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 Pipe smoking myths about cleaning

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huffelpuff

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Age : 48
Location : Laramie, WY
Registration date : 2011-12-10

PostSubject: Re: Pipe smoking myths about cleaning   Sat Aug 16, 2014 1:13 pm

I've got no problem with it brother! It works for you that's what's important. I used to smoke very heavily, 8-12 bowls a day. At that time I would smoke one or two pipes a day and worry about clean up later. So I get it. The whole point I was trying to make was these pipes are hardy, they will stand up to some really serious abuse and still deliver the goods.
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jonnylaw13

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Age : 33
Location : norther WI
Registration date : 2014-05-16

PostSubject: Re: Pipe smoking myths about cleaning   Sat Aug 16, 2014 5:22 pm

It just goes to figure I end up having to clean the pipe I brought to work with me. Have some SPS Roma Vita that just came in that I am absolutely loving but apparently I should let it dry a bit, sutliff sure like to wet it down good for canning.
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Domer



Registration date : 2013-12-21

PostSubject: Re: Pipe smoking myths about cleaning   Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:51 am

Thanks for the experiment.
It's also a reminder that we don't really need a dozen pipes to enjoy pipe smoking. How many lawnmowers do I need to cut my grass?
But, of course, that's part of the fun. Wink
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Dutch

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

PostSubject: Re: Pipe smoking myths about cleaning   Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:03 pm

I suppose I should take time to relate my recent lifestyle change experience, and how it has affected my pipe cleaning regimen and habits.

As most of the old timing men here know, I have always been an advocate of cleaning my pipes thoroughly after each smoke. I even went so far as to keep most of the carbon cake out of my pipes with my vintage Kleen Reem, and always used either bourbon or PGA to clean my pipes after each smoking session.

Once I started driving OTR, it became apparent quickly that I would not be able to keep up my regular cleaning sessions, primarily because it is against DOT regulations to have ethyl alcohol inside the cab of any commercial truck.

Because I was not about to give up my beloved pipe smoking hobby, I simply decided to make the best of the situation and clean my pipes with alcohol when I could legally do so.

Well, the good news is, that my pipes seem to do just fine with a simple pass of the pipe cleaner, and a swabbing of the bowl with a q-tip after each smoke. I usually find time at least once a month to ream and do a more thorough job with a pipe cleaner dipped in bourbon.

However, I am not totally convinced that this situation is without any ill effects. While it may not noticeably affect the quality of each individual smoke, I feel that it may possibly shorten the quality smoking life of a particular pipe. Particularly pipes that weigh in at 40-50 grams or less.

The reason I believe this, is because briar is a porous medium. Like a sponge, it will eventually reach maximum capacity, at which time the smoking experience will most likely be severely degraded.

IMO, and YMMV, is that if you clean your pipes after every smoking session, you may experience a slightly higher quality smoke, and increase the estate value of your pipe a decade or two down the road. An added bonus, is that the pipe cleaning regimen can be somewhat therapeutic, similar to mowing the yard, or getting involved in a craft project.

Is it absolutely necessary? Absolutely not. Wink 
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MisterE
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Location : Mexico City
Registration date : 2009-08-24

PostSubject: Re: Pipe smoking myths about cleaning   Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:36 pm

I only brought a few pipes with me for our trip to the US, so they've been working overtime. I have to say there's a marked difference between a clean, not-so-rested pipe, and a not-so-clean-or-rested pipe.

_________________
Many of the greatest pleasures in life are illegal, immoral, or smelly.

-Yak
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Thomas Tkach

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Age : 31
Location : North Dakota
Registration date : 2010-11-24

PostSubject: Re: Pipe smoking myths about cleaning   Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:07 pm

Dutch, I think the sponge analogy is good, except that if you rest a sponge, it dries out again. I don't think there's any reason to believe that the wood gets filled with anything that doesn't come out.

http://pipesmokersforum.com/community/threads/no-finish.7967/

post #8 or 9 there shows a picture of a really old estate pipe 'smoked to DEATH' cut in half. Except for the smallest portion immediately around the chamber, the briar is completely clean. I would think a pipe could be smoked indefinitely and be fine, so long as it gets a deep clean every once in a while, but I'm not been smoking long enough to find out.
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Dutch

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

PostSubject: Re: Pipe smoking myths about cleaning   Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:33 pm

Thomas Tkach wrote:
Dutch, I think the sponge analogy is good, except that if you rest a sponge, it dries out again. I don't think there's any reason to believe that the wood gets filled with anything that doesn't come out.

http://pipesmokersforum.com/community/threads/no-finish.7967/

post #8 or 9 there shows a picture of a really old estate pipe 'smoked to DEATH' cut in half. Except for the smallest portion immediately around the chamber, the briar is completely clean. I would think a pipe could be smoked indefinitely and be fine, so long as it gets a deep clean every once in a while, but I'm not been smoking long enough to find out.

