Tips Before Lighting Your Pipe
As mentioned above, we recommend that you use our guide to learn how to pack a tobacco pipe before you start lighting it.
While packing techniques vary between smokers as well as the types of tobacco, a good one almost guarantees a pleasant smoking experience. Meanwhile, an improper packing technique may result in a number of issues including the pipe going out regularly.
Unless you’ve never smoked before, you’ve likely experienced this and know only too while how infuriating it is for a pipe to extinguish between every puff.
Furthermore, if you have a new pipe, we recommend that you begin by breaking it in. Breaking in a new pipe consists of insulating the bowl with a uniform layer of cake, which is essentially carbonised tobacco deposit.
By breaking in your pipe, the cake will insulate the wood and prevent it from burning out. This is achieved by only smoking quarter-full bowls at first and increasing the amount of tobacco over time while allowing the pipe to cool between each session.
Finally, make sure that you use the correct type of flame to light your pipe as we’ll detail next.
What Lighters To Use For Lighting A Pipe
If you’ve read any of our detailed cigar resources, then you’ll know that we’re quite fond of torch lighters for their simplicity and ease of use. However, torch lighters aren’t recommended here as the intense omni-directional flame is not only inconvenient but can damage your pipe.
Instead, we recommend either matches or soft flame lighters for pipes.
Nevertheless, like cigars, you should avoid oil-fuelled lighters due to the flame’s odour, which can taint the tobacco’s flavour.
If you prefer to use a lighter, make sure that it is fuelled by butane, which is an odourless gas and preserves the tobacco. Yet, if you have a preference for matches, avoid cardboard match books as these are made with chemicals that can leave a bad taste.
While most soft flame, including disposable, lighters will function perfectly well, the right one can drastically change your lighting and smoking experiences.
For instance, some pipe lighters feature angled or extended nozzles for easily reaching into a bowl. Meanwhile, others have wider flames to facilitate the process.
Therefore, you can see our recommendations of the best pipe lighters at the end of this guide.
How To Light A Tobacco Pipe
In this section, we’ll be explaining how to properly light your pipe. As mentioned above, you’ll need to load your pipe with tobacco first, which is explained in our pipe packing guide. Consequently, this tutorial will presume that you already have done so and that the pipe is ready to be lit.
There are many ways for lighting a tobacco pipe just as there are for loading one. This guide to lighting a tobacco pipe follows on from our loading method and consists of two to three steps:
- False Light
- True Light
1. False Light: Charring The Tobacco
Known as the false light, begin by applying your flame to the tobacco and moving it in circular motions over the entire surface of the bulb. Meanwhile, take a few short puffs on the pipe.
Don’t puff too deeply as the objective is not to ignite all the tobacco but to heat it up instead. By charring first, you remove any excess moisture from the tobacco and even out its density of the bulb’s interior.
As you char the surface, you’ll notice that bulb may expand while some tobacco unravels out of it. Not only is this normal but desired as it will actually improve the draw and combustion.
2. Tamping The Bowl
Now that you have charred the surface, allow the flame to go out. Once the flame has fully extinguished, use a tool or your fingers to gently tamp down the tobacco back into the bowl.
However, avoid tamping too hard as you only want to bring down the bowl’s height to its original level.
If you use your fingers for tamping, you may have to wait longer so not to burn them. In our loading guide, we recommended purchasing a pipe tool rather than your fingers partly because of this.
3. True Light: Fully Lighting The Pipe
When ready, reapply the flame to the tobacco with the same circular motion. You can bring the flame a little closer if you prefer while taking shallow puffs on the pipe.
As the tobacco begins to ignite, slowly increase the depth of your puffs to draw the flame towards the base of the bulb. When you get a comfortable amount of smoke, you can remove the flame and your pipe is lit.
Now that you have read how to light it, you can use our other guide to learn how to properly smoke a pipe.
Common Pipe Lighting Issues
While lighting a pipe seems like a relatively simple task, it can take a while to perfect the technique or even develop one that works for you. Even if you follow our guide to the letter, you may experience a few issues when lighting until it becomes a natural process.
The Tobacco Just Won’t Light
Sometimes you feel that you’ve exposed enough flame to the bowl that it could have incinerated the whole pipe. However, the charred tobacco only releases a light smoke.
This may be caused by very moist pipe tobacco. Some tobacco blends can be too moist for smoking straight away. In this case, we recommend taking a bowl-full of tobacco out of the tin or pouch a short while before you smoke.
Simply leave it on a clean surface for a few minutes and see if it improves the lighting process. If it’s still too moist afterwards, leave it out a little longer until you find the right humidity.
Best Pipe Lighters To Buy Online
If you need to update your lighting apparatus, you can peruse our recommendations below:
- Premium Lighter: Dupont Ligne 8
- Most Reliable: IM Corona Old Boy
- Original Design: Kiribi Kabuto
- Dual Flame: Colibri Julius
- Most Affordable: Xikar Resource II
- Bonus Mention: Sarome PSD37
Scroll down to see them all or jump ahead using the links above.