I’m giving in

I mentioned in one of my first posts here that I wasn’t going to teach you how to smoke; I’m still not. Rather, I will tell you how I smoke.

Choosing a pipe.
Im going to tell you how I choose mine. Now, if you’re and older pipe smoker, you may remember the addage “choose a pipe that fits your face”. I find that to be kinda shit, simply because I choose whatever pipe I want. Only thing I do look for is comfort. Does it sit in my jaw fine and comfortable, or does it take a horrendous amount of strength to hold it? What am I doing while smoking? If both hands are going to be occupied, then look at a bent, otherwise, a straight stem will be just fine.

Choosing the tobacco.
What to choose? This could be a bit troubling, what with flakes, Virginia, English, aromatic and so forth. What I look for is what’s it going to taste like? Right now I have some Virginia’s Gold that I bought from rite aid in my Kriswill Golden Clipper. It has some Cavendish and burley in there, and tastes pretty damn good. If you’re new to the hobby, then ask someone at your local tobacconist, or a friend or even the internet. All pipe smoking is choice.

What if I want to smoke several blends from the same bowl? Well…get a cob. The different blends may leave residue known as a “ghost” and fir a long time that pipe will taste like the other blends; cobs are great because they don’t absorb any of the other tobacco’s tar and oils, especially great if you like to smoke a Latikia blends…

How to fill your pipe.
There are various methods, but mine is to grab a few fingers with snd stuff it in. Google the others and see what works best for you.

Light the fire…
Some say that the wooden match is the ONLY way to go. I say that is bullshit simply because it depends on how you use the lighter. If you have a Zippo and fill it so that the wick is dripping with fluid, then yeah, it is going to taste like Zippo fluid. Don’t fill it all the way and you’ll be good. I use a Zippo or a Bic, or whatever happens to have fire to light my pipe.

The next step is smoking it..
After you get it lit, the next logical step is smoking it. Take short puffs do as not to get the bowl too hot. How do you know if the bowl is to hot? You won’t be holding on to it long…

To clean it,I just run a pipe cleaner through it. Some say to clean the bowl, but I like a nice cake, as I believe that it helps to cool the smoke in the bowl but that’s just me.

How this helps and if you have any questions, just let me know

Poor customer service

Recently I was out shopping around my hometown and decided that I needed some new tobacco. I decided to stop in to my local B&M who has just recently opened up a new store closer to me. I asked him what tobaccos he would recommend, and once he saw my Dr. Grabow Riveria, he said “I wouldn’t load anything  into that cheap piece of shit.”
Needless to say, I was more than a little pissed off. I said “Sir, all pipes work the same way; they all have the big hole for tobacco, a small hole in the back and a stem to smoke from, no?” He went into this diatribe about how the Petersons he had on the shelves smoked way better because they are made from quality woods, and not the castaways that Dr. Grabow uses. I decided then and there, that, if I go back to them, it will not be at that location. However, I said to him “Sir, your customer service is poor, and I wish to speak with your manager, is he available?” He gave me a sour look and said to me “No, he went to get more pipes, sorry”

That night, as I was headed home, I picked up the phone and dialed their main number for customer service and told of my experience in their new location. Whomever handled it was aghast and apalled at what had happened. They told me that the store does not treat customers in such a fashion, and assured me that they would deal with the clerk. They went on to tell me that they would offer me a pipe of my choosing or a gift card if I wanted. I told them that their apology was enough, butt if I ever went back to them, it would be a long time, if ever, and for the time being, I would be buying my pipes and tobacco from the internet, or another store. She felt heartbroken over the incident, but at the same time, it was shocking to me because I always felt that all pipe smokers, wiether or not it was a Peterson or a cob, we all treat each other with respect and kindness, for one day, you may be the one needing the help.

I guess in some manner of karma, they had to close the location in the mall, and now only have two locations open. I was not hoping for them to close any shop, as I want my town to be a thriving pipe community, but if that is how they treat their customers – and I’ve been a customer there for years – then I reckon that is what they get, no?

What happened to pipe smoking?

I recently finished an article in the current issue of Top Gear Magazine where James May says he’s become a pipe smoker because of the traffic jams in and around London, and it got me thinking about the declining state if pipe smokers. Sure, cigarettes have the attention now, but isn’t worth the money to get a new pipe?

