No matter the type of tobacco, your pipe, or how much you've enjoyed the quiet hobby for years, everyone will eventually run into an issue with their packing technique. It seems to be a certainty that plagues even the most seasoned smoker. A lot of us often find themselves in this problem when smoking a larger pipe.
The pipe is large, and the tobacco, in some cases, can be much larger than what we are used to. Typically, this happens when trying pack the pipe too tightly, or even push too hard, which usually results in sharp packing and an unpleasant experience for yourself and stickiness for that pipe.
Techniques You Need to Know
Over time, there are several techniques that solve these issues while enhancing the overall smoking experience. Some of these techniques include:
1) Proper Packing
If your pipe is large, you will require more tobacco, which will be harder to pack. It means you will need more heat to keep the tobacco burning consistently, which means you will use more charcoal. As a suggestion, fill your bowl to two-thirds full before lighting it. It is a great way to start the experience and will allow you to enjoy your pipe without running out of tobacco or needing more heat too early.
A densely packed pipe won't burn evenly, and you'll get uneven flavors from one part of the pipe to another. Also is important to note that large pipes should require more time to smoke than smaller ones. It’s a great way to keep from burning yourself and is a safety mechanism when enjoying longer sessions.
In addition, don't pack your pipe too tightly as it can cause it to burn hotter, which can damage the tobacco or cause you to get nasty burns. Furthermore, you can insert the toe end of your pipe right into the shank and use your thumb to squeeze the tobacco into a delicate ribbon. Using this technique, you will find that the tobacco stays in place throughout the entire smoke and often requires no touch-ups.
2) Draining Your Pipe
This technique will help you regulate the heat inside your pipe and make it easier to keep a consistent burn. Placing the pipe in a bowl covers its surface area, allowing more outstanding smoke production and more cold air to enter before smoking. It will cool the pipe down and allow you to slow down the rate at which your tobacco burns. It will also help keep the smoke in the bowl and away from your hands, especially when it is hot outside.
In addition, this is a fantastic method to remove moisture from your pipe. Moisture in pipes can lead to unpleasant issues such as cracking or warping your favorite pieces. It can also cause the pipe to become too hot and contribute to a nasty tongue bite. You are removing this risk by allowing the smoking surface to dry out. It is a good idea for any time of year, but it is essential during the summer months when it is more likely that you will burn yourself on your pipe.
3) Choosing Your Tobacco
Choosing your tobacco and how much to use when smoking larger pipes can be complicated. Start with less tobacco than you would typically use since this will help you acclimate to your pipe size. It is also essential to ensure that the tobacco you choose has enough nicotine to satisfy you.
When smoking larger pipes, there will be more room for condensation in a bowl, and this can lead to less smoke production. For these reasons, it’s recommended to select a blend with higher nicotine levels and visible pieces of tobacco like flakes or ribbons. It will ensure the smoke fills your mouth and you get a good draw.
4) Regularly Cleaning Your Pipe
When you’re cleaning your pipe, make sure that you're utilizing the correct technique. If you're cleaning a straight briar pipe, you will take it apart and clean it from the bottom up. That means you will take the smoke chamber out first, then the stem, and finally, the bowl. Regularly cleaning your pipe will help keep it in tip-top shape and remove any grime or buildup that accumulates inside the chamber, rim, or bowl.
Wash the outside of your pipe thoroughly to remove any dirt as well. If the outside of your pipe becomes soiled, place it in a bowl or on a flat surface for about one hour after lighting your tobacco, then use hot water to wash away this buildup. It is also an essential step during summer when heat can cause pipes to crack.
5) Allow Enough Airflow
When you smoke larger pipes, the charcoal will be harder to light and may even cause the pipe to heat up too quickly, leading to combustion. If it does, it can also cause the tobacco to fall out of your pipe and provide excessive heat. Adding more airflow helps regulate this issue since more air is available without re-lighting.
In addition, the extra airflow helps prevent overheating and burning of your tobacco. When you experience this, your tobacco is burning and can cause ashes to fly out of your pipe and a bitter taste. When using more airflow for larger pipes, the smoke will be cooler, which results in a creamier flavor and softer draw.
Moreover, when lighting your pipe, first use a non-charcoal lighter. It will help ensure that there is no possibility of igniting the tobacco as long as you empty your pipe of any ash, but it also helps provide additional airflow. Once you have done this, lighting your tobacco should be easy.
Let the tobacco catch fire when lighting before attempting to use the pipe. It will help keep you from burning and getting a nasty mouth bite. In addition, it will help you avoid the risk of getting oil in your bowl or on your hands. Tamping gently to prevent the bowl from cracking and crumbling is also a good idea. It will help the pipe smoke more evenly and prevent the tobacco pieces from falling out of your pipe.
Smoke That Extra Large Pipe Like a Pro
There are many techniques pipe smokers use to smoke larger pipes, and you should experiment to discover what works best for you. No matter what technique you choose, remember that it's more important to enjoy yourself than to try and set a new standard for smoking large pipes.So, by following these tips, you should be able to experience the joys of larger pipes without getting injured or setting yourself up for failure.