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keeping a pipe lit


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#1 brennivin

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 01:01 PM

This is what's keeping my pipes cold more than anything else these days. The fact that I've yet to master keeping a pipe lit for a reasonable amount of time.

I know they could need a relighting or two per bowl, but if I'm not constantly (and I mean constantly) puffing on the thing, it'll go out.

I've tried the three step packing method, the Frank method, etc. All to no avail.

Is there something I'm missing? Or is it just about practice?

#2 Derrick

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 01:16 PM

No matter which method you use to pack your pipe, the secret is in the tamping. It sounds like you may be packing your pipe to hard. The tobacco in the bowl should always be springy and soft. Always take test draws while packing, and if there is any resistance, start over. Gently pack that hole! :devil:
"Reality is a crutch for people who can't enjoy absinthe."

#3 Mat B.

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 09:57 PM

Is it a newer pipe or well-used? I had to get a good few bowls in before it had a decent build-up to assist in keeping the tobacco (properly tamped) insulated.
"I will show you something different from either Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; I will show you fear in a handful of dust."
-The Waste Land

“…and it’s appropriate to serve them, as long as you serve them appropriately.”
-Jules

#4 brennivin

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 12:51 PM

Both are newer pipes, but have had at least a half dozen if not full dozen bowls run through each.

I'm getting them packed to the right 'feel', spongy to the touch, effortless pulling.

Can you give me more 'tamping' details? I.e. when to tamp, when the top's all ash, before, should I clear the ash first, etc.

#5 Mat B.

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 04:42 AM

The best advice I ever got on packing and tamping was from an older German man who ran the shop I bought my pipe from and it was told to me as such: “Sprinkle the tobacco into the bowl, don’t pinch it. Then pack it three times. First, with the touch of a child, second like the touch of the mother, and lastly like a touch from the father. Tamp the ash, not the ember.”

Here is a decent little blurb. Hope it helps.
"I will show you something different from either Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; I will show you fear in a handful of dust."
-The Waste Land

“…and it’s appropriate to serve them, as long as you serve them appropriately.”
-Jules

#6 Wilson

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Posted 02 October 2008 - 01:13 PM

Pack it pretty good when you load the bowl. I prefer to pack it in layers. Just don't over do it.

When you light the tobacco, it will expand, this is when you get your final packing in. Do a second relight and you should be good to go.

Remember that the tamping is way more important that the initial packing. Don't dump the ash. Tamp it lightly and it will crush down on top of the ember, without putting the ember out. As it burns, the tobacco will continue to expand as the ember gets to it. Continue tamping lightly to push it down. When it is too loose, it will go out easily. If you over do it, you won't be able to pull enough air through it and it will feel like it is too much work. It should never be like work to draw air through the pipe.

Once you get the hang of it, it becomes like a game to see how long you can keep it burning without letting it go out. In fact, they have competitions to do just that. Every contestant gets an equal measure (3.2g) of the same batch of tobacco and 2 matches. The last one burning is the winner.

#7 brennivin

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Posted 03 October 2008 - 04:03 PM

Thanks for the insights. I'll be giving it another go this weekend :)

#8 brennivin

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 11:15 AM

Ok, with some tamping, I made it through the whole bowl without getting too frustrated :)

I realized that my tamp timing was inconsistant. Sometimes I tamped when it was still burning well, other times when it was all but out, and other times in between.

Obviously this could have an effect :) So ... tips on tamper timing?

(ahh aliteration ...)

#9 Wilson

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 03:57 PM

As the ember is fed air, it will make the tobacco below it expand, you simply tamp it to push the ember back down on top of the unburned tobacco to keep it in contact with it.

#10 tudza

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 02:31 PM

You should check out the Seattle Pipe Club:

http://www.seattlepipeclub.org/

for a page with links to pipe packing:

http://www.seattlepi...module_id=14129

following a link from there to slow smoke info:

http://www.unitedpip...ng_Contests.php


last month was the official slow smoke competition. I managed to place 10th out of 15, which is at least an improvement over last years next to first out.

One thing you should know, all of us in the competition agree that the taste gets really bad the longer you go. That is, if you want a pleasing experience, keeping the pipe lit a long time is not a proven ingredient.

#11 brennivin

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Posted 17 December 2008 - 12:56 PM

The last couple I smoked I tamped somewhat randomly but when I knew it was still lit, and managed to get most of the way through it without relighting. Yay!

And thanks for the links!

#12 Heurvert

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 08:31 PM

This is a slightly old thread, but my two cents:

It's all in the air draw. A pipe on the verge of extinguishment can be re-ignited with proper breathing. I often block the bowl top with my finger, ever so slightly, it seems to cause the tobacco to burn hotter, a good alternative to striking another match.
"Don't you know there ain't no devil, there's just God when he's drunk."

-Tom Waits


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