Breaking in / smoking to the bottom

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sguthrie
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Breaking in / smoking to the bottom

Post by sguthrie » Sat Aug 07, 2004 6:51 am

I've heard that you have to smoke a pipe all the way to the bottom to get the heel (the most important part) broken in. My problem is that I have a hard time keeping it lit and usually dump the last 10% of the bowl or so. What am I doing wrong?
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thegreatswalmi
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Post by thegreatswalmi » Sat Aug 07, 2004 9:58 am

don't worry...you're not doing anything wrong! i would suggest, however, that you try smoking only half a bowl for the first couple of times...don't worry, you'll eventually be able to smoke the whole thing. when you smoke half a bowl, it's a lot easier to build cake at the bottom of the bowl! apart from that, take the best advice i've ever heard...just enjoy smoking! i used to worry that i wasn't smoking "right", and it ruins the experience. just enjoy!
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OldSeaRock
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Post by OldSeaRock » Sat Aug 07, 2004 11:53 am

Another factor could be the mechanics of the pipe. If the draft hole is bored high in the bowl (not on the bottom of the bowl) then you'll never get a cake in the heel.

One thing I always, always do is to check the draft hole position when I buy a pipe. The easiest way to do this is to run a pipe cleaner through the stem and let the cleaner peek it's end into the bowl. Look inside the bowl and if the cleaner isn't peeking out at the dead bottom of the bowl then there may be an issue in getting the pipe to cake at the heel.

Bent pipes are much more prone to have high draft holes than straight pipes.

There are some brands (Ser Jacopo is famous for this) that will dremel out the draft hole where it enters the bowl in order to give the appearance of the draft hole being on the bottom. However, when you stick a cleaner in the pipe you'll see that the cleaner is not on the bottom - it's an illusion.

Now, how "strict" should this be? My personal opinion is that if the cleaner is more than 1/8" off the bottom of the bowl, it's flawed and I won't buy it. That's MY criteria.

Just food for thought. Check the draft hole, Brother. If it's not on the bottom of the bowl or, at least pretty close to the bottom then you've got your answer.

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sguthrie
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Post by sguthrie » Mon Aug 09, 2004 6:03 am

This is a problem I have on pretty much ALL my pipes, not just one to two, so I doubt it's a draft hole problem, but I'll keep an eye out on that as I clean them next time through.
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John-Boy
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Post by John-Boy » Mon Aug 09, 2004 6:43 am

What kind of tobacco do you usually smoke?
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Post by digger » Mon Aug 09, 2004 4:27 pm

John-Boy may be touching on something...
Do you smoke aromatics? I can hardly ever get a bowl of an aromatic blend to burn all the way to the bottom. I think it has something to do with all the flavoured oils dripping to the bottom of the bowl while the tobacco burns (making it wet thus, not wanting to burn). A cleaner burning tobacco (a non flavoured English blend, for example) will not have all those oils and will burn all the way out.
That bottom 10% is called "dottle". I heard that in Sherlock Holmes books he smoked aromatics; then, he dumped the dottle from every bowl he smoked that day out and let it dry over- night on the mantle, then smoked all the dottle from the day before in a bowl the next day... someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Now, if you are trying to break in a new pipe, you shouldn't be packing full bowls right away. Try packing it at 1/4 full for 5 or 6 bowls, then at 1/2 full for 5 or 6 bowls, then try it all the way full. This will help the cake layer form from the bottom. It is the standard recommended way to form a good cake in a new pipe.

And don't be afraid to relight. Your pipes will last longer if you let them go out when they're too hot to hold, then let them cool and relight.

Hope this helps, friend! :pipe:
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Post by sguthrie » Tue Aug 10, 2004 6:25 am

I smoke the occasional aromatic, but mostly VA's. I guess I've never really paid attention to which tobaccos are harder to finish off. I think I was smoking Bob's Chocolate Flake this weekend, which prompted the post.

Maybe I'll have to try the 1/2 bowl thing. From people I've talked to it seems pretty split - a lot of people say that it's better to break it in smoking how you will continue to smoke it.
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