If you’re new to the pipe scene, the whole thing can feel a bit overwhelming. Here are some general recommendations for choosing the best pipe.
Common Types of Pipes
- Corn Cob – This pipe is both cheap and effective. It’s also a great starting point, since it requires no break in period and can be used as soon as it’s picked up. Corn cobs are great for sampling tobaccos because you don’t have to worry about tainting them. They’re good backup pipe material, and are often used for traveling. They’re also made right here in the USA.
- Brylon – Introduced in the 1960s as a cheaper alternative to briar, these pipes are composited from wood and nylon tough as can be. They provide a lifetime of service, that’s for sure.
- Briar – These are the most popular type of pipes for a few reasons. They’re extremely fire-resistant, they’re porous, and they’re often beautiful. They produce cool, dry smoke and a reliably pleasant experience.
- Meerschaum –Harvested in Turkey from soft white minerals, these pipes are pliable in their natural state, which allows for intricate designs and craftsmanship. After being cured, hardened, and polished, many are sold as works of art first and smoking devices second, though the latter quality surely doesn’t suffer.
Each type of tobacco is uniquely cured and seasoned to create its own unique flavor and aroma. It comes from all over the planet, nearly every continent, and is normally composed of a variety of different leaves. Many producers also ferment their tobacco and or add sugars and syrups. There are endless tobacco blends out there, so go out to sniff and test as many as you’d like!
Tools You’ll Need For Cleaning
- Tamper – These are used for packing tobacco and ashes inside your bowl while you smoke. They look like thin nails with flat heads.
- Reamer – These are for clearing cake from the inside of the bowl, which, depending on the type, can help elongate its life and quality.
- Pipe Cleaners – These are thin pieces of metal wire wrapped in cotton, usually. They are for placing inside the stem and shank of the pipe. They come in lots of sizes, colors, and styles, and they’re disposable.
Packing & Lighting
Knowing how to pack, light, and smoke your pipe the proper way takes some time and experience. Make sure it’s completely empty before packing a new bowl, grab a pinch of fresh tobacco, push it into the bowl, and repeat. Leave some space at the top of the bowl for ash buildup. When you light the tobacco, move your lighter in circular motions to make sure it’s burning evenly. Once lit, use a tool to tamp down the initial ash to a flat, even surface, then light the tampered tobacco once more, without emptying out the ash first.
Don’t puff too quickly, as this can result in a hot bowl that may hurt your hands. Just relax. If you have to re-light your tobacco several times throughout the course of your smoke, don’t fret: that’s normal.