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 Cake building

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Boxerbuddy

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Location : Boston, Massachusetts
Registration date : 2011-10-06

PostSubject: Cake building   Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:24 pm

So I got my 1st new pipe about a month ago, a bent bulldog from LJ Peretti. I'm trying to build a nice cake on it.
The pipes I've seen that have nice cakes already built up have a a nice dark grey dry looking cake. The cake that is building on my bulldog seems to be very black and almost moist looking.
I'm smoking the pipe once a day...is that too much? Am I doing something wrong or does the cake always start out looking this way?
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Cake building   Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:49 pm

Geez, I'm first-posting a lot lately. I've been sick and on the computer for two days... (sorry about that, everyone else... Laughing not trying to be a smartass) Laughing

...anyway, from what I read, this "soft cake," is kind of the precursor to the hard cake that I come across in almost all of the estate pipes I've gotten lately. Supposedly, this is normal, and gets more solid as you keep smoking. Though I hear if your tobacco is too moist or you don't let them rest long enough, this "soft cake" will stay resident longer than usual.

(My pipe books have gotten a lot of reading time lately since I've been sick, too... Razz )
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Muddler

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Age : 62
Location : Pretoria, South Africa
Registration date : 2008-05-22

PostSubject: Re: Cake building   Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:53 pm

Nothing wrong with black cake. It can be sticky looking but will harden up & thicken. No need to be concerned. Once a day is not too much. When you're finished smoking, put your hand over the bowl & shake the ash around. It will adhere to the sides & the cake will build faster.
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MisterE
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Location : Mexico City
Registration date : 2009-08-24

PostSubject: Re: Cake building   Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:04 pm

The cake in my pipes are all black. They might look gray if there's a little ash coating the inside of the bowl. Maybe that's what you've seen? Some people like to leave a thin layer of ash while breaking in to help the cake form. I don't so this.

As for the moist stuff, it might be just tar and dottle. It'll usually collects in the heel of the bowl. I have a cheapie pipe nail that I use to scrape all that stuff out after each smoke or so. That goes a long way to avoid a pipe getting sour too soon. It'll come out looking kind of like tar or asphalt. Just be sure you use something with rounded edges for that kind of work to avoid gouging the wood itself.

I wouldn't worry about how long it takes for the cake to build up either. If you're consciencious about keeping the temperature down it'll form nicely on its own. Be sure to smoke it all the way to the bottom once in a while too, to get some cake forming there also. Personally I like to leave the cake slightly thicker at the bottom of the bowl as that is where it'll really heat up if you're not aware of it.

I've read some articles that indicate the structure of the carbonization which forms at low temperature is more solid than what forms at high temperature. I don't have enough scientific background to explain why though. There is a thread on here somewhere about just that topic. Poke around and you might find it. Anyhow, just keeping it cool as you smoke will help for a good solid cake, lol.

Good luck!!
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Boxerbuddy

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Location : Boston, Massachusetts
Registration date : 2011-10-06

PostSubject: Re: Cake building   Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:35 pm

thx for the replies guys, I'm having a bit of a hard time building a cake on the bottom, maybe it's the way I'm packing or smoking the pipe but I have a hard time keeping my bowls lit at the bottom. I'm doing well after the false light, only having to relight an avg of 0-2 times until I get to the bottom, but then it seems as if the tobacco is too moist or coated with the remnants of already smoked tobacco
I don't think I'm using too wet tobacco, I like it a little bit dry. The only tobacco I don't air out before I pack it is Stormfront, which comes relatively dry to begin with.

In any case the cake seems to be building from the top down. It started just below the rim of the bowl and continues to build downward, more on the the side where the draft hole is which I assume is the result of the air being pulled into the pipe more there than any other place in the bowl
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tiltjlp

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Age : 71
Location : Cheviot Ohio
Registration date : 2009-01-14

PostSubject: Re: Cake building   Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:50 pm

Boxerbuddy wrote:
thx for the replies guys, I'm having a bit of a hard time building a cake on the bottom, maybe it's the way I'm packing or smoking the pipe but I have a hard time keeping my bowls lit at the bottom. I'm doing well after the false light, only having to relight an avg of 0-2 times until I get to the bottom, but then it seems as if the tobacco is too moist or coated with the remnants of already smoked tobacco
I don't think I'm using too wet tobacco, I like it a little bit dry. The only tobacco I don't air out before I pack it is Stormfront, which comes relatively dry to begin with.

In any case the cake seems to be building from the top down. It started just below the rim of the bowl and continues to build downward, more on the the side where the draft hole is which I assume is the result of the air being pulled into the pipe more there than any other place in the bowl

You're right that Storm Front doesn't need any drying, and if you pack it a bit looser, and smoke slowly, you shouldn't have too much trouble smoking it to the bottom. You might want to use a pipe cleaner at mid bowl, making sure the cleaner stays about an 1/8-1/4inch away from the draft hole. Keep the cleaner there for a minute or so and it will wick away any excess moisture that might have built up.
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calipuffer



Age : 43
Location : Sunnyvale, CA
Registration date : 2011-10-04

PostSubject: Re: Cake building   Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:49 pm