Thomas, I agree that the briar is filling up so to speak. Different methods of pulling it back out would be with regular cleaning, kosher salt, or one of those pipe retorts. Whatever the method, it would be an attempt to pull the moisture and resins back out, reversing the process.

I remember reading somewhere that one pipemaker felt that most briar pipes should be good for around 2000 bowls, before reaching the saturation point. I have an old GBD Prince meerschaum lined estate that has reached saturation point., at least the meer lining has. It is evident after smoking, because the inside of the bowl has a wetness to it, no matter which blend I smoke in it.

When considering an estate pipe, it would be nice to know how many bowls had been smoked in that particular pipe, instead of the age, but unfortunately pipes don't have odometers. Reminds me of a comment I made to my doctor once about how getting older was getting rough.

He responded by saying "It's not the age, it's the mileage."  Laughing 
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monbla256

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

PostSubject: Re: Pipe smoking myths about cleaning   Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:44 pm

Been reading this thread for awhile and there have been some interesting "theoreys" proposed. From my experience, much of this clean/dirty aspect hinges on the TYPE of tobacco blend smoked in the pipe. I have some pipe smoker friends who are confirmed OTC discount Aro smokers ( one smokes that Smokers Pride Cherry Aro that he gets in 2 lb bags at Walgreens) and they are always complaining how "gunky" their pipes get after a few weeks of straight smoking and how they have to let them "rest" ! zmy own experience has been that smoking a good English/Balkan type blend allows a pipe to be smoked for a longer period of time WITHOUT any sort of major "cleaning" !!  Twisted Evil Twisted Evil 
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Jevverrett

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Age : 36
Location : Meriden, Ct
Registration date : 2014-12-13

PostSubject: Re: Pipe smoking myths about cleaning   Thu Dec 25, 2014 11:25 am

I smoke a bit hot most of the time. I normally just run a extra fluffy cleaner down them all the way to the bowl. If I notice a draw issue, I use a bristled one before the fluffy one. Ream as needed every 6 weeks or so. And a heavy cleaning maybe thrice a year. Yet again, my most expensive pipe was about 200$. Maybe if I had a $1000+ pipe it would be different for me.
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Dottleman

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Age : 52
Location : Colorado
Registration date : 2011-08-07

PostSubject: Re: Pipe smoking myths about cleaning   Sun Mar 01, 2015 4:24 pm

flyguy wrote:
I must admit to being a bit more anal (like Cart) about a clean pipe.
I might smoke a pipe twice but at the end the pipe will get a thorough cleaning. The cleaning includes Everclear, several pipe cleaners and sanitizing the stem.  In my opinion, a clean pipe is a tasty pipe! Smile 

I'm about the same. I've noticed that I get much more flavor from the baccy when the pipe is very clean.
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Ozark Wizard

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Age : 54
Location : Mark Twain National Forest, MO
Registration date : 2014-10-11

PostSubject: Re: Pipe smoking myths about cleaning   Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:15 pm

I figure a pipe cleaner after every smoke, and if the bottom of the bowl looks moist I'll mop it with a folded paper towel. Never thought of Q-tips. Hmmm
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monbla256

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

PostSubject: Re: Pipe smoking myths about cleaning   Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:27 pm

Ozark Wizard wrote:
I figure a pipe cleaner after every smoke, and if the bottom of the bowl looks moist I'll mop it with a folded paper towel. Never thought of Q-tips. Hmmm

If you smoke a blend/mixture that leaves a moist dottle the Q-tips will leave fibers at the bottom of the bowl and they don't taste good if you smoke a blend to the very bottom !! I'd stick with regular pipe clnrs either standard thickness or fluffy as they usually don't do this !! Twisted Evil Twisted Evil
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Dutch

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

PostSubject: Re: Pipe smoking myths about cleaning   Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:44 am

monbla256 wrote:
Ozark Wizard wrote:
I figure a pipe cleaner after every smoke, and if the bottom of the bowl looks moist I'll mop it with a folded paper towel. Never thought of Q-tips. Hmmm

If you smoke a blend/mixture that leaves a moist dottle the Q-tips will leave fibers at the bottom of the bowl and they don't taste good if you smoke a blend to the very bottom !! I'd stick with regular pipe clnrs either standard thickness or fluffy as they usually don't do this !! Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

Michael, the way I prevent the fibers from staying inside the bowl, is to twist the q-tip between my fingers in the same direction it was spun at the factory. If you twist in the wrong direction, it will be apparent rather quickly. Once the cotton is nice and tightly wound, I use it to rake out the ash after each smoke.

