Archive for the ‘pipe smoking’ Category

Pipe Smoking Among Young Men

January 1, 2014

Pipe Smoking Among Young Men

Talk to anyone loafing at the local Pipe Shop and before long the conversation will turn to the increasing popularity of pipe smoking; particularly among the 30 and under crowd.  You might see them pulling their new Churchwardens, Bulldogs and Billiards out of the cigar box they use to tote their pipe, pipe lighters, tobacco & pipe cleaners.  I know that at the local pipe shop and tobacconist I patronize there are a good group of seminary students & 20ish guys that come in regularly to buy pipe tobacco or just hang out and enjoy the conversation.

So, what is it about pipe smoking that the younger crowd finds so appealing amidst the staunch “anti-tobacco” sentiment that is so prevalent in our culture today?  Of course, no one can answer for everyone althoughI have noticed what I believe are some of the main reasons why this past time has become so popular.

It’s a Manly Practice

With the rising appeal of all things “manly” (i.e. “The Art of Manliness” aka AoM, Gentlemint, etc.) it is evident that Pipe Smoking is a practice that helps younger guys identify with their masculine side.  Pipe smoking is similar to pocket knives, leather boots and shaving in that it seems to help solidify the masculine persona within a young man who is in the process of setting the course of their life and habits.

There is an Immediate Community

There is a camaraderie among pipe smokers; both online as well as in person.  As I mentioned above most pipe shops have a smoking area with ashtrays, pipe lighters, leather chairs and usually a few loafers hanging out.  Pipe smoking gives the young man access to other men; young & old, who share a common interest.  What is particularly beneficial about pipe smoking for young guys is that they are often sitting next to men who are older and have a wealth of experience in life and career.  The chances are very good that they can strike up a conversation with doctors, judges, missionaries, accountants, fathers and grandfathers.  The local pipe shop community is a gathering place of men from all walks of life who are willing to share from their own experience.

It is Contemplative

When I light up my Peterson and watch the smoke lazily waft out of the bowl it helps me to relax and allows my mind to drift to the things in life that are most important.  The simple acts of packing, lighting, relighting and smoking involve my hands and before long the concerns that occupied my mind prior to lighting seem to dissipate.  It is makes it easy to pray for my family and friends and to easily talk to God in a uncomplicated, conversational way.

There are many pipe smoking quotes, too numerous to list all of them here, but it is well documented by men of standing about the relaxing and contemplative nature of pipe smoking.  In parting I thought I would share a few of them with you.

“If you want to get hold of a man’s deepest confidence, tell him to smoke in your drawing-room. I don’t know how it is, but there seems no trouble in which a man can’t smoke. One who scorns extraneous comfort of every other sort, will yet, in the profoundest sorrow, take kindly to his pipe. This is more wonderful than anything I know about our kind.” -Ethelwyn in The Vicar’s Daughter by George MacDonald (1824-1905)

“A pipe in the mouth makes it clear that there has been no mistake–you are undoubtedly a man.” -A. A. Milne

“When you pray with this pipe, you pray for everything in the universe, and everything in the universe prays with you.” -Black Elk, Holy Man of the Oglalas

“I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgment in all human affairs.” Albert Einstein


Pipe Lighters

To Bleed or Not To Bleed

October 1, 2013

To Bleed or Not to Bleed; That Is The Pipe Lighter Question?

Some pipe smokers suggest that one must ALWAYS bleed their pipe lighter between refills, while others say bleeding is unnecessary. The thought behind bleeding is that air is captured in the fuel tank of the lighter and must be expelled for the lighter to perform properly. This is done by taking a very small screw driver (the size of the one that comes with an eyeglass repair kit) or the poker from your czech tool and pressing it into the fuel valve until all of the remaining butane and air is released. You can tell when the lighter no longer “hisses”.

The “no-bleeders” say this step is not needed since all fuel and air (if any) is released during the lighting process over time, and when the lighter no longer lights due to an empty fuel tank, you just refill.

Actually, the best way I suggest is to bleed once your pipe lighter no longer lights just to make sure the fuel tank is empty. It only takes a second or two and then you know all the air is out.

One of the most important step is using triple refined butane or higher as this will keep the fuel nozzle cleaner and enable you pipe lighter to operate better.

Either way, don’t stress over it, just pack, tamp & light.


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Oxford Flake

September 19, 2013

Oxford Flake

Since I’ve been pipe smoking; about a couple of years now, I’ve smoked mostly aromatic pipe tobaccos. However, a few weeks ago I tried my first tin of Peterson’s University Flake. I didn’t know what to expect, but what
I found was a good tasting, full bodied, smooth, non-biting tobacco. The
down side was that the cost was pretty steep to my budget at around $17 a
tin. I suppose I could have found it cheaper online but I like to buy from
the local Brick and Mortar pipe shops when I can. So, when traveling through Memphis, Tennessee I stopped into The Tobacco Corner located at the corner of Poplar and Mendenhall. There are always a group of guys hanging out there and the staff is friendly.

I told the gentleman at the counter that I liked University Flake and was
looking for a bulk tobacco that was similar and he recommended one of their private bulk flake tobaccos called Oxford Flake. From all appearances it
looks very similar to the University Flake; which I’m told is Peterson’s
number one selling tinned tobaccos. It does come in the standard flake style which I rub between my fingers to break it up so that it packs easier. It is very similar to the Oxford in taste and room note. One of the good things is that it costs almