Smoking to the Bottom of the Bowl.

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steelarts

Might Stick Around
This is something I’ve always had difficulty with. I now pack my pipe as instructed with the 3 layer method and I’m now using the “breath” method to smoke (which I find greatly reduces tongue bite and the number of relights) but I’ve never been able to smoke the baccy at the bottom of the pipe bowl. Every time I clean it out there’s always some tobacco left unsmoked. I’ve tried relighting to no avail and nothing seems to work. I detest wasting tobacco especially as it’s so expensive, so what am I doing wrong? Is my first layer too lightly packed? Help, please!
 

camaguey

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jul 25, 2021
263
420
west indies
I suggest you to pack with only two layers and not tight. Then go gentle with the tamper in order to avoid too much pressure on the bottom. In the last third or fourth do not tamp at all. You can check if you have unburned tobacco with the pick of a smoking tool.
 

jbfrady

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 27, 2023
568
2,091
South Carolina
This is something I’ve always had difficulty with. I now pack my pipe as instructed with the 3 layer method and I’m now using the “breath” method to smoke (which I find greatly reduces tongue bite and the number of relights) but I’ve never been able to smoke the baccy at the bottom of the pipe bowl. Every time I clean it out there’s always some tobacco left unsmoked. I’ve tried relighting to no avail and nothing seems to work. I detest wasting tobacco especially as it’s so expensive, so what am I doing wrong? Is my first layer too lightly packed? Help, please!
Is the result the same across all pipes you own? I tend to smoke all the way to the bottom. Not because I intended to do that, but because I'm an old man at heart and I took to smoking a pipe quite readily. I've even won a long smoke.

All that to say... apart from techniques as pertain to packing, puffing, tamping, and lighting... some pipes just won't allow a full smoke based on how they're drilled. I've even got one pipe from a rather well known artisan which burns straight down the middle without smoking the tobacco along the walls of the bowl, no matter how many times you light it. I've got a couple others which always leave a little bed of slightly charred yet unburned leaf at the bottom.
 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
25,416
28,704
Carmel Valley, CA
There's a very practical matter here few discuss, It's that smoking to the bottom dries the pipe better than days or weeks sitting on a rack.

So, I always try to do so, and if the pipe is telling me it needs cleaning due to a bitter taste, I gently exhale through the stem to keep the ember going. Then a hot water flush and a deep cleanse.
 
Mar 8, 2024
45
62
35
Alaska
The 3-layer method always results in too much tobacco, packed too tight, for me. I've abandoned it and have much better smokes with a lighter pack.
I have problems with the 3 layer method as well. What method do you use? I have started to experiment with the frank/German method and have had better results but still haven’t gotten the hang of packing.
 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
25,416
28,704
Carmel Valley, CA
I have problems with the 3 layer method as well. What method do you use? I have started to experiment with the frank/German method and have had better results but still haven’t gotten the hang of packing.
I've written this several times before you joined here, but it's simple: You do not need a "technique" for loading a pipe if the tobacco is properly dry. Just load it, tamp with finger medium pressure, light and enjoy. You'll tamp lightly as you smoke it down.
 
Dec 10, 2013
2,502
3,166
Nijmegen, the Netherlands
I intentionally never do so and imho it is also grandly overrated. The bottom is where the pipe
gets hottest and wettest when smoking all the way through and where most burn outs occur.
Not only to the bottom, but also to the drafthole ( drafthole ? )
I cleaned out so many pipes with serious burn issues in that area and repairing it is a pain.
And why would you actually ? There's nothing to it and the're plenty of ugly statues already .
So don't be stingy and dump the nasty bits :)
 

sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
20,183
46,856
Southern Oregon
jrs457.wixsite.com
This is something I’ve always had difficulty with. I now pack my pipe as instructed with the 3 layer method and I’m now using the “breath” method to smoke (which I find greatly reduces tongue bite and the number of relights) but I’ve never been able to smoke the baccy at the bottom of the pipe bowl. Every time I clean it out there’s always some tobacco left unsmoked. I’ve tried relighting to no avail and nothing seems to work. I detest wasting tobacco especially as it’s so expensive, so what am I doing wrong? Is my first layer too lightly packed? Help, please!
You’re not doing anything wrong. I don’t know where this “burn every last atom of tobacco” BS comes from, but it’s one of the dumbest and potentially destructive of piping myths.
The last few strands are getting hit with steam, oils, tars etc.. It takes quite a bit of heat at the bottom of the chamber to burn that little bit, heat that will eventually cause damage to the pipe in the lower part of the chamber.