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Problems Going From Cob to Briar

This is a discussion on Problems Going From Cob to Briar within the The Pipe Hobby How-To Discussion Forum forums, part of the Pipe Smokers Forums category; I was hoping someone could give me some advice about going to a briar pipe from a cob. I had ...

  
  1. #1

    Newbie in the ocean


     

    Problems Going From Cob to Briar

    I was hoping someone could give me some advice about going to a briar pipe from a cob.

    I had been smoking a cob, and bought a Savinelli briar about two weeks ago. Unfortunately, I've been quite disappointed in it so far.

    The briar has a very bitter/acrid taste compared to the cob. Additionally, whenever I smoke it, a ton of moisture builds up in the bottom of the pipe. There is always a layer of tobacco at the bottom that is far too damp to smoke. When cleaning, the bottom 1/8-1/4" looks wet. Is this normal for a briar?

    I'm not sure what the problem is, but I have noticed that the briar seems to get much warmer than my cob does. Additionally, the briar has developed a somewhat unusual shiny black prickly/bumpy surface inside, whereas the cob is much more matte.

    If anyone has any advice or could diagnose my problem, I would greatly appreciate it. I love the way the briar looks, but at this point I really don't enjoy smoking it. Thanks!

  2. #2

    Awaiting Confirmation karatekyle's Avatar


     

    Re: Problems Going From Cob to Briar

    First, you need to break in a briar differently. It will taste like... well, briar for a while. that may be the acrid taste you're noticing. Put fifteen or twenty bowls through it and you won't notice a thing.

    My briars almost always have a bit of moisture in the heel. That's normal. Dottle is normal. You'll have a perfect moment where you'll smoke it all the way to the bottom without excess moisture or relights but that isn't normal. Don't worry about that.

    The inside is cake. Cobs are much harder to grow cake in than briars. The bumpiness is carbon build up and that's good. That'll cover up the inside of the briar bowl which will minimize the sour taste you're noticing.

    I think it's also important that you smoke mainly inocuous tobaccos through it at first. Prince Albert, Carter Hall, etc. Break it in before you start smoking any really sweet or really savory tobaccos. There is a much larger margin of error with a new pipe when it comes to both sides of that spectrum.

  3. #3

    Awaiting Confirmation karatekyle's Avatar


     

    Re: Problems Going From Cob to Briar

    ...and of course, welcome to Puff! There are a lot of cob-isseurs here that can tell you top to bottom everything about cobs. I, on the other hand, am a die hard briar boy. Surely, there are many more experienced Puff briar smokers than I. But hopefully what I do know will help you out for now!

  4. #4

    Elder Puffer Fish Leader MarkC's Avatar


     

    Re: Problems Going From Cob to Briar

    Quote Originally Posted by karatekyle View Post
    It will taste like... well, briar for a while.
    Or, if the bowl is pre-coated (already black inside), it will taste like sh*t for a while. It will take a few bowls before it starts tasting right, unlike a cob which tastes pretty good from the start.

    By the way, what tobaccos are you smoking? If you're smoking say, Capt. Black, that soppy bit at the bottom is kind of par for the course.
    ********.com

  5. #5

    Awaiting Confirmation karatekyle's Avatar


     

    Re: Problems Going From Cob to Briar

    Quote Originally Posted by karatekyle View Post
    ...there are many more experienced Puff briar smokers than I...
    For instance...

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkC View Post
    Or, if the bowl is pre-coated (already black inside), it will taste like sh*t for a while. It will take a few bowls before it starts tasting right, unlike a cob which tastes pretty good from the start.

    By the way, what tobaccos are you smoking? If you're smoking say, Capt. Black, that soppy bit at the bottom is kind of par for the course.

  6. #6

    Evolving Lead Puffer Fish


     

    Re: Problems Going From Cob to Briar

    Is it a new pipe or an estate?

  7. #7

    Alpha Puffer Fish WyoBob's Avatar


     

    Re: Problems Going From Cob to Briar

    I had a problem going from cobs to briars------------so I went back to cobs.

