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post #1 of 1601 Old 08-04-2008, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Ask a Pipe Guy

I was just writing a PM to a new pipe smoker about answering any questions that he had and realized that I could do this on a wider level.

I have noticed that there is a high level of "pay it forward" mentality in the pipe community. Everyone was a new, frustrated and curious pipe smoker at one time or another. And most of us had a person or persons who took us under their wing and answered questions and gave advice to help out the newer pipe smokers.

Well, I'm offering it to anyone here on the forum who is a new pipe smoker or is interested in pipe smoking. I've smoked cigars for over 11 years and have dabbled in pipe smoking for most of those years but only got really serious about it about a year ago.

Ask me here or shoot me a PM. If I can't answer your question right away then I'll find the answer and get back to you.

Moderator, can you please make this a sticky thread? Thanks.
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post #2 of 1601 Old 08-04-2008, 01:29 PM
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hey hey, i have one.
during my first bowl which was the st james wood, i felt like the smoke was even lighter than i expected it would be, at some points i wasnt even sure i had smoke in my mouth until i blew it out

any thoughts
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post #3 of 1601 Old 08-04-2008, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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How much smoke did you have in your mouth? Smoking a pipe is different than smoking a cigar and it is sometimes hard to make that transition. With smoking a cigar you usually have a whole mouthful of smoke and you can really taste it in there. With a pipe you usually don't have that much smoke unless you are lighting it up. Also, if the pipe is starting to go out then there will be less smoke in there and it is harder to taste.

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post #4 of 1601 Old 08-04-2008, 01:36 PM
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hmm, interesting, id never really read that anywhere, definately had much more on the light up but then the amount declined afterwards and just wasnt sure if that was normal or not, that helps though
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post #5 of 1601 Old 08-04-2008, 02:31 PM
 
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How do you pack it so that it actually stays lit?
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post #6 of 1601 Old 08-04-2008, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravelingJ View Post
How do you pack it so that it actually stays lit?

Ahhh, that is the age old question and one that I'm not sure anyone knows the answer to. There are a ton of different styles, the three part pack, the Frank Method, the gravity method, the fill and stuff, etc.

I think that a lot depends on the pipe and also the cut of tobacco. If it is a loose cut tobacco or a ribbon cut then I usually use the three part pack. If it is a rubbed out flake or cube cut blend then I usually fill the bowl to the top and then grab a pinch more between my thumb and forefinger and stuff it down until that is even with the top of the pipe. You don't want to pack rubbed out flake or cube cut too tightly because it takes longer to burn and needs more air to accomplish this.

The other factors that can effect this are the wetness of the tobacco ahead of time, how hard you puff on it and the type of tobacco involved. Steam is a natural by-product from the burning of the tobacco. If the tobacco is really wet ahead of time then this adds to that steam. If you over puff the blend just to try and keep it lit then that adds even more steam to the mix. All this moisture involved is going to make it harder and harder to keep the bowl lit.

The easiest way to combat this moisture is to dry out the blend to your preferance ahead of time and then try and smoke the pipe slowly. If your pipe starts to go out then let it rather than puffing like a steam engine to try and keep it lit. All of that moisture and steam can also alter the taste of the tobacco to something that is far from pleasant. Why ruin the rest of the bowl when you can simply just light another match and start it back up again.

It does take some time. And I know that it is frustrating but it does come along eventually. And even then it's not always 100%. You will slowly but surely figure out how to smoke your favorite blends. For example, I smoke a lot of Samuel Gawith's Best Brown. It comes in a flake and I rub it out as much as I can. I dry it immediately after I rub it out and then put it away to smoke later. When I want a bowl, I dry it out again just to make sure that most of the moisture is out of it. I then use the fill and stuff method in a bent bulldog pipe. Why a bent bulldog? I don't know. I just found that this blend burns better and tastes better in this shape pipe rather than the Zulu and straight billiards that I have. I know that the first part of the bowl will be a challenge to keep lit but if I persevere then once I hit 1/3 of the bowl through that it will smoke all of the way to the bottom.

That knowledge only comes through many bowls of trial and error. Smoking a pipe is definitely a practice in patience. One that I think will last your entire pipe smoking career.