Let’s look at financially, shall we? A pipe, be it a corn cob or a Peterson, will last you longer than a pack of smokes. You get twenty cigarettes for anywhere from $4-$10 and its gone a matter of days, where as a pipe can last you longer than you may live; buy one pipe and its there whenever you want a smoke. I personally have seven pipes; one fir each day of the week. Now I know that most bosses aren’t allowing an hour or more’s break, so many of us, myself included, opt fir a short break to have a smoke.

I agree with Mr. May in that a pipes ritualistic pre-smoke walkthrough can be an advantage if you need to come up with an answer to your mate’s question. It is also a way to pass up the time in a traffic jam, but I, for the time being, like to have a smoke while im on a walk. It’s also a great conversation piece, especially if you like to chat with the older (pre-war) crowd.

Nowadays, everyone is too obsessed with the latest iSore item to realise that a pipe is a fantastic way to relieve stress. Sure, a cigarette is great for that, but can you buy cherry scented Luckies? Not to mention that your car will smell better when you light up that Peterson than it would if you light up a Newport. I personally prefer a long walk than a short bus ride simply because I like the feel of a pipe between my jaws. Also,I have yet to encounter a man asking too bum my Dr. Grabow, where as every time I spark up a Lucky…

Pipes can ve passed down from father too son; try that with a Marlboro… A pipe goes up in value, especially if thou take care of the wood! Had a long day? Grab that briar and fire up that Dunhill Navy Flake and smoke your troubles away.

Pipes are safer than a cigarette; you don’t inhale a pipe so your risk of lung cancer is more than halved. Not too mention that a pipe can be filled repeatedly during your day. Hell, go in an adventure and bring your pipe, you’re at a lesser chance of setting The Shire a blaze with your churchwarden than you would with that menthol.

Yeah, price could be an issue if you want a high end pipe on a small budget, but start with a cob and some Prince Albert, your day is set!

New addition to my family

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A few days ago, I purchased a new pipe. I walked in to my local Pipe and cigar shop, having just been paid. I requested to see this beautiful number that was sitting in the glass display case (read the expensive display case). Immediately, my eye was drawn to this bent, rusticated piece. I snatched it up, did a quick identify and…bam…bought it.

It stands about two inches high at the top of the bowl, and about six inches in overall length, from stem to bowl. It holds a decent amount of tobacco, which gets me to and from work, so I’m not having to stuff it in a pocket and reach for a cigarette before I leave my block.

However, there a few…flaws, I guess you say. For one, who the fresh made it? It had what looked like a ‘P’ or a ‘C’ on it, but no other identifying marks, such as a maker’s mark, or even a name. I cleaned it and noticed that it does have the Peterson System, as well as the ‘P Lip’. I asked and posted photos online, but as of writing this, I’m unable to pin down a maker. Given the evidence before me, I am believing that it is a Paterson second, as there is a scratch in the band. It is a great smoke, whoever made it.

Now for a point system review.

Look: I give it 7 pipes out of 10 solely because I’m unable to find a maker’s mark. If I could find a mark, it would get a full 10!

Feel: 10 out of 10. It’s a bent and thus hangs gently from my mouth and does not allow the smoke to get into my eyes as I puff on my walks.

Smoke ability: 8. This got a scant 8 because it’s a bit tough to keep the moisture trap clean while I walk to and from work. Its a great smoke, however.

Design: 9 of 10. It came with a balsa wood filter, which promptly became road fodder. The bent shape combined with the Peterson System, gained the 9/10.

Given this, I would definitely buy another pipe from the local B&M, and just because it’s a block away from work!

The pipe, as you can see looks like she should have a maker’s mark in that clear spot

The pipe in her entirety!

Pipe smoking advice.

As just about any pipe smoker can attest to, you will, or have been asked to give advice. I’m always asked by novice members of the piper guild, and by people who don’t even smoke, so I figured I’d give you free advice.

The most common question I get is, “how can you hold the wooden pipe in your hand and not burn yourself?” Its simple, really. You “sip” the pipe, thus keeping the fire going, but it’s cool to the touch. Even now as I smoke a bowl of Norwegian Shag, I’m sipping the pipe.

