The Art of Packing a Pipe
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20 December 2012

The Art of Packing a Pipe
 Newsletter Introduction for Thursday, December 20, 2012

Recently, I had a phone conversation with a friend of mine. It just so happens he's a new pipe convert from the church of cigarettes. Mid conversation he asked me a question as old as the pipe itself... "How do you pack your pipe?" A few brief seconds of silence passed as I prepared to answer him with the cliché answer of, "I take three pinches... (yadda yadda yadda)". But suddenly, something clicked inside of me, and I stopped. I realized that wasn't necessarily true. I pack it based on the tobacco I'm smoking.

For example, when I'm smoking Mac Baren's Vanilla Cream flake cut, I break up the flake, and load on-end three or four longer slivers of flake in the bottom of the pipe (in order to create a pocket of air). I then begin loading the bits from largest to smallest, which gives me some less dense pieces on top. I find this makes lighting much easier and helps prevent charring the rim of my pipe. Another example I can think of comes from Ted, here at Mac Baren's Navy Mixture is his poison, and he loads it with great care. At the risk of sounding overly pretentious, Ted loads Navy Mixture with the attention a painter gives his painting or a sculptor his sculpture. He takes his time, enjoys the process, and sorts out pieces of tobaccos making certain to place a healthy dose of black Cavendish at the top of the bowl. This, as you can imagine, makes the initial light, sweet and quite pleasant.

The point here is... tobacco, just like the pipe you smoke it in, is made to be enjoyed the way you want to enjoy it. Yes, there are some basic packing "rules", but all-in-all it's a matter of preference. Play around with the tobacco and realize there's more to smoking a pipe than simply creating smoke.

Speaking of pipes... In today's update, you'll see a selection of pipes that's sure to please any pipe smoker. We have pipes ranging from Savinelli, Peterson, Neerup, and Brebbia, all the way to Eltang and Bruce Weaver. So, happy hunting all.

Brandon Bellegarde: Pipe Manager

 Brandon Bellegarde: Pipe Manager

Posted by brandon at 4:03 PM | Link | 2 comments

Re: The Art of Packing a Pipe
Dog-gonnit Brandon I'm sitting here filling and smoking as I'm reading this blog and realizing that I just plunged my pipe into my pouch and pulled tobacco into the bowl with my finger while testing the drawl with the pipe, and pouch close to my face. It's simply out of habit when filling from a pouch. However I totally agree with many articles that I've seen lately stating that it depends on the tobacco style that you're working with. One surely can't do my pouch number with flakes and it's a good trick with course reddi-rubbed and broken flake. When I'm home in my 'chair' chillin'and getting ready to smoke one of my faves like Solani ABF or Wessex burley slice, I put a magazine in my lap, retrieve the slice sitting near my pipe tray that has been airing upwards to a half hour then commence to playin'. i take the flake and stick it into the bowl and see wear the point of the flake is that goes to just slightly below the rim of the bowl. That's where I make the fold of the flake the excess I snip off with my thumbnail and rub that out completely onto the magazine for use a top kindling. Fold and stuff gently the flake then sprinkle the kindling and light it up and it's on from there. A charring light? Man that's new wave stuff. Back in my beginning days the oldtimers and pamphlets lying around tobacco shops simply stated that you light the tobacco till it rises a little them gently tamp down what rises. Light it again and voila!

Posted by vinnie799 on December 20, 2012 at 5:11 PM

Re: The Art of Packing a Pipe
Indeed, the filling style must depend mainly on the nature of the tobacco being used; from there, it becomes a matter of what works best for one's pipe and style of smoking. The most bizarre thing I ever witnessed personally with regard to the subject was performed by a newbie decades back: he carefully layered his pipe bowl with ribbon cut tobacco, then proceded to shake the pipe up and down to 'mix the layers'. The handful of us standing by were all too stricken with disbelief to react.

Posted by Cowboy on December 23, 2012 at 2:34 PM

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