Really Struggling.

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It's funny how things go. I was in your boat when I started, trying all the different methods of packing. Could have ran a whole seminar with charts and graphs about the damn process. Now I absent mindedly stuff my pipe with no rhyme or reason and smoke the whole bowl with one or two relights, sometimes none if I tamp at the right times. It's as if there's some pipe God who decides when your worthy 😂
it's a subtle and esoteric skill really. But I do suspect there is pipe God somewhere out there.
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Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2017
Coins are also so easy to rub out. I just poke the middle with my finger, barely fluff the edges, roll it into a ball and shove the ball into the pipe. One to three coins depending on their size and the pipe in question.
Well, that's interesting. Had never heard of that and it probably would never have occurred to me. Is that the Bob Method? 😃
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Preferred Member
Jun 6, 2017
Coins, flake and plugs can vary, so one person's experience may not align with another's

I can have an ODF flake half way finished before a GH&Co flake is hitting its stride.

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Preferred Member
Jan 14, 2012
I’ll throw my 2 cents in for what it’s worth. Most beginners like to somke Aros, wet shit, doesn’t burn good, micro that sucker up, it’s all about building a good camp fire, wet, it don’t burn, dry it’s ablaze. Next Rome wasn’t built in a day, you got to go easy and learn Grasshopper. You want it bad enough you”ll learn, if not put your pipes in the drawer or sell em.
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Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
To build on tbrad's post, I vote for putting pipes in the drawer if you suspend smoking them. There is usually a time when you come back, so no sense in starting over.
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New member
Dec 20, 2019
Another update and a conclusion.

A lot better now, and I think the issue was packing too tight, i'm down to basically sprinkling it in and putting almost 0 pressure on to tamp it down.

When you guys say pack loosely, you really do mean pack loosely, I've also learnt not to pack loosely and then half way through tamp so hard that it becomes really tightly packed.


Oct 17, 2012
Central Florida
Hey Jordon, keep at it - definitely worth the work! You need to know that you aren't alone, brother! We ALL went through that. All of a sudden, you got it and don't even know how or why!
One thing I've found by accident is that dry tobacco - I mean pretty dry, but not dust, often lights and stays lit pretty well. I had 5 jars of nice blends that I lost - since 2012. Found them in the closet - parched dry. Simply re-hydrated them (on the dryer side) and they are now amazing!!! Good Luck!
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Preferred Member
May 8, 2017
Sugar Grove, IL, USA
I remember, too, how hard it all seemed the first year I smoked a pipe. Now, several years later, I can't figure out what was so difficult. Now I successfully smoke nearly 100% of my bowls packing with the the codger scoop, the three-step, two-step, Hanna Air Pocket, bend and stuff, and even the much maligned Frank method, depending on the blend, the cut, the pipe, moisture level, and where I'm smoking, all without hardly thinking. I know it's hard to believe, but keep at it and eventually it'll just work for you.


New member
Jan 15, 2020
dont be afraid with the lighter on the charing light and true light. Get a big ass cherry going over the whole of the top of the tobacco. This was a life changer for me. Id heard from youtubers to go easy with the lighter and tried everything to get a nice smoke, drying, packing, but nothing worked until i torched the shit out of it on the charing and true light to be sure the tobaccos fully covered in a cherry as wide as the whole bowl.


Jan 8, 2020
Pack looser and stop over-thinking the process. I tried to over think it too. Now I've developed the following technique:
  1. Put tobacco in bowl. Keep it loose.
  2. Light tobacco on fire.
  3. Puff/inhale/breathe and relight as needed
  4. Fucking relax.
Exactly :) I was going to post:

1. Stuff tobacco in pipe.
2.Light tobacco (repeat as needed)
3. Smoke tobacco.

But step 4 above is all important and should be applied early and often. Also, get some carter hall or other smooth burning burley blend. Some of those gh tobaccos are practically fire retardant.


