Now to light the pipe...with a butane lighter or matches (preferably wooden), approach the top of the bowl with the flame. As soon as the flame is over the tobacco, draw air in through the stem like you‘re sucking from a straw. You‘re not going to inhale the smoke, like a cigarette, but rather draw it in and exhale it back out right away.
Give the pipe several good deep puffs while moving the flame evenly around the opening, lighting all areas. Remove the flame and give the pipe several more good puffs, generating a lot of smoke.
Then, and this is important, let it die out. You have just given the pipe its "charring" or "false" light. At this point you want to very gently tamp down the thin layer of ash using a pipe tamper, golf tee, head of a nail or similar.
Now you will light the pipe again using the same procedure as in the charring light, but this time the pipe should stay lit. Give it some good puffs to get it going, but then slow down the pace and vigor of your puffing. The object now isn‘t to produce great volumes of smoke, but rather keep the fire going by light, even puffing and occasional tamping down of the ashes.
Never force the ashes down, always use easy, gentle pressure when tamping. I‘ve found that taking a puff or two once to four times a minute will keep it going nicely without the pipe getting too hot.
If you find that the pipe is too hot in your hands put it down for a few minutes. While briar pipes are heat resistant, they will burn or crack if smoked too hot. Wait until the pipe is warm to the touch, but not hot, and re-light.
Depending on the size of the pipe, the type of tobacco, and slow or fast you smoke, a pipe can last anywhere from a half hour to three or more. The taste of the tobacco will often change as it gets closer to being all burned up. The oils from the leaf will concentrate in the bottom of the bowl and the tobacco may seem a bit stronger.
Next we‘ll talk about proper care and cleaning of your pipe.
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