Pipe Bowl Coatings - Puff Cigar Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 17 Old 12-07-2019, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Pipe Bowl Coatings

I didn't want to hijack the Pipe of the Year thread but the issue of bowl coatings came up and I thought I'd share these two articles on the subject by Greg Pease. This is Part 1 and this is Part 2.

Personally, I like the flavor that raw, well-seasoned briar imparts to the first few bowls of a new pipe. Some people don't like that flavor and an organic coating, like the one Frank Thunder applies, may smooth the transition. When I first started pipe smoking, many manufacturers recommended coating the bowl with honey to speed up the formation of cake. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, I just haven't done it in years.

Nowadays, I keep the cake pretty thin and make no special effort to smoke the pipe to the bottom to make sure the heel is "caked." I pretty much just smoke a new pipe as if it were broken-in. One advantage of estates is that they are broken-in but frankly I don't find that they smoke any better than pipes with no carbon coating at all.

As with many other pipe-smoking practices, there is rarely only one right way to do things. Despite having smoked pipes off and on for many years, I like hearing what other people do and trying it out myself. For example, based on suggestions from gents on this forum, I now rub lip balm on smooth rims to slow down the formation of patina—I never would have thought of that myself. After emptying the ash out of a pipe I've just smoked, I wipe out the bowl with a lightly dampened paper towel, which smoothes the bowl and controls the development of cake. I run water through the stem before swabbing it with a pipe cleaner. And I coat vulcanite stems with obsidian oil right away instead of after they've turned green LOL! There is always something new to learn on Puff.
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post #2 of 17 Old 12-07-2019, 04:47 PM
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I read somewhere a guy coats the chamber with a mix of honey and activated charcoal...I don't have a preference as to coated or naked but have noticed certain pipes cake faster than others....my karl eriks cake really well and fast and whatever boswells coats theirs with hates me because all my boswell chambers are fissured like u wouldn't believe and no other pipes have done that...makes me wonder how much a coating varies from maker to maker...I always rub the rim on my pants leg after a smoke to remove any gunk and yup always oil my vulcanite stems every few months....can't stand vulcanite feel or the maintenance of it theyre the most annoying stems imo...
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post #3 of 17 Old 12-07-2019, 05:36 PM
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I just smoke mine.
But I don't clean my Glock, either....

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post #4 of 17 Old 12-07-2019, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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I just smoke mine.
But I don't clean my Glock, either....
How much "cake" do you like on the breech?
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post #5 of 17 Old 12-07-2019, 06:34 PM
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I would have to say Iím undecided, I do like the taste of raw briar and if given a choice I would go with no coating. Iíve had a couple of pipes where whatever they used to coat em with was just plain nasty, a few that were noticeable but tolerable and one (Ryan Alden) that was completely neutral, I have completely removed the coating on a couple, one simply wiped out with a couple of paper towels and two that ended up being a major PItA .
I got my PotY today and after reading Erickís commits ran a paper towel thru the chamber, the coating on the heel came off and the walls stayed on so Iíll leave it at that.
Iíve never tried honey, jelly, ketchup or anything else to build a cake faster, I believe that the use of anything like this would result in a soft crumbly cake that will have more of an impact on the taste.
I do keep the cake to a minimum by stuffing a paper towel in and twisting it around a few times. If Iíve got a problem pipe that smokes wet then Iíll make an effort to build some cake in the heel, otherwise I donít worry about it.

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post #6 of 17 Old 12-07-2019, 06:59 PM
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Frank did say just wipe the bowl out with a damp paper towel if you dont like his coating for you POTY guys
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post #7 of 17 Old 12-07-2019, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
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How much "cake" do you like on the breech?
I don't shoot dirty ammo. Lol
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post #8 of 17 Old 12-07-2019, 09:56 PM
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I'd rather have bare briar, I like it au naturel, but if I get a pipe that's been coated, I don't mind. Although reading the article from GL Pease, the non organic coating doesn't sound too good.
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post #9 of 17 Old 12-07-2019, 10:21 PM
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Since Iím so new to pipes I canít advise but enjoy reading this. I did read where some guy likes to rub the inside of the bowl down with Rum or bourbon. He said it gives a nice taste to the first few bowls.

I did smoke a couple quarter bowls in my new Peterson then a half. It seems to build cake quite well. The Savinelli I just smoked from the top to bottom, making sure I finished all the baky in the bottom.

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post #10 of 17 Old 12-07-2019, 10:25 PM
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Seems like Franks coating is organic, so no harm. I only removed it because it had a distinct unpleasant (to me) smell and for me, that means it needs to be removed. Most of the production pipes Iíve owned come with a bowl coating, but it doesnít come off when you touch it. I donít know if thatís good or bad, but I leave those alone, or it will require sandpaper.

The only coating that ever really bothered me, was on my Brigham. It turns to a sticky goo when heated during your 1st few smokes and starts smearing. I fully sanded that bowl, but it always had a really bad taste, and smoked awfully, so I tossed it.

Iím sure Franks pipe will smoke just fine, regardless of your choice. I certainly hope no one took it as me complaining about the pipe, as it was easily remedied with a damp paper towel, as Fusion mentioned. All good

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