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The Art of Proper Tamping/Ash Maintenance

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Trout Bum

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Hello, fellow imbibers! I have a few questions regarding tamping, ash maintenancece, etc. I live in a fairly remote mountain town, with no fellow pipe enthusiasts other then my fellow brethren here on this board. I have smoked a pipe off and on for almost 20 years, but have only recently taken it to a more serious level, with better pipes and better tobaccos, and hence, much better enjoyment. Any help with the following would be much appreciated!

1) Do you tamp with a round tamp, and LIGHTLY spin the tamp to even out the surface of the ash? I have read of this technique recently, and have found it useful and kind of fun, too.

2) Do you ever remove spent ash from the bowl? I often do this to expose the underlying tobacco to improve the air flow... but I do not know of anyone else who does...

3) Do you smoke all the tobacco in the bowl, right to the bottom? I very rarely can do this. It seems that the final 1/8 of the bowl (or so) just does not burn properly, or perhaps, as properly, as the rest of the bowl. When finished with a bowl, I almost always remove a small amount of tobacco that is unsmoked... Is this just my own quirk, or is this common? I wonder if my removing spent ash, mid bowl, as described above, produces this?

Happy New Year to All!

Most humble regards,

Trout Bum
 

Hermit

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1) I don't know how spinning does much. (?)
2) I do. I gently disturb the ash and dump.
3) I usually get pretty close if not all the way to the bottom.
 

LtMac

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Yes; I slightly spin the tamper as I tamp. It does seem to work better.

Yes; I often dump out the ash after 1/2 bowl or so.

No; I hardly ever smoke the heel of the bowl. Usually when I dump out the bowl there is a small amount of tobacco left.

LtMac
 

puros_bran

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Amen to Ken..

scoop that weed in, fire it up, mash it with your finger as needed. :D
 

Justpipes

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I never tried spinning the tamper as I smoke. Never thought of it. I just tamp evenly around the entire surface.

I only find it necessary to dump the ash when I am smoking a deep bowl with a large capacity, usually at about the last 3rd of the bowl because the thick ash makes relighting difficult. On a smaller bowl I don't find it necessary.

If I can and the pipe will allow, I smoke as close to the bottom as possible. It is not difficult with pipes that the air hole is at or very near the bottom of the bowl. Pipes that are drilled above the bottom are more difficult to smoke to the very bottom.
 

Natch

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1. I find that I tamp less and less as I get older (too much effort?). And when I do, it's more a light stirring around the edges using the thin end of a Czech tool to move the unburnt leaf towards the middle. Occasionally will use my fingers as well.

2. I usually dump the ash once or twice during a smoke. My usual method is to stir as indicated above, smoke a bit longer or relight if needed, then dump the ashes, I find I seldom loose burning embers or unsmoked tobacco that way.

3. Seldom smoke to the bottom of the bowl. Depending on the tobacco and pipe, I'll usually leave the last 1/4 +/- as dottle to dump. When breaking in a new bowl, I'll smoke to the bottom, but after that, I've got other ways to keep the cake even to the bottom without smoking all the way each time. I find most tobaccos, even my favorites, get pretty nasty towards the bottom, so why smoke what I'm not enjoying.

Natch
 

Centurian 803

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For what it's worth here's my two cents worth.

1. I just lightly tamp but don't spin. I only tamp occasionaly.

2. When there is a considerable amount of loose ash in the bowl, I dump.

3. Depends on the tobacco. Most of what I smoke burns all the way to the bottom with little dottle. One or two pipes (with certain tobaccos) seem to leave more in the bottom. :pipe:
 

Mikem

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I lightly tamp around the edges two or three times during a bowl (no spin) using a pipe nail or tool. While driving I normally use my finger as a tamper. I very seldom dump the ash while smoking and smoke to the bottom of the bowl. Smoking mainly English blends I normally smoke until it's ash all the way to the bottom of the bowl. Virginia's or aromatics there is some dottle left on the bottom of the bowl that gets dumped.
 

Puff Daddy

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Never heard of spinning, seems it would create a harder surface to the ash which would inhibit airflow. I usually tamp only to tame down the bloom after lighting or to correct an uneven burn (moving an unburned edge to the top/center) and when I do this it is as lightly as possible. When I've smoked a bowl down to the point where many would tamp I instead take the pick end of the tool and stir the ash lightly to break it up, then settle it very lightly with the tamper. This is not to compress the ash over the surface of the tobacco but to simply break it down and settle it just enough to protect the tobacco surface without sealing it off. When there's a significant amount of ash I dump it and relight.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Trout Bum":njhwlx0f said:
Hello, fellow imbibers! I have a few questions regarding tamping, ash maintenancece, etc. I live in a fairly remote mountain town, with no fellow pipe enthusiasts other then my fellow brethren here on this board. I have smoked a pipe off and on for almost 20 years, but have only recently taken it to a more serious level, with better pipes and better tobaccos, and hence, much better enjoyment. Any help with the following would be much appreciated!

1) Do you tamp with a round tamp, and LIGHTLY spin the tamp to even out the surface of the ash? I have read of this technique recently, and have found it useful and kind of fun, too.

2) Do you ever remove spent ash from the bowl? I often do this to expose the underlying tobacco to improve the air flow... but I do not know of anyone else who does...

3) Do you smoke all the tobacco in the bowl, right to the bottom? I very rarely can do this. It seems that the final 1/8 of the bowl (or so) just does not burn properly, or perhaps, as properly, as the rest of the bowl. When finished with a bowl, I almost always remove a small amount of tobacco that is unsmoked... Is this just my own quirk, or is this common? I wonder if my removing spent ash, mid bowl, as described above, produces this?

Happy New Year to All!

Most humble regards,

Trout Bum
Wow! Your pipeing experience is very similar to mine. Sounds like your techniques are similar too. I, like the others don't know about spinning the tamper, I do run the spoon shaped tool around to pull down unsmoked tobacco after dumping out the loose ash, then retamp.
It's a rare occasion that I smoke down to the bottom. It's usually a timing thing, I just run out of time to smoke all the way down and don't want to leave it overnight, so I scrape it out. I must admit It does bother me to dump out perfectly good tobacco though.
 

Ol'Dawg

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For me I use my well calloused thumb to tamp after the charring light and then use my right ring finger to tamp lightly as I smoke down the bowl. Occasionalloy I'll use the tamper on my Old Boy, Pipe Master or Bentley lighter(s).

The only time I dump ash is when I drop a pipe when smoking.

The whole bowl gets smoked 99% of the time.

Jim
 
A

Anonymous

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Some pipes just seem to have soggy heels :evil: Others can wind up withthem from accidents or carelessness in packing/tamping.

Let it sit for anywhere from half an hour to the next day and it will dry out enough to finish. The flavor and strength won't be objectionable.

The point of finishing it is to hasten drying out the heel area. (Damp hydrocarbons plus environmental yeast/mildew = eventual yuckitude). Letting damp gunk accumulate in there without drying will sour your pipe. (If you're resting it for a week or ten days in between smokings, this is probably academic).

Ash removal : normal.

:face:
 
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