Burning prevention

With care, a briar pipe can last a very long time without burning out. However, due to aggressive (hot) smoking, imperfections in the wood, or just bad luck, a hole can be burned in the tobacco chamber of the pipe. There are several methods used to help prevent a wood pipe from burning out. These generally involve pre-coating the chamber with any of a variety of substances, or by gently smoking a new pipe to build up a cake (a mixture of ash, unburned tobacco, oils, sugars, and other residue) on the walls.

These coatings may include honey and water; powdered sugar and water; cigar ash and water; and sour cream, buttermilk, and activated charcoal among many others.

Many modern briar pipes are pre-treated by the manufacturer to resist burning. If smoked correctly, the cake will build up properly on its own. Another technique is to alternate a half-bowl and a full-bowl the first several times the pipe is used to build an even cake. Burley is often recommended to help a new pipe build cake.

The effectiveness of these methods are by no means universally agreed upon.

NOTE: The caked layer that helps prevent burning through the bottom or sides of a briar wood pipe may damage other pipes such as meerschaum or clay. The cake layer heats up, it expand and may cause cracks or breaks in non-briar pipes.

Lighting

Matches, or separately lit slivers of wood are often considered preferable to lighters because of lower burning temperature. Butane lighters made specifically for pipes emit flame sideways or at an angle to make it easier to direct flame into the bowl. Torch-style lighters should never be used to light a pipe because their flames are too hot and can char the rim of the pipe bowl. Matches should be allowed to burn for several seconds to allow the sulfur from the tip to burn away and the match to produce a full flame. A naphtha fueled lighter should also be allowed to burn a few seconds to get rid of stray naphtha vapors that could give a foul taste to the smoke. When a flame has been produced, it is then moved in circles above the rim of the bowl while the smoker puffs to draw the flame down and light the tobacco. Packing method and humidity can affect how often a pipe must be relit.

Burning prevention

With care, a briar pipe can last a very long time without burning out. However, due to aggressive (hot) smoking, imperfections in the wood, or just bad luck, a hole can be burned in the tobacco chamber of the pipe. There are several methods used to help prevent a wood pipe from burning out. These generally involve pre-coating the chamber with any of a variety of substances, or by gently smoking a new pipe to build up a cake (a mixture of ash, unburned tobacco, oils, sugars, and other residue) on the walls.

These coatings may include honey and water; powdered sugar and water; cigar ash and water; and sour cream, buttermilk, and activated charcoal among many others.

Many modern briar pipes are pre-treated by the manufacturer to resist burning. If smoked correctly, the cake will build up properly on its own. Another technique is to alternate a half-bowl and a full-bowl the first several times the pipe is used to build an even cake. Burley is often recommended to help a new pipe build cake.

The effectiveness of these methods are by no means universally agreed upon.

NOTE: The caked layer that helps prevent burning through the bottom or sides of a briar wood pipe may damage other pipes such as meerschaum or clay. The cake layer heats up, it expand and may cause cracks or breaks in non-briar pipes.

 

 

 


"I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgement in all human affairs."

Albert Einstein, 1950