Smoking to the Bottom of the Bowl.

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Professor Moriarty

Can't Leave
Apr 13, 2023
312
887
United States
I’ve thought about trying keystones for my pipes that are not filtered, but just haven’t pulled the trigger. Is Nørding the only one who makes them?
You can put all sorts of stuff at the bottom of your bowl to achieve similar results of Nording stones.
I have tried Denicool crystals, but I don't like the taste when they scorch.
I cannot find a retailer for meer chips.
I have some success using charcoal pieces, also coffee beans.
Some recommend rice.
If one is willing to experiment, try different types of aquarium gravels and potting soil amendments.

For me, the chief advantage is a better burn and draw, cuz of the air space beneath the tobacco.
So I use Nording stones on filtered pipes to compensate for the slightly restriced draw -- some folks pack looser when smoking with filters, but with Nording stones I find I can pack real tight with no problems.

Other advantages are: filtering, moisture absorption, protection of bowl bottom, and less wasted tobacco.
Again, for me, the chief advantage is a good burn and draw. Also, I can smoke to ash without fear of burning/cracking the bottom of the bowl.
 

pipeguy23

Lurker
Dec 30, 2015
17
3
I think it's all a matter of preference really. I enjoy the "taste" and flavors (aromatic), from the beginning to around the 3/4 of the way down (sometimes only half).

Recently, I have been getting into Jumbos (JM Boswell's) and by design (sheer bowl/wall size) are a MUCH more "enjoyable" smoke.

But, that still doesn't mean I can enjoy it to the bottom of the bowl.

You'll get a longer smoke/cooler smoke/fuller smoke though depending on the bowl size/wall thickness...but physics are still the same. So having a larger bowl, to me, equals a sense of "enjoying" a normal bowl size (to the bottom of the bowl), if that make sense?

It's very similar to adding water to Scotch/Whiskey vs enjoying it straight, vs on the rocks.

Enjoy it how YOU want to, and I agree with others, not sure where the hype ever came from for "bottom of the bowl".
 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
25,416
28,704
Carmel Valley, CA
It's a long story, partially thanks to a large number of reviews that concluded with "smoked to a fine while ash". It became sort of an inside joke, yet some felt they had to do so.

Smoking to the point of unpleasantness is a bad practice. Keeping torching the bottom is likely to damage the pipe.

But there is for some a real benefit to doing so—carefully. It dries the chamber better than days or weeks of rest. And it's a longer smoke, no wasted tobacco. Mileage varies.
 
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Choatecav

Starting to Get Obsessed
Dec 19, 2023
240
671
Middle Tennessee
I'm surprised no one has described my method for achieving this....

I place the tobacco in the bowl very loosely and then before I do the charring light, I tap my ruby slippers together three times, close my eyes and repeat, "There's no place like home.... there's no place like home...."

No, wait, that's how I last went to Kansas.......

Never mind, just forget it.
 

sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
20,183
46,856
Southern Oregon
jrs457.wixsite.com
It's a long story, partially thanks to a large number of reviews that concluded with "smoked to a fine while ash". It became sort of an inside joke, yet some felt they had to do so.

Smoking to the point of unpleasantness is a bad practice. Keeping torching the bottom is likely to damage the pipe.

But there is for some a real benefit to doing so—carefully. It dries the chamber better than days or weeks of rest. And it's a longer smoke, no wasted tobacco. Mileage varies.
The only blends I can remember that smoked to a fine WHITE ash was the old Balkan Sobranie and 759.
 
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steelarts

Might Stick Around
My method which works for me but hard to describe is to pull in tobacco maybe a pinch. Like a pointer finger "come here" movement. I pack the first part very very light. Then again pull in a bit and press a bit firmer and so forth until just below rim. It will expand when lit. Light and relight until you get a nice ash. I don't char as much anymore. Charring light is just really trying to get that cherry and ash mix. You know it's ready when it's gets going well. Can't explain it. You just can tell.

Plugs I make into flakes. Flakes I cut up into lengths about as long as my pointer finger from tip to second knuckle. Then I put it all in my hand and make a "dam I'm cold" motion with my two hands. Gets it the way I like it.
What do you do with the excess from the flakes? Do you just rub it out for later smoking or blend it with other baccies?
 

steelarts

Might Stick Around
I'm surprised no one has described my method for achieving this....

I place the tobacco in the bowl very loosely and then before I do the charring light, I tap my ruby slippers together three times, close my eyes and repeat, "There's no place like home.... there's no place like home...."

No, wait, that's how I last went to Kansas.......

