Experimenting on cake

  • Thabo Pienaar

One of my personality traits is continuous experimenting and trying out new things. So I've tried some new tricks today..., experimenting on cake ...

breaking in a pipeSometimes I get frustrated with this "trait"; when an old proven way of doing things, are messed up by me "trying something new". But nevertheless, that's me. My cake experiment - not the ones you bake and ultimately eat during tea time, but those "cake" pipe smokers so passionately build and preserve in their pipes. [see video here] I've read in a book of a discussion between Tad Gage & Fred Hanna on the debate of "cake", or as we call it, the carbon layer in your pipe's bowl. Now, the perfect smokethe general trend is that a good carbon layer is beneficial for your pipe as it protects the briar against the heat while smoking. Tad Gage & Fred Hanna however, mentioned the option of removing the carbon layer often which would result in a more true reflection of the tobacco as the "ghosting" effect will, in so doing, be removed regularly. Regarding the heat, they are of the opinion that while smoking your pipe, it never gets so hot that it would damage the briar, as that would then be even to hot for your mouth to handle! This reminded me of one of my pipes which I recently bought new from Pietenpauw. Expecting the first few bowls to be pietenpauw zulu"nasty"until a descent layer was built, I was actually quite amazed on how good that first few bowls tasted. So something of their discussion rang a bell..... Needless to say, the personality trait kicked in: experimenting on cake! I took my pipe knife and started cleaning all of my pipes' carbon layers - not to the briar though, but still pretty much less than the proverbial "dime" thickness. Since I've done that, I had a few bowls, and is still making up my mind on the validity of this theory, but at least I can attest to the fact that none of the bowls were either gurgling (on of the common reasons for preventing gurgling), or that the tobacco did not resemble the flavours I was expecting. So there you have it pipe smokers, something to ponder and maybe even experimenting yourself. But the beauty of this hobby we're pursuing is: whatever is working for you, is "correct". There's clearly many more ways to "skin a cat" (I think that's the saying). Or, there is not one way, or one "correct" way of "how to smoke a pipe" and pursuing that perfect bowl. "Each to his/her own". With that while enjoying a bowl.... Untill next time ..... https://youtu.be/HQ8Tjsaq5tg  

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