinch method. It's just wrong. Most new pipe-smokers I know only know the 3-pinch method, and none of them can keep a pipe lit. There's a reason.

Tobacco (and all burning matter) needs air (oxygen) around it to feed the ember. When you use the 3-pinch method, you are compressing tobacco into the pipe, eliminating all the air space around the tobacco. To make up for the lack of air naturally around the tobacco, you have to pull a lot of air through the pipe, which makes the tobacco too hot, which eliminates the flavor, which leads to a shit experience with a pipe.

Sprinkle tobacco over the bowl and let gravity fill the bowl. Corral the tobacco into the bowl with no more pressure than you would use to press a mini-marshmallow without squishing it. Repeat once or twice. When you're learning, aim for the draw of your pipe to be the same before and after you fill your bowl. Adjust when you get the hang of it.

You'll get it, and soon you'll wonder what was so hard about it. Keep on keeping on, and welcome!
 

DavidThomas

Lurker
May 18, 2023
7
34
Lincs U.K.
I wish we could magically erase the 3-pinch method. It's just wrong. Most new pipe-smokers I know only know the 3-pinch method, and none of them can keep a pipe lit. There's a reason.

Tobacco (and all burning matter) needs air (oxygen) around it to feed the ember. When you use the 3-pinch method, you are compressing tobacco into the pipe, eliminating all the air space around the tobacco. To make up for the lack of air naturally around the tobacco, you have to pull a lot of air through the pipe, which makes the tobacco too hot, which eliminates the flavor, which leads to a shit experience with a pipe.

Sprinkle tobacco over the bowl and let gravity fill the bowl. Corral the tobacco into the bowl with no more pressure than you would use to press a mini-marshmallow without squishing it. Repeat once or twice. When you're learning, aim for the draw of your pipe to be the same before and after you fill your bowl. Adjust when you get the hang of it.

You'll get it, and soon you'll wonder what was so hard about it. Keep on keeping on, and welcome!
Thank you
 

tobakenist

Lifer
Jun 16, 2011
1,629
1,501
68
Middle England
Hi and welcome David from middle England, I know Lincs well, my eldest Brother lives in north Lincs, Caister, 15 miles south of the Humber Bridge, my best mate came from Blyton, North Lincs, I once had a Girlfriend who came from Lincoln but lived near Sleaford, a good friend came from Alford, friends in Bourne, love Stanford but was only a bit in Lincs when I was young, friends in Corby Glen, big County, the second biggest to Yorkshire but a neighbour to me in Northamptonshire, happy piping. puffy
 
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bullet08

Lifer
Nov 26, 2018
9,180
38,559
RTP, NC. USA
All those methods work. Might not be necessary, but they work. The main idea is a good air flow as mentioned above. Another option is a big air pocket at the bottom if Frank method is done right. What doesn't work is when a newbie shoves in the tobacco as tight as possible and hope that thing will smoke. 3 pinch method works great, if you make sure the first pinch is loose enough to hold place for the air flow. Always think big air pocket at the bottom and take a test draw before putting light to it. Almost no resistance when drawing works for most. Some prefer little more resistance, but never a $20 whore sucking bowling ball through a straw.
 
Apr 26, 2012
3,443
6,336
Washington State
Well, depending on the cut of the tobacco will depend on how you pack it (ie. ribbon cut, flake, crumble cake, plug, etc.). How you prepare your tobacco will also depend on how you pack it (ie. rub out a flake or fold it, how you cut a plug, etc.). With that said, don't over think it.

I never really got carried away with any one method. I basically just loaded my pipe, and just went off of feel. After a bunch of trial and error I found what worked well, and the feel of it, and over time it just became natural.
 

augiebd

Lifer
Jul 6, 2019
1,278
2,577
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Agree with drying to the level you prefer, dry seems best for me, a touch more moisture for aros seems to provide more flavour. Still not even close to wet. Then I gravity feed or scoop to fill bowl, tap side of bowl to settle tobacco maybe a light press on the top of the tobacco if needed and go. You can always tamp a light pack or use pick if tobacco is a bit tight. I found when I just did it and started to adjust without worrying much about methods I got better feel for what would work.
 
Feb 12, 2022
3,528
49,414
31
North Georgia mountains.
Gravity fill with a gentle thumb press once it's full, or stuff and puff as some say.
I spent alot of time early on obsessing over packing methods and giving them way too much credit. As soon as I stopped thinking about it and just lightly packed em, my pipes started smoking far better.
Better too loose than to tight, you can always tamp it tighter if needed.