Seven Bowls In: Tips and Comments Appreciated

Log in

SmokingPipes.com Updates

6 Fresh GH.ZHANG Pipes
96 Fresh Peterson Pipes
48 Fresh Savinelli Pipes
2 Fresh Peter Heding Pipes
3 Fresh J. Alan Pipes

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

lithicus

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 9, 2023
127
807
Pennsylvania
Sounds like you're doing just fine. It'll take a little time to really get a feel for things, but it sounds like you're picking it up quick.

Congratulations. Have fun exploring the wealth of flavor.
Thanks! I'm still learning and tweaking various things. But, I'm having to think less about things as well which is leading to much more enjoyment!

You have a lot of good advice already. I would suggest experimenting with drying the tobacco even MORE….. perhaps as long as a day…. try a bowlful of that. I suspect it may help with the other advice about sipping. I think the dryer leaf will not be as “hot” along with sipping more.
It almost seems like its quite difficult to dry tobacco too much. Although, I know there is a point a which it is clearly wayyy too dry. I have heard some say that drying out the tobacco causes it to lose flavor / casing. I haven't investigated that claim very much, but it would be interesting to get peoples takes on things.

I agree with loading tobacco with gravity feed. Then apply gentle pressure on top tobacco layer to keep the tobacco from falling out of the bowl. Sip and I mean sip like sipping a chocolate soda and don't forget to tamp often, only with the weight of the tamp. Tamp often but don't crush the tobacco. Find a tamp with breather holes in the tamp if you have not already done so. This allows inhaling while tamping. Tamping in my opinion is not done enough. Tamping is best done with a concave shape. The concave shape allows one to collect the tobacco into the center of the bowel. I have learned this from the Forum who has given me great advice. Putting it all together took time. You will in general relight less when some of these ideas become natural. And don't sweat the relights.
I was experimenting with a sort of codgers scoop method, but have gone back to gravity feed as I find it more consistent. I did get some great bowls with the codgers scoop method, but I think I need more practice with it and that needs to come later once I have other parts of pipe smoking down.

ODF was a little tricky for me until I realized I needed to let it dry for 20 minutes or so after I Rubbed it out really well. I'm no expert pipe smoker, but sometimes I smoke a bowl with zero relights and other times I have a million. Doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would. Any time smoking a pipe is time well spent.
Yea, I bought all ribbon cut. The ODF was the only non-ribbon cut and I've found I definitely have to treat that ready rub much differently. It seems to need to dry out more and it also seems to work much better when I rub it out pretty good. I'm also getting some bowls with very few relights and some with more. I'm worrying less and less about that now that I've avoided excessive relights on occassion.

Many English and Scottish blends will stay lit for nearly the entire bowl if sipped easily. Latakia is the tobacco that gives these the smoky taste and aroma. Latakia is one tobacco that many either like or dislike - not many in the middle. Personally, I prefer Latakia blends.
Also, don't get excited about letting the pipe go out and come back to re-light. It's called DGT.. Delayed Gratification Technique. Pipes are unlike cigars in that you can let many blends extinguish and then re-light for even more unique tastes!
As others have said, sip rather than huff! Drawing too hard will surely give you tongue burn.
Some Virginias and quite a few highly cased flavored Aromatics will do the same.
I think I like latakia! I haven't tried any perique blends yet, but have a vaper blend now to try in the not too distant future. That's very interesting that some flavors really come out with DGT! Thanks for the tip!!

Looking back on my first year or so of being God-awful at smoking a pipe, I counseled my brother-in-law (and good friend) to first figure out what was "too loose" a pack and "too dry" tobacco when I got him a pipe, a few ounces and some accessories for Christmas last year.

I reckon I went about it backwards when trying to figure out what was loose enough and dry enough, and could have saved some time and avoided some bad smokes if I'd tackled it the other way around.

