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 Cake Problems

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gilgawulf

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Age : 36
Location : Rahm Emanuel's Royal Estate of Taxcago-- I mean, Chicago, Il.
Registration date : 2009-04-12

PostSubject: Cake Problems   Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:29 pm

Being as I've been smoking a pipe for several years now I feel like I shouldn't need help with this, but.... well, I do. Razz
Lately the cake on my pipes has been flaking off in chunks. It seems to be a recent development, although it happened on a pipe that I hadn't touched for three years and just smoked again a few times recently.
I've heard that cake that's developed at higher temperatures has a tendency to flake off, and I do do a fair share of smoking outside. So maybe my question is what are some tips for smoking at lower temperatures?
One other variable is that I've been using bristled pipe cleaners instead of smooth ones. I do usually bend one into a U shape an go through the bowl, but not vigorously enough to take off the cake (or so I thought).
Another question: If I just let it flake off and then let new cake develop in its place will it eventually even out with the cake that doesn't flake off (perhaps even stronger)? I've been trying just leaving it the way it is on some pipes, and then lightly scraping the cake on others so that it's all even. Too early to tell yet what the results are with that.
I've never had a question that the Brothers here haven't been able to help clear up, so I defer once again to the collective wisdom of my fellow pipe smokers.
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MisterE
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Location : Mexico City
Registration date : 2009-08-24

PostSubject: Re: Cake Problems   Wed Jan 16, 2013 6:08 pm

Yes, smoking hot will form a chunkier cake that can flake off. There's some actual chemical reason for this but I don't know the specifics. It has to do with how carbon bonds at different temperatures IIRC.

Aside from smoking cooler, try scraping the bowl with a pipe nail after smoking. You don't have to do it hard or forcefully. Just enough to get all the chunks and oily dottle off before putting the pipe away. That will leave a clean, smooth, and hard surface that both smokes and cakes better. A collateral benefit it that when the time comes to ream the cake back, it will come off as dust, not chunks.

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PostSubject: Re: Cake Problems   Wed Jan 16, 2013 6:44 pm

What he said.

Ream it back to zero, start over, and keep them scraped with the (aluminum) pipe nail after they've cooled each time (i.e., not the football-shaped dottle spoon on the Czech Pipe Tool).

What a Face
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somedumbjerk

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Age : 31
Location : Palo Alto, CA USA
Registration date : 2012-08-26

PostSubject: Re: Cake Problems   Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:02 pm

Yak wrote:
What he said.

Ream it back to zero, start over, and keep them scraped with the (aluminum) pipe nail after they've cooled each time (i.e., not the football-shaped dottle spoon on the Czech Pipe Tool).

What a Face

Aluminum because it's softer, right?
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alfredo_buscatti

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Age : 62
Location : Piedmont, North Carolina
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PostSubject: Re: Cake Problems   Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:21 pm

I've heard things said of cake, cake management and what I would even call cake theory that are beyond my simple experience. Yak says scrape it off after each smoke; that's fine. But the only thing I worry about regarding it is the narrowing of the chamber as it accumulates. Supposedly there is some value in keeping it at a dime's thickness, which is what I try to do. Doubled that size I remove it with a reaming tool. It's just that simple.

It would not be tidy to allow it to peel in chunks. As said reem all the way back.
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Ocelot55

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Location : Columbus, OH
Registration date : 2012-03-28

PostSubject: Re: Cake Problems   Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:26 pm

Did the pipe have a pre-carb? Its been my experience that sometimes the pre-carb will loosen and fall off taking all the cake that is stuck to it with it. That's one reason why I'm not a fan of pre-carb.

(not wanting to start a debate about pre-carb v. natural bowls, just posting an observation Laughing )
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PostSubject: Re: Cake Problems   Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:29 pm

Keep at it conscientiously with the pipe nail and the caking will hardly reach even dime thickness in five years' time. And what there is of it will be hard as nails.

Aluminum -- I guess -- because that's the kind they make. lol!

What a Face
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Harlock999

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Location : Los Angeles
Registration date : 2010-10-22

PostSubject: Re: Cake Problems   Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:39 pm

Yak wrote:
And what there is of it will be hard as nails.

Hard, thin and smooth is good.
I like to use the end of a matchstick to scrape off any tobacco stuck to the chamber wall while the pipe is still warm. Let it sit too long, and that stuff can be very hard to remove. Then, wipe the chamber clean with an old cloth, smearing any sticky stuff around the chamber in a thin, smooth layer. When it dries, it's hard.
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gilgawulf

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Age : 36
Location : Rahm Emanuel's Royal Estate of Taxcago-- I mean, Chicago, Il.
Registration date : 2009-04-12

PostSubject: Re: Cake Problems   Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:25 pm

Thanks guys, this is all incredibly helpful.
Honestly, I don't remember exactly which ones were pre-carb and which weren't, though I want to say most of them were. And that would explain a lot of the problems I've been having.
So yeah, it looks like it's back to square one with a lot of the cakes on my pipes, but at least now I know how to proceed with maintaining them and building a right proper cake.
As always, I appreciate all your helpful comments. Very Happy
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bosun1

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Location : fly over country
Registration date : 2012-10-23

PostSubject: Re: Cake Problems   Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:16 pm

I'm not much for too much cake, and the way I tamp really don't build much cake at all. As I smoke I scrape the sides of the bowl as I tamp down the tobac which keeps the cake from building too rapidly. Every now and then will also take a pipe knife and give it a light ream to remove some of the tar build up..
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KevinM



Age : 74
Location : Connecticut
Registration date : 2012-02-26

PostSubject: Re: Cake Problems   Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:52 pm

+1 what Yak said.

Much of what people think is cake is actually incompletely burned veggy matter, imho. If you put the pipe aside and later kinda rub the bowl's interior you can loosen up some of the pieces. I think if you try smoking a pipe without removing this debris from past smokes it's like smearing the dottle on the bowl walls.

Cleaning after each smoke with a bent cleaner -- take it easy, no need to scrub -- will leave you with a thin, hard, smooth cake. Also, it helps my pipe hoard seem more acceptable to the female's picky olfactory sensibility.

I've never owned a reamer and suspect they're overused on the premise that once a piper buys a new gizmo it's going to be used just on principle.
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gilgawulf

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Age : 36
Location : Rahm Emanuel's Royal Estate of Taxcago-- I mean, Chicago, Il.
Registration date : 2009-04-12

PostSubject: Re: Cake Problems   Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:21 pm

KevinM wrote:

I've never owned a reamer and suspect they're overused on the premise that once a piper buys a new gizmo it's going to be used just on principle.

lol! +1 to that.
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