Smoking pressed tobacco - flakes plugs twists and kakes

Sir Saartan

The Tan Saarlander
#41
2. Smoke some half-bowls fill until you figure out expansion.
This is going to be the most important thing to figure out for someone new to pressed tobacco.
In general, the amount you're putting into the bowl is too much. And it takes quite a bit of time
until you are willing to accept that it's too much.

My advice: listen to your pipe.

Draw on your pipe before lighting. If there is any kind of restriction now, you will never have a chance to
smoke this. I've had flakes expand on me to a point where it took effort to get them out of the pipe.

If the draw is absolutely free, meaning you're under the impression you have way too little tobacco in your
pipe, you've probably got about the right amount.

Once you set flame to your flake, it probably will not take the fire quite as fast as you're used to. Don't worry,
it's supposed to be that way. Compressed tobacco will burn slower, and therefore it takes a couple of seconds longer
to light.

Also: while I hardly ever do this with ribbon cuts, a flake likes a charring light before the "true light".

The amount pressed tobacco expands differs a lot from blend to blend. For most manufacturers it's pretty
similar between their blends, but not always. I myself find it disappointing when I have to dump a bowl and
waste tobacco, so using less than you think is always a good idea, and starting with half bowls when you get
to know a blend is a good idea - at least for new flake smokers.

I will later show pictures of how much tobacco I load into my pipes. I can't remember ever putting more
than 2 flakes into a regular size bowl, and many times even that's too much.
 

Mrm1775

Well-known member
#43
This is going to be the most important thing to figure out for someone new to pressed tobacco.
In general, the amount you're putting into the bowl is too much. And it takes quite a bit of time
until you are willing to accept that it's too much.

My advice: listen to your pipe.

Draw on your pipe before lighting. If there is any kind of restriction now, you will never have a chance to
smoke this. I've had flakes expand on me to a point where it took effort to get them out of the pipe.

If the draw is absolutely free, meaning you're under the impression you have way too little tobacco in your
pipe, you've probably got about the right amount.

Once you set flame to your flake, it probably will not take the fire quite as fast as you're used to. Don't worry,
it's supposed to be that way. Compressed tobacco will burn slower, and therefore it takes a couple of seconds longer
to light.

Also: while I hardly ever do this with ribbon cuts, a flake likes a charring light before the "true light".

The amount pressed tobacco expands differs a lot from blend to blend. For most manufacturers it's pretty
similar between their blends, but not always. I myself find it disappointing when I have to dump a bowl and
waste tobacco, so using less than you think is always a good idea, and starting with half bowls when you get
to know a blend is a good idea - at least for new flake smokers.

I will later show pictures of how much tobacco I load into my pipes. I can't remember ever putting more
than 2 flakes into a regular size bowl, and many times even that's too much.
I will add that i never use that much flake.
Most times I will use 3/4 of a flake similar in size to a capstan flake.
If I'm smoking a cob then half a flake.
 

Ozark Wizard

Well-known member
Patron
Old Ted Award Winner
#44
I will add that i never use that much flake.
Most times I will use 3/4 of a flake similar in size to a capstan flake.
If I'm smoking a cob then half a flake.
Indeed. Most of my cobs almost comfortably hold one coin of PS LBF. Similarly, 3/4 of a tinned flake of Mac Baren stuff seems loose, but halfway into the smoke is actually a bit snug.
 

cigrmaster

Well-known member
#47
II smoke flakes pretty much exclusively and fold and stuff them. I prefer a bit of moisture in my flakes as if too dry they burn fast and lose flavors for me. Some flakes are easier to stuff than others. Captan Blue Flake is the perfect flake as it is moist but not wet, perfectly shaped and most of all tastes great. Some of my pipes take the Blue perfectly others I might have jam in a bit. I always check the draw before lighting. If it is too tight I will run a pipe cleaner into the chamber and on all most all occasions it opens the draw up for smoking. If it is too loose when I check the draw I will tamp it until I get some resistance. Once in a while while smoking the draw will get a tad tight so I will just take a pipe cleaner and open it up again. I have a couple of big pipes group 6 or ODA that can take two flakes and maybe more. When I want a 2.5 -3 hour smoke I load up a big boy. It has to be a certain flake so I don't get bored.
 

Sir Saartan

The Tan Saarlander
#54
Pressed tobacco behaves just like a ribbon cut, just a lot more noticeable:

If a ribbon cut is too wet it won’t burn properly.
A wet flake might refuse to stay lit at all.

Smoke a ribbon cut too hot and it loses flavor. A hot flake hardly has any taste at all or an extreme „ashtray“ flavor.

Also: if you overpuff a wet flake in an attempt to keep it lit, you’ll certainly burn your tongue.
 

Ozark Wizard

Well-known member
Patron
Old Ted Award Winner
#60
If you overpuff, your best chance is to let the pipe go out and relight in a couple of minutes.

If a flake is about to go out, covering it up like this and slowly sipping will keep it lit.
View attachment 66202
I almost constantly run my first two fingers over the bowl while smoking. Whether I'm chasing the ember around the bowl or getting a feel for the temp, I dunno.