Stirring the pipe contents

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Sir Saartan

The Tan Saarlander
Never fail to listen to advice carefully, but ultimately you are the one smoking your pipe
that's something that you should apply to everything in life, and pipe smoking is no exception.

Further, the ember would sometimes funnel its way down,
either down the center or tending towards the draught hole, leaving a good bit of uncombusted tobacco behind.
In my experience, there are 2 main reasons for that to happen:
1. you're drawing too strong on your pipe. Especially in pipes with tall narrow bowls, the air will have a certain direction
that it follows when drawing, and the harder you draw, the faster will the ember follow that path. Letting it burn slowly
will allow the ember to spread by itself on the top of the tobacco instead of quickly following the air path, and narrow
stacked bowls increase that effect.
2. wet tobacco. The more moisture your tobacco has, the more problems the ember will have spreading by itself,
and you'll also have to keep it lit by drawing harder. So you've got basically point 1. but caused partially by the wet

The cut of tobacco (crumbs funnel more than ribbon) comes into play, as well.
absolutely. I have a mac arthur pipe that takes whole flakes without having to fold it. this builds an
airway where you can draw through, and if you don't have points 1. and 2. in mind, you'll end up with
this problem 10 out of 10 times.

The only time I'll consider giving the whole remainder a stir is when smoking flakes.
I tend to see more moisture buildup in the last third or so, and I've not really seen any overly un-tasty changes in the flavor.
If the flavor of the flake doesn't change even though you've got moisture buildup, that is a
good sign the flake could've used a little more drying time. That being said, there is always
some moisture buildup when smoking tobacco, and it doesn't need to be unpleasent.

If, however, I get ash on the test draw, I dump it, even if it
looks like there should be plenty left. Life is too short to fight with the bottom of a pipe.
true. if you get ash to the draft hole, you'll get at least a couple of mouths full until you get back to the
tobacco. it's unpleasent, and there's hardly any reason to put up with that. after all pipes are more of
an enjoying hobby than they are means of satisfying nicotine addiction.

I'm in the minority on this one. If the last bit of the bowl isnt burning,
I'll try fluffing it a bit and relight, but only once. I think we run risks applying fire at the bottom of the bowl,
not the least of which being superheated air drawn onto the tongue.
your comment leaves 2 conclusions:
a) the last bit of your bowl is only a couple of crumps. in that case, there isn't much to stirr up anyways. Basically, you're done but
are enjoying yourself too much to set the pipe down.
b) you're drawing too hard. Admittedly, especially after stirring you'll really have to just sip on your pipe
if you don't want to draw in the ash, but your ember shouldn't heat up the air a lot more than before
if it's just a small one.

Sometimes you get chunks that won't smolder. It depends on the blend,
and the cut. I had a bowl the other day of a flake (forget which, but I think it was SG Navy) that just wouldn't
stay lit about 3/4 down. It wasn't wet, it just wasn't burning.
My first thought was: too wet. SG Navy flake makes me think the same thing again: too wet.
If you stir up the bowl, the very bottom pieces may be the ones that have soaked up most
moisture. especially if you sip your pipe slowly, that's about the only place where the moisture
I'm not talking about wet tobacco here, but about the moisture that builds through combustion.
there is always a little moisture that cannot be avoided and if you smoke very slowly, the very bottom
end of your flake will suck up that moisture. I don't know what pipe you used, but I've had that
a lot with stacked chimney pipes: the last little bit could be forced to burn, but the hissing noise
always tells me I've reached the last bit of dottle and it's time to end this. Usually we're talking
about maybe 2 crumbs of 2x2 mm.
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