I use the same twisting motion before I dip them in alcohol when giving my pipes a proper cleaning. In my experience, the only time there is anything for the cotton to snag on, is when I pipe is brand new and the wood is rough from tooling marks.. Once a cake starts to build, the rough spots in the briar start to fill in with cake. After a few twists with my Reem Kleen, it slicks the cake up nicely, and it's simply a matter of swabbing the bowl with a q-tip until I get a relatively clean q-tip. That's one reason I like q-tips, is you can see when they cease to turn black, so you know you have pulled out just about all the residue from your bowls.

As for fuzzies, I use BJ Long pipe cleaners, and I have more issues with loose fuzzies on my pipe cleaners than I do on my q-tips. Seems I am always picking loose fuzzies off of these BJ Long pipe cleaners. If I do ever end up with any cotton down inside the bowl, I use a small pair of needle nose tweezers to extract the stinker.
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Gonzo

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Registration date : 2015-03-18

PostSubject: Re: Pipe smoking myths about cleaning   Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:39 am

My smoking amount fluctuates depending on a number of factors, time, if I have new tobacco I want to try, and so on. Currently I smoke about 5-6 bowls a day. I use a different pipe everyday and 1-2 of the bowls smoked goes in a meer which gets used everyday. Every bowl smoked, I let cool before removing the ash/dottle left, I do run a dry pipe cleaner through the stem. Then give the bowl a light scrape with a pipe nail, just enough to knock any loose stuff off the side. Then I let them sit empty and wait for the next smoke. They get about 5-7 days of rest in between the next use. I don't dedicate pipes so much as use them for common blends, and avoid putting specific tobaccos in certain ones.

Question on saturation, since a meer colors when the tars etc. pass through the wall to the outside, it makes sense to say this material is porous as well. Waxing these is common practice, to protect the outside and color them faster. It would make sense to me that this would also have a saturation point, and yet there are meers past down 2-3 generations that are completely black and still regarded as good smokers. I am mainly wondering if the saturation of a briar is something to be aware of, or is it possible the external finish is really causing the problem, being too good of a seal and not allowing the pipe to breathe properly.
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joshoowah

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Age : 32
Location : Nairobi, Kenya
Registration date : 2011-09-24

PostSubject: Re: Pipe smoking myths about cleaning   Mon Mar 23, 2015 3:14 am

Lately, I've been smoking 1-2 bowls per day. The way I "clean" my pipes is using a paper towel to clean the bowl of debris. I'll then take a bristled cleaner and rotate it around the inside of the bowl to make sure it is an even cake. Then, I run a cleaner from stem to bowl. When it is cooled down, I'll remove the stem to make sure there is no gunk build-up in the mortis, or stem for that matter. Fold the pipe cleaner in half and run it through the mortise a couple of times. Lastly, I leave the stem detached from the pipe for bit before reinserting and putting the pipe away. I, also, use a soft cloth to wipe the rim of the bowl. All of this takes 3-4 minutes most of the time.

I rarely, if ever, use any alcohol on my briar, but I never feel the need to either. I like my pipes shiny, but I've never had to do much to keep them that way.


Last edited by joshoowah on Thu Jun 25, 2015 7:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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DWT

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Age : 68
Location : New Orleans
Registration date : 2014-10-19

PostSubject: Re: Pipe smoking myths about cleaning   Thu Jun 25, 2015 6:51 pm

I treat a pipe like a gun. If you want it to work reliably, keep it clean.
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pipetrepid

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Location : upstate new york
Registration date : 2015-06-23

PostSubject: Re: Pipe smoking myths about cleaning   Sun Jul 05, 2015 5:18 pm

at the end of a smoke i loosen the tobacco, put my thumb over the bowl and shake(shaken not stirred?). i then place a cleaner in the pipe for a while. then, remove the cleaner and let it stay overnight. next day tobacco out of bowl and run a cleaner with a touch of alcohol through. last thing, soft cloth and wipe dowm bowl and stem, bill
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Thomas Tkach

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Age : 31
Location : North Dakota
Registration date : 2010-11-24

PostSubject: Re: Pipe smoking myths about cleaning   Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:21 pm

pipetrepid wrote:
at the end of a smoke i loosen the tobacco, put my thumb over the bowl and shake(shaken not stirred?). i then place a cleaner in the pipe for a while. then, remove the cleaner and let it stay overnight. next day  tobacco out of bowl and run a cleaner with a touch of alcohol through. last thing, soft cloth and wipe dowm bowl and stem, bill

I only do the shaky thing when building cake in a new pipe. After it gets started, wiping out the ash with a paper towel or bent over cleaner helps to keep it from getting thick enough for a reaming too often.
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