Smoking a new pipe

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May 26, 2022
Florida - Space Coast
Hi everyone I’m getting a new pipe arriving Friday, what should I use I’ve read put honey in or water not sure what works best ,
What are you trying to accomplish? Like why would you do that, is this a brand new pipe or estate (pre-owned / used) pipe?

Smartass answer “i don’t know, honey or water seems like it would require endless relights and gurgle constantly.”
Dec 3, 2021
Pennsylvania & New York
Using honey is usually a way to get cake started (the sugars burn and build up a layer of carbon). There are many smokers here that don't build cake and wipe the chambers out after use (a thin layer of carbon will form that will protect the inside that doesn't need to be as thick as a dime as old school cake builders have advocated). It comes down to personal choice.


Dec 16, 2014
North Carolina
Stuff it and puff it. I'm of the minimal cake school. At one time conventional wisdom held that new pipes should be started with a partial (less than half bowl) gradually building to full bowls. This was to build a cake from the bottom. Nowadays I don't hear many advocates of that approach.


Starting to Get Obsessed
Jun 10, 2022
Formosa, Taiwan
Please don't put anything in your new bowl. It will ruin the favor of your tobacco!
A new pipe is the best. I don't believe building cake is a good thing. Would you build cake in your car engine?


Part of the Furniture Now
May 21, 2020
A first question should be is the inside of the bowl stained. If it is not then load up and puff slowly. If it is stained I usually remove the stain inside the bowl with alcohol as it tastes nasty then fill and puff away


Staff member
May 12, 2015
Carmel Valley, CA
Running hot water through the bowl and out the stem is a good practice with a brand new pipe. It will remove any briar or other dust or gunk left over from manufacture.

And the amount of moisture on the very dry briar is a good thing. It will not gurgle unless your tobacco is damp. It will give some protection while the first layer of cake is laid down.


Can't Leave
Dec 28, 2021
Fresno, CA
A thin schmear of honey or jelly in the bowl won't hurt.
It probably won't help much either.

I like fiddling around with my pipes so I'll often start a new pipe with a little (very little) honey.
But often not.
Some pipes are fine right out the gate, others need to be broken in to smoke well.
Doing those little "cake" rituals give you an excuse to smoke and hasten the breaking in if that's what's needed.


Jun 11, 2020
Pittsburgh, PA USA
I've actually never heard of coating a new bowl with honey. I don't think I would do that -- it doesn't seem necessary and if anything, it may impart a flavor to your tobacco.