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Musketballing

This is a discussion on Musketballing within the General Pipe Forum forums, part of the Pipe Smokers Forums category; It's been called "cannonballing", but the gauge is a little light for that. Since a musket ball is closer to ...

  
  1. #1

    Sot-weed Bohemian freestoke's Avatar


     

    Musketballing


    It's been called "cannonballing", but the gauge is a little light for that. Since a musket ball is closer to the right size, I think "musketballing" seems apropos for a wad of tobacco.

    The Frank Method comes close, with its final, big, packed chunk crammed into the bowl. I've heard of musket/cannonballing ribbon, but it hasn't worked for me very well -- I only musketball flakes.

    Musketballing leaves an air pocket beneath the tobacco ball and the draught hole, which seems to be an advantage of some sort, although that observation seems ripe for contention. As I see it, the ember progresses and successive tamps push it down by degrees. The wad does arrive at the bottom of the chamber toward the end, but in a drier state than if it had started out touching the bottom. The last of the tobacco burns clean and dry as a result, and dries and chars the heel so well that the pipe can be smoked again as soon as it cools.

    Unlike a fold and stuff, which implies right angles, possibly with strands end-on-end, the musketball is round. (Folding and stuffing LTF is almost musketballing, because the flake strands are somewhat disorganized already.) Basically, the same thing is happening in both methods, i.e., the tobacco strands are separated to some degree and yet kept in a cohesive bundle. A musketball is fairly well broken up, more in the direction of a fully rubbed out flake, but not quite there; it's a fold and stuff run amok without quite demolishing the flake completely.

    How much to use depends on the size of the flake and diameter of the chamber. Take enough to make a ball slightly larger than the chamber width; a little experimentation and practice makes estimating this pretty easy and there is no damage done if the ball is to big. It's a lot easier to start over with a musketball than a 3-stage pack and I take a mulligan a half the time. Force the ball into the chamber until it's even with the rim, pushing it down from the side ala Frank. If the draw is too tight (it's amazing how tight the musketball can be and still have a very easy draw), most times it's enough to pull some tobacco out of the center. The fit of the musketball must be fairly snug.

    Another advantage to the musketball lies in its ability to hold together loose cuts, depending on whether you think mixing tobaccos is a good thing or a bad thing. Some purists want straight up, no nonsense IF. I'll take half an IF flake, a quarter of a VCF, then use those strands to wad up some 5100. The strands of a flake are like a pyromaniac's dream, a beautiful latticework that can greatly improve the burning qualities of loose cuts mixed into the bundle. For those few adventurous souls out there, an Erinmore flake, one strand of Ennerdale and some PA is a nice load.

    With a little trial and error, anybody can quickly get pretty good at musketballing I would think.


    Vegetarian -- that's an old Indian word meaning "lousy hunter". -- Andy Rooney

  2. #2

    Evolving Lead Puffer Fish Xodar's Avatar


     

    Re: Musketballing

    Nice post Jim. I use this technique with Twist Flake particularly as well, since as you mentioned it doesn't really lend itself to the conventional fold and stuff.

    I find that when I over musket-ball a pipe full just ramming the poker part of a 3 way through the ball in 4 or 5 places lets me get it going and draw just fine.

    An Erinmore/Ennerdale/PA cocktail? You are a brave soul...

  3. #3

    Young Puffer Fish jwreed81's Avatar


     

    Re: Musketballing

    good stuff! will have to try this method out. kinda inherently did it with a sample of Dark Star yesterday

  4. #4

    THE MAN WHO LOVES TWANG! TonyBrooklyn's Avatar


     

    Re: Musketballing

    A must try thanks!
    “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
    Jimi Hendrix



  5. #5

    Puffer Fish with many spikes Hambone1's Avatar


     

    Re: Musketballing

    Thanks for the right up freestroke... good information!

  6. #6

    Sot-weed Bohemian freestoke's Avatar


     

    Re: Musketballing

    Quote Originally Posted by Xodar View Post
    An Erinmore/Ennerdale/PA cocktail? You are a brave soul...
    A quarter flake of Ennerdale is sorta like being 1/4 pregnant, suppose. Actually, I arrived at this by accident; after smoking straight up Ennerdale, I mindlessly turned to an Erinmore/PA cocktail constructed on the same piece of paper I used for musketballing the Ennerdale. Voila! (This probably grosses people out in much the same way I get squeemish when people order anchovies on their pizza.)
    Vegetarian -- that's an old Indian word meaning "lousy hunter". -- Andy Rooney

  7. #7

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader MarkC's Avatar


     

    Re: Musketballing

    This is the method I generally use with flakes anymore, and I think the air pocket at the bottom of the pipe is definitely the key. I've shoved enough flake into a pipe that I expected problems with overpacking, but if that gap is there, everything seems to be fine.
    ********.com

