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Classic Tin-Same Great Taste

OK, colour me impressed

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 :)


  • I keep thinking about ordering the starter kit from GQ tobaccos but just haven't pulled the trigger. Love cigars when I fish, think a pipe would be great out at the cabin or camping with the trailer.
  • Glad to hear of your success! Like snuff, piping is a lot of trial and error, but once you get proficient it's another wonderful nicotine hobby!
  • The actual bowl falls off? or the mouth piece is loose? If it the mouth piece tenon  you can rectify that by heating it up and tapping it on a flat surface. Or use a pencil and a blow drier.      
    My knowledge is worthless if not shared and applied . "Joseph McKenna"  
  • edited April 2016 PM
    I also read where you get a SS pipe screen put in in the bowl and add a layer of activated charcoal. This will collect all the moisture and the pipe will smoke down to a fine ash. Seems like too much work for this old man but you may want to give it a shot.  Takes the bite out also.
    My knowledge is worthless if not shared and applied . "Joseph McKenna"  
  • The wooden stem section that pushes into the bowl comes away from the bowl easier than the mouthpiece. It's just a taper fit but it's not very tight. I plan on whittling away the end of the wooden section so that it sits deeper into the bowl and locks up better by engaging on a larger diameter part of the stem. I also need to roll up some emery paper and loosen the fit on the mouthpiece by opening up the bore in the stem a tad as this joint is way too tight. It might be the tightness of the mouthpiece that actually made the other come loose, as it wasn't this way when I got it.

    I have got several other pipes, 4 cobs, a baby wellbent, a cheapo churchwarden and a molina hobby, but I like the idea of getting this fixed up. Besides which, in use it does work. It's only in cleaning/maintaining it that the wrong bits come away from each other.

    As to the pipe screens, on the deeper pipes such as the countryman cob, I will use Philtpads or denicool filters at times if I'm not prepared to waste tobacco. The Philtpads also seem to help (me) get a more even burn too, as the draw is coming from all round the side wall rather than from a single point. The ultra small MM cobs (whatever they are called) also benefit from the crystals due to the height of the take off point in the bowl. Saves getting a mouthful of hot ash. Not sure how these compare in use to your suggestion. Also I can't recall seeing any SS gauzes for tobacco pipes from my usual suppliers, although TBH I'm trying to pretty much stick to what I already have due to limited funds at the moment.
  • Ordered the starter kit from GQ tobacco, plus some GW vanilla cherry and a corncob pipe to go with the briar.........I have no will power
  • Welcome to the pipe world. I started with pipes, moved onto cigars. I just found snuff recently. The good things about cobs is they are cheap.
    Learning and applying the proper technique takes time. Don't pack the bowl too tight. Don't tamp down too tight. Smoke slow. Let the flakes dry out a bit before packing them. I usually just fold the dried flakes in the bowl. If you know anyone local who smokes a pipe, that always helps too. Ask them for help.
    Most aromatic pipe tobaccos do not taste as good as they smell in my opinion. The only aromatics I smoke on occasion is from a company called boswells.the other issue with aromatics is that they wont give you the nicotine.

  • The other great thing about cobs is that they are great pipes. I've got quite a collection of briar pipes, including some that are quite good, but it's surprising how often I reach for a cob. They seem to work particularly well for vapers.
  • Completely agree on the cobs. I have been very impressed with mine. Not yet being convinced that I'm taking up the pipe for the "long haul", the value for money they offer is excellent. The Countryman is a particular favourite for me. Sure, I'd like to add a couple of nice briars to the mix, but spending 10x the price of a cob is not an option for me at present
  • @50ft_trad For the value conscious, I've bee hearing good things about the Ropp pipes at Less than $50 for a briar seems very attractive.

  • Thanks for the tip, I'll make a note of that for when funds get back to normal. To be honest I have no complaints with my molina hobby. It's still in block form and I intend to leave it chunky and free standing when I do get round to taking a knife to it, but function wise I have no complaints at all, and the price was right too
  • @50ft_trad the MM cobs have the shank fit with wood glue and I'm pretty sure my Ozarks are that way too. I've gotten some liquor on the join when cleaning and it dissolves the glue. A little Elmer's and it's good to go.

