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 Flake trouble. Please help!

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NorthernLights

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Age : 36
Location : Toronto, Ontario
Registration date : 2013-07-12

PostSubject: Flake trouble. Please help!   Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:36 pm

Hello all,

Bought my first flake. Erinmore. Chose it because it has history in my family, rather than reviews/tasting notes appealing to me.

CONSTANT relights. Oh god, the poor matches. It's a massacre! It's more work than pleasure. I just can NOT keep it going for more than 2-4 minutes it seems.

I am just starting as a pipesman, but I am able to get through an easy burning OTC with just a few relights.

If I'm constantly relighting, that means it is either packed too tight, or is too wet, correct? Or is that not solid logic, and it could be any number of things?

Someone should make a pipe smokers troubleshooting matrix. Problem: Burning too hot. Possible solution: X. Problem: Can not keep lit. Solution: Check moisture (springy). If moisture ok,
Pack more loosely. Etc.

Except with correct info! Smile

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NorthernLights

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Age : 36
Location : Toronto, Ontario
Registration date : 2013-07-12

PostSubject: Re: Flake trouble. Please help!   Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:39 pm

Oh! Forgot to mention. I'm currently rubbing it out fully and letting it sit. Tried 30 min, no luck. Tried roughly 50 min, no luck. Seems almost too dry at that point. Is still flexible, and springy, not brittle and crumbly, but seems almost at that point. I don't want to over dry, but I feel that might be the next thing I try, drying for about 70 min or so.
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PostSubject: Re: Flake trouble. Please help!   Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:53 pm

It's a misconception to assume that you can just light a flake, and that's that.

Flakes (as you're noticing) smoke in stages, with rests-&-catch-ups in between.

Nature of the beast.

What a Face
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Kyle Weiss

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

PostSubject: Re: Flake trouble. Please help!   Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:20 pm

What Yak said.

Relights are the ubiquitous lie that it seems many a new pipe smoker gladly adopts. What it sounds like to me is you're packing/tamping a bit overzealously, which at first tells the brain "draw FASTER...draw MORE..." frustration ensues. Try easing up a little. Not too much...I like Erinmore Flake a lot, but it is a dense flake, even when you think it's rubbed out well.

I've gotten so much into flakes in the last year, when I do pick up a ribbon cut I like, it takes me a little adjustment in my technique for a moment to get it right. It's different, but not so much. Practice.

Pipe smoking is more flexibility and forgiveness than it is strict rules and expectations.

Cool
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Slartibartfast

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Age : 51
Location : California
Registration date : 2011-09-25

PostSubject: Re: Flake trouble. Please help!   Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:38 pm

Just rub it out well and pack it loose. In my experience EF is near perfect moisture straight out of the tin. A good charring light then tamp down & light again.

Personally I never worry about relights, regardless of the cut.
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NorthernLights

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Age : 36
Location : Toronto, Ontario
Registration date : 2013-07-12

PostSubject: Re: Flake trouble. Please help!   Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:24 pm

Thanks gents. Hopefully more keep chiming in. Slartibartfast: Yeah, I'm not dead set on a one-light smoke. But having to relight every 2 minutes makes it feel more like work than fun. And I'm puffing like a madman to keep it lit. Literally can not stop for 15 seconds to participate in conversation. Not fun. But I agree, 3, 5, whatever delights in a bowl, no problem. But you should be able to sit back and enjoy for a few minutes! Smile
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KevinM



Age : 76
Location : Connecticut
Registration date : 2012-02-26

PostSubject: Re: Flake trouble. Please help!   Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:39 pm

As a newbie smoker I thught the idea was to smoke as long as posible w/out relight. This inevitably led to enthusiastic huffing and puffing, frquent relights and a chronic case of burnt tongue. When I finally learned to slow down, stop puffing, let it go out and rest when it wanted to, things improved dramatically. And, mirable dictu!, I began to get one light smokes. For me, the primary appeal of pipe smoking is now relaxation, achieved primarily by controlled breathing through the snout, not so much through the mouth.
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NorthernLights

