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The Puff FAQ for March
Written by James Payne

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

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Tags:
tips and trickstobacco faqs
tobacco terms and definitions


 

Question: For years, after each smoke, I have been leaving my pipe cleaner in the pipe until my next smoke, as a way to absorb the moisture (I produce a lot of saliva). I do not smoke everyday, maybe three or four times a week and I rotate between three pipes, so I typically only use a pipe once a week or so. I have been told that it is better to not leave the cleaner in the pipe and just let it air dry. What is your take?

Answer: This is another of those personal preferences. Normally I would say to just clean out the pipe after each smoke and let it air out. You might want to try this method. If you find it does not do the job, or if you are part Saint Bernard, you can always switch back. But all in all, neither method is wrong.

Question: I have smoked many things in the past – cigarettes, cigars, banana peels, salmon – but have not yet tried a pipe. What is the best way to do so? Do I need anything other than the pipe, tobacco, and a lighter?

Answer: This is one of those questions that seems easier than it is; I mean, smoking a pipe is not rocket science by any means, but neither is it as simple as lighting up a cigarette or cigar.

You will need a pipe and tobacco, as you said above. You can also use a lighter, but let’s start out with some wooden matches instead (do not use paper matches). Finally, you will also need a tool called a tamper, whose job it is to “tamp” down the tobacco.

We will assume this is the first time the pipe has ever been used. Because of that, you will need to break it in. Breaking it in involves smoking a “half-bowl” of tobacco about five times or so. This causes a buildup of carbon at in the bowl, which in turn makes the pipe work better.

To actually smoke the pipe, you will want to follow this process:

Get yourself some pipe tobacco. You will want to pinch out just enough to fill the bowl (remember the first few times to halve this amount, per the above). While it is still in the pouch, you might want to break it up so it is not too clumpy. Put it in the bowl, then use your tamper to tamp or push down the tobacco. Do not be too forceful. Next, apply a little bit of pressure to the top of the tobacco with your thumb, testing the consistency. If it is bouncy to the touch, you have done a good job. If not, empty out the pipe and try it again – you may need to break your tobacco up more. Also, stick the pipe in your mouth and gently “sip”. Does air pass through easily? If so, great. If not, again, empty it and start over.






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