Rehumidifying pipe tobacco, good or bad method?

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

.
Meerschaum Market Banner Ad
.
Status
Not open for further replies.

stefanbessason

New member
Jun 18, 2016
12
0
Hey hey hey!
Many months ago I bought a tin of Nightcap and put it in a jar with a airtight lid. All good...except the lid was made of wood, that I'm guessing 'breathes'. But being the newbie that I am, I didn't think much about it.

Fast forward about a month and I was going to treat myself with a big bowl of Nightcap. I open the jar and... the tobacco is bone dry! I was so devastated (and again, didn't know that much about pipe tobacco) so I deemed it useless, but still left it in the jar for many months.

Yesterday I decided, finally, that I'd try to revive the tobacco. I found a fairly big plastic container, put the tobacco in, then almost filled a small jar with distilled water that I put in with the tobacco, and closed with an airtight lid. This, I left overnight. And it's really fascinating how much difference it made and was going to leave it for another night, hoping for even a little bit better resault! But I then thought to myself - is this maybe not the best, or even a good way to rehydrate bone dry tobacco? Does this method have any downsides, like more risk of mold forming etc., compared to other methods? Please, share your wisdom!

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
14,735
3,162
Monterey Peninsula
Your lid was definitely not airtight!
You may now be over hydrating the tobacco. Try a small bowl and see how it goes! You don't want to get to the point of "feeling" the moisture in the tobacco.
There's a ton written on how to rehydrate, but what you've done is fine.

 

toobfreak

Preferred Member
Dec 19, 2016
1,365
0
You greatly stressed the tobacco by over-drying it, now you are stressing it again with rapid over-rehumidification. Best thing you can do short of leaving it alone is re-humidify it like you would a cigar back up to about 65% RH tops using distilled water over about a week's time. Slowly. Keep it in a glass Ball jar, no wood lids. Or you can leave it mostly how it is now in same jar and give it some warm moist breaths through the pipe to moisten it slightly right before you smoke it. Works. You definitely don't want to moisten it till it actually feels moist!

 

jitterbugdude

Preferred Member
Mar 25, 2014
994
2
You greatly stressed the tobacco by over-drying it, now you are stressing it again with rapid over-rehumidification.
What???????????
The easiest method is to just get a spray bottle and spritz your tobacco. It'll be ready to smoke in an hour or 2.

There is a learning curve to this method so if 3 spritz's makes your tobacco too wet, try 2 the next time. Once you start getting a better understanding of tobacco leaf this method will become second nature.
There are those that like to always add a "ritual" to their pipe endeavors. If that is you, take a wet towel and place it in the tobacco container and wait.... and wait.... and wait...

 

woodsroad

Preferred Member
Oct 10, 2013
8,382
316
I agree with Sam and Jitterbugdude. Either method works fine. I'm a spritzer nowadays, for what that's worth. When I jar dry blends like D&R for the long-term, I always spritz.
Just a quick spritz will do ya'
Breathing out through a packed pipe doesn't work for me, though. Unless you are smoking fine shag RYO the tobacco only gets superficially rehydrated.

 

hawky454

Preferred Member
Feb 11, 2016
3,051
354
Great method, my man! Hope that there Nightcap is treating you right. Smoke 'er well.

 

toobfreak

Preferred Member
Dec 19, 2016
1,365
0
Well I see you guys don't spend a lot of time smoking cigars. But then again, I've never left any pipe tobacco go to where it was like sawdust either.

 

sablebrush52

Preferred Member
Jun 15, 2013
10,000
1,258
Well I see you guys don't spend a lot of time smoking cigars. But then again, I've never left any pipe tobacco go to where it was like sawdust either.
Smoked many hundreds of them and if this was a cigar I'd agree with you. But pipe tobacco isn't a snugly wrapped structure like a cigar. Spritz, or rehydrate by placing the tobacco in a pyrex bowl and drape a paper towel over the rim that's been soaked with distilled water.

 

jndyer

Preferred Member
Jul 1, 2012
730
0
It is best to use distilled water, and it is the only water I would use; however, I had an uncle who would just take a cup of regular tap water and just dip his finger in and gently shake it into his tobacco pouch. He never had a mold problem, but then of course he only smoked one blend at a time (well actually he really only smoked one blend) and as much as he liked his pipe the tobacco would have only a day or two to start growing mold.
As an aside, I am pretty sure he packed his first bowl while he slept as he would come out of where he was sleeping with his pipe already going. 8O

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
14,735
3,162
Monterey Peninsula
Depends on your water source. I use unfiltered water from my well, which has no chemicals in it. It is, however, rich with mineral content, some 250 ppm of dissolved solids. If those solids attach themselves to the tobacco, they're tasteless and are the same ones I drink everyday. YMMV.
I don't know where the admonition to use distilled water originated as a firm rule (Greg Pease?) but I don't think it's related to mold- any over use of hydration of any liquid can lead to that. It is the safest to use, though, so if you have it handy....

 

toobfreak

Preferred Member
Dec 19, 2016
1,365
0
I can see your guy's points if it was just some average ribbon tobacco laying around, but what if it is a cake, plug, rope or heavy flake? For one thing, the stuff has been left to sit drying bone dry over MONTHS, so obviously you must not care too much about it, so why then all the hurry to rehydrate it in 2 HOURS?
Spritzing might work but I mostly smoke the types above, and if I ever left something dry out that bad, I think I'd still prefer to let the humidity build back up in it gently and EVENLY by just sitting it in a humidor for a week. But that is just me. If I care enough to try to save the stuff, I can wait a week to let it get done gently.

 

balkisobrains

Preferred Member
Jun 27, 2016
1,186
15
Recently I've been placing some of my Blenders Bench tobaccos (ships dry, mostly ribbon-cut) in a small ball/kerr jar 1/4-full and putting five drops of water on it, rolling it around with the lid on, filling it up to halfway with more tobacco, another 5 drops of water, rolling it around some more, letting it sit overnight, and from there I let that damp off over the next couple of days by taking the lid off for a few minutes a day and maybe taking out the tobacco for a minute. After a couple or three days of that, it's usually dry enough to where I'm not worried about mold, but still moist enough to where a pinch out of the jar will need a few minutes of dry-time before packing.

 

jefff

Preferred Member
May 28, 2015
1,917
0
Chicago
I have used tap water on a towel draped over a bowl for years. It has always worked well for me.

 

woodsroad

Preferred Member
Oct 10, 2013
8,382
316
I think that the reference to distilled water comes less from the aspect of it being distilled and more from the aspect that it's clean. Distilled water is generally assumed to be bacteria-free. Certainly, there aren't any nutrients in it, and you can't say that about all well or city water. Then, also, there's the question of city water being chlorinated. Chlorinated water probably isn't the best thing to spray on tobacco. It certainly isn't the best thing to put in your body.

 

toobfreak

Preferred Member
Dec 19, 2016
1,365
0
I think a lot of treatment centers are moving on from chlorine to something else now (mine has), but I can't remember what it is called. The problem with chlorine is that it dissipates pretty quickly, the new process does not to the same degree, so the water you get at the tap not only doesn't have that pool water taste, but it is probably actually better quality.
Bacteria can grow in distilled water as well, if you leave it sit around long enough. I like the idea of the paper towel over the bowl, simple, easy, and any tap water contaminants would stay in the towel.

 
Status
Not open for further replies.