Feedback: Cake Experiment
This blog (and YouTube Video) is to give some feedback on my experiment on the layer of cake (aka carbon layer) inside the bowl of your pipe.
A sufficient layer of cake in the bowl of your briar pipes are essential for the preservation as well as the coolness of the smoke. The general suggestion is to build up a layer of "a dime". Of course, like everything in the pipe world, some believe in less and others in more. And so I've tried some suggestions.
I have painstakingly smoked-in all my pipes and in a sense, was very reluctantly to remove some of the carbon layer of my pipes. However, like good
maintenance requires, I did smooth the carbon layer every once in a while.
But as my experience with pipe smoking grew, and reading other pipe smokers' opinions, I thought I'd give it a try to remove, again only once in a while, quite a bit of the cake formed over time. So I started this "experiment" and started to trim much more than I was used to from the inside of my pipe bowls - more than the traditional "dime thickness" - an opinion I read from Fred Hanna.
In some cases, especially where I thought "ghost" flavours might still be present, I've done so as suggested by Fred Hanna and reamed my pipe bowls to
pretty much close to the bare briar. I then started smoking them again, almost "breaking them in again"; one-by-one. At first I couldn't really noticed the
difference but after awhile I realised that most of the bowls did not do well with this treatment. It was as if I missed something of that cool, tasty smoke of each tobacco I tried.
So basically I decided to stay with my original view on the layer of cake in my pipes - a dime thick. As I did over the years, I do clean my bowls twice a year by even-out the carbon layer of my bowls, but to ream them as much as I did, will not happen. Not that I'm saying there is no truth in this theory - who of us do hold the absolute truth? Its just that for me and my pipes, we will continue our relationship we had all the while.
Now, I did notice something else though. At some point I was using Denicool Filter Crystals - basically, as far as I know, its crystals made from processed silica (sand) and has the ability to absorb moist and condensation while you smoke, and it absorbs some of the heat. For quite awhile, I didn't actually notice any difference by using Denicool Crystals. So when the batch I had was finished, I just kept on smoking without. Until I found one container last week and used it again, and I was struck by the difference it did make in the heat and moist, especially in one of my pipes which has a tendency to gurgle.
However, I'm not yet convinced that it is worth the while. In principle, I'm more of a straight clean old-fashioned pipe smoker, i.e. briar and tobacco, no filter - off you go! But this particular bowls had me wondering. Maybe its useful for some pipe; or some tobaccos?
Since this video and blog, I have bought a proper reamer and at one point, cleaned my pipes properly again - this time reaming it almost again to the bare wood (maybe not th tmuch, but defintely more than I used to). My latest conclusion? It really made a difference and is recommended. Epecially since some of my pipes' layer of cake became so thinck, that the bowl diameter really diminished.
There you have it - Enjoy your pipe and tobaccos!
Watch the YouTube Video here.