Written by Puff Staff

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

User Rating: / 16

leisure and relaxationtamping
tips and tricks

Written by member Natedogg

tamping1When I first started smoking the pipe, I had no idea what to use a tamper for.  If I puffed hard enough, it would stay lit and if it went out, I just re-lit it.  My tongue was constantly raw, and I thought I was either smoking to hot, or the tobacco was irritating my tongue.  Little did I know that the art of tamping was what I really needed to get the full enjoyment out of pipe smoking, and end tongue irritation for good.  Once I became a full-time pipe smoker, I received a couple of free tampers that I would use before a re-light, or with the Czech tool I would only use it for scraping the dottle out.  As I became more experienced, I somehow learned subconsciously how and when to tamp, and my tongue irritation disappeared completely.

First let me say that there is a difference between “tongue bite” and “tongue irritation.”  “Tongue bite” is when a tobacco has a certain chemical compound when smoking that causes a burning feeling.  Sort of like you are eating a hot pepper; the pepper has a chemical in it that is supposed to keep you from eating it by burning your tongue as a natural defense mechanism.  Unfortunately we as Humans enjoy the burn so we keep eating them.  With pipe tobacco, certain casings can cause bite, as can a naturally cured tobacco.  The curing process could cause a reaction that causes a chemical to be released when you’re smoking it that your body just doesn’t agree with.  Some have this issue with Perique like I used to.  My Perique bite went away, but most straight VAs still get me.

“Tongue irritation” is when you actually burn, rub, or otherwise irritate your tongue (yes I used the same word I am defining in the definition).  Just like if you burn your tongue with a hot cup of coffee or tea, or if you get an ultra-thick shake that you really have to suck on the straw hard to get a dribble from.  If you are pulling to hard and too often, you will get the smoke too hot and burn your tongue, and you will also irritate your tongue just from the act of pulling too hard or too much.  Packing the bowl too tight will cause this as well.

Now that we have defined “bite” and “irritation,” we can continue.  The more you have to pull to keep it lit, the more of a chance you have of getting irritation.  You want the draw to be easy, like drinking through a straw, so enough air keeps moving past the ember to keep a nice smoke going, but not so easy you have to pull a lot of air past the ember to keep it lit.  If the bowl is packed too tight you can’t get enough air through to keep it lit and if it’s packed too light the ember can’t move through the tobacco as the tobacco above burns out.



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