So you want to smoke a pipe?
[ history | instructions + hints | pipe tobacco | kinds of tobacco | pipe clubs

History...

What is a pipe? It's a instrument for the enjoyment of burning tobacco, and here's how it works:

 Pipe parts defined

A very important part of the pipe experience is not pictured here and you will not find it in any new pipe you buy. This is the CAKE. Not Grandma's 27 year old fruit cake, but pipe tobacco cake. Technically speaking cake is the remnants of old burnt tobacco, mostly carbon (but ohhh what carbon). Cake scientifically plays a role in absorbing moisture. Aesthetically it plays the role of a nymph. Cake enlightens the smoke, it enlivens the taste, and it enhances the experience. Cake believes in equality, it can not be bought it must be earned. 

The pipe was popularized by Sir Walter Raleigh in England in the late 1580¹s. As far as composition goes the sky is the limit. You can even make believe you are in an early Asian or African culture and build an "earth pipe" (DIRECTIONS : dig hole in ground place in burning substance drill holes through dirt with sticks, inhale and enjoy!).Or you can make or buy a pipe made from bamboo, bone, clay, crustacean shells, gourds, metal, nuts, porcelain, roots, wood, etc. etc. get the point. The most popular kinds have been traditionally been made of woods like briar (which is the root of a Mediterranean shrub). It¹s correct name common tree heath (Erica Arborea), but it is more generally referred to as Bruyere. It has been said that the wood is at it¹s best at ages over 100 years. Meerschaum Note: Also widely used, it is one of the most porous substances found in nature and will not burn out. Unlike Briar Wood pipes, Meerschaum is a mineral. (Hydrous Magnesium Silicate). It is mined wet from depths of up to 500 feet and is bought by carvers in various size blocks or lumps called stones and is then carved by hand. The carvers transform this block of raw stone into beautiful pipes of various styles and designs using the same hand carving techniques that have been handed down from generation to generation. Unlike Briar, the natural mineral quality of Meerschaum needs no caking to enjoy the true, pure taste of your favorite blend.

 
It's good to have a few different pipes or different kinds, because depending on the shape, and composition pipes smoke differently. If your going to be using yours a lot you should alternate between uses, because a cooler pipe tends to give a better smoke than a hot one. Meerschaum Note: Because of it's mineral nature, it doesn't require a rest period like briar pipes do to cool off or dry out.
 
O.K. so you have bought a pipe and you want to smoke it. Here we Go. Fill it gradually stopping to tamp the tobacco. This will prevent the problem of disrupting air pockets. Remember it only needs to be filled half way. Now your ready to light it so strike a match or flick a lighter and apply the flame. As the heat from the flame comes in contact with the tobacco the tobacco will expand up towards the top of the bowl so grab your tamper and apply pressure to the smoldering tobacco, but don¹t stop puffing. 

CAUTION: Although the newer Jet Flame Lighters may be great for Cigars, DO NOT use these type of High Heat lighters with a pipe, they can overheat the bowl and ruin a pipe. ( Add this caution line about here )

So you have bought a pipe and you want to smoke it... 

Instructions
  • Fill it gradually to prevent the problem of disrupting air pockets. Remember it only needs to be filled half way. Now your ready to light it so strike a match or flick a lighter and apply the flame. As the heat from the flame comes in contact with the tobacco the tobacco will expand up towards the top of the bowl so grab your tamper and apply pressure to the smoldering tobacco, but don't stop puffing.
  • Mixed cuts should be packed firmly but lively. 
  • Flake cuts should be packed looser.
  • And finely the rougher the cut the tighter the pack should be.
Hints
  • If the Pipe goes out the pack was too tight, so work your shank poker through the tobacco down to the air hole.
  • If you get tongue bite the pack was too loose so tamp the tobacco down.

Cleaning your pipe...

DO IT GENTLY, you don't want to smash, slam , tap, whack, cut, or hack old ash out. Support the bowl and give it a gentle tap. This isn't a test of strength. Also remember pipe cleaners were made for pipes not elementary school projects, so uses pipe cleaners often, even in the middle of a smoke if need be. Then every couple weeks or so depending on use give the pipe of your choice a good cleaning. Carefully take off the bit, then the shank and clean thoroughly, and gently. Then using a "reamer" (this is a tool designed for cleaning a pipe, so use it, don't try a knife, ax, or an air ratchet) reduce the cake build up to an even thickness. So, to recap be gentle, and buy pipe cleaners, some pipe sweetener, and a reamer.

Let's end the mystery surrounding Pipe tobacco...

Remember you're not trying to split the atom, you're just looking for some plant to smoke. Pipe tobacco has only two categories: 

1:English - Blended tobacco which is free from any artificial non-tobacco flavors. They tend to smoke more "dry".

2:Aromatic - Tobacco to which some kind of non-tobacco flavoring has been added. Including apple, cherry, coconut, hazelnut, honey, maple, molasses, pistachio, raspberry, vanilla, whiskey, and countless other combinations. These kinds of tobacco tend to smoke more "wet."

Now let's move on to the major types of tobacco... 

Variety
BURLEY -unlike the name would suggest this tobacco is light tasting and absorbs flavors quite easily.

CAVENDISH - Processed with maple syrup, licorice, rum, sweeteners, and whiskey. It is then heated, pressed, and cut. Probably has the most pleasant aroma. Fire-cured Cavendish is probably the most popular, and the sweetest in smell. usually noted by having the word BLACK in the name.

LATAKIA -A strong aromatic and bold tasting Mediterranean tobacco, used in English blends.

MARYLAND -A subdued American tobacco. Used in blends.

PERIQUE -Unique to Louisiana this tobacco is pressed and allowed to ferment. Thus producing a tobacco which is dark in color and strong in taste and aroma.

VIRGINIA -An American tobacco which burns hot. This tobacco adds both body and a sweet flavor when it is blended.

Here are a few of our favorite pipe clubs around America ...


EAST

• Capital Area Pipe Smokers 8607 Howell Rd. Bethesda, MD 20817

• Carolina Briar Friars 228 South Clarkson St. Charlotte, NC 28202

• New York Pipe Club P.O. Box 265 Gracie Station, NY 10028

• Conclave Of Richmond Pipe Smokers P.O. Box 34023 Richmond, VA 23234 

• The Universal Coterie Of Pipe Smokers 20 120th St. College Point, NY 11356 

• "Hudson Valley Pipe Club, contact robdistasio@mindspring.com

CENTRAL

• Calabash Cavaliers Pipe Club P.O. Box 219 Galveston, IN 46932

• Chicagoland Pipe Collectors Club 2947 Edison St. Blue Island, IL 60406 

• Civil War Smokers 1925 Welshire Dr. Davenport, IA 52806 

• Indiana Briar Friars Rt. #1 Box 78 Arlington, IN 46104 

• Kentuckianna Pipe Club 102 East Southland Blvd. Apt. #2 Louisville, KY 40214 

• St. Louis Gateway Area Pipe Club 14070 New Halls Ferry Florissant, MO 63033 

• The Arrowhead Pipe Club 647 South Saginaw St. Flint, MI 48502

• International Association Of Pipe Smokers Clubs 647 South Saginaw St. Flint, MI 48502 

• North American Society Of Pipe Collectors P.O. Box 9642 Colombus, OH 43209 

• The Original Grumblers Club 1747 Lexington Ave. St. Paul, MN 55113 

• The Tri-Cities Pipe Club 3986 Bay Rd. Saginaw, MI 48603 

• The Uptown Sons Of Briar Chicago Cigar Connoisseurs 1550 North Wells St. Chicago, IL 60610 

The Greater Kansas City Pipe Club contact:(913) 381-5597 Meet: Evey third Thursday of the month, at 8:00p.m. at Cigar and Tabac store in Overland Park, KS.

WEST

• The Orance County Briars -
 
Southwest Pipe & Cigar League 8856 Winnetka Ave. Northridge, CA 91324 

• The Bay Area Pipe Club 3 Embarcadero Center San Francisco, CA 94111 

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