Question about relighting a Pipe with leftover ash and without.

Hope I'm asking this question in the correct forum. Most of the pipes I have and smoke, have a 2" inner bowl depth, with one having a 3 inch inner depth. My question is when smoking a bowl, and the pipe going out for one reason or just letting it go out, I've tried relighting the bowl after a simple tamp, but seem to have better results if I use the poker on my pipe tool to loosen the ash then pouring it out, then relighting from that point. When I use the poker on my pipe tool, I can see and feel it going through at least half the bowl before any resistance of unburned tobacco. So I want to ask if you dump ash and then relight, or if you fight through the ash to relight it?


  • KA9FFJKA9FFJ Master
    edited October 28
    @Casper Right or wrong, I never dump my ash while relighting. However, when it's time to relight, I use a similar technique that @PappyJoe uses. That is, I give a gentle twist with the tamper around the edges of the bowl. My objective is to bring some of the charred (partially smoked) tobacco toward the middle of the bowl for easier lighting. 
    I will also slightly tilt the bowl in a circular motion while relighting, directing the flame more towards the outside of the bowl, which IMHO, greatly produces an easier relight. 
    It works for me... I hope it works for you...
  • Goal: the ring of fire....

  • CasperCasper Newcomer
    "@KA9FFJ said: I will also slightly tilt the bowl in a circular motion while relighting, directing the flame more towards the outside of the bowl, which IMHO, greatly produces an easier relight." 

    Interesting sir, When I light my pipe, I have done so while drawing on the stem, which draws the flame into the bowl as is kisses the Tobacco, I then circle the tobacco with the flame, until the tobacco in the bowl looks like the one pictured by @motie2, then I draw 5 or 6 nice long draws from my pipe, exhaling thick white smoke. Sometimes I will puff to get it lit, and find that it doesn't want to go out for a true light unless I just allow it to simmer down then tamp the tobacco in the bowl. @KA9FFJ, I will definitely have to put an eye on @PappyJoe to see how you and he do the circular motion while relighting. This process seems easier done with the stem out of your mouth rather than in, However I can see an easier relight. Guy's I really enjoy being able to ask questions to learn new techniques without being Judged on me being Novice. Thank You for your input, I'll continue following this post so I continually sample everyones suggestions and find what works best for me.

    The Big Moretti pipe I showed pictured of in the other post of new pipes has an inner bowl depth of 3 inches, and outer depth of 3 ½ inches. So last night, I gently nursed about a ½ bowl in one sitting, Geeesh, I loved the sweet taste. When I sat my pipe down to recuperate from a good case of Tobacco overdose lol  I found that I had burned about 1 ½ inches of tobacco, so my problem was upon relighting my pipe a couple hours later, I found myself having to burn through a 1 ½ inches of ash to get to the tobacco, So here is what drew this question from me. After several attempts to relight, I found it easier to use the poker part of my pipe tool to loosen up the ash, and I emptied it into an ashtray, Then I tamped the leftover and was able to relight my pipe much easier. Problem being, I didn't know if that was a no no, or if it's common on the big pipes and deep bowls, or basically how the more experienced pipe smokers would accomplish the same task. In all honesty, on my Il Ceppo pipes with the 2" inner bowl depth, I found it easier then as well to remove the ash, and relight my pipe again and allow it to smoke down. The aromatic tobacco's I use usually leave a nice pinch of tobacco in the bottom of the bowl, which is usually wet when I remove it. @PappyJoe suggested I allow it to dry out, and then smoke it, as he said that's what some do, or I could just toss it away which seems wasteful. No matter how you look at it, This forum has been a very unique learning experience for me, and I really appreciate the broad view of answers, as well as many new ideas. Thanks and I'll continue to follow this thread in hopes of learning more new ideas.
  • @Casper I can see where emptying the ash makes it easier to relight. Basically you have exposed the partially burned tobacco. That is what I am doing with the twisting tamper, exposing more unsmoked tobacco. 
    Anyway, good luck experimenting with different techniques. 
    As far as the circular motion, I might have said it better by using the word "tilting". That is, tilt the bowl up while concentrating the flame to the far side of the bowl, then tilt the bowl to the right... you get the idea...
    Again, good luck...
  • I will often dump the ash on my larger bowls around the halfway point then tamp a dome, pulling from the edge. Doesn't seem to hurt at all. Just play around with it, there's no right or wrong. 
  • I don't do it often, or with much forethought, but occasionally if I need to relight a pipe I will upend the pipe over the ashtray without first stirring up the ashes with my tamper's poker, just to dump whatever amount of loose ash there is above the unburned tobacco.When that doesn't get the pipe re-lit, it usually turns out there really wasn't any unburned tobacco left (or hardly any), OR the dottle is kind of soaked beyond lighting.
  • @AnantaAndroscoggin
    Sounds like what I do....and give it a couple of light taps on the bottom of the bowl with my finger when upended🙂
  • In this week’s “Ask PappyJoe” he answers a question about “Relighting a Pipe with leftover ash or without.”