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Age : 36
Location : Toronto, Ontario
Registration date : 2013-07-12

PostSubject: Re: Flake trouble. Please help!   Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:47 pm

KevinM: Could you please expand on what you said about breathing through the snout rather than mouth? And, acknowledged you are new Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Flake trouble. Please help!   Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:07 pm

http://www.brothersofbriar.com/t22848-ah-the-old-fold-and-stuff-less-is-more

What a Face 
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KevinM



Age : 76
Location : Connecticut
Registration date : 2012-02-26

PostSubject: Re: Flake trouble. Please help!   Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:02 pm

Northern -- Take a cold pipe, with tobak in it, and just hold it in your jaw. Breathe through your nose -- slowly. If you can, inhale to a relaxed count of, say, five. Exhale to a count of six. All through your nose. After a breath or three, you'll be able to taste the tobacco, because it will be pulled in onto the pallette by the slight vacuum formed in your mouth as you breathe.

In other words, when you light up, a smoke cloud will form inside your mouth without being vigorously pulled onto the tongue.  Got the hang of 'er? Now all you have to do is light 'er up.

Yes, every so often you will need to exhale through the mouth and begin the process anew.

To me, pipes exist for relaxation, and this is my recipe for getting to a completely benign though conscious state.

I once told my doctor during a checkup that I could slow my HR and lower my BP by a simple breathing exercise. "No, you can't," she declared. So I started the rhythmic breathing described above, and the needles began dropping. "Stop!" she cried, "you could faint." Point made.

Try it, you might like it, flake tobak or not.
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monbla256

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Age : 72
Location : DFW Metroplex, Texas
Registration date : 2012-01-15

PostSubject: Re: Flake trouble. Please help!   Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:41 pm

Erinmore Flake, along with Orlik Golden Sliced and Dunhill Flake are some of the EASIEST flakes to rub out and light up and smoke for me. I just take a flake rub it out thouroughly, let it dry spread out in a saucer I have for this purpose under my desk lamp for about 10/15 minutes fill and one match to char, one to light and I'm off. I sip it so that it smolders along and it does go out when I put down for a min or so. Just strike another match and your back in business ! In the grand scheme of things, matches are the CHEAPIST thing about smoking! I've smoked it and these others this way for a long time now and enjoyed  some good smokes with EF. Slow down and enjoy  Twisted Evil  Twisted Evil (oh, LOOSE the one light, one bowl idea. It's pure BS Twisted Evil )
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mimefrog

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Location : NE VA
Registration date : 2013-07-10

PostSubject: Re: Flake trouble. Please help!   Mon Jul 29, 2013 12:06 am

I'm new at this as well but I've become accustomed to the fold and stuff method using a larger chambered bowl with a loose draw, particularly with Full VA Flake. I sort of corkscrew the folded flake into the top and push it down a bit and top with some rubbed out tobacco. The post Yak linked has some good info. One thing that really made the difference with this method for me is making sure there is an air pocket at the bottom of the bowl. For some reason it seems to keep the flake lit with an occasional light tamping. It makes big billowing clouds without pulling hard at all. I still relight, but I tend to let my pipes go out anyway, even with ribbon cut packed with the 3 pack method.
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Dutch

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Age : 53
Location : On the road.......
Registration date : 2010-11-06

PostSubject: Re: Flake trouble. Please help!   Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:23 am

When it comes to flake tobacco, first it can be useful to understand for what purpose flake tobacco was invented. By pressing the tobacco under tremendous pressure, large quantities of tobacco would take up less space on ships. The pressed flake tobacco also helped maintain the moisture content of the tobacco much more effectively, negating the need to attempt to seal tobaccos using canvas and liquid tar which had a negative effect on the taste.

