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Getting started with pipes.

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Thought I'd update just a bit for no good reason. Four months after the post above when I was headed to a local shop, I've learned a lot. And still know very little. The guy at the shop sold me what turned out to be a LOT of three different blends that he said were the best sellers. One was absolute crap and I've since tossed all of it out. The other two were just sort of crap and when mixed together along with another not-quite-crap ounce of tobacco from somewhere else is OK. Something to put in a pipe when I expect to be occupied with something else...maybe driving...and won't pay too much attention to it. I don't tend towards any specific types of tobacco yet, but I quickly figure out what I like. I've gotten about six tins from from cigarbid for around $4 a piece and only one sucks. Two are not bad and three are great. The noob cigar/pipe trade here did help some, but I shoulda kept notes. Maybe because cigars are visually unique, I can associate specific cigar experiences in my memory much better than pipe tobacco. Need to keep trying different tobaccos.....I suspect that will be the theme for at least a couple years.
 

The Munt

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Thought I'd update just a bit for no good reason. Four months after the post above when I was headed to a local shop, I've learned a lot. And still know very little. The guy at the shop sold me what turned out to be a LOT of three different blends that he said were the best sellers. One was absolute crap and I've since tossed all of it out. The other two were just sort of crap and when mixed together along with another not-quite-crap ounce of tobacco from somewhere else is OK. Something to put in a pipe when I expect to be occupied with something else...maybe driving...and won't pay too much attention to it. I don't tend towards any specific types of tobacco yet, but I quickly figure out what I like. I've gotten about six tins from from cigarbid for around $4 a piece and only one sucks. Two are not bad and three are great. The noob cigar/pipe trade here did help some, but I shoulda kept notes. Maybe because cigars are visually unique, I can associate specific cigar experiences in my memory much better than pipe tobacco. Need to keep trying different tobaccos.....I suspect that will be the theme for at least a couple years.
One thing I've learnt is palettes are amazingly different with pipes. I think you will find something you love if you keep trying. To be honest I've purchased probably 60+ blends this year, my smokingpipes.com order history is flat out scary! Why do they have to keep track of the $ you spend :nailbiting:

But I have found probably 10-15 out of those I really love and would buy regularly. The good thing about this place is someone else ALWAYS likes it so you can set a trap and pay it forward. Don't toss baccy brother, you'll make me cry :drowning::ROFLMAO:

But if you stick with it I bet you'll love it! I would say you might not have found one you love yet if you can't remember, it tends to burn into your memory when the magic happens (y)
 
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Louisiana Red
Davidoff Blue
and CAO Black
DE Grand Central and DE Gatsby are nice enough change of pace


Trust me, Munt...I could not have given that blend to anyone in good conscience. ..not anyone I don't dislike anyway
You might be surprised. I wouldn't give away CAO Black to my enemies. You seem to like it though. Different strokes for different folks.
 
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Louisiana Red
Davidoff Blue
and CAO Black
DE Grand Central and DE Gatsby are nice enough change of pace


Trust me, Munt...I could not have given that blend to anyone in good conscience. ..not anyone I don't dislike anyway
Dave are you heading down to Matts on the 24th? I should be there. If so I will bring some different things for you to try that should fit the bill.
 
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Just got my first pipe in today with a small variety of tobacco. I've read all over about different methods of packing but still cant seem to get ahold of it. My biggest problem is, im not sure how packed the pipe should be. When taking a draw, should I be able to feel the drag of the tobacco, as if it were a milk shake, or should it be as if there is almost no resistance? Also, when it comes to tamping, how much pressure should be applied?
 
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@klovett I don't know really how to describe how hard you should tamp or pack. But somewhere between drawing air and drawing a milkshake is the right place. The milkshake sounds way to tight, air is way too loose. You just want to feel some resistance, but don't want to struggle with it. The generic way they used to teach people to pack a bowl is to do it in thirds. The first third is just gravity fed in until the bowl is full, then tamp with the same pressure you'd use on a baby. Fill it up again then tamp with the pressure you use on a woman. Third time, you're using the pressure you'd use on a man. That's increadibly generic - I think this is just something you feel out over time and with experience.

Tamping... You don't want to have a huge ash column, so start off light and work up from there. You also don't want to tamp down so hard that you compact the tobacco too tightly or constantly put it out.

In short, I think it's a lot of trial and error. You'll find out what works for you and constantly adjust your routine based on the particular pipe and tobacco combination.

And don't fret over relighting a lot. I used to relight every few puffs it seemed. Still do sometimes. But I just never worry about it :)
 

herfdog

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I've been told by some wise man in the chat room: it needs to be just tight enough to hold if you put your pipe upside down. More is too much. Less it falls.

Works for me.
 

The Munt

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Just got my first pipe in today with a small variety of tobacco. I've read all over about different methods of packing but still cant seem to get ahold of it. My biggest problem is, im not sure how packed the pipe should be. When taking a draw, should I be able to feel the drag of the tobacco, as if it were a milk shake, or should it be as if there is almost no resistance? Also, when it comes to tamping, how much pressure should be applied?
I agree with herf dog, the most common mistake I have come across (myself included when I started) is packing too tight. There should still be some spring in it, when you light it, it should unfurl alot, and you will need to tamp gently to make the surface flat again then relight. No one ever lights the bowl once, second light and you should be away. Tamp gently too brother, I tamped too hard for too long, just remember the purpose is to keep the embers in contact with the tobacco, not to compact the tobacco into the bowl any further.

I honestly think I was piping two months and then one day it just came to me.... bang this is how a pipe is meant to be enjoyed. Keep tinkering you'll master it.
If you have a smoke you enjoy more, learn on that because all baccy's are different and some require a different technique. You might confuse yourself if you're changing from flake to ribbon to plug in the early days.
 
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Thanks for the tips! (y)

Another quick question. Are certain tobacco types easier to keep burning? I have an aromatic that I cant seem to get it to stay lit for more than about 15 seconds. My guess is its to moist, maybe? It seems very sticky/tacky compared to the English style that I have.
 
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The Munt

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Yep you nailed it @klovett

Dry tobacco's burn better! Some are naturally dryer and other like some aro's are hella sticky. Drying time is another thing to master. But you can always use the microwave. ive only ever done it with flakes as they can take 2+ hours to dry. But Samuel Gawith Best Brown for instance is perfect after 15 seconds in the microwave. @The_Rev taught me that and it's worked a treat ever since. I wish we could have a session man, but if you have any queries any time hit me up. Happy to help when I can.
 
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Believe it or not, I learned by watching youtube videos and also asking around here on the forum when I was pushed off the cliff into the slopes of pipes. We all have our methods to pack the pipe, re-lights etc. Once you find your niche to do it just stick with it. And the nice thing about it is if you mess it up, before lighting, you can always take the baccy out and re-pack the bowl again.
 

herfdog

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The specific pipe also has its influence into keeping a nice burn. I had an el-cheapo no name Chinese wood pipe that I still can't keep lighted more than 20 seconds. Another pipe, same baccy, same technique, same everything this dog included and I can manage an OK burn.

I don't say pay big bucks or go home, but I say keep out of noname China wood El cheapo pipes...
 
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I just received my first pipe - a Savinelli Churchwarden.

Is the stem plastic? A friend said its vulcanite but it feels like plastic to me.

And if so, is that a concern? I just don't often equate "plastic" with "quality".
 
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