Don't be in a rush to build a cake. It is one of those things that is best built over time. I was talking with a pipe maker and had just finished my bowl and went through my cleaning regime which includes a final clean of the bowl with the pipe cleaner bent into a U shape. I said I know this can take away from cake build up but I like to keep my pipes clean. To my surprise he said more people should do that technique, as it actually will build a stronger more even cake. Most bowl burn-outs he sees are all because of smokers that are too eager to build up cake. What can happen is an uneven cake, or a brittle cake where a small part will break off causing spot where the cake is either much thinner or gone entirely exposing that spot of briar. Then that spot is much more likely to burn-out. So the moral of this story... don't rush it and enjoy your pipe!
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Kyle Weiss

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Location : Reno, NV
Registration date : 2011-09-18

PostSubject: Re: Cake building   Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:56 pm

calipuffer wrote:
Don't be in a rush to build a cake. It is one of those things that is best built over time. I was talking with a pipe maker and had just finished my bowl and went through my cleaning regime which includes a final clean of the bowl with the pipe cleaner bent into a U shape. I said I know this can take away from cake build up but I like to keep my pipes clean. To my surprise he said more people should do that technique, as it actually will build a stronger more even cake. Most bowl burn-outs he sees are all because of smokers that are too eager to build up cake. What can happen is an uneven cake, or a brittle cake where a small part will break off causing spot where the cake is either much thinner or gone entirely exposing that spot of briar. Then that spot is much more likely to burn-out. So the moral of this story... don't rush it and enjoy your pipe!

...that's exactly what I do, was taught that years ago by my pipe mentor Lloyd, rest his soul. Good, he wasn't entirely insane... Laughing
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Harlock999

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Location : Los Angeles
Registration date : 2010-10-22

PostSubject: Re: Cake building   Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:26 am

Kyle Weiss wrote:
calipuffer wrote:
Don't be in a rush to build a cake. It is one of those things that is best built over time. I was talking with a pipe maker and had just finished my bowl and went through my cleaning regime which includes a final clean of the bowl with the pipe cleaner bent into a U shape. I said I know this can take away from cake build up but I like to keep my pipes clean. To my surprise he said more people should do that technique, as it actually will build a stronger more even cake. Most bowl burn-outs he sees are all because of smokers that are too eager to build up cake. What can happen is an uneven cake, or a brittle cake where a small part will break off causing spot where the cake is either much thinner or gone entirely exposing that spot of briar. Then that spot is much more likely to burn-out. So the moral of this story... don't rush it and enjoy your pipe!

...that's exactly what I do, was taught that years ago by my pipe mentor Lloyd, rest his soul. Good, he wasn't entirely insane... Laughing

Me too.
Good sound advice, I think.
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s.ireland



Age : 30
Location : South Carolina
Registration date : 2010-08-14

PostSubject: Re: Cake building   Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:30 am

I know this "technique" is sometimes frowned upon but does anyone else put their thumb over the bowl and shake up the ashes to coat the bowl after a smoke? I do it pretty much everytime. Then I dump the ash and blow gently through the pipe to push out any ash in the airway or that didn't stick to the walls of the chamber... I only use a "U" pipe cleaner to swab the bowl every tenth smoke or so. I have a pretty even cake in my pipes following this routine Smile


I just noticed that Mudd also suggested using the ash to build cake


Last edited by s.ireland on Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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Stackle2

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Age : 37
Location : Alum Creek, WV
Registration date : 2011-11-03

PostSubject: Re: Cake building   Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:44 am

I started using the ash coat technique on a basket pipe that I just aquired. While I don't care for the ashy smell it leaves in the bowl, it does seem to be contributing to cake build. Also, Typically, I dump a bowl whenever I have had enough, don't worry about smoking to the bottom unless I am particularly enjoying a bowl. The ash technique seems to help the bottom of the bowl cake up more quickly, which is great.
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TommyGun76



Age : 42
Location : Fraser Valley British Columbia Canada
Registration date : 2011-05-26

PostSubject: Re: Cake building   Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:28 am

I just recently really started to try and build some nice cake in my Peterson rocky donegal zippo pipe and heard that burleys work very well and so I chose to only smoke half and half in it and so far so good it is forming quite quick and wow for a OTC blend I really love the stuff , still have to try some carter hall next on my TAD list
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jlong

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Age : 60
Location : Northeast Wisconsin
Registration date : 2009-07-07

PostSubject: Re: Cake building   Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:13 pm

My favorite break in baccy is Prince Albert. It builds a nice cake and being a burly blend, it doesn't seem to ghost anything. If it is ghosting then it's a good burly ghost. Gentle use of a pipe reamer keeps the cake in tune. I do on occasion use a bent cleaner to ream but I need to get in the habit more. Like after every bowl.
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Richard Burley

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Location : North Coast NY
Registration date : 2011-04-09

PostSubject: Re: Cake building   Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:03 am

Boxerbuddy wrote:
In any case the cake seems to be building from the top down. It started just below the rim of the bowl and continues to build downward, more on the the side where the draft hole is which I assume is the result of the air being pulled into the pipe more there than any other place in the bowl

You seem to be doing OK. Every pipe I've ever had built the cake from the top down. Some pipes take forever to cake properly, but they eventually do. Keeping the cake uniform with a good reamer once in a while is helpful. And if the pipe ever gets hot, just let it go out, for more reasons than just the cake integrity.
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