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 no break=in threads? here's one!

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SouthernPiper



Age : 35
Location : Jasper, AL
Registration date : 2011-03-28

PostSubject: no break=in threads? here's one!   Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:04 am

OK, so I found ONE that links to an article that more or less compares cake thicknesses, instead of methods to break-in a pipe.

Is breaking in a pipe really necessary? I've heard of several different methods, and the "1/4 increments" method seems the most effective, but i want to enjoy a good long smoke now, not a quarter of a bowls worth a day. It would take forever to get an enjoyable smoke by doing this method.

I guess I'm going to have to get a corn cob for the break in process of my new pipe. or maybe its patience that I need to learn..
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Hermit

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Age : 65
Location : Ascension Parish
Registration date : 2008-04-22

PostSubject: Re: no break=in threads? here's one!   Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:33 am

I don't make any concessions to a new pipe.
Just don't let it get too hot.
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glpease
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Age : 60
Location : Here, now. Somewhere else, later...
Registration date : 2007-12-11

PostSubject: Re: no break=in threads? here's one!   Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:29 am

SouthernPiper wrote:
OK, so I found ONE that links to an article that more or less compares cake thicknesses, instead of methods to break-in a pipe.

Is breaking in a pipe really necessary? I've heard of several different methods, and the "1/4 increments" method seems the most effective, but i want to enjoy a good long smoke now, not a quarter of a bowls worth a day. It would take forever to get an enjoyable smoke by doing this method.

I guess I'm going to have to get a corn cob for the break in process of my new pipe. or maybe its patience that I need to learn..

I do nothing special during the "break-in." Fill it, smoke it carefully, making sure it doesn't get too hot. Go slow, and all is well. Necessary? Sort of.

Good pipes made from well-seasoned briar will pretty much break in on their own accord. They won't taste terrible in the beginning, and they won't impose too much pain and suffering upon the smoker. Things were not always this way. I suspect that much of the "break-in" legend came about from a time when pipes may not have been made from briar as well cured as what is typically in use today. Sure, some of the more prestigious makers had their curing techniques, but a great many mass-produced pipes were just cut, drilled, shaped and shipped.

Remember, at the high point of the market, factories were turning out millions of pipes each year. Imagine the difficulty curing and aging sufficient briar to have a five year supply on hand. (I've smoked old, unsmoked pipes from some of the "lesser" brands, and some of the horror stories of challenging break-in are well deserved. In one case, the pipe was so dreadful the first bowl, all that was left of it when I finished with it was a chalk outline on the sidewalk.)

Today's pipes, I feel fairly safe in saying, tend to be more consistently and reliably made from good, well-seasoned briar, overall, so the early smoking process is rarely as damaging to the smoker's morale than in those days past when "breaking-in" was often a chore. Today, I actually enjoy the experience of smoking a brand new pipe for the first time. At least, that's my take on it.

Back to methods. For me, a partial bowl never tastes as good as a full bowl. If I only want half a bowl of tobacco, I'd much sooner smoke the top half than a half-bowl. Try it. Very different characteristics. So, I'm disinclined to do the whole 1/3, 2/3, 3/3 thing. (Though, I've certainly tried it.) I've not done any damage to my pipes smoking them slowly from the top to the bottom. Don't pack too tightly, smoke slowly, and if the pipe starts getting hot, let it go out and cool down before re-lighting. Be sure to at least pretend to smoke to the bottom, and you'll be fine.

When you're finished with the bowl, put your thumb over the top, shake the ash, and dump what's left. There should be very little 'dottle," and a fairly dry, consistent ash. Liberal use of pipe cleaners to keep the shank clean and dry, and you're golden.

At least, that's how I do things.

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LIPIPE

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Age : 70
Location : Setauket,Long Island and upstate Granville, New York
Registration date : 2010-12-18

PostSubject: Re: no break=in threads? here's one!   Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:15 am

GLP: Many thanks for your informative post. I have instinctively been doing precisely what you have suggested with new pipe acquisitions and so, now I am glad to know that my pipes are well treated. In addition I have always smoked that way and tossed my ash that way especially in a new pipe. The only additional thing I do that has not been mentioned is a finger swab application of honey inside the bowl of a new pipe to sweeten the smoke and to give the beginning cake a foundation upon which to develop.

I also noted your suggestion about letting a hot pipe cool before continuing to smoke. I agree with you on this also however this always requires more attention for me. As a clencher I usually hold a pipe infrequently. There are times I'm really enjoying a smoke and concentrating on something else such as keyboarding this post and I am not aware how really hot my pipe has become. I have conditioned myself to feel the bowl periodically just to keep track of temperature. Some tobacco blends seem to smoke much hotter than others. I experienced a hot smoke, last evening for example with your Odessey blend and had to force myself to let the pipe cool two or three times.

Lastly, my cleaning method always includes a cake ream with a senior reamer to maintain a very thin and even cake. I have found that if I let a cake develop more than a very thin one, it tends to crack and break away in uneven chunks when reamed and the result cannot be good for heat distribution in the bowl.

PS: Just finished watching your outstanding slideshow. How do you ever decide on which beauty to light up? All are truly works of art.
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glpease
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Age : 60
Location : Here, now. Somewhere else, later...
Registration date : 2007-12-11

PostSubject: Re: no break=in threads? here's one!   Tue Apr 19, 2011 7:41 pm

LIPIPE wrote:
GLP: Many thanks for your informative post. I have instinctively been doing precisely what you have suggested with new pipe acquisitions and so, now I am glad to know that my pipes are well treated. In addition I have always smoked that way and tossed my ash that way especially in a new pipe. The only additional thing I do that has not been mentioned is a finger swab application of honey inside the bowl of a new pipe to sweeten the smoke and to give the beginning cake a foundation upon which to develop.

I also noted your suggestion about letting a hot pipe cool before continuing to smoke. I agree with you on this also however this always requires more attention for me. As a clencher I usually hold a pipe infrequently. There are times I'm really enjoying a smoke and concentrating on something else such as keyboarding this post and I am not aware how really hot my pipe has become. I have conditioned myself to feel the bowl periodically just to keep track of temperature. Some tobacco blends seem to smoke much hotter than others. I experienced a hot smoke, last evening for example with your Odessey blend and had to force myself to let the pipe cool two or three times.

Lastly, my cleaning method always includes a cake ream with a senior reamer to maintain a very thin and even cake. I have found that if I let a cake develop more than a very thin one, it tends to crack and break away in uneven chunks when reamed and the result cannot be good for heat distribution in the bowl.

The heat thing is something we become sensitive to. If you focus on the smoke when the pipe is heating up, you can actually taste the difference. It takes a little concentration at first, but in time, it can become almost automatic. "Hmmm. The pipe is tasting hot." It's not that the smoke is hot, but there are subtle changes to the taste of the tobacco when the pipe overheats. The sweetness diminishes, and the bitter components are amplified. (And, if you're sensitive to nicotine, as I am, the apparent strength of a blend increases when the pipe gets hotter, as the smoke tends to become more alkaline, and more of the nicotine volatalizes in the smoke stream. Same with cigars. I can smoke some fairly stout cigars, but only if I really pay attention, and don't smoke them hot. If I puff just a little too hard, the effect is almost instantaneous, and I can feel the nicotine infusing through my tongue.)

Quote :
PS: Just finished watching your outstanding slideshow. How do you ever decide on which beauty to light up? All are truly works of art.

Many thanks! Pipes are beautiful things, and I feel very fortunate to be able to present them in this way.
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