I'm pretty bad at it now so I'm moving in the right direction :ROFLMAO:
I'm sure that in hindsight, I will laugh at my naive self. I guess that's a good thing though as that means I've improved! 😂 I'm still experimenting with pack and drying, but starting to get things dialed in much better. Very cool you had a BIL to help you out. I don't know any pipe smokers. So, I'm very grateful to be able to be a part of this community!

I've found the pack is of critical importance. I've been smoking a pipe for so many years it's just natural and I couldn't even explain it. You'll get to know what you like. For me, if it's packed too tight when I draw, before the light I'll run a cleaner through, sometimes that will fix it. If it's still too tight, I empty it and start over. Too tight a draw will ruin the smoke without a doubt. I notice when I gently blow on the top of my bowl a nice stream of smoke will flow from the button. The only exception is Semois, I pack that one like a Yankee with a ram rod but still the draw is fine.

Pardon the Civil war anecdote, I'm reading Shelby Foote now...
I think that all makes perfect sense! Preparation is often the most important part of any task. That's a great tip on being able to blow gently on the top of the bowl and see a nice stream of smoke flow from the button. Also, don't mind the civil war anecdote! 😅 Hope you're enjoying the read!!

Glad it’s coming along for you.
This is the pouch I got and have been using for almost a year:

Amazon.com
It fits a couple pipes, but stay under 6”

MM cobs are awesome and the bent versions fit pouch well, straight are a c-hair too long.
I was actually looking at that one! I was a little worried about it being "short" at 6 inches and was also a little worried about the magnetic buttons. I'm glad yours is treating you well!! Smokingpipes seems to have a peterson 1 pipe combo pouch that isn't too much more expensive. It's a little "longer" at 7 inches and has button snaps instead of magnets, which I like. I'm on the fence about the large availability of pouches and styles. But, I'll have to make up my mind sooner or later! 😝
 
  • Like
Reactions: Michigan_Bill

Sobrbiker

Lifer
Jan 7, 2023
3,055
38,348
Casa Grande, AZ
Thanks! I'm still learning and tweaking various things. But, I'm having to think less about things as well which is leading to much more enjoyment!


It almost seems like its quite difficult to dry tobacco too much. Although, I know there is a point a which it is clearly wayyy too dry. I have heard some say that drying out the tobacco causes it to lose flavor / casing. I haven't investigated that claim very much, but it would be interesting to get peoples takes on things.


I was experimenting with a sort of codgers scoop method, but have gone back to gravity feed as I find it more consistent. I did get some great bowls with the codgers scoop method, but I think I need more practice with it and that needs to come later once I have other parts of pipe smoking down.


Yea, I bought all ribbon cut. The ODF was the only non-ribbon cut and I've found I definitely have to treat that ready rub much differently. It seems to need to dry out more and it also seems to work much better when I rub it out pretty good. I'm also getting some bowls with very few relights and some with more. I'm worrying less and less about that now that I've avoided excessive relights on occassion.


I think I like latakia! I haven't tried any perique blends yet, but have a vaper blend now to try in the not too distant future. That's very interesting that some flavors really come out with DGT! Thanks for the tip!!


I'm sure that in hindsight, I will laugh at my naive self. I guess that's a good thing though as that means I've improved! 😂 I'm still experimenting with pack and drying, but starting to get things dialed in much better. Very cool you had a BIL to help you out. I don't know any pipe smokers. So, I'm very grateful to be able to be a part of this community!


I think that all makes perfect sense! Preparation is often the most important part of any task. That's a great tip on being able to blow gently on the top of the bowl and see a nice stream of smoke flow from the button. Also, don't mind the civil war anecdote! 😅 Hope you're enjoying the read!!