Once you understand the reason that flake tobacco was invented, you can better learn to prepare it for smoking. While you might think that 30 to 45 minutes is adequate drying time, in fact your flake tobacco might need hours to dry in order to bring the moisture content down to the smoking quality level of ribbon cut tobacco. It might be more convenient to dry and prepare the pipes you plan to smoke tomorrow, at some time today.

One thing you might try in understanding just how much moisture your flake tobacco is holding, is to use a hygrometer from your cigar humidor. Simply place it in your tobacco container and give it time to register the moisture content. If it is holding a much higher content than your ribbon cuts, you can let a small amount dry until it reaches the same levels as your much easier to smoke ribbon cuts. There is no perfect solution for all flake tobaccos, as drying time can vary from one blend to the next. You can also experiment with cube cutting your flakes instead of rubbing them out. I have even read of some smokers using a coffee grinder to bring their flake tobaccos down to extremely small pieces, however some smokers feel that with some tobaccos it waters down the flavor to much.

Think of flake tobacco as tobacco for the advanced pipe smoker, since it does require more effort and knowledge to smoke properly. However, there are many advantages to flake tobacco, such as the ability to smoke much lighter weight pipes, for the same length of time that a much larger bowled pipe would be required to smoke a ribbon cut.
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Briar Spirit

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Age : 50
Location : England UK
Registration date : 2012-08-30

PostSubject: Re: Flake trouble. Please help!   Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:23 am

Superb post Dutch, good man for going to the trouble to post that information. Smile




Northern, flakes are rascal to master my friend but they are oh so worth the trouble mastering, don't tall into any of those traps where one chap will tell you one method is right and another chap tells you another method is right, what you prefer is what is right for you. When you pack your pipe take a quick sup on the pipe before lighting, if your cheeks suck in to your teeth you've packed it way to tight, if you get a blast of air rushing through the stem it is too loose. This is one of those things you need to practise with I'm sorry to say but you will get the hang of it soon enough, don't give up on it as the journey is well worth it, good luck my Brother. Smile
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Kyle Weiss

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

PostSubject: Re: Flake trouble. Please help!   Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:08 pm

Great post, Dutch.

The final word is:  quit counting your lights--matches, while being particularly irritating out-of-doors, also adds a "scoreboard" for newbies to count, I've noticed.  Especially if you're lining them up like dead soldiers in a small ashtray.  Laughing

I prefer lighters.   Find a Bic or Zippo that suits the purpose, depending on where you smoke.  That's the easiest, most cost-effective route other than matches. 

There are times, even right now, I've probably lit my pipe 20 times.   I also hold or clench the pipe to the point where I mindlessly "rest" the pipe between lights, as it smolders and is lightly "breath" puffed upon.  I'm either working, babbling on here, looking up random stuff...not so "smoke-centered."    Fixation on things will slay your relaxation.  

Flake ain't easy--but it's worth the learning curve.  

Cool
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Slartibartfast

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Age : 51
Location : California
Registration date : 2011-09-25

PostSubject: Re: Flake trouble. Please help!   Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:28 pm

Counting the number of times you light your pipe??   Oy vey.    5) 

That has to take the cake for "useless pipe forum fetish nonsense"!   No 

There's lots of good advise here NorthernLights (though I don't agree with the sentiment that flakes represent some kind of "advanced" class of pipe tobacco.  Methinks I scent the stink of self-aggrandizement there.  Suspect ), but don't be seduced by the dark side of over-analysed minutia.  Just be patient & a bit stubborn, and you'll find what works for you in short order, right enough.  

What's next, resting our briars on digital timers?  To "optimize the experience"?   scratch 


lol! lol! lol! lol!
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NorthernLights

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Age : 36
Location : Toronto, Ontario
Registration date : 2013-07-12

PostSubject: Re: Flake trouble. Please help!   Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:55 pm

Sincere thank you to all who provided info. My shipment from smokingpipes just arrived today, so I now have a few more flakes and a rope to try this on, as well as the Erinmore.