    About six years ago, I knew I was serious about pipesmoking. I decided to "graduate" from cob to briar. I now have four briars and a meer, but I smoke my cobs every day. Rarely do I reach for anything but a Missouri Meerschaum.
  • 50ft_trad50ft_trad Member
    edited April 2016 PM
    @TerrapinFlyer Thanks for the heads up. I did consider adhesive, but was concerned about how the heat may affect things. I have some wood glue kicking about somewhere, so I'll give it a whirl.

    Interesting how you stick with the MMs, but I can genuinely see why. I have two of the baby cobs, which are a bit of a giggle really, and two full cobs which are solid performers. I think I'd like one or two smart briars in time, but I'm certainly in no rush
  • I've got some big meers that are over the 2 hour mark, depending on the tobacco cut and prep.

    Once you start getting it (learning how to pack the bowl is a huge thing to get used to), it's great.

  • No problem. I learned that from Phil at MM on another board--straight from the maker!

    I've been pipe smoking regularly for a few years, daily before that for a few years, and maybe weekly for 15 years or so prior to that. I'm good finally with technique, but I am still learning to taste, educating my palate if you will. I imagine I will be for some time. It is awesome when you finally "get" a blend or flavor notes in a blend that you couldn't before. If you are like me, your enjoyment of pipes will continue to grow for some time. You'll also burn your tongue a lot starting out!
  • I fixed it up with some wood glue yesterday, and it performed just fine this morning with some Rumbh Shag. This afternoon I was craving the ciggies big time, and almost buckled. (I am out of RYO tobacco, but the shop at the corner of my street sell it) I upped the ante with some sliced brown pigtail in a baby wellbent. That sorted things right out. Despite only having a small bowl on that pipe, half a bowl was enough to get the nervous system under control, and the second half of the bowl dealt with the evening after-meal cigarette urges.

    A 30+ a day RYO cig habit is just about being kept at bay (so far) with 3-ish pipe bowls, some snuff, and about 1ml of vape fluid. The after food ones are the biggest challenge, but the pipe is certainly helping
  • MarkMMarkM Member
    edited April 2016 PM
    @50ft_trad - when the cigarette urges become overwhelming, you could always smoke some Five Brothers pipe tobacco, a fast-burning, yet mild-tasting, dry shag-cut burley with a huge nicotine hit.  I always end up inhaling this stuff, so it's not exactly part of a harm-reduction strategy, but it's nice to have on hand when the only other options are either to run to the corner market for a pack of smokes, or else go crazy.  It's basically a cigarette in a pipe.
  • Thanks for the heads up on that. Doesn't look like that blend is readily available over here though.
  • PsickoPsicko Member
    edited April 2016 PM
    @50ft_trad I'll check to see if I still have a pouch or two left. 5 brothers tobacco is like a drugstore blend stateside, but still have to get it online. If I can get some, I'll trade you some 5 brothers for some St Bruno flake.

    Also, if I can recall correctly I remember may ship to your side of the pond. At least I think they used to.
  • @Psicko Thank you for the kind offer my friend, but I'm not in a position to be able to come through on the trade at the moment. If my situation changes soon, I would certainly be happy to look at this.
  • @50ft_trad no worries. Let me know. I'll check to see if I have any when I get home or if any of my friends have some.

  • @50ft_trad I have plenty of Five Brothers, but I'm in no financial shape to send any overseas--it's actually pretty cheap here. My suggestion is to try one of these shag cuts from Gawith Hoggarth: Dark, Dark Birdseye, and Kendal Kentucky. They are all nicotine-laden and fast-burning without being bitey. The Dark shag is Dark Plug or Dark Flake Unscented, just as a shag cut. I really like the flavor of all these, too. They're not just quick nic delivery systems! A small bowl of Brown Bogie/Irish satisfies, also. The preparation of ropes won't get the nicotine in you faster, but gives something tobacco-wise to do with your hands.
  • @TerrapinFlyer I have been using three of those actually. The three shag tobaccos I already have are Dark Blend, Dark Birdseye and Rumbh. I also have a bit of pigtail, and half a bowl of that gets your whole face tingling. :))
  • @50ft_trad. Well, I guess that wasn't helpful. I'm not familiar with Rumbh Shag, but I know the others work! I don't know if you have brown or black pigtail. The brown is stronger and--to my tastes--far superior in flavor.