I was actually looking at that one! I was a little worried about it being "short" at 6 inches and was also a little worried about the magnetic buttons. I'm glad yours is treating you well!! Smokingpipes seems to have a peterson 1 pipe combo pouch that isn't too much more expensive. It's a little "longer" at 7 inches and has button snaps instead of magnets, which I like. I'm on the fence about the large availability of pouches and styles. But, I'll have to make up my mind sooner or later! 😝
Magnets have been fine, and you don’t have to press them hard against anything to snap them shut. The pipe(s) ride in the zippered part.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lithicus

troutface

Lifer
Oct 26, 2012
2,401
12,218
Colorado
You're doing great, progressing much faster than the average beginner. The only thing I'd add is don't fear flake cut tobacco. Many beginners avoid it because they just don't know what to do with it. You can simply "fold and stuff" whole flakes into the bowl, though I've never mastered that technique because it always takes me tons of relighting. I always preach not to worry about relighting, but this is the one time that it drives me to distraction.
People fold and stuff because they say it provides the best flavor from a flake, but I've given up on it. I cube cut my flakes. Simply cut 1/16" to 1/8" strips across the flake with a pair of scissors, then gently break those little strips into cubes with your fingers. They naturally just break into small cubes with almost no effort. Dry them to your preference, as most flakes are fairly moist. You then pour those cubes into your bowl, tap the bottom of your pipe on the table gently a few times to settle the cubes, top it off with a bit more, gently press with a thumb and your off to the races. I find cube cut virtually smokes itself. You'll probably smoke half or more of the bowl before requiring a relight. Smokes nice and cool too. Just be careful dumping ash because those unburnt cubes will pour out along with the ash and leave you with an empty bowl ! I usually scoop out the ash with the spoon tool of a Czech tool. If you're having any difficulty with cube cutting, you can always rub out the flake between your palms and smoke it like a coarse ribbon. And as many others have said, you will figure this out eventually even if you don't think about it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lithicus

Butter Side Down

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jun 2, 2023
264
2,712
Chicago
Seems to me like you've got a pretty scientific approach, which I think is good. It'll serve you well while you're learning. The more time and effort you put into the front end will eventually lead to more enjoyment on the back end. Meaning if you get exhausted by the initial learning curve, that's totally understandable and normal, but after you've gone through the pains, you'll be able to spend less time thinking about it and more time enjoying.

I also started as a way to lessen, mitigate, or quit with the cigarettes and I think picking strong blends is probably the right way to go in that case.

The hardest part is learning to slow down, but that will come. For now, don't worry about relights much. That will also lessen as you find your perfect packing tension.

As for old dark fired, I have the ready rubbed version (not a flake but not a ribbon either). I kind of do a modified Frank method with it (which also works well with a lot of Latakia blends). Basically I grab an amount that would about half fill a pipe and wad I into a marble and then stuff the marble into the pipe chamber, picking off the bits that don't want to go in. This leaves the lower half of the bowl completely empty. It results in a surprisingly easy draw, and a bowl that only lasts about an hour. Fantastic flavor too. Only caveat is don't tamp too much and only *very lightly* when you do or everything falls down into the bottom of the chamber and ruins the perfect draw.
 

Butter Side Down

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jun 2, 2023
264
2,712
Chicago
One last thought... tamping. It took me an embarrassingly long time to do it right.

What finally helped me was to think about what's actually happening there.

As you smoke, you gradually build up a layer of ash. After a while, the ash will start to obstruct the flow of oxygen which is needed for combustion so the ember will die out. So when you tamp, all you want to do is collapse the layer of ash enough to reestablish oxygen flow to the embers. The amount of pressure needed to to that is very little. Tamp too hard, and you end up compressing the tobacco, which, again, obstructs the flow of oxygen and causes your pipe to go out. So if your pipe goes out quite frequently, you could be tamping too hard.
 
  • Love
Reactions: lithicus

lithicus

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 9, 2023
127
807
Pennsylvania
Magnets have been fine, and you don’t have to press them hard against anything to snap them shut. The pipe(s) ride in the zippered part.
This is super helpful! I couldn't find any trustworthy feedback about the magnets. I'm happy to hear yours is working quite well for you!

