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After the smoke has cleared - part I

After the smoke has cleared - part I

Briar pipes will last virtually forever if properly smoked - that is, not too hot - and cleaned. I have pipes I‘ve owned for over twenty years and they still smoke as well, if not better, than when I first got them.
After you‘re done smoking your pipe, take your pipe tool and with the "spoon" end, scoop the ashes and any unsmoked tobacco from the bowl into an ashtray. Don‘t scrape the inside of the bowl too vigorously; you actually want a coating of ash on it to build up what is called "cake". More on that later.
If a pipe cleaner will run all the way through the stem through the shank, go ahead and run several through, soaking up moisture and oils. Use as many pipe cleaners as necessary until they come out clean - don‘t be shy, they‘re cheap! If your pipe does not accomodate a pipe cleaner going all the way through (cleaners often get hung up on bent pipes), wait until the pipe is completely cool and twist apart the stem and shank.
This cannot be stressed enough - the pipe must be cool, i.e room temperature, before you separate the mouthpiece from the pipe. If not, the tenon (the part of the stem that inserts into the shank) often swells when hot and can crack the shank as it‘s being removed.

...(to be continued)

Prossimo articolo: After the smoke has cleared - part II