     The short answer is, as always, “Do what you like.” 

     The long answer involves deciding what caused the pipe to go out in the first place. The depth of the inner bowl, in my opinion has little to do with the tobacco going out. The number one reason why pipe tobacco goes out after being lit is the tobacco was too moist when loaded into the bowl. (Now, don’t ask me what the correct moisture level is for tobacco because there are too many variables to consider. It’s a matter of personal preference in most cases.) 

    That being said, I believe that if the pipe has gone out because of the moisture level of the tobacco, you shouldn’t dump the ash. My theory is related to how you use charcoal when grilling - you want the charcoal to have that nice gray ash because it tells you the charcoal is ready. That ash also prevents the charcoal from burning too fast. If the tobacco is burning too fast you can burn your tongue. 

    I just lightly tamp the ash down and relight. Did I mention LIGHTLY? I hold the tamp loosely between two fingers, let it slip down under its own weight and land on top of the ash. I don’t press down on the tobacco. I do twist the tamp as it’s resting on the tobacco though. By doing this I don’t run the risk of tamping too hard and basically smothering out the fire. Another problem with tamping too hard is you compact the tobacco so tight that it restricts the airflow through the tobacco. No airflow, no smoke. 

    On the other hand, if the tobacco has gone out because you got too busy talking or drinking and ignored your pipe, then you should consider lightly stirring the cold ash with your pipe tool and then dump the ash. This is also true if you have sat your pipe down and walked away from it for an hour or two. Now, personally, I usually just dump the entire bowl if it's sat for an hour or longer, but that is just me. If the pipe has been out for only 10 or 15 minutes, I would use the poker part of the pipe tool to stir around the remains of the tobacco. You should also consider adding some fresh, dryer tobacco to the bowl. 

    Why? As you smoke pipe tobacco, the moisture in the burning tobacco turns to steam and is mostly emitted through the smoke. However, since you are drawing the smoke into your mouth, you are also pulling that moisture through the unburnt tobacco and this actually makes the unburnt tobacco moister than it was to start. Wet tobacco doesn’t burn as well and will probably require more relights. 

  • The master has spoken... 👍Thanks @PappyJoe I always enjoy and appreciate your inputs...
  • Now, if I had typed that, Pappy would think I was being facetious.
    But @KA9FFJ’s comment is right on. When it comes to our hobby, Pappy is The Man. 
  • I do it both ways depending on the blend. Some blends forms a nice powdery white ash easy to simply tip your pipe and let the loose ash fall out. While other blends still seem to have chunks of unlit tobacco still mixed in with the ash. That I usually leave alone and re-light. It seems the bowl with the combination of chunks and ash, when stirred with your pipe tool tend to have a bitter taste afterwards. Especially goopy aromatics. The combination of unburned tobacco, ash, and goopy dottle juice can make for a disgusting smoke.     
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