  8. #8

    Sot-weed Bohemian freestoke's Avatar


     

    Re: Musketballing

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkC View Post
    This is the method I generally use with flakes anymore, and I think the air pocket at the bottom of the pipe is definitely the key. I've shoved enough flake into a pipe that I expected problems with overpacking, but if that gap is there, everything seems to be fine.
    I don't feel like I'm breaking any new ground here, but descriptions of folding and stuffing always seem too regimented somehow. I don't see many people talking about the way we both seem to have come to deal with flakes. Pipe smokers are more heavily packed with industrious, organized people than the population at large, so there is less help for the lazy smoker. They always have all these methods and procedures and rules and stuff, ya know?
    Vegetarian -- that's an old Indian word meaning "lousy hunter". -- Andy Rooney

  9. #9

    Sot-weed Bohemian freestoke's Avatar


     

    Re: Musketballing

    Quote Originally Posted by jwreed81 View Post
    good stuff! will have to try this method out. kinda inherently did it with a sample of Dark Star yesterday
    Thanks! I think I'm just too slovenly and unskilled to fold and stuff properly. Seriously, though, it's easy enough and a very effective way to smoke flakes.
    Vegetarian -- that's an old Indian word meaning "lousy hunter". -- Andy Rooney

  10. #10

    Evolving Lead Puffer Fish 92hatchattack's Avatar


     

    Re: Musketballing

    Nice! You need to start a youtube series. I've learned so much from you posts in just a few short weeks.

  11. #11

    Sot-weed Bohemian freestoke's Avatar


     

    Re: Musketballing

    Quote Originally Posted by TonyBrooklyn View Post
    A must try thanks!
    More than welcome! One thing I forgot to mention -- a slightly moisture flake musketballs better than a fully dried one. If I'm rubbing out a flake, I want it pretty dry, but for some reason a fresh IF flake musketballs just fine. I'm not sure you even CAN make a good musketball from a dry flake. Gotta be able to make a wad that doesn't fall apart.
    Vegetarian -- that's an old Indian word meaning "lousy hunter". -- Andy Rooney

  12. #12

    Young Puffer Fish jwreed81's Avatar


     

    Re: Musketballing

    Quote Originally Posted by 92hatchattack View Post
    Nice! You need to start a youtube series. I've learned so much from you posts in just a few short weeks.
    +1

  13. #13

    Sot-weed Bohemian freestoke's Avatar


     

    Re: Musketballing

    Quote Originally Posted by 92hatchattack View Post
    Nice! You need to start a youtube series. I've learned so much from you posts in just a few short weeks.
    Maybe a youradio or something...I don't want to scare people.

    Thanks! I'm happy if I've helped you out some, for sure.
    Vegetarian -- that's an old Indian word meaning "lousy hunter". -- Andy Rooney

  14. #14

    he that puffeth RJpuffs's Avatar


     

    Re: Musketballing

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkC View Post
    This is the method I generally use with flakes anymore, and I think the air pocket at the bottom of the pipe is definitely the key. I've shoved enough flake into a pipe that I expected problems with overpacking, but if that gap is there, everything seems to be fine.
    Quote Originally Posted by freestoke View Post
    I don't feel like I'm breaking any new ground here, but descriptions of folding and stuffing always seem too regimented somehow. I don't see many people talking about the way we both seem to have come to deal with flakes. Pipe smokers are more heavily packed with industrious, organized people than the population at large, so there is less help for the lazy smoker. They always have all these methods and procedures and rules and stuff, ya know?
    I have a theory about that and that.

    Air space at the bottom - I don't know about cooling effects due to this. But the logical argument about moisture not being able to stick to baccy at the heel makes sense. As flakes tend to expand when heated, the space allows them room to go down (instead of shooting up the top like a volcano).

    As for the balling up, I think its the compression - same as the Frank Fill - that is the key. Normally if you jam tobacco into the bowl, there is nowhere for air to pass and its "clogged". With this method, the baccy is tight, and the only passage for air to be drawn in along the sides of the chamber (especially in a well caked briar). This will give an even burn, restrict wind effect hence cooler smoke, and moisture is probably going to get wicked up and evaporate hence drier smoke.
    Ron aka RJ aka RJPuffs
    --
    Old age isn't too bad, when you consider the alternative.

  15. #15

    Leading Puffer Fish Stonedog's Avatar


     

    Re: Musketballing

    OK, so I'd like to try to cannonball/musketball a flake but youtube and google aren't cooperating. Is this as simple as pinching/mashing/wadding/whatever a flake into a ball that just barely fits into the bowl?
    Last edited by Stonedog; 06-21-2011 at 05:13 PM.
    So in other words, stop reading reviews and smoke more tobacco?
    Read! Think! Debate! Vote!

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