To clarify, I am not overly concerned with having to relight. But I was doing a very solid light, and had to puff *constantly* and vigorously to keep it going, and even then was only able to keep it going for 30 to 120 seconds, before dying again. It was basically quickly going out the second I took the flame away. I'm sincerely not looking for a one light smoke (or 2, or 3, etc). But I do want to go through sections of a few minutes where the pipe is lit, burning nicely, producing some tasty, cool(ish) smoke, and being able to relax and enjoy rather than toil furiously, burning my tongue in the process.

Had a bowl go much better later yesterday! Did a much more thorough job rubbing it out, and let it dry longer. I think as a beginner I need to start fully rubbed, a bit extra dry, and lightly packed. As I get experience, I can then move towards the more challenging smoke of a bit less dry, and not fully rubbed, or perhaps try fold-and-stuff, etc.

Thanks again for all your info and help. Made a big difference!
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gravel

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Age : 44
Location : Oregon
Registration date : 2011-12-07

PostSubject: Re: Flake trouble. Please help!   Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:39 pm

Slartibartfast wrote:
Counting the number of times you light your pipe??    Oy vey.    5) 

That has to take the cake for "useless pipe forum fetish nonsense"!   No 

There's lots of good advise here NorthernLights (though I don't agree with the sentiment that flakes represent some kind of "advanced" class of pipe tobacco.  Methinks I scent the stink of self-aggrandizement there.  Suspect ), but don't be seduced by the dark side of over-analysed minutia.  Just be patient & a bit stubborn, and you'll find what works for you in short order, right enough.  

What's next, resting our briars on digital timers?  To "optimize the experience"?   scratch 


lol! lol! lol! lol!

Sometimes you "sound" like I imagine Slartibartfast would sound, other times like Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged.

Good words.
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somedumbjerk

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Age : 32
Location : Palo Alto, CA USA
Registration date : 2012-08-26

PostSubject: Re: Flake trouble. Please help!   Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:55 am

gravel wrote:
Slartibartfast wrote:
Counting the number of times you light your pipe??    Oy vey.    5) 

That has to take the cake for "useless pipe forum fetish nonsense"!   No 

There's lots of good advise here NorthernLights (though I don't agree with the sentiment that flakes represent some kind of "advanced" class of pipe tobacco.  Methinks I scent the stink of self-aggrandizement there.  Suspect ), but don't be seduced by the dark side of over-analysed minutia.  Just be patient & a bit stubborn, and you'll find what works for you in short order, right enough.  

What's next, resting our briars on digital timers?  To "optimize the experience"?   scratch 


lol! lol! lol! lol!

Sometimes you "sound" like I imagine Slartibartfast would sound, other times like Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged.

Good words.

yeah i had to look one up... maybe i should go get my GED...

he's right though. the hardest part about smoking flake is the amount of time you spend researching how to smoke it.
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PostSubject: Re: Flake trouble. Please help!   Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:36 am

As long as were now ragging each other...

yeah i had to look one up... maybe i should go get my GED...

Don't!  You are overqualified for your job now.

*****
On to truth or as close as it gets in a pipe forum...

Occasionally we all get a bad load in a pipe and need to go at it with a pick.  

I've smoked slices and flake for years.  The ones I liked were thinly sliced and easier to work with than thick chunk versions.    I have mostly smoke Stokkebye stuff which I found easier to prepare in a variety of ways.

1. rubbed
2. fold and stuff
3. trifold and stuff with opening below
and variations.  Mostly the trick has been to not over process.

With thick flakes and slices or plugs, you must "over process" to get a good, cool burn.  

The real trick for me has been getting the right amount of prepared "stuffings" for the pipe in hand.  It is easy to get too much or little working the fill and there is a tendency to make it work that isn't rewarding.
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