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thomas james

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OK! What exactly does "cake" contribute to a smoke? I think, very little if anything. I think the briar absorbs flavors and continues to "season" with time and with each smoke. I think briar, not the cake, has the memory. I think, even with a piece of 10 to 12 year old briar, "real" "curing" and "seasoning" begins with smoking and CONTINUES. Those who appreciate really old pipes must sense this too. I just completed my first of the year reaming of all of my pipes. I tried to remove all cake, but not damage the wood. I do this every year and it no longer amazes me that my pipes "spring back" and "resume" where they left off.

Pretty controversial considering "cake" is always so damned "sacred."

Throughout the year, I try to maintain cake at a minimum level.

My two really old pipes, 40+ years, don't skip a beat and are the most "resilient."

Wanna fight?
 

Carlos

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Do you ever notice cake acting as an insulator?

I suppose, limited knowledge that I have, that cake doesn't always protect the wood. I would think it reasonable to assume that if you have good technique, good wood will treat you right.
 

Mikem

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Interesting observation TJ. I try and keep my "cake" very thin. IMHO a thin cake tends to protect the inside of the bowl somewhat from burning the briar. Too much and I think it doesn't allow the bowl to breathe plus alls you end up tasting is accumulated tars, etc.

I'll leave the fighting to Leroy......... :drunken:
 

ZuluCollector

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TJ, I try and keep the cake on my pipes to a thickness that is no more than a dime. For me, that's optimal - it offers insulating properties but doesn't diminish bowl capacity nor does it threaten to crack the bowl by heating at a differential rate from the wood.

Like everyone else here, I've seen pipes caked so thickly that there's very little room left for tobacco. Sometimes, thick cake will crack a bowl; sometimes not. I think it depends on the heat absorption- and diffusion-rate of specific pieces of briar.
 

Justpipes

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I don't think anyone wants to fight over bowl caking but I am sure there are many here that are interested in some good information on the subject.

I also try to keep the cake in my pipes to a minimum but I believe that it is wise to have at least just a little cake. I find that my pipes smoke best with the least amount of even cake but still enough to protect the bowl. I believe the optimum word here is even. The cake needs to be even to insure an even burn throughout the bowl and to prevent hot spots.
 

pipetongue1

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Even' All, I keep my pipes to a VERY thin cakeby cleaning with a napkin during every cleaning 4-5 bowls, after breaking I don't feel there is ANY reason for reaming, that and having a large rotation, I brought this question up before, on older pipes 50-60 yo pipes I feel the cake and briar seem to morph into one, wanna fight??? Ken.
Pacem en Puffing! ;)
 

thomas james

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Seems like thin cake is a consensus,,,,,,,,,,,,so far.

Ken, I am not going to challenge your preference for donuts. Sounds like yer bigger n' me.
 

hazmat

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I could be all wet on this but I think the most important place to have cake is in the bottom of the bowl for absorption purposes. That's where all the grak drips to as you're puffing and the cake helps pull that away from the 'baccy. I'll tell you how I came to this conclusion.

Most of the pipes I smoke regularly were purchased when I first got into smoking pipes. I knew a little bit and was taught more by several BoBs I know but, being a young guy and impatient to boot I didn't pay attention to ALL of it. Being a bit mule-headed I never bothered to develop a proper cake in the bottom of several of these pipes. Many of them smoked wet no matter how I packed, smoked, tamped, lit, etc. Except this one Peterson. It was my *most expensive pipe* and I was determined that it would smoke like a dream. To that end, I took my time with it, worked it in, got that bottom cake jussssst right... and it came around wonderfully. It just does what it's supposed to.

With that in mind I went back to a few of my other pipes, reamed them back to wood(there was a good cake up high in the bowl, but not in that last 1/4 inch at the bottom) and re-started the breaking in process. With the exception of one pipe, they all smoke much, much dryer than they did when I first broke them in.

Obviously, YMMV with something like this, but that's been my experience to date.
 

The German Shepherd

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In my experience with "cake" I have found (also) that a thin cake works best for me. I like mine the thickness of a dime or less. It would seem to me that the cake acts as an insulator that helps prevent burning the briar but also like a grate that you have in your fireplace.

Jay
 

m2j3t6

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Another thin cake man here. I clean my pipes after each smoke and let the cake build very slowly. I never let it get to a dime. I agree with tj,,it's the wood that takes on the flavor
 

baweaverpipes

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I recently made a pipe for myself that has very thin walls. Even though it smoked well, it was hot, hot, hot to the touch. I applied a thin layer of carbon and it was amazing what a difference it made. The bowl was no longer hot and this improved the smoking experience 10fold. I'm not a fan of pre-coated bowls but, with certain pipes it has advantages.
 

regor

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Another thin cake man here and building it up slowly like some others :cyclops: :sunny:
 
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