Why No Swirl Love?

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generalzod

New member
Sep 29, 2014
41
24
Philadelphia
This is now my third foray into pipe smoking. The past two flamed out (awful pun intended). I subsequently sold off my acquired pipes and tobaccos and returned to cigars. This third go round came with a renewed vigor and stubbornness and has been far more successful and I intend to stick with pipes indefinitely. My one takeaway from these three experiences, and the one thing that could have kept the first two from ending in frustration, is the swirl packing method. When it comes to ribbon cut tobacco, which is the tobacco most frequently recommended for newbs, no method is simpler, more consistent, and (easily) lends itself to cool, relight-minimized, smokes. Yet, when you search Youtube for packing methods, it's 80% 3-Step and 15% Frank. I'm not sure why this simple method gets so overlooked by the YTPC.

For anyone who's interested, here's the video that helped me:

 

lightmybriar

Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2014
1,291
1,732
The guy in that video is quite an unusual character. He dabbles in a lot of fields and oftentimes pushes incorrect information, with the attitude of an expert. I haven’t seen the above video (so this comment isn’t quite relevant), but just figured I’d make that an alert.

When it comes to packing tobacco, the real idea is just “whatever makes this work well.” There are a few widely-used methods, but they don’t all work for everybody. If this works for you, that’s great!
 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
9,142
5,694
I simply fill the bowl, tamping for draw and light. I call it the "filling the bowl" method. I can do it from a tin and by slipping the bowl into the pouch and stuffing. As stated above, it's what works. But, I started smoking many years before the advent of the personal computer. Ergo, I never had the blessing of self proclaimed experts in so many different fields.
 

didimauw

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 28, 2013
5,741
9,790
32
Burlington WI
I simply fill the bowl, tamping for draw and light. I call it the "filling the bowl" method. I can do it from a tin and by slipping the bowl into the pouch and stuffing. As stated above, it's what works. But, I started smoking many years before the advent of the personal computer. Ergo, I never had the blessing of self proclaimed experts in so many different fields.
I also do the "filling the bowl" method. Takes a professional with lots of years of experience, but once it's mastered, there's no better way.
 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
7,428
21,966
Alaska
I was expecting to see a bunch of boswell-esque swirly shanks and bowls. I'll take vanilla/chocolate though. Not sure about the packing method. Looks like a pain in the ass and a dirty palm to me, but whatever works for you. I'm a 3 pinch guy. Sometimes a 2 pinch guy. Occasionally a 4 pinch guy. All depends on cut and bowl size/shape.
 
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generalzod

New member
Sep 29, 2014
41
24
Philadelphia
What is it about smoking your pipe using this method, as opposed to any other packing method?
Honestly, I have no clue. I've tried every other method, dozens and dozens of times. Which I appreciate, in the big scheme of things, is still squarely in newb territory. None of those methods seem to work as consistently as using the swirl method. Wish I knew why.
 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
26,968
34,698
Helena, Alabama
Honestly, I have no clue. I've tried every other method, dozens and dozens of times. Which I appreciate, in the big scheme of things, is still squarely in newb territory. None of those methods seem to work as consistently as using the swirl method. Wish I knew why.
You can use whatever method you want. But, my recommendation is to do a test draw before lighting up. If it feels like a drinking straw that is stuck in a milkshake, it is too tight. If it feels like the cup is empty, then it is too loose. If it feels like you are sucking on a straw with a soda, it is just right.

I've found that the thing all of these methods are teaching you is "what is too tight, what is too loose." Once you get that, it won't really matter to you what method you use. Me, I just do a codger scoop to get my tobacco into the pipe, if it is too loose, i just use my tamp to pack it a little more. Too tight, I just start over, but rarely do I even pack too tight these days.

But, kudos for you finding a method that makes smoking better for you.
 

haparnold

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
1,562
2,357
Colorado Springs, CO
I have to agree with what Cosmic and Warren have said. I just tried this method on a bowl of C&D Pegasus. My verdict: it's not appreciably different for me from other methods I've used. It was a little too loose at first, so I packed it down to suit my preference.
 

generalzod

New member
Sep 29, 2014
41
24
Philadelphia
Don't worry what other think.
It's not a matter of what others think. To your point, that matters not at all to me. I was merely curious as to why it's not recommended to new pipe smokers, when it seems to be the easiest method.

the best method is to hand me your pipe and tobacco so I can fill both of our bowls to perfection :)
You wouldn't happen to live in the greater Philadelphia area by chance?

You can use whatever method you want. But, my recommendation is to do a test draw before lighting up. If it feels like a drinking straw that is stuck in a milkshake, it is too tight. If it feels like the cup is empty, then it is too loose. If it feels like you are sucking on a straw with a soda, it is just right.
This is definitely something I need to get religious about.

Me, I just do a codger scoop to get my tobacco into the pipe, if it is too loose, i just use my tamp to pack it a little more. Too tight, I just start over, but rarely do I even pack too tight these days.
I look forward to the day I reach this elevated state of pipelightenment.
 
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Patrick_Green

Member
Sep 25, 2019
182
678
28
Texas
Ive found every pipe is different. What works for packing one pipe, may not for another. Maybe its just me, but I find it depends on the pipe. I tried swirling at first. Didnt work in my first pipe, always pushed it down to hard and ruined the air flow... I tried the three stage, and it worked most of the time. Now i dont even care, Im getting more aquainted with my pipes/tobaccos and I just pack those suckers in. Best advice I ever got was just forget what you know and pack the bowl. It comes naturally in no time.
 
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