Never mind, just forget it.
Sound like you’re smoking too much GH Dark Flake 😂
 
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steelarts

Might Stick Around
I dont know if 9mm filters remove much nicotine but I have never once felt the effects of nicotine and I was never a consistent or heavy smoker. Maybe it just doesnt effect me to where I am aware its there. Maybe Im just loopy and buzzy all the time!
I use filters mainly but I’ve found no difference in how vit-N hits me. Filter or no filter it’s the same. Perhaps you just have a higher tolerance to it. Personally, I like the affect but not when I accidentally over do it, much like alcohol.
 

steelarts

Might Stick Around
To my mind, the “danger” in trying to smoke to the bottom is relighting when/if it goes out close to the bottom. In that instance, yes, it’s time to stop. But, if you are gradually smoking all the way to the bottom in a very slow manner, then there is less harm to come to the pipe.
I never “try” to smoke to the bottom. It just happens while I am keeping my pipe going as I do other things while smoking. And, I don’t always get tot he bottom, nor do I fret over it. Just enjoy your smoke.
Great tip, thanks
 
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steelarts

Might Stick Around
The thing about all of these various methods is that they give the new smoker some sort of scaffold to try while learning how to enjoy smoking a pipe.
There’s no substitute for experimenting and practice, no shortcuts. But trying out some suggestions or methods may provide useful insights.
I suspect that what ticks off some of the old hands is when some neophyte proclaims a great discovery, not knowing that someone else proclaimed the same thing two months earlier, and someone else proclaimed it a year before that, etc, etc. Or someone comes up with a Rube Goldberg “solution”, which is necessitated by a lack of basic understanding.
Eventually, if the newbie sticks with it, all of the strategies fall to the wayside, replaced by a simple approach that works.
The thing is it’s great to experiment but sometimes there’s no point in trying to reinvent the wheel. Tips from experienced pipers can save a lot of time and expense.
 

sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
20,183
46,856
Southern Oregon
jrs457.wixsite.com
The thing is it’s great to experiment but sometimes there’s no point in trying to reinvent the wheel. Tips from experienced pipers can save a lot of time and expense.
Experimentation isn't a matter of reinventing the wheel. Think of it more like finding the set of wheels that work best for you, but only for this model year. For most pipe smokers, their practices and preferences evolve over time. Tips from experienced pipers can be great pointers, but only to a limited degree. Practice and experimentation get you the rest of the way.

I've taught Photoshop to literally thousands of people over the years, have been using it in production for over 30 years, was a Photoshop "guru" for Adobe, etc, etc. None of my students learned Photoshop just by listening to my lessons. They learned by working the program. And I'm still experimenting and learning new ways to work the program and produce new and different results
 

jpmcwjr

Moderator
Staff member
May 12, 2015
25,416
28,704
Carmel Valley, CA
<< Snipped bits out >>

I've taught Photoshop to literally thousands of people over the years, have been using it in production for over 30 years, was a Photoshop "guru" for Adobe, etc, etc. None of my students learned Photoshop just by listening to my lessons. They learned by working the program. And I'm still experimenting and learning new ways to work the program and produce new and different results
What was your handle back in the day? I was on a few Betas, probably more than 5 years ago.

Are you experimenting (or using) the AI stuff now? It seems it can do somethings well, but not on every image.
 

sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
20,183
46,856
Southern Oregon
jrs457.wixsite.com
What was your handle back in the day? I was on a few Betas, probably more than 5 years ago.

Are you experimenting (or using) the AI stuff now? It seems it can do somethings well, but not on every image.
It's been a long time since I last crash tested Photoshop, over 20 years. I haven't tried out the AI enhancements. I'll be most curious to see how AI handles matting, which has always been an issue with Photoshop, owing to the structure of its matting systems. At the moment I don't have a copy of Photoshop as I don't currently need it. In a couple of months I'll subscribe when I will need it.
 

camaguey

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jul 25, 2021
263
420
west indies
I’m curious about this “American Way” of pipe smoking. Could you elaborate?
The only big difference I’ve noticed is the acceptance of filters in pipes. The use of something like the Nording pebbles isn’t new or exotic in the States. I used them for a while decades ago.
The economics of tobacco wastage is certainly different between the US and the EU, but not much when one factors in the cost of losing a few dollars worth of tobacco VS incinerating the base of the chamber of a $$ much less $$$ or $$$$ pipe.
Just a few words about the subject. When i bought a tobacco "kit" from the Tinder Box around 1979 , it included a small booklet called the briar pipe (Ed Koplin) with some basic instructions. It stated that the most important thing was to smoke the pipe until the bottom. In the 90's i bought a pipe from Esterval in Germany where they claimed NOT to smoke up to the bottom. So , what may be understand as the "american" way by one , may be the opposite to others.
 
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sablebrush52

The Bard Of Barlings
Jun 15, 2013
20,183
46,856
Southern Oregon
jrs457.wixsite.com
Just a few words about the subject. When i bought a tobacco "kit" from the Tinder Box around 1979 , it included a small booklet called the briar pipe (Ed Koplin) with some basic instructions. It stated that the most important thing was to smoke the pipe until the bottom. In the 90's i bought a pipe from Esterval in Germany where they claimed NOT to smoke up to the bottom. So , what may be understand as the "american" way by one , may be the opposite to others.
This note from Ed had to do with the break in period, when you build up a carbon layer to act as an insulator. The issue happens when someone is determined to char every last strand, sucking the flame down into the chamber to force it all to be used. Doing that over a long period of time can damage a pipe.

The other issue is when "smoking to the bottom of the bowl" is seen as proof of expertise, some goal in and of itself.

Blends burn differently. Some, like C&D Yorktown, will easily smoke down to the end with nary a relight. Others, like Tawney Flake, are notoriously difficult to keep lit and don't burn easily.
 

PaulDM

Lurker
Dec 12, 2022
49
320
I stopped worrying about it. With deeper bowl pipes I find it much more difficult to smoke down to a fine ash. The type of tobacco and moisture content also matters a lot.