Breaking in a pipe: How it works!

If you've just started smoking a pipe or bought a new one, you'll naturally want to try it out right away. But be careful! Especially in the first days and weeks, you should handle your pipe carefully so that it doesn't burn out and possibly even become unusable. Therefore, we will show you how to break in your new pipe properly and what to pay special attention to.

Despite all the warnings, there are always cases where brand new pipes "burn out" and may even become unusable due to the fire damage. However, this is not due to inferior material or poor workmanship of the pipe, but to the smoking behavior of the smoker. If you do not smoke your pipe properly and carefully, you can quickly experience a nasty surprise later.

In connoisseur circles circulate various methods and instructions on how best to break in a pipe. And this much in advance: Many of these "tricks" only help to a limited extent or even exacerbate the danger of burning out. We will therefore show you what is important when smoking the pipe.

Why does the pipe need to be broke in?

Before we get to the instructions, let's first clarify the question of why a pipe needs to be broke in in the first place. It's because the wood of the pipe needs to get used to the heat of the tobacco embers. This is true even if the bowl bore of the pipe has an additional break in coating. 

The keyword "wood" already leads us to the second central question. Of course, only the popular wooden pipes need to be broke in. Other materials such as meerschaum pipes or calabash pipes can be smoked directly after purchase without special care.

In the case of wooden pipes, careful smoking ensures that a carbon layer forms in the bowl of the pipe, which protects the wood from direct exposure to heat. The carbon layer consists of deposits of ash and tobacco condensate.

How to smoke in your pipe correctly

The number one rule when smoking in your pipe is to be gentle. Because you want to protect the pipe wood from excessive heat, you should be especially careful with your new gem during the first few runs. 

Specifically, this means: use a classic tobacco (not too moist and not too dry) for the first few smokes and fill the pipe bowl almost completely with it. The frequently mentioned "method of thirds", according to which you should start with small tobacco fillings, is not recommended at this point. Instead, the normal filling ensures that the heat is distributed evenly. 

Also, be careful not to stuff the tobacco too tightly and also to be very careful only when re-stuffing. Pull gently and evenly on the pipe and finish smoking the head if possible.

Tip: If you smoke the tobacco too hot despite all caution, you will usually recognize this by the unfamiliar biting taste or simply by the fact that the pipe becomes very hot in your hand. In this case, let the pipe cool down before you continue smoking. 

What else should I watch out for?

Filter pipes in particular can make smoking difficult. This is due to the fact that the filter creates a greater draft resistance. As a smoker, you therefore tend to pull harder on the pipe, putting more strain on the wood. The filter also retains the flavors that are produced when the wood potentially burns. Filters therefore block the first warning signal to you. Therefore, special care should be taken with filter pipes.


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