My other favorite question is what to drink while I smoke. I personally enjoy a cup of coffee, but depending on the tobacco used, a good ale or lager will work. Don’t drink soda with it because the carbonation in it will fuck up your tongue something fierce!

To answer the question of which style of pipe to get, that is a matter of personal choice. I prefer the Lark style myself, but then again, others like a billiard or an apple, straight or bent…also depending on what your doing, the straight may be in the way, or smoke may get in your eyes. Writers tend to go for the curved because they can type away and not have the heavy weight of a pipe on their jaw.

The question I absolutely hate getting is “how far down do I smoke it?” Obviously, you smoke until its to the bottom…

Why is my pipe so hot? Your smoking too fast, or then wind is blowing down into the tobacco chamber. If you can’t hold the pipe to your face for 10 seconds without burning flesh, set the pipe down a while and let it cool.

Cleaning a pipe is easy; just run a pipe cleaner down the shaft and put a paper towel in the bowl…

That’s all the free advice you get today. If you have any pipe smoking questions, feel free to hit me up

Is there a Doctor in the house?

Recently, I went to the smoke shop by my sister. It was a typical “smoke shop” with a ton of “water pipes” and a surprising collection of cigars. I was in the mood for a can or Grizzly moist snuff (dip to us in the know) and I ended up with a Dr. Grabow Riviera pipe, a log of Grizz, a can if Peter Stokkebye Norwegian Shag, a Minnesota Vikings Zippo lighter and a can of fuel.

I’ve owned a few Grabow’s before, and I know them to be a fantastic smoke, and this no different. It has a slimmer bowl that what I like, but it’s closer to the Lark style that Bing Crosby used to smoke, which is what I wanted all a long, so I’m fairly happy with it. It came with a pipe filter, which is now sitting somewhere in my sister’s car.

The tobacco itself isn’t too bad. It has the look or RYO (roll your own) tobacco, but the Oriental blends tell Jr that it is indeed an English blend of tobacco. The several reviews that I read, bithbon http://www.tobaccoreviews.com and http://www.pipeandcigars.com had several other users thinking the same thing. They also noted that it has a harsh feeling on the throat, which, yes, I did encounter. It burns a bit fast, but cool thanks to the ribbon cut and small chunks in the tobacco. I would recommend that if you try but only if you have eaten first, as it could be the nicotine content, but it has them tendency to make you want to puke after smoking it. May be bit is just me, but I figured I’d warn you anyway.

Overall the days purchase was lower than expected, but my brother in-law still managed to say “Shit, you must be a real pipe smoker. If I paid that much, I’d have to put something back!”
Next time I’m in her town with some cash to spare, I must hit that place again!

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                                                  The day’s haul

Why I smoke a pipe

I started this blog as a spin-off from my main blog, solely to blind about my favourite hobby..pipe smoking.

I got into pipe smoking when I was about 20, and I’ve never looked back! When I was citation getting into the hobby, I was green, and bit the green that cartoon characters turn, I mean I was a flat out newbie! I thought corn cobs where for poor, hillbillies, and the uneducated. My, how just a few short years can change a man!

I came over from smoking cigars, so I had a tolerance to tobacco, but I made the made the same mistake that a lot of first time smokers do…bought a cheap Sansa pipe and filled it with Captain Black tobacco, and puffed away. The tobacco was fine,  it the pipe filled with that juice that all tobacco smokers dread…and this was after three puffs! Thankfully, however my bite severed the stem and we had to throw it out.  When I went to the pipe store, I saw cobs a plenty, but didn’t buy them…I got another cheap wood and plastic make…that set my hand in fire after three puffs…finally, in a last ditch effort to save my hobby, I bought a cheap (in price) Dr. Grabow and some more over the counter tobacco. Dr. Grabow saved me from having a stash of inferior pipes, and hating the quality art form of pipe smoking.

Fast forward a few years, and a buddy of mine sends me a corn cob in exchange for some tobacco. If I didn’t like it, no big deal. Well, I loved it, and now, I am almost always found enjoying a cob on my porch with a drink and phone at hand. In fact, now that I think about it…I cannot remember the lazy time that I had a briar in my jaws. Even as I type this, I’m enjoying a fresh cob that I bought only yesterday.

So, dear readers, just remember.. keep calm and smoke a pipe.