Fill the bowl to the top with tobacco, tamp it down with a finger or a pipe tamper. This should put your bowl at about 2/3 full Repeat the first step and you should be about 3/4 full Repeat one last time and the bowl should be packed comfortably just below the rim. Test the draw after each step to make sure you are getting a decent airflow. If the draw is too tight, dump the tobacco and start over.
Put the pipe in your mouth and apply the flame across the entire area of the tobacco in a circular motion while lightly puffing. This is called the charring light. After this LIGHTLY tamp down the charred tobacco. Light again from the center this time puffing as you go. Sometimes it takes a few lights to get the pipe going, don’t let this discourage you.
Tamping is the act of pushing down the tobacco. There are specific tools that do this You can also use your thumb or forefinger.
It is possible you packed it too tight. Dump the bowl and start over. Maybe the moisture in your tobacco is too high? This is a matter of personal preference for the most part. If no matter how tight you pack the bowl it keeps going out, you should try to dry your tobacco by leaving it out. Just like a wet piece of wood, wet tobacco will not burn consistently.
Tongue bite is incredibly common when smoking a pipe. The tobacco could be too warm, too dry, or maybe the bowl is packed too tight. Whatever the case may be, put the pipe down and try again later!
Remember to take it slow! Smoking a pipe is meant to be a calm, relaxing activity. There is no need to rush to finish your bowl. Slow down and you will get more enjoyment out of it. Most of how you go about smoking comes down to your own smoking preference. Try out different methods and see what you like!
Each tobacco blend will burn differently. Some will keep the same taste and burn perfectly all the way to the bottom. Others may begin to taste harsh at the last quarter of the bowl.
This is called cake, cake is good! This carbon residue will protect the chamber of your pipe as well as help control the moisture level. Additionally, cake will help season your pipe and positively impart flavors from past smokes! Too much cake can be bad, carbon is strong and too much can weaken the integrity of your bowl. Ideally your cake will be as thick as a dime, use a reamer to keep that width down!
A pipe tool with a pick & spoon are great tools to help empty your pipe. If you must bang it to get the excess tobacco out be GENTLE. Hold the pipe by the bowl and lightly tap. Try not to bang it against too hard of a surface, this can damage your pipe easily. A cork is a great object to put in your ashtray and tap your pipe on as this will not scratch or damage the pipe at all.
After every smoke you should run a pipe cleaner through your pipe. Regularly doing this will prevent your pipe from developing an off-putting taste While smoking, run a pipe cleaner through it and you will collect unwanted moisture. If your cake gets too thick break out a reamer and bring that thickness down to about a dimes width! From time to time when your pipe is cold you should remove the stem. Give the internals a good scrubbing with a bristled pipe cleaner Remove all the gunk that builds up as this can lead to your pipe developing an unpleasant taste.