Removing Ash at mid bowl

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64alex

Senior Member
May 10, 2016
451
121
I am smoking pipe for more than a year. I find the first half of the bowl better than the second. To me in the first half I can better taste tobacco and discern its components particularly when using complex blends. The second bowl looks more monotonous and harsher. Until now I was always leaving the ash until the end, I tried now to remove the ash at mid bowl and it looks to me doing so the taste of the second bowl gets better and more similar to the first half bowl (even if I feel the first half remains better). I also noticed doing so I need less relights in the second half.

Of course this is a matter of personal preference but I'd like to know if others have the same experience removing ash at mid bowl.

 

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ophiuchus

Preferred Member
Mar 25, 2016
1,265
183
What kinds of tobacco are you smoking when you experience this? :puffpipe:
I do experience what you're describing. In particular, when smoking a folded/rolled flake or folded and stuffed coins in a deeper and narrower bowl (you know, about 3/4 of an inch narrow), I find that I enjoy a better third act if I start dumping out a little ash about halfway through the bowl.
I do not mean to imply the application of any science to this. :puffy:

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
16,359
7,071
Monterey Peninsula
Sometimes yes, and sometimes no! But don't find it necessary. I can relight through ash easily enough.
If you are experiencing a high number of relights, your tobacco may well be too moist before loading.

 

cranseiron

Preferred Member
May 17, 2013
576
2
Biloxi, MS
I mostly agree 64alex-- depends on the tobacco to some degree, too. But, often times I find dumping the ash improves the latter half.

 

64alex

Senior Member
May 10, 2016
451
121
[What kinds of tobacco are you smoking when you experience this? :puffpipe:]
More marked with complex English/Oriental blends, it looks in the second half of the bowl the taste tend to be compressed to a similar harsher taste where it is difficult to distinguish the single components. It is less marked with simple Burleys and something in between with Va/Per.

 

ray47

Preferred Member
Jul 10, 2015
1,621
1,522
Dalzell, South Carolina
If relights are becoming more difficult I'll remove the ash with the pick on my pipe tool. If I'm smoking flake tobacco and leave the half smoked bowl for later, I'll remove the top layer of ash before relighting the bowl.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
30,151
11,460
Yes, sometimes, if there seems to be deep loose gray ash on the top, but unburnt tobacco in the bottom of the bowl. Sometimes, you can simply dump out the ash and tamp down the unburned loose tobacco, and get another relight or two out of the bowl. Sometimes a little stirring with the pick helps. If there is very little unburnt tobacco in the bottom, best to just scoop it out and start over.

 

ophiuchus

Preferred Member
Mar 25, 2016
1,265
183
It does seem like some cuts deliver the goods if you don't do anything after the initial light and tamp, until getting close to the end.

 

64alex

Senior Member
May 10, 2016
451
121
The discussion is shifting toward the relight issue which is a secondary issue to me. My main comment with dumping ash at mid bowl is that to me it improves the taste of the smoke in the second half making it more similar to the first half and in some way decreasing the harshness that I find in the second half if I leave the ash in.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
16,359
7,071
Monterey Peninsula
If you think it so, it is so for you. However, it makes no rational sense why that'd be so in terms of physics, unless the tobacco type and packing is allowing ash to be drawn into the ember.

 

mayfair70

Preferred Member
Sep 14, 2015
1,968
0
It is not uncommon for me to dump ash 4 to 6 times, or more, during the course of a bowl. In the past year, I find it makes for a cooler, dryer, smoke and better flavor until the occasionally bitter end. Oh yes, less relights too. :)

 

philobeddoe

Preferred Member
Oct 31, 2011
5,256
2,193
East Indiana
I'll usually dump the ash 2 or 3 times during a bowl. I tend to dump ash whenever I relight, kind of two birds with one stone. I don't disturb the tobacco, I tip the bowl over the ashtray and let the loose ash fall out, then I retamp the tobacco and relight; I found that if I tried to stir up and loosen as much ash as possible, I was losing good tobacco along with the ash.

 

mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
5,229
975
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
Perhaps the reason you are getting a better smoke after tipping ash is because you are allowing slightly more oxygen to the furnace than with a thick layer of ash atop it?
I will often tip ash out midway but am always very careful when smoking cube cut plug as it's easy to lose your baccy along with the ash :roll:
Regards,
Jay.

 

64alex

Senior Member
May 10, 2016
451
121
[Perhaps the reason you are getting a better smoke after tipping ash is because you are allowing slightly more oxygen to the furnace than with a thick layer of ash atop it?]
I think allowing more oxygen after removing ash could very well be a reason. In addition it could be that the ash may in some way act as insulator making the smoke hotter. Also it could be that when relighting through ash we are actually burning again the ash which can give a bad taste.

It looks however there is a consensus that for whatever reason removing ash can help the quality of the smoke.

 

mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
5,229
975
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
"...we are actually burning again the ash which can give a bad taste."
Alex, one cannot burn ash, ash itself is the result of prior combustion, it does not and will not burn a second time.
It does however act as an insulator in a pipe bowl hence folks tipping it from time to time to allow more oxygen to the 'burn'.
Regards,
Jay.

 

downinit

Member
Oct 18, 2016
163
0
I completely agree with the OP about dumping at a mid bowl relight to improve the taste of the remaining tobacco. After dumping any loose ash I also use the pick to break up the half burnt layer and dump that to get to the fresher tobacco that remains. Makes a huge difference IMHO.

 
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