A Pipe Smokers Guide for Beginners: Working Smarter, Not Harder, to Master Your Pipe Skills Faster!
With every new hobby comes a learning curve. Beethoven wasn’t automatically great at the piano from day one and Jackie Chan wasn’t born doing Karate (probably a good thing, his mom would have hated him…). Heck, even Harry Potter had to go to a school for wizards before becoming a pro at his craft.
The point is, if you want to become a pipe-smoking wizard yourself, you’re going to have to tackle a bit of a learning curve. With that being said, when you equip yourself with the right information, this is one curve that can be flattened effortlessly. That’s what this guide is here to help with!
Smoking a pipe gives you a dignified mystique, a noble ambiance, and a uniquely classy vibe. It’s a tobacco experience like nothing else. Not only that, but smoking premium tobacco out of a gorgeous pipe is a great way to save money, enjoy better tobacco blends, and get calming satisfaction when you need a nice break from the world.
So how can you start smoking a pipe like a pro? This guide can explain it all, so read on to find out!
Step 1. Buy a Pipe
As a beginner, you will need to pick out a good tobacco pipe to learn with. Now, you might be tempted to purchase a gorgeous Calabash pipe right off the rip, and we don’t blame you. This is the kind of pipe Sherlock Holmes smoked, after all! But don’t. If you do buy a fancy pipe, set it aside until you’ve really mastered your smoking skills.
Corn Cob Pipes Are Best for Beginners
When you’re starting out, you should opt for purchasing a few inexpensive corn cob pipes. Don’t worry, they don’t taste like corn! These are the pipes you see stuck in a snowman’s mouth. No, seriously. There’s a historical reason for this! These pipes are disposable. So, when people were done with them way back in the day, they became the perfect snowman decoration. The more you know, right?
Since your tobacco will impart flavors into a pipe, if you’re just learning, a disposable pipe is best. Plus, throwing out a messed up corncob pipe is no big deal. They’re cheap, easy to use, and can be tossed out when you’re done. After you’ve mastered your skills, you can graduate to a briar pipe, Calabash pipe, Meerschaum pipe, clay pipe, or anything else that tickles your fancy.
Step 2: Have Your Tools and Accessories Ready
Now, you’re going to need some basic pipe accessories and tools. That way, you won’t run into any snags as you start smoking. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:
• Pipe tamper/tool
Although this 3-in-one tool is technically not absolutely necessary, this is very helpful in packing the tobacco, cleaning your pipe, and more.
• Pipe Cleaners
You’ll need these for cleaning your pipe out when you’re done smoking. That’s right, pipe cleaners are for more than just children’s crafts. They were literally designed to help you clear ash and tobacco out of the stem of your pipe. We’ve got pipe facts for days!
• Pipe Lighter
This is going to be how you light your pipe. We recommend against using matches, which contain sulfur and can make your tobacco taste pretty eggy.
Step 3: Select a Delicious Tobacco Blend
This is the fun part. Pipe tobacco is moist, flavorful, sweet, smooth, and has just the right amount of bite. It’s the most satisfying thing to smoke on! John Middleton’s Cherry Pipe Tobacco is awesome if you want flavors. For a robust and bold blend, there are Cherokee Tobaccos, The Good Stuff Pipe Tobacco (in various flavors), OHM Pipe Tobacco (also in great flavors) and so much more. Pick the blend that seems the most delicious to you! Most RYP tobacco works for pipes too, thou all pipe tobacco doesn’t work for RYO. It’s kind of a one-way street there. For the best selection of pipe tobacco blends, styles, bag sizes, prices, and flavors, we recommend buying online. This generally ensures that you’ll get fresher tobacco at a better price. Anyway, once you’ve selected the best blend, you’re ready to start packing the bowl of your pipe
Step 4: Pack The Bowl of Your Pipe
This is probably the hardest part to master. The goal is to fill your bowl full enough and evenly enough for a rich smoke but not so tight that air can’t get through. You’ll fill your bowl up from the bottom with a pinch or two of tobacco and pack it down with the tamper tool. Your pipe should be about halfway full. Then, as it springs back up, you’ll add another pinch of tobacco and pack your pipe down to where it’s 3/4 of the way full. Now, you’ll add some tobacco on top to fill it up and gently pack this last part down gently, you can even use your thumb. The firmest pack should be on the bottom, with the loosest pack on top. It takes practice, but you’ll get the hang of it.
Step 5: Do a Test Draw
The test draw will tell you if your pipe is too tightly packed. If air doesn’t flow through, dump out everything, and start over. Once you get that critical airflow, you’re ready to light your pipe.
Step 6: Light (and Re-Light) Your Pipe
You won’t start smoking right away, you’ll do what’s known as the “false light”. With a false light, you’re heating up your tobacco and getting a burn started. Simply move your lighter in slow circular and even motions around the bowl of your pipe while puffing gently. The pipe will probably go out, that’s okay, it’s what is supposed to happen. Once it seems lit, you let it go out. This is why it’s called a false light. Now repeat that same process, and start smoking. The second go-round is the “true light.”
Step 7: Relax, Have a Smoke, and Enjoy
Now you’re really smokin’! Gently take draws on your pipe, do soft pulls, or take slow puffs. Whatever floats your boat, it’s your pipe. Just don’t draw too hard or fast or you could burn your tongue. This is called tongue bite, and it’s no fun. Pipes are meant to be smoked slowly; they’re supposed to be relaxing and leisurely, allowing you to savor the flavor of fine tobacco blends. Pipe smoking is not meant to be hurried. So enjoy yourself!
Keep in mind, most experts recommend that you do not inhale your pipe smoke. Like with cigars, you don’t need to inhale the smoke to get the flavorful taste and sweet tobacco satisfaction. You simply need to savor the creamy and smooth smoke in your mouth. Take a draw, hold it in your mouth and savor it, then exhale.
A Few Final Tips:
- If your pipe goes out a few times as you smoke, it’s no big deal. This is just part of how pipe-smoking works.
- If your pipe is making weird gurgle noises, you may have moisture in your pipe stem. Use a pipe cleaner to fix this.
- If your pipe gets too hot, let it go and wait for it to cool a bit before relighting it. Burned charred ashy tobacco isn’t the same as smoldering smoking tobacco. You don’t want to get your tobacco burning too hot.
- When your bowl is finished, you’ll start tasting ash instead of tobacco. This means that it’s time to let your pipe cool and either reload or call it good.
- Always clean your pipe when you’re done smoking. Also, wait until your pipe is cool before cleaning it.
Putting it All Together
So there you have it! Those are the basics. Now you know what you need, and where to start as you begin your pipe smoking journey. This really is a savvy skill to master, so we congratulate you on learning! Remember, for the best pipe tobacco selection at the best prices, online shopping is the way to go. Keep at it, and you’ll be smoking like the pros in no time. Here’s a final bit of tobacco pipe trivia to leave off with: Albert Einstein, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, Cary Grant, Ludwig van Beethoven, Carl Jung, and Mark Twain are all notable pipe smokers! Thanks for reading, and have a happy smoking journey!