You're doing great, progressing much faster than the average beginner. The only thing I'd add is don't fear flake cut tobacco. Many beginners avoid it because they just don't know what to do with it. You can simply "fold and stuff" whole flakes into the bowl, though I've never mastered that technique because it always takes me tons of relighting. I always preach not to worry about relighting, but this is the one time that it drives me to distraction.
People fold and stuff because they say it provides the best flavor from a flake, but I've given up on it. I cube cut my flakes. Simply cut 1/16" to 1/8" strips across the flake with a pair of scissors, then gently break those little strips into cubes with your fingers. They naturally just break into small cubes with almost no effort. Dry them to your preference, as most flakes are fairly moist. You then pour those cubes into your bowl, tap the bottom of your pipe on the table gently a few times to settle the cubes, top it off with a bit more, gently press with a thumb and your off to the races. I find cube cut virtually smokes itself. You'll probably smoke half or more of the bowl before requiring a relight. Smokes nice and cool too. Just be careful dumping ash because those unburnt cubes will pour out along with the ash and leave you with an empty bowl ! I usually scoop out the ash with the spoon tool of a Czech tool. If you're having any difficulty with cube cutting, you can always rub out the flake between your palms and smoke it like a coarse ribbon. And as many others have said, you will figure this out eventually even if you don't think about it.
I tried to stay away from anything that is not ribbon cut at first. I did, however, order some flake that should be here sometime next week. I want to get through all my opened stuff first. But, I think the flake isn't as bad as it seems. That being said, I'll probably rub it out as opposed to the fold and stuff, which seems like a technique that requires a little more experience and patience. Appreciate all of the advice!

Seems to me like you've got a pretty scientific approach, which I think is good. It'll serve you well while you're learning. The more time and effort you put into the front end will eventually lead to more enjoyment on the back end. Meaning if you get exhausted by the initial learning curve, that's totally understandable and normal, but after you've gone through the pains, you'll be able to spend less time thinking about it and more time enjoying.

I also started as a way to lessen, mitigate, or quit with the cigarettes and I think picking strong blends is probably the right way to go in that case.

The hardest part is learning to slow down, but that will come. For now, don't worry about relights much. That will also lessen as you find your perfect packing tension.

As for old dark fired, I have the ready rubbed version (not a flake but not a ribbon either). I kind of do a modified Frank method with it (which also works well with a lot of Latakia blends). Basically I grab an amount that would about half fill a pipe and wad I into a marble and then stuff the marble into the pipe chamber, picking off the bits that don't want to go in. This leaves the lower half of the bowl completely empty. It results in a surprisingly easy draw, and a bowl that only lasts about an hour. Fantastic flavor too. Only caveat is don't tamp too much and only *very lightly* when you do or everything falls down into the bottom of the chamber and ruins the perfect draw.
I'm a software engineer. So, I think the scientific approach comes naturally 😆 Slowing down is definitely tough as it is at odds with relights when you're still learning the nuances of packing. That's an interesting packing technique you mention though with the ODF. Might have to give it a go!

One last thought... tamping. It took me an embarrassingly long time to do it right.

What finally helped me was to think about what's actually happening there.

As you smoke, you gradually build up a layer of ash. After a while, the ash will start to obstruct the flow of oxygen which is needed for combustion so the ember will die out. So when you tamp, all you want to do is collapse the layer of ash enough to reestablish oxygen flow to the embers. The amount of pressure needed to to that is very little. Tamp too hard, and you end up compressing the tobacco, which, again, obstructs the flow of oxygen and causes your pipe to go out. So if your pipe goes out quite frequently, you could be tamping too hard.
This! I've smoked pipes before (almost 20 years), just not tobacco. And, I thought I knew how to tamp (I thought I knew how to pack too!). Boy was I wrong!! Tamping requires such a light light touch. I found my pipe knife was too heavy to let the weight of the tamp do the work. A czech tool is much lighter and seems to have helped me drastically. I'd venture to say tamping is one of the biggest mistakes beginners make.
 

DesertDan

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 27, 2022
633
3,035
Tucson, AZ
  • Arango Balkan Supreme
  • Cornell & Diehl Old Joe Krantz
  • Cornell & Diehl Autumn Evening
  • Lane 1Q Golden Cavendish Blend
  • Lane BCA Black Cavendish
  • Mac Baren HH Old Dark Fired
  • Cornell & Diehl Haunted Bookshop
Wow, for a beginner you just parachuted right into the jungle, awesome!

Sounds like you're doing just fine, don't over think it.
Take your time, not just with the smoke but with the blend. It is enjoyable to smoke a blend through different types and sizes of pipes and experience how it changes.

Enjoy the journey,
Cheers
 
  • Like
  • Haha
Reactions: obc83 and lithicus

lithicus

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 9, 2023
127
807
Pennsylvania
  • Arango Balkan Supreme
  • Cornell & Diehl Old Joe Krantz
  • Cornell & Diehl Autumn Evening
  • Lane 1Q Golden Cavendish Blend
  • Lane BCA Black Cavendish
  • Mac Baren HH Old Dark Fired
  • Cornell & Diehl Haunted Bookshop
Wow, for a beginner you just parachuted right into the jungle, awesome!

Sounds like you're doing just fine, don't over think it.
Take your time, not just with the smoke but with the blend. It is enjoyable to smoke a blend through different types and sizes of pipes and experience how it changes.

Enjoy the journey,
Cheers
Yea, I don't think I realized how many heavy hitters I got. But, having smoked for 20 years already I've handled them all quite well. The ODF gave me a little nic sick but that was only because I packed it using the 3 stage method and the fricking bowl lasted almost 3 hours! I think any tobacco would make you sick with that long a smoke!!

Very interesting about trying different blends in different pipes. I have a post coming up regarding a new pipe acquisition. And, I found a B&M that carries MM corncobs that's only 10mins away. I'd like to get a corncob for aromatics just to avoid ghosting, although I've yet to notice any ghosting so far with my weak (?) palette.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RookieGuy80

obc83

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 4, 2023
244
1,144
Interesting reading, you took almost the exact opposite path than I did at first. I bought a pouch of Captain Black and a Grabow and haven't really branched out a whole hell of a lot, mostly because I'm traumatized from spending 20 bucks on a couple tins I immediately hated haha. Also a limited local selection and not having mail order has made me a little a little gun shy I think. Nice to see someone taking a different path around the same time. Are you trying to quit cigs? That's pretty much what I'm up to, as far as big reasons. But I found that I loved pipes and everything around them. I think I'll end up more a pipe than tobacco enthusiast. Keep posting, good stuff.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lithicus

lithicus

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 9, 2023
127
807
Pennsylvania
Interesting reading, you took almost the exact opposite path than I did at first. I bought a pouch of Captain Black and a Grabow and haven't really branched out a whole hell of a lot, mostly because I'm traumatized from spending 20 bucks on a couple tins I immediately hated haha. Also a limited local selection and not having mail order has made me a little a little gun shy I think. Nice to see someone taking a different path around the same time. Are you trying to quit cigs? That's pretty much what I'm up to, as far as big reasons. But I found that I loved pipes and everything around them. I think I'll end up more a pipe than tobacco enthusiast. Keep posting, good stuff.
I'm glad you've enjoyed the posts! I bought a pouch of Captain Black and Half and Half from a local store, but haven't broken into it yet. I live in the middle of nowhere and also have limited local selection. Plus, USPS won't deliver to my house. So, I have to pick up all mail from the post office.

I'm curious what you tried and didn't like!

But, yes. I am hoping that the pipe will help me move away from cigs. I smoked a pack a day, and now that I have the pipe a pack of cigs is lasting me 3 days. I am smoking 3 bowls a day as a compensation of sorts? But, I enjoy pipe smoking much more than cigarettes and can see myself moving to a pipe exclusively once I get comfortable enough to fly fish, drive, and do other miscellaneous tasks while puffing. puffy

I'm on a budget myself. And, spending even $20 on tobacco I don't like would suck. That being said, there's some really great blends out there available in bulk and often 1oz is something like 3/4 bucks. I'd highly recommend branching out as I'm sure you'll find other things you like!
 

