Raw briar pipe...how do I break it in?

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Nov 10, 2018
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Ok been a pipe smoker for well coming on over two decades but in all this time I never owned a Raw un-carbonized pipe.

So as a result of a amazing little ebay moment I managed to pick myself up a Peterson "Erica" band spanking new and unsmoked for less than ten dollars (it was incorrectly listed). And yes not playing lottery this month!

So what I need to know is how to break it in. Heard and seen lots of advice online but would like some from here!

Thanks again for any help and please excuse the slow reply's!

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
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Sweet deal.

My advice on breaking in a pipe, is to merely pack it as normal with whatever tobacco that you enjoy, and smoke it as if you would normally smoke it. It makes no sense to me to do otherwise.

 

mso489

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Feb 21, 2013
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I've had (still have) a succession of unfinished pipes that came with no carbon coating in the bowl, plus a number of pipes with various finishes that came with no carbon in the bowl, and I have never given them any special treatment, just pack and smoke. Some of the old burley blends may be good for this because they burn fairly cool and evenly, but I've also used some English blends and others. I'm one who does not build cake. I scoop out the ash, wipe out the bowl with a paper towel/napkin, use a pipe cleaner, and buff off the entire pipe/stem. No big deal. In the old days, I'd start with partial bowls. Do whatever ritual you enjoy, but I think packing and smoking works just fine. Some of my pipes are around forty years old, and thirty, and twenty, and all are still going just fine.

 
Nov 10, 2018
26
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Thanks all for the advice and am going to stoke this one up now!

I have been looking forward to this since I got it.

Thanks again for the input and the lack of witch doctory!

 

cortezattic

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Nov 19, 2009
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Chicago, IL
To me, "breaking it in" is all about getting a pipe to deliver great smokes; that is, losing that raw, woody taste. Some people call it bringing the pipe "into season".
I think a new pipe should be allowed exposure to smoke, oils and tars, etc., for a long time before deep cleaning (as with alcohol). Like mso489, I scour the bowl with a wad of crushed paper after each smoke; and I won't do much more than swab the shank with a dry pipe cleaner until the taste gets really funky. Of course, the stem can/should be kept clean.

 

aldecaker

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Feb 13, 2015
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IMHO, you break in a pipe the same way you break in a pair of shoes. To break in shoes, you wear them. To break in a pipe, you smoke it. "Breaking in" isn't so much a thing you do; it's a thing the pipe does.

 

alan73

Senior Member
Apr 26, 2017
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After breaking in over 20 pipes the last year, the only thing I would add to the above, which may or may not accelerate the whole break in process is to rub ash into the raw wood before smoking, then rub the ash in after smoking for the first 5-10 bowls. To me, it accelerated the carbon formation and the break in process.

 

zack24

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May 11, 2013
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To me, those first few bowls in raw briar are like caviar....and my advice is the same- pack it and smoke it...

 

aldecaker

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Feb 13, 2015
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Crash, thick-walled pipes and plenty of sandpaper should do the trick. Brings a whole new meaning to "deep-cleaning" a pipe!

 

crashthegrey

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Dec 18, 2015
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Haha, that is always an option. Instead I find myself perpetually breaking in pipes. Going to run out of budget if I keep it up. I forget to smoke the broken in ones sometimes.

 

saltedplug

Preferred Member
Aug 20, 2013
2,954
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IMNHO, pipe smoking is full of myths with logic that suffers from a paucity of fact. Does it make sense to say that the cake protects the briar from burnout? Yes, but cake or bowl coating have not been demonstrated to do so. The lesser logic of unproved, unmeasured, unstudied myth drives this discussion to almost no purpose. Most say to simply smoke the pipe and in effect denying the notion of the need to break-in. Some advocate the need for some care, such as avoiding smoking in the wind.
No evidence for bowl coating and almost none for break-in. Myth supported by logic without fact.

 

alan73

Senior Member
Apr 26, 2017
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crash: I have the opposite problem, I always reach for the well broken in pipes. Maybe you can break in pipes as a service, as I know I am not the only one who doesn’t like the break in phase.
I do love the virgin smoke of a pipe, something sentimental about it.
Break in to me is about taste not the fear of burnout. I have a Novak pipe that I’m breaking in, the flavor the pipe gives off is kind of overpowering the tobacco, after 20 or so bowls

 

nitemair13

Member
May 24, 2018
268
1
North Carolina
I have an unfinished Sav similar in shape. I love the unfinished pipes because they color and become unique as you use them. As for breaking it in, just smoke the thing like everyone else said. It's a pipe, it was built for that.

 

crashthegrey

Preferred Member
Dec 18, 2015
2,848
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Mark Twain hired people to break in pipes. From now on, if anyone needs a pipe broken in send it this way. I'll even clean and buff it when I am done. Talk about trying lots of styles of pipes. :?:

 
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