Pipe Smoking Basics

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Old Toby's Pipe Smoking 101

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The proper packing, lighting and smoking of a pipe is something that has been discussed for years. Rather than fill your head with a bunch of different ways to smoke a pipe, I will go through how I do it and then provide you with information on locating some other methods on the Internet.

If I can offer one piece of advice to you it is this; Don't give up! Pipe smoking is an art and can take time to master. Almost every pipe smoker I have spoken with has told me that it took them a long time to get the hang of things before they could keep their pipe lit. Don't lose heart, you'll be glad you took the time to master the art of smoking a pipe.

Step 1

Hold the pipe in you hand with the tobacco chamber facing up. Over a table, jar or something else to catch the loose tobacco, sprinkle some tobacco into the tobacco chamber. Continue sprinkling until the tobacco reaches the top.

Step 2

Take your pipe tool or tamper and lightly push the tobacco down into the pipe. Pack the tobacco until you feel resistance and then stop. Do not pack too hard or this will cause problems when smoking.

Repeat steps 1 & 2 until the pipe is full of tobacco and even with the rim face.

Step 3

Now on to the lighting. Place the pipe in your mouth and gently draw a few times (don't inhale, just puff). If you have a good draw and don't feel much resistance, you are ready to light it. Using a match or a soft flame lighter, hold the flame over the bowl and begin puffing until you get a good smoke going. While puffing, tamp the tobacco until it is flat and then relight it once more.


There you have it! Easy right? Well, kind of. Your pipe probably went out already... am I right? Don't worry, just relight it using the tips above. Oh, and don't let someone tell you that the ultimate goal is to light your pipe only once. If you are enjoying it, getting flavor from the tobacco and are having fun, then you have already met the ultimate goal.

We would like you to check us out at OldToby.com where we offer a free radio show about pipes, tobacco and cigars. We also have forums, videos and all sorts of other information on the nostalgic pastime of pipe smoking.

A Few Good Tips

  1. Never remove the stem from the shank right after smoking. This can sometimes damage the tenon and sometimes break it.

  2. If you use a torch lighter (usually for cigars), only light your tobacco briefly, maybe for a second or two. You can scorch the inside of your pipe if your not careful.

  3. Enjoy the flavor of the tobacco! Some will tell you that you must smoke your bowl of tobacco completely to the bottom; don't believe it. Once the flavor is gone, why keep smoking it? When the flavor is gone, try something new!



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