Sobrbiker

Lifer
Jan 7, 2023
3,055
38,348
Casa Grande, AZ
, I found a B&M that carries MM corncobs that's only 10mins away. I'd like to get a corncob for aromatics just to avoid ghosting, although I've yet to notice any ghosting so far with my weak (?) palette.

Don’t underestimate how good MM cobs smoke with all blends, and can be smoked all day, every day for quite a while with hardly any ill effects.
 

RookieGuy80

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 6, 2023
681
2,327
Maryland, United States
[Snip]
Very interesting about trying different blends in different pipes. I have a post coming up regarding a new pipe acquisition. And, I found a B&M that carries MM corncobs that's only 10mins away. I'd like to get a corncob for aromatics just to avoid ghosting, although I've yet to notice any ghosting so far with my weak (?) palette.
Definitely grab a cob. They are great little smokers. They'll smoke anything you want to load in there, don't limit yourself to only aromatics. Burley in general does very well in cobs.
 
  • Like
Reactions: lithicus

Lucashly

Can't Leave
Jun 21, 2023
382
337
California
Seems to me like you've got a pretty scientific approach, which I think is good. It'll serve you well while you're learning. The more time and effort you put into the front end will eventually lead to more enjoyment on the back end. Meaning if you get exhausted by the initial learning curve, that's totally understandable and normal, but after you've gone through the pains, you'll be able to spend less time thinking about it and more time enjoying.

I also started as a way to lessen, mitigate, or quit with the cigarettes and I think picking strong blends is probably the right way to go in that case.

The hardest part is learning to slow down, but that will come. For now, don't worry about relights much. That will also lessen as you find your perfect packing tension.

As for old dark fired, I have the ready rubbed version (not a flake but not a ribbon either). I kind of do a modified Frank method with it (which also works well with a lot of Latakia blends). Basically I grab an amount that would about half fill a pipe and wad I into a marble and then stuff the marble into the pipe chamber, picking off the bits that don't want to go in. This leaves the lower half of the bowl completely empty. It results in a surprisingly easy draw, and a bowl that only lasts about an hour. Fantastic flavor too. Only caveat is don't tamp too much and only *very lightly* when you do or everything falls down into the bottom of the chamber and ruins the perfect draw.
I disagree. I have found that when the tobacco doesn't seem to need tamping a tamp will enhance the burn of the unburned tobacco. Tamping keeps the burn alive. Obviously play around with this. It will depend on the tobacco and how fast it burns. For example I tamp Latakia blends more as this blend will generally burn faster (even when it doesn't seem to need a tamp). As so many have said only tamp the weight of the tamp. So in my experience you can't over tamp as long as you only used the weight of the tamp. The tamp needs holes in it and inhale while you tamp.
 

Sobrbiker

Lifer
Jan 7, 2023
3,055
38,348
Casa Grande, AZ
I disagree. I have found that when the tobacco doesn't seem to need tamping a tamp will enhance the burn of the unburned tobacco. Tamping keeps the burn alive. Obviously play around with this. It will depend on the tobacco and how fast it burns. For example I tamp Latakia blends more as this blend will generally burn faster (even when it doesn't seem to need a tamp). As so many have said only tamp the weight of the tamp. So in my experience you can't over tamp as long as you only used the weight of the tamp. The tamp needs holes in it and inhale while you tamp.
I’d agree with @Butter Side Down 100% on what he stated, especially as it relates to dark fired, VA/VaPer flakes, and Lakeland style flakes as he is specifically referring to the “air gap” loading technique.
I started doing this with such tobaccos as that otherwise seem very sensitive to load density and tamp pressure, and the results have been game-changing.
YMMobviouslyV.
I don’t do many Lat-forward blends, but the only one I enjoy with any regularity (HH Balkan) presents none of the load sensitivities that the other styles I (and he) mentioned.
 

