As a newbie to the pipe world, I'm still going through the learning curve of all various aspects of pipe smoking. I actually bought most of my pipes a year ago, and threw them in a box to be forgotten about before I'd finished any of the tobaccos for the sake of my tongue and my sanity.
Fast forward to now, financially compromised for reasons I'll not go into, and wishing to make a bigger reduction in my hand rolled cigarette dependence, I dug the box back out again. I managed to get the hang of smoking shag tobacco, albeit hot and bitey, and started having reasonable success with ribbon cut Commonwealth Mixture and Squadron Leader that were lurking in the box. 1792 flake was a complete nightmare, until deferring to the wisdom of the members here, and using some Birds Eye shag as a topping to get things going.
This afternoon I decided to have a go at cube cutting some flake based on a recommendation from another member here. The pipe chosen was a uber cheapo MM cherry wood ozark mountain bent whose bowl falls off the stem ever time you try and remove the mouthpiece to change the filter. The tobacco is Bob's Chocolate Flake. So, cheap dodgy pipe, aromatic flake, smoked by a clueless newbie, outside! Not what you might consider a recipe for success.
I chopped up some of the Choc Flake to approximately the same length as the thickness, so it was essentially diced, or as close to diced as you're going to get. Poured the pieces into the bowl (no packing, just gravity) and made sure I had my pipe tool, lighter, AND a good supply of matches, and went out into the garden. Three extended faux lights later, the tobacco looked about ready to smoke, and two full lights later the pipe was actually being smoked.
Early on in the bowl I did do a couple of relights, not because it had gone out, but because it didn't seem to be taking evenly. After that it seemed to smoke rather well.
At the half hour mark, longer than a pipe usually lasts me, the bowl was still lit, the tongue was still in tact, and I had really enjoyed the smoke. There was a good amount of tobacco still left too. Even though I felt quite satisfied and could have set the pipe aside for later, I decided to go along for the ride and see how the rest of the bowl went.
At around 40 minutes the bowl had started burning unevenly again, and wasn't burning at the sides. A little light jiggery pokery with a spike, a waft of a flame, and a light tamp, and everything was well again.
At the one hour mark I realised that people claiming online to have had over an hours smoke from a bowl wasn't total BS, or because they'd let it go out for 10 mins at a time.
At an hour and twenty,with tongue and sanity still intact, and aglow from the very pleasant smoke, the bowl started to falter. A waft of a flame didn't fully resurrect it, so I accepted I was all dottled out, and triumphantly emptied the bowl for cleaning.... only to discover that with the condition of the tobacco left over, tipping out the ash and retamping/relighting might have actually gotten me another 15 minutes of smoke time.
I may still have much to learn about the subtle nuances of the pipe, but now I know what is achievable. Besides which, it's nearly 4:00PM, and I've only had one coffin nail and about 0.5ml of vape fluid amongst several lovely assorted nosefuls of snuff and one highly successful bowl of aromatic flake.
Today has turned out to be quite a pleasant day :)