Tamping And The Bottom Of The Bowl?

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tjsgarden

New member
Feb 22, 2019
49
48
West Monroe, LA, USA
Greetings,
I actually enjoy the attentive art of pipe tamping. I am careful not to overly compress the tobacco beneath the ashes and embers.

I have mixed thoughts when I get near the bottom of the bowl. When there is a mixture of dottle, ash and a small amount unburned tobacco, I usually use a pick to gently lift the tobacco from the bottom and gently resettle the surface layer. I get a few more minutes of good smoke with a couple relights. What are your thoughts about stirring the remains together to extend the smoke even more? I generally smoke non-aromatics but seeing the remaining tobacco with a grayish color and covered with ash makes me wonder if I should just stop and empty the bowl.
 

STP

Preferred Member
Sep 8, 2020
2,007
4,774
Northeast USA
If you “get a few more minutes of good smoke with a couple relights”, then that’s all that should matter. I guess it comes down to how much tobacco is left and gauge accordingly. If there are only fragments of tobacco at the bottom, then I do not find it enjoyable to stir it w/ash and relighting, and will just dump it.
 

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cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
25,590
28,104
Helena, Alabama
While I love having a nice tamper, especially for those rare moment when I am setting down and smoking without having to do something else, 99% of the time I am smoking while doing other things, and I hate to fiddle with my pipe much when busy.
I usually know when my pipe is done when I can taste ash. Yeh, I don't burn every last thread of tobacco, but I'm not in it to win any prizes, just enjoy the flavor. But, if someone wants to give me a prize... puffy
 

shaneireland

Member
Jun 14, 2014
126
782
Conway, SC
www.smokingpipes.com
I just dump. The destruction of flavor when mixing with ash isn't worth the extra few puffs. If I want more, I'll just load another bowl.
This.

Plus, it's really common to see chamber damage at the bottom the bowl, especially around the airway. Relighting dottle can be fairly risky if you're not super careful.

I only "smoke to the bottom" if it's effortless.
 

stokesdale

Preferred Member
Apr 17, 2020
846
2,494
Stokesdale
Greetings,
I actually enjoy the attentive art of pipe tamping. I am careful not to overly compress the tobacco beneath the ashes and embers.

I have mixed thoughts when I get near the bottom of the bowl. When there is a mixture of dottle, ash and a small amount unburned tobacco, I usually use a pick to gently lift the tobacco from the bottom and gently resettle the surface layer. I get a few more minutes of good smoke with a couple relights. What are your thoughts about stirring the remains together to extend the smoke even more? I generally smoke non-aromatics but seeing the remaining tobacco with a grayish color and covered with ash makes me wonder if I should just stop and empty the bowl.
I empty it; no flavor left once you get down that far.
 

telescopes

Preferred Member
I don't tamp or mess with bottom 1/4 of the bowl. When the light goes out, I usually dump 'em. But if the blend is amazingly good, I might clean out the ashes, even out the tobacco (I don't stir tobacco), and relight once. Once that goes out, I dump the rest.
You're right, there does come a time when it's just time to go home.
 

anantaandroscoggin

Preferred Member
Sep 9, 2017
516
746
68
Greene, Maine, USA
Now I'm confused. I had gotten the impression that dottle is the remaining unburned (perhaps partly charred, perhaps soggy) tobacco left behind when the smoker lets the pipe go out at the end of a pipeful. Now, I'm wondering if dottle is instead the charred but not yet burned up layer between the ash and the unburned tobacco below.

As the bits of tobacco need to be in close proximity in order to pass the fire from one bit to the next as one smokes the bowl down, I can't see that stirring up the ashes and remaining tobacco together before re-lighting could be helpful to keeping the fire going at all. All the ash that ends up between the bits of tobacco acts as a sort-of heat insulation between the burning one and the unburned bit.
 

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