Lucashly

Can't Leave
Jun 21, 2023
382
337
California
I’d agree with @Butter Side Down 100% on what he stated, especially as it relates to dark fired, VA/VaPer flakes, and Lakeland style flakes as he is specifically referring to the “air gap” loading technique.
I started doing this with such tobaccos as that otherwise seem very sensitive to load density and tamp pressure, and the results have been game-changing.
YMMobviouslyV.
I don’t do many Lat-forward blends, but the only one I enjoy with any regularity (HH Balkan) presents none of the load sensitivities that the other styles I (and he) mentioned.
I disagree. If you tamp and only use the weight of the tamp AND there is nothing to tamp you will not stop the burn. Better to over tamp than under tamp. That is what I learned at the Forum and it works for me.
 

lithicus

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 9, 2023
127
807
Pennsylvania
Definitely grab a cob. They are great little smokers. They'll smoke anything you want to load in there, don't limit yourself to only aromatics. Burley in general does very well in cobs.
Of the aromatic and burley that I've tried, I've liked them all. So, good to know burley does well in a cob too!

I disagree. I have found that when the tobacco doesn't seem to need tamping a tamp will enhance the burn of the unburned tobacco. Tamping keeps the burn alive. Obviously play around with this. It will depend on the tobacco and how fast it burns. For example I tamp Latakia blends more as this blend will generally burn faster (even when it doesn't seem to need a tamp). As so many have said only tamp the weight of the tamp. So in my experience you can't over tamp as long as you only used the weight of the tamp. The tamp needs holes in it and inhale while you tamp.
I’d agree with @Butter Side Down 100% on what he stated, especially as it relates to dark fired, VA/VaPer flakes, and Lakeland style flakes as he is specifically referring to the “air gap” loading technique.
I started doing this with such tobaccos as that otherwise seem very sensitive to load density and tamp pressure, and the results have been game-changing.
YMMobviouslyV.
I don’t do many Lat-forward blends, but the only one I enjoy with any regularity (HH Balkan) presents none of the load sensitivities that the other styles I (and he) mentioned.
I disagree. If you tamp and only use the weight of the tamp AND there is nothing to tamp you will not stop the burn. Better to over tamp than under tamp. That is what I learned at the Forum and it works for me.
I think like many things in life, everyone's going to have a slightly different opinion. I think much of this is because we ideally base our decisions on our own experiences. Moral of the story? Try everything, but do what works for you! I'll try both extremes of tamping frequency, always using only the weight of my czech tool, and see what works for my puffing/sipping/breathing pattern, my pipe, and my blend. I'm sure all of this plays into things.

One thing I will reiterate for newcomers; my experience seems to imply the weight of a pipe knife tamp is too much. The weight of a czech tool tamp, however, seems just right.
 

lithicus

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 9, 2023
127
807
Pennsylvania
Don’t underestimate how good MM cobs smoke with all blends, and can be smoked all day, every day for quite a while with hardly any ill effects.
I missed your comment when I was quoting in my last post. Being a cigarette smoker, I can see myself getting to a point where I'm smoking a pipe all day everyday. So, this advice is much appreciated!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sobrbiker

Butter Side Down

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jun 2, 2023
264
2,712
Chicago
I disagree. If you tamp and only use the weight of the tamp AND there is nothing to tamp you will not stop the burn. Better to over tamp than under tamp. That is what I learned at the Forum and it works for me.

I think we actually agree here without knowing it. I didn't mean to say don't tamp too frequently. Do it as often as you want. Just don't do it too hard when you do. If you do it too hard, you will definitely have problems keeping your pipe lit.

With the air gap method only, I tamp far less often, and tamp even softer than usual. Partly because it's not as needed with that packing technique and partly because if you tamp too often with that technique, the tobacco will collapse down into the open air pocket and destroy the nice open draw it creates.