Pipe Break in Period?

Log in

SmokingPipes.com Updates

24 Fresh Brulor Pipes
12 Fresh Castello Pipes
3 Fresh Werner Mummert Pipes
New Cigars
3 Fresh Sam Adebayo Pipes

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

K.E. Powell

Part of the Furniture Now
Aug 20, 2022
543
1,988
37
West Virginia
I searched on site could not find info on new pipes and how long to break in or is that even real?
This is one of those bits of pipe smoking minutiae that draws heated debate.

There are many who not only state that breaking in a pipe is real, but vitally important to the long term maintenance of the pipe and to producing a cool smoke. They argue that certain thickness of cake is desirable, and that a new pipe has to be smoked so many times before it performs to its best. Some even go so far as to have specific blends they devote to breaking in a pipe, similar to how one may season an cast-iron skillet.

There are also many who believe that breaking in a pipe, though not entirely made up, is grossly exaggerated or even unnecessary. Such people state that a thin layer of carbon at best is what is necessary to insulate a pipe, and that a well-made pipe properly smoked and cared for will not need a thick layer of cake. It's easy to ream a pipe incorrectly and damage the pipe, which is viewed as an argument against building a cake and being overly aggressive in breaking in a new pipe.

If you are curious, I mostly fall into the latter camp, though I do acknowledge building a cake as a means to season a pipe for a specific blend or genre could potentially be beneficial. To me, however, that is a lot of work for very little reward.

But this is something people tend to, for whatever reason, feel strongly about. It's something you will have to find out for yourself.
 

dottlejockey

Part of the Furniture Now
As seen here, opinions vary. All we can do is share personal perspectives and you can try different things over time and see what you prefer from your own experience. That being said, when I get a new pipe I prefer to run some burley through it for a while (10-20 bowls) till there's a thin cake. After that I try various things in it to see if something really stands out as a genre or particular blend. Thus, some pipes are dedicated to a couple styles of tobacco (like burley and VA or VA/VAper), some to a single category, some to a single blend (for a while) and others are used across the board for various things. Variety is the spice of life...key lesson here is just buy lots of pipes so you can experiment to your hearts' content. :)
 

denholrl

Starting to Get Obsessed
Mar 27, 2011
116
222
I searched on site could not find info on new pipes and how long to break in or is that even real?
Some pipes are so well-cured and engineered they required no break-in time. Most, however, show improvements in flavor and especially in smoothness of smoking after a number of bowls . . . often just a few but once win a while it can take a lot longer. I remember two pipes in particular. One was Mark Tinsky's (American) Christmas pipe from 2009 a slightly bent apple. I liked the shape and the grain well enough to persevere for over a year, to get it to smooth out. The other was a Mastro de Paja Canadian I bought from Smokingpipes with a gift certificate my son had given me. That one also took a year to give me a terrific smoke. Now it's one of my favorites.
 
  • Like
Reactions: dottlejockey

renfield

Lifer
Oct 16, 2011
4,620
35,371
Kansas
Just keep smoking it. Unless there’s stain in the chamber it shouldn’t have any “off” flavors save a hint of the briar the first few bowls. Once you get a cake built up it should smoke as well as it ever will.

I’ve only had one pipe that took a while to settle in, 20 or so bowls, none of the others had any real break in required.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bbailey324

ItsKarl

Starting to Get Obsessed
May 3, 2024
121
196
Norway
That would occur only if one likes the taste of the briar on the first few smokes. Few do.
Hmmm, maybe that accounts for my being unimpressed with the taste so far, at least in part? Because my impression was that smoking wood shavings would have tasted more or less the same. Maybe I should try some of my brother's old pipes? He doesn't smoke anymore, but he was never very particular on cleaning them, either. I certainly don't want to go from fireplace pipe to sour pipe, especially when I'm too new to know what sour pipe tastes like.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jpmcwjr

Sigmund

Lifer
Sep 17, 2023
2,005
18,280
France
You wont go to sour by normally smoking a pipe. That is from it sitting wet and dirty. Maintain your pipe and you wont have that. I just make sure to not smoke too fast and hot during break in. If it gets hot I put it down for a few minutes.
 

ItsKarl

Starting to Get Obsessed
May 3, 2024
121
196
Norway
You wont go to sour by normally smoking a pipe. That is from it sitting wet and dirty. Maintain your pipe and you wont have that. I just make sure to not smoke too fast and hot during break in. If it gets hot I put it down for a few minutes.
Yes, but like I said, my brother was never all that fussed about cleaning his pipes. That's why I'm worried they might be sour. I have a couple of them in my house now, and the mouth pieces are covered with detritus. Cake is plentiful and uneven.
 

Ben.R.C

Lifer
Nov 20, 2022
4,045
86,403
54
North Carolina
My advice is, if you are a hot smoker, slow down for the first 10 or so bowls while the pipe develops a thin, protective cake. If you have trouble slowing down, smoke two pipes and alternate. If you are already a slow paced smoker, just smoke as usual.
 

johnnyflake

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jul 29, 2023
159
297
83
Henderson, Nevada
I don't think there is a hard rule as to how many bowls it takes for a pipe to be broken in! A briar vs a corn cob will be different, and so on. The type of tobaccos you smoke will play a part as well. For me, I like to see an even coating of cake around the inside of the bowl. At that point I pretty much consider the pipe to be broken in, at least no longer a newbie.