    How does the draw compare between the cob and briar? I'd guess the cob has a much easier draw. Some pipe smokers drill out their shanks and stems on briars to improve the draw and I think this solves most of the problem.

    Have you tried drying your tobacco before loading a bowl? Wet tobacco stands a very good chance of burning hot, leaving a lot of moist dottle and gurgling. I've never had a cob gurgle or develop wet dottle in the heel. I did have a few briar pipes that condensed enough in the tenon that there was a slight gurgle. I increased the diameter of the hole in the stem.

    I've got one meer, one briar, 20 cobs on hand and 47 more cobs on the way (bought for $100.00 on e-bay). I like the looks of lots of briars but, in the 20-30 I've owned (estate pipes) smoking qualities were pretty hit or miss for me. I haven't had a poor smoking cob yet (though some, mainly those with a natural finish as opposed to plastered finish smoke better IMO.)
    WyoBob

  8. #8

    Briar Fish CaptainEnormous's Avatar


     

    Re: Problems Going From Cob to Briar

    I'm (obviously) biased towards briar.
    That said, here's a few fairly objective observations (I smoke cobs while fishing, or doing other stuff where I need to not care about messing up a pipe):

    - 95% of factory-made briars won't smoke as well as a cob during the first or second smoke. Cobs are naturally absorbent in the way that brair just isn't.
    - When talking "draw", both factory-made briars and cobs have molded stems. So, if you are smoking a Sav or a MM, you are getting the "default" draw. Which isn't always ideal. There's a reason pipemakers spend a lot of time shaping Ebonite stems and opening the slot just so.
    - You can't get a cob as clean as a briar. It's so absorbent that is soaks up flavors, and it's too soft to really ream/clean.
    - A good bowl coating should have no flavor. It should, in fact, limit the amount of "briar" taste so you can build a cake with no taste but your favored tobacco.
    - In reference to the OPs comments about his Sav. . .it sounds to me like you may have gotten a bad pipe. Which sucks. I have three Savinellis and they are all fair-to-great smokers. That doesn't mean all Savs are good. No, wet tobacco in the bottom 1/3 is not normal. Neither is an acrid taste.

  9. #9

    Alpha Puffer Fish WyoBob's Avatar


     

    Re: Problems Going From Cob to Briar

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainEnormous View Post
    - You can't get a cob as clean as a briar. It's so absorbent that is soaks up flavors, and it's too soft to really ream/clean.
    I have three, natural finished Diplomat cobs that I've reamed quite a bit as they get smoked the most of any pipes in my collection. I use a "butterfly" type reamer or sandpaper on a mandrel in my drill press. The bowls seem to cake up in a similar manner to the briars I've had and, when I ream, I leave a bit of cake in the bowl.
    WyoBob

  10. #10

    Conservative Stud BigKev77's Avatar


     

    Re: Problems Going From Cob to Briar

    Thought I would add a little here. All of you guys have given good advice but I don't think it is the pipe at all. When smoking a cob you can get away with a lot of smoking errors and still have a good smoke. When smoking a briar that bitter acrid taste is probably from smoking it way too fast/hot which will give a lot of moisture and a NASTY smoke. I remember that taste well. A cob has a very open draw and you can get away with smoking it hot and fast to an extent. When smoking your Sav slow way down and sip very softly. If it goes out well, that is no big deal just light it again. Other than that dry your tobacco and make sure you are loading your pipe properly. Just keep at it. It took me a long time before I got the hang of briar pipes. You will get it.
    "I was gonna yell FORE, but I was too busy mumbling "No way that's gonna hit him"

  11. #11

    Maturing Puffer Fish floogy's Avatar


     

    Re: Problems Going From Cob to Briar

    Would anyone recommend drying tobacco a bit more for break in on a briar? I am using PA for my two new (to me) briar estates which still need break in since they were smoked very little before I bought them. Would this help the break in process or increase the risk of burning the bowl since it burns faster/hotter?


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