    Peterson's Irish Flake has plenty of nicotine, if that's available. I get satisfaction from the impossible-to-find-here plugs, like Condor, Velvan, Revor, and Warrior. I'd be a happy man to pick up Velvan at my grocer's, but alas...
  • @TerrapinFlyer It was very helpful indeed. I didn't know how they compared, but have a better idea now. I might have confused you with the Rumbh, as that might me a tobacconist bled rather than a Gawith blend. It's certainly in the same ball park though. The pigtail is brown thankfully. I originally got it to try as chew, but it was too much for me. Works much better for me coined up in a small bowl.

    At the moment I have to work with what is already in my possession. Buying new tobacco is not an option right now. One of the things I do want to try when the cash starts flowing again is Ennerdale Flake. I have started out on the learning curve for pipe smoking with some very robust tobaccos which are normally recommended for the more experienced pipe smoker, which has made things a little more interesting. It would be nice to try something mellower which still has the nic delivery.

    I don't expect to be in a position to buy anything new for at least two months though, so I'm glad I have got these tobaccos already (the 3x shag, the pigtail, a bit of Bobs Choc Flake and an almost full tin each of Squadron Leader, Commonwealth Mixture, and 1792 Flake). Getting the hand of most of them, but the CM is taking a little more figuring out.
  • Yeah, I get the zero budget thing. 1792 is polarizing; I love it! Most don't. It has plenty of N. I've not had Commonwealth and I've been off Latakia for a while. Squadron Leader's a good more medium-guage smoke, though.

    I smoked ready-mades for over 25 years and occasionally smoked a pipe during that time. Pre-Internet, the tobaccos of which I was aware just could not satisfy my want for nicotine.

    When things get better:

    Ennerdale is polarizing, also. My first bowl, I thought, this was for people a century ago who really didn't like the taste of tobacco! My second bowl, six months later, I liked it a little more and started tasting the tobaccos. The more I smoked, the more I came to realize how brilliant was the seamless junction of tobacco and added scents. It's really fine stuff, just not for everyone. Slightly less N, but still strong in that regard. Of Ennerdale, Grasmere, and Glengarry, it's probably my favorite.

    My favorite Lakeland/scented might be Broken Flake #7, Scotch Flake Scented, or Brown Flake Scented by GH and 1792 and Kendal Cream Flake by Sam Gawith, depending on the day. These are all med-strong N with moderate to heavy scent applied (1792 is big in both flavoring and N). I think you can get 1792 as a plug there, too. I only started with these in the last 18 months or so.

    Do they sell the plugs I mentioned where you are (probably not Condor Plug)? Mick McQuaid and Yachtsman also come to mind. They are typically full bodied, strong N, lightly to moderately topped. I hear they are the equivalent of our drugstore tobaccos in the US--for availability, not necessarily quality. What do they sell for, if they do?

    Those shags and pigtail should keep the beast at bay. @50ft_trad

  • @TerrapinFlyer Many thanks for the insight there. I went from a 30+ a day RYO habit, down to between 5 and 10 a day for a couple of weeks (plus snuff and vape), and haven't had a roll up for 3 days now with using the pipe too. Half a moderate sized bowl is enough to get me through the desperate "chewing the desk" moments, so I'm confident that in a week or so I'll be well on the way to having broken the habitual aspect of the roll ups.

    As to availability and prices of tobacco, there is a huge amount of stuff over here, but as you can imagine, at this stage I haven't got the first clue what any of the descriptions actually mean until I start being able to buy stuff and try it. Realistically, I'm limited to whatever I can buy locally anyway. Thinking more indepth about it, anything that comes for me from outside the borders will be hit with huge duties, plus VAT, plus release fees, plus whatever else I'm not aware of.

    I think the easiest thing to do is give you a link for where I would buy most of my stuff from. TOBACCO&cat=69

    Certainly not short of options as you can see :))
  • Congratulations. That's about what I figured as far as prices.
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