Topping Up Your Bowl

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Seeker81

Junior Member
Nov 22, 2019
70
82
Part of a post caught my eye while browsing the site:

"I joked with a cigar appreciator friend that daylight savings time is like this: one clips an inch of the cap from the head of the cigar, affixes it to the foot and expects the smoke to last longer. Pipes on the other hand, you just keep adding a little if necessary..."

So is it common practice for experienced pipe smokers to top up a bowl mid-smoke (as the quote suggests)?
If so, do you have any tips on doing so? Or even, any warnings against doing so? Could it be useful for building cake?
Thanks!
 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
27,076
1,906
I'm not being a smart aleck, but I'd just get a pipe with a deeper bowl and pack it to the top. The ember is the focal point of pipe smoking, and adding leaf to the top, in my opinion, does not build a good ember. It works, but the smoking experience is just so-so. I'm not a cake-builder, so I can't comment on that; I scoop out the ash and wipe the bowl clean with a paper towel, maintaining a thin carbon layer that never needs reaming and maintaining the size of the chamber permanently. It works for me and quite a few other members.
 

danimalia

Preferred Member
Sep 2, 2015
1,299
1,789
I tried it a couple times when I was newer and I was really enjoying a bowl and wanted it to last a bit longer... But, it's just not the same. I don't remember it working very well.
 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
2,370
1,073
I've seen it done often enough by an old timer I grew up around. I tried it once or twice, saw no value in doing it. You're burning good tobacco on top of ash. Just smoke the pipe to the bottom, empty and refill if you want more out of that pipe. I think this is more of a habit of those who smoke one pipe and one blend all day, every day.
 

verporchting

Senior Member
Dec 30, 2018
429
208
Tried it once, didn’t like it. Fresh pipe for me once the bowl is finished. If it stops being enjoyable the bowl gets dumped regardless of where it’s at - with the exception of Virginias which seem fine if left sitting for awhile.
 

3rdguy

Preferred Member
Aug 29, 2017
1,727
663
Midwest
I overpack a bit then sprinkle back on what falls off during the first few minutes. Otherwise no, I do not add as I go.
 
Reactions: Seeker81

lawdawg

Preferred Member
Aug 25, 2016
918
612
Adding more tobacco to the bowl mid-smoke seems like kind of an odd thing to do. Why not just smoke the pipe normally, and if you still want more when it's finished, then smoke another? That's pretty much how I sometimes end up smoking like ten bowls on a weekend day, but I guess I could just keeping "refreshing" my bowl halfway through and smoke only one bowl per day, all day puffy
 
Reactions: Seeker81

Seeker81

Junior Member
Nov 22, 2019
70
82
Adding more tobacco to the bowl mid-smoke seems like kind of an odd thing to do. Why not just smoke the pipe normally, and if you still want more when it's finished, then smoke another? That's pretty much how I sometimes end up smoking like ten bowls on a weekend day, but I guess I could just keeping "refreshing" my bowl halfway through and smoke only one bowl per day, all day puffy
Hahahah...
That reminds me of a line from 'Only Fools and Horses' (an old English sitcom):
"You see this brush?? [Trigger looks at his trusty sweeping/yard brush]
I've had this brush for over fifteen years.
And I've only had to change the shaft twice, and the head five times..."
 

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
17,355
3,507
Some of my smallest pipes have chambers that are around 2 inches deep. Topping off would mean I'm smoking WAY too much.
 
Reactions: shanez

McBragg

New member
Oct 29, 2019
36
43
Los Angeles
I've done it a few times. No problem with dry smoking tobacco. Much prefer to load another bowl or half bowl. If I do back-to-back bowls I tap the bowl in my palm to get the moisture out if it's wet.

j
 

renfield

Preferred Member
Oct 16, 2011
767
804
The few times I’ve topped off it didn’t work well. Smoke to the bottom and reload as necessary. Better flavor and no smoking through the old ash layer.
As always, YMMV.
 
Reactions: anotherbob

jeff540

Member
Jan 25, 2016
259
78
I'm actually smoking through a few bowls of Cardiff right now with this method. I get mostway to the bottom, dump the ash and keep what tiny bit of dottle is in there and pack again. The Cardiff is sufficiently dried out, and it smokes very cleanly. This wouldn't work with goopy or wet smoking blends.
 
Reactions: danimalia

tobefrank

Member
Jun 22, 2015
227
337
I’ve tried this in the past just by adding some leftovers to a partially smoked bowl. It didn’t work that well.

IMO pipe smoking is better done as a batch process rather than a continuous process.
 

TinCup

New member
Nov 14, 2019
49
89
Indian Ocean
Motivated by this thread I gave ‘topping up’ a go

It worked insofar as the overall smoke lasted longer than it would otherwise have & that may be all there is to it (since I’m not experienced enough to get the full experience from smoking a pipe yet)

But I can easily imagine how, to those who draw a fuller experience from pipe smoking, this just wouldn’t be the way to go

A bit like topping off your half finished coffee instead of finishing it & getting a 2nd cup
 
Reactions: shanez

chasingembers

Preferred Member
Nov 12, 2014
17,355
3,507
Motivated by this thread I gave ‘topping up’ a go

It worked insofar as the overall smoke lasted longer than it would otherwise have & that may be all there is to it (since I’m not experienced enough to get the full experience from smoking a pipe yet)

But I can easily imagine how, to those who draw a fuller experience from pipe smoking, this just wouldn’t be the way to go

A bit like topping off your half finished coffee instead of finishing it & getting a 2nd cup
Have you tried the parfait pack yet where you layer multiple blends in a single pack?