Preferred Member
Dec 18, 2015
Cobleskill, NY
Not to overlook the obvious, make sure the pipe is a good one. If drilled right, you'll get this down. If you are packing that loosely, you may have a restrictive pipe. Not sure what you are smoking, but if a reputable brand, you should be good. Hopefully looser packing and experience gets you there. Sounds like you are progressing so far.


New member
Jan 13, 2013
Newport, New Hampshire
Like others here have said, it may very well be packed too tightly. I struggled with that myself for awhile. I would second (or third, or fourth even...), try smoking some Carter Hall for a bit. It may not be great tobacco, but I tend to like it well enough and it should be fairly easy to locate. More importantly though, it seems to be a very user friendly tobacco to get started with. Tends to pack and smoke well right out of the package. A little artificially sweet perhaps, but not terrible. Once you get your technique down with that, move into more interesting blends. Good luck! You'll figure it all out. Just don't give up!
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Preferred Member
Jun 3, 2015
Hey guys,

As the title says I've been really struggling with just about everything. My main issue is keeping the pipe lit. I'm lucky to get 1-2 slow, light draws on the pipe after a light before it goes out. Here's my process:

  1. Pack the first 1/4 light, the second 1/4 firmer and the last 1/2 the firmest.
  2. Keep my flame away from the tobacco as a light it for the charring light.
  3. Try to keep the charing light going as long as possible and then tamp down when the tobacco swells.
  4. Repeat the charing light again.
  5. Light it properly this time taking 5-6 small puffs until I can feel the smoke getting hot in my mouth.
  6. I then stop a wait a second before taking a 6 secondish long draw.
  7. I pause for 10-15 seconds.
  8. I go to take another draw and... nothing.
  9. Tamp down using the weight of the tamp and start again at step 5
I'm kind of at a loss. Any idea what else I can do? I see people say relights are fine, but doing 20+ relights per bowl isn't particularly enjoyable, all I end up with is a burnt mouth and a big lighter fuel bill. There's gotta be something I'm missing or doing wrong. Something else I've noticed is that no matter how hard I pack, the resistance of the draw really doesn't change at all.

  • I've tried:
  • Three stage packing
  • Franks method of packing
  • Drying my tobacco for 15 minutes, 30 minutes and 6 hours.
  • Aromatics, English Blends, Virginia's.
  • A MM Cob.
  • A Peterson Briar.
  • A Erik Nording.
  • The Breath Method.
  • Packing really light
  • Packing really tight
  • Trying to pack inbetween the two.
Well the first thing your doing wrong is waiting around 10 to 15 seconds.

You need to allow the gravity to pack your pipe. Gravity fill it, lightly pack down and repeat until the pipe is packed. Light pressure each time. As far as Charing light, that’s a bull shit myth. There is no charging light, it just takes a few lights to get the damn thing going. When the fire is set and going, ever so lightly tamp the embers. It’s all about Embers( you know I’m talking about you Chasing Embers, sweet cheeks) 🤣. You then have to master the concept of what Cosmic Folklore calls, “smoke the thing!” If you just smoke it until it goes out, you will learn when to tamp and not tamp. Tamping should never be done with pressure. Tamping is about maintaining the embers, so that the cherry(I guess that’s what the embers are) can kiss unsmoked tobacco.

Also Dry your tobacco. After that it’s just about gaining experience. It’ll take about a year to master. Pipe smoking is about patience. Other wise we’d all smoke cigars and cigarettes. Some of us do,when time is not on our side.


Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
Echoing diamondback and others, pack slightly looser. That three stage packing leads many, like me, to pack too tight by the time you get to the last stage. You want some spring left in the tobacco so air can get through, not loose, but if you are expressing your manhood in the last step of packing your pipe, it is probably too tight to draw well. Play around with it. If it is slightly loose, you can gently tamp it down, but again, leave some room for air to pass through.
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Senior Member
Jun 22, 2015
My aha moment was learning what to expect from the test draw after packing the pipe.

The draw should only give a small amount of resistance similar to sucking a drink through a straw.
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