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post #7 of 1601 Old 08-04-2008, 05:07 PM
 
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I have always been intrigued by pipe smoking. I have even thought about giving it a whirl to try it out. However, I don't want to invest a whole bunch of money for something that I may not take up regularly. How much money should I be willing to spend to get started? Then, how much will it cost to continue to smoke if I decide to continue? is it comparable to cigar smoking?

Thanks,
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post #8 of 1601 Old 08-04-2008, 05:31 PM
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Dwain

I think it depends on what your disposable income is...

When I decided I wanted to give pipe smoking a try I put on a budget of $100 to get the pipe, accessories and some various tobacco products to try...

You can start out with a corncob pipe as many have suggested here...I've seen them for as little as $5, get a few pipe cleaners $2-3, a tamper...$1-5, and some baccy...mine was $3 an oz...and go...

I would say pick a budget you are comfy spending and make it work that way...then again, I bought my first pipe Saturday...so what do I know...LOL
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post #9 of 1601 Old 08-04-2008, 05:37 PM
 
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Great thread,

Just received my first pipe kit today---medium meer, 5 pack sampler of English tobacco, tool and pipe cleaners. Been reading a lot on the subject and am happy to see this thread. Will probably field test the pipe sometime this week.

Sam
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post #10 of 1601 Old 08-04-2008, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamsdb View Post
I have always been intrigued by pipe smoking. I have even thought about giving it a whirl to try it out. However, I don't want to invest a whole bunch of money for something that I may not take up regularly. How much money should I be willing to spend to get started? Then, how much will it cost to continue to smoke if I decide to continue? is it comparable to cigar smoking?

Thanks,
Okay, first let me preface this by saying that I still love to smoke cigars. Much to my wife's dismay I an firmly entrenched in both the slippery slope of cigars and pipe smoking. Not trying to talk anyone out of cigars but just writing this for people who are interested in pipe smoking.

Now that that is out of the way, to answer your last question first and then a little Economics lesson, it is actually a lot cheaper than smoking cigars. This is why there seems to be a resurgence of pipe smoking especially in the younger, college student area. We were all broke once and know how this goes.

Let's dig a little deeper. I think that I have posted this somewhere else but I'll go over it again. The normal average is about 10 bowls of pipe tobacco per ounce of pipe tobacco. Each bowl normally lasts about an hour, similar to a cigar. Now most pipe tobacco tins are around 2 ounces, which is 20 bowls worth or 20 hours of smoking pleasure. Let's say that an average price for a 2 ounce tin of pipe tobacco is $9.00. When you divide that $9 by the 20 bowls that are in there you come out with .45 cents per bowl.

Now lets do the same with one of my favorite cigars. A box of 20 El Rey del Mundo Robustos costs $64 on JR's website which is the cheapest that I can find. Now divde that $64 by the 20 cigars and you get $3.20 per cigar.

As you can see, it is $2.75 cheaper to smoke a bowl of the pipe tobacco than to smoke a cigar. Talk about savings!!

Now let's talk about the start-up cost. Like most hobbies, you can spend as much or as little as you want to get started. If you don't want to invest a lot up front, and I don't blame you, then let's talk about what you really need to get started.

The Pipe
You can buy an expensive briar or what most people do when they get started is buy a few corn cob pipes. They are usually around $5 and you can get them at most drug stores or tobacconists.

There are also a ton, and I mean a ton, of Estate Pipes which are for sale on ebay. What "Estate" means is a formaly smoked pipe that has been cleaned up to sell. These can range in prices but you can usually find a decent one for around $20

The Tobacco
Any tobacconist worth their salt will have some house blends available for purchase in bulk. They usually run around $2 for an ounce so you can get a bunch of different ones to find out your preference without dropping a wad of cashola. Once you find out your preferences then you can start exploring the world of pipe tobacco. If you think that there are a lot of cigar manufacturers and blends out there you haven't seen anything until you start researching pipe tobacco blends.

The Tools
You will need a pipe tool which usually has a tamper, scraper, and a poker all wrapped into one. These are usually about $2.

You will also need a pack of pipe cleaners. These usually run around $1.50 for 40 of them.


And that's all you need to get started. Let's break that down in the cheapest possible way:

$5 - corn cob pipe
$2 - an ounce of pipe tobacco
$2 - pipe tool
$1.50 - pipe cleaners

$10.50 - Total start-up costs.

Probably not as much as you though it would be is it?

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