Pipe Break-In Guide
A properly broken-in pipe smokes sweet, cool and dry. Follow these simple steps to make that break-in period a breeze!
Moisten the Bowl. A pipe is wood, and wood burns! We want to coat the pipe with hard resins from the tobacco which will in turn protect the pipe from burning out.
You can simply dip your finger in some water and rub the inside of the bowl, but a simple mixture of 25% honey and 75% Rum will really help propel the formation of "cake" (the hard, dry coating that comes with time and proper smoking). Apply it with a pipe cleaner.
Even if your pipe chamber has a painted-on coating of so called "Carbonite" you still want to moisten it.
Do this the first 4 times you smoke your pipe.
Pack and smoke in 1/4 increments. More or less, the idea is to get your new pipe used to having a fire set inside it. This is facilitated by incrementally filling and smoking your bowl in "Fourths."
Fill your (moistened) bowl 1/4 of the way with your tobacco and smoke it. When you're finished, let the bowl cool completely (1/2 hour is a good rule of thumb) At that point, loosen the ash and "dottle" in the bottom of the pipe gently with the "Spoon" section of your pipe tool and dump it in an ashtray. Grab a pipe cleaner, fold it in half and swab out the bowl to remove any excess crud. Run a fresh pipe cleaner through the stem a few times and let the pipe rest for 24 hours.
Repeat this procedure three more times, filling the bowl 1/4 more each time. (fill and smoke 1/2 bowl next, then 3/4 and finally a full bowl).
Remember to smoke all the tobacco in the bowl! My personal rule of thumb is that when you think all the tobacco in the bowl has been smoked, light it again. Then, when you think there couldn't possibly be any more tobacco left in the bowl, light it a final time.
It's important to smoke all the tobacco in the bowl in order for an even coating of cake to form in the chamber. If, say, you constantly fill the bowl all the way but only smoke 1/2 of it, a nice thick cake will eventually form only on the top half of the bowl leaving a wider chamber at the bottom. This wider chamber can act like an old pot-belly stove and heat up the bowl to burnout proportions. Only fill the bowl with as much tobacco as you plan on smoking or, even better, have several pipes in different sizes to fit the time you wish to smoke.
That's it! Remember to loosen and dump the ash, swab the bowl and clean the stem after each smoking session. Try to rest the pipe for 24 hours between smokes and if the pipe gets hotter than you can comfortably hold in your hand for more than several seconds...put it down and let it cool down before relighting.