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 Breaking in a Pipe

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ITSETTLE

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Age : 36
Location : Western MD
Registration date : 2012-01-29

PostSubject: Breaking in a Pipe   Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:16 pm

Brothers how can you tell when a pipe is well broken in?
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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:18 pm

ITSETTLE wrote:
Brothers how can you tell when a pipe is well broken in?
In my case:

  • the top is caked with gunk
  • the cake  takes up more room than the tobacco can
  • the finish is blotchy
  • evil fluids leak from the stem


For others:

the tobacco tastes natural/good.
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ITSETTLE

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Age : 36
Location : Western MD
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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:35 pm

I understand about the cake but is there something that just is like a wow factor?
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gramnum1

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Location : Havertown pennsylvania
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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:44 pm

like how to do it or if there is a specific amazing way to do it
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ITSETTLE

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Age : 36
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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:57 pm

I guess what I am trying to find out is does it taste better? Smoke cooler? Not go out as often? Does it usually take a certain amount if smokes to break it in?
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Brewdude

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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:10 pm

Only can speak from my experience. So here goes-

I typically break in a new pipe with 5, 6 or more bowls. Sometimes 10. Depends on the pipe.

At some point the cake will have established itself to the point where you won't taste the wood any more. After that you're good to go.

Estates are different when the cake is already present.

For me, when the 'baccy takes on it's own individual characteristics and I can discern them easily is the pipe broken in.

I've also been endeavouring to dedicate certain pipes to specific blends, or even specific brands. This also helps to discern the nuances. But this takes time to discover.

HTH


Cheers,

RR
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alfredo_buscatti

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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:48 pm

At the end wood is wood and acquires a cake from the residue of the tobacco smoked in it. When the cake is thick enough one no longer tastes the wood, at which point the pipe is broken in. There are guys that prescribe more elaborate methods and amounts of tobacco to be smoked and who swear that unless the pipe is broken in properly, it will never smoke as good as it could have.

I think this is pipe myth. No, just smoke the pipe and lay down cake.
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monbla256

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Location : DFW Metroplex, Texas
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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:11 am

For myself, I've not really thought a pipe was "broken in" till it's been smoked regularly for about a year. (I'm speaking about a new pipe, not an estate as most of them I would consider "broken in" when you buy them) . It's usually built some cake, and I've probably reamed it once in this time and by a year, I will have learned just how the particular pipe will smoke with the 'bacs I prefer to smoke. I usually smoke a pipe once and not again for at least two days ( I have over 40 years worth of pipes so I can do this easily) during the "break in" period. This just my definition and process I've acquired over the years. Except for three pipes, ALL of mine were bought new and smoked in this manner and these days I just pick up a pipe, load, light and smoke.Razz
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MisterE
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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:32 am

Broken in= when you can't remember how many bowls it's been anymore. Cool

Ken Collins' method was "smoke the new out of it".

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Many of the greatest pleasures in life are illegal, immoral, or smelly.

-Yak
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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:14 am

I am with Alfredo on breaking in.   We never do it enough to become experts.  When I said "the tobacco tastes good/natural" that really meant that you were behind any "new wood" taste you had a working pipe.  

Nuances seem more a function of construction/sizes as to a pipe's superiority. 

With a new pipe I just load and go but smoke a bit more carefully by not being overactive.  That all it has ever required.

Sidney P. Ram was a Chicago tobacconist and book author suggesting dunking a new pipe in water for the amount of time you could recite happy birthday.  That should prevent wood charring.  I actually bought 5 of his pipes as new-old-stock from the 1940's.  One of them gave a heavy briar taste on smoking and I tried his dunking suggestion.  That seemed to resolve it.  Had the pipes for maybe 6 weeks and  all are, IMO, well broken in and were well within two weeks.  I was smoking them once a day.
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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:31 am

Oh, as to "WOW factor"...

I doubt breaking in has anything to do with it.  Stories abound about one guy knocking a pipe for being a wet, ugly smoker and passing it along to a smoker who thinks it his #1 pipe. 

My guess is  a combination of bowl and style contributed to such change.  We tend to be creatures of habit and develop a default pattern.  Some can and do change that but, once reestablished, it that too becomes habit.  The evil pipe doesn't service that pattern while the good pipe does.  Changes owners and you change the pattern and thus can reverse the review using the same pipe.
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fishnbanjo

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Age : 67
Location : southern me
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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:13 am

Well your mileage may vary as with anything that needs to break in, i.e. automobile, pipe or even a firearm. It takes some time to get the Wow factor so to speak, in the case of the automobile your MPG gets better, the firearm your groups shrink as the barrel is seasoned with a certain amount of fouling and with a pipe you get more flavor of the tobacco w/o the pipe instilling any and this really has many things that can interfere, or assist, in the breaking in period.

Pipes that have had a carbon coat applied are said to be somewhat broken in due to the treatment, some pipe bowls are cured using an oil process and these take a bit of smoking before that flavor subsides, a naked bowl can either need 4-6, and more, bowls to break in or smoke great right off the go, I have one by Paul Becker which did just that telling me Mr. Becker used perfectly seasoned briar w/o any interior application on the bowl, i.e. the finish or stain did not get into the bowl, these often interfere with the break in process.

To make breaking in easier on you use tobacco that has been prepared properly and what you think you will use the pipe for, i.e. Latakia, VA's or Va/Per's etc and ensure it has the correct moisture content for smoking, i.e. dry out too moist a tobacco and don't use excessively dry tobacco as it will smoke hot and may actually make hot spots in the pipe bowl which would potentially burn out if not caked over. I find Anniversary Kake makes a pipe bowl cake up quickly but this applies to me and the way I smoke and may be different for you, the only real advise that works is take it slow and easy to ensure you get to smoke your tobacco to the the bottom and things will get on much quicker, best of luck.
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Richard Burley

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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:44 am

FWIW, I consider a pipe broken in when it imparts a sweetness to the tobacco, or perhaps I should say it doesn't interfere with the natural sweetness of the tobacco, as compared with an inferior pipe that does interfere. Some pipes never make it. Some, like my Upshalls, took forever to break in. The break-in just didn't "take" for a long time. Now they are among my very best smokers. Cheaper Savinellis were among the easiest to break in, in my experience, and had the sweetest tasting wood during break-in. Very strange, I've always thought.

(And just for the record, I HATE PRE-COATED BOWLS! There. Got that out of my system.)
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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:35 pm

Oh! the horror of it all
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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:18 pm

Some start out better than others, and come along quicker. But really, you're looking at years. Not months.

IMO

Compare it with a pair of leather shoes if you need an analogue. The 25 year-old penny loafers with the holes in their soles you only use for house shoes any more are the most comfortable ones you have. Translate that into taste, and there you are.

What a Face
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:16 pm

Yak wrote:
Some start out better than others, and come along quicker. But really, you're looking at years. Not months.

IMO

Compare it with a pair of leather shoes if you need an analogue. The 25 year-old penny loafers with the holes in their soles you only use for house shoes any more are the most comfortable ones you have. Translate that into taste, and there you are.

What a Face
 
This...but to add my stick to the pile:

The only thing I can supplement is though it may take years, you'll start sensing the changes before then--provided you also, without doubt, understand the tobacco you're using.  Getting a grip on a tobacco that's also being used to break in a pipe is a rough path.  Not impossible, but kind of lengthens both processes. 

Also, how you treat the pipe between smokes will make a difference.

This is why I actually like, even prefer, estate pipes.  A lot of the "simmering time" has been taken care of, even if a few cobwebs and ghosts need to be flushed out once in a while.

In new pipes, I can tell when a pipe is gonna be a winner.  It needs time, but if the new briar is tasty, there's not much heat to speak of and the moisture is non-existent, well, there it is.   Otherwise, I'll take a page from Greg Pease's words a while ago if a pipe isn't playing well with you:  smoke the hell out of it*.

The process and positive direction in getting acquainted with a pipe/tobacco, for me, is the "wow" factor.     

Cool

*(...to be interpreted as, do not abuse your pipe, but give it some extra un-gentleness at times, if you must...)
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DrumsAndBeer

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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:34 pm

I know mine are broken in when I start reaching for them more than others. I do however take a nice friendly, neutral, non-biting burley like Solani ABF, and smoke the bejeezus out of a new pipe. I ran about 15 bowls of ABF through a stubborn Peterson that I have which now smokes VA's quite nicely. Currently I am doing the same to a Parker Poker and a Dunhill 127 Shell Briar. Both are estates, both are unruly and must be tamed. Twisted Evil
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Smoker99

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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:39 am

To me, a new pipe starts to lose some it's edge in 6-10 smokes. I don't think a pipe begins to show it's full potential until at least 40-50 smokes, and keeps getting better, if it is a decent pipe. A pipe with poorly cured briar, or just poorly made may never smoke really well. Aromatics and PG laden tobaccos crud up a pipe quickly, but that is a soft damp cake, prone to sour and break. I break in with as pure a tobacco as I can find . Sure everybody has their own methods.
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SpeedyPete



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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:37 am

I always clean out the bowl of a new pipe with surgical spirits. Kitchen paper towel rolled and dipped in the fluid does the trick. I twist the roll in the bowl MANY times until it comes out clean.  Once I'm convinced that the bowl is as clean as I can get it, I go through the same process but using full creme sherry this time.

The sherry takes away the harshness of the new wood to a great extend.  The sugar in the wine helps build the cake a bit faster.

Some pipes are very hard to break in.  I have a Petersen 80s which took about 6 months of regular smoking before it gave up the battle against me.  Must say, it's one of my top 10 favourites now!!

I find most Savinelli pipes easy to break in.  After about 5 to 10 smokes it's normally good already and it improves all the time. Stanwell and Brebbia give me the same results.  But then I love all Italian pipes and maybe that makes the difference!!!
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Brewdude

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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:09 pm

ITSETTLE

So now that you have a dozen or more views on this thorny subject, have you gleaned any gems of wisdom that will assist you in answering your OP?

This is one of those subjects that are destined to elicit varied responses, and every one of the posters have their own experience. What really matters at the end of the day is what finally works best for you.

It could be one or more of these methods, or a combination of them. Or something else altogether!

Eventually we all somehow come to a method that works for our own style of smoking/pipe/prep/baccy/etc.

Either that or we're all still bozos on this bus............

jocolor


Cheers,

RR


Last edited by Brewdude on Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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KevinM



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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:02 pm

For me, when the 'baccy takes on it's own individual characteristics and I can discern them easily is the pipe broken in

+1.  When a pipe is broken in, the smoker isn't tasting hot air or burning wood. A thick cake is just a sign of frequent use of a pipe. It can divert a smoker from the fact tha a thin layer of carbonized tobacco is all that's needed. Building thicker cake is a sidetrack, I think, but sidetracks are part and parcel of pipe smoking, I guess, so worse things can happen.
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ITSETTLE

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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Sat Aug 17, 2013 5:39 pm

I usually smoke Burley and Virginia blends. I am still not sure how you can tell. Guess, I am slow on this topic, or just over-thinking it.
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Cartaphilus

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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:10 pm

If you can remember how the pipe smoked when you first got it and compare it to how it smokes now will probably be the only way.
I've had pipes that smoke great from the first and I've had some that were just alright. Not buying many NEW pipes my experience is limited to the few I have.
If the pipe smokes bad from the beginning and still after a month, it might be your doing something wrong or the mixing or to different type tobaccos in one pipe. I tend to keep stronger tobaccos in a few selected pipes and lighter in others.
The ones I have broken in recently had very little change, they smoked well in the beginning and still do, a little mellower but, that's about it. I think if your looking for a big change you might be disappointed.
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ITSETTLE

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Age : 36
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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:44 pm

Ok, that makes sense.
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Cartaphilus

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PostSubject: Re: Breaking in a Pipe   Sat Aug 17, 2013 7:03 pm

Must be my Simple man simple mind approach with just a little dash of Kentucky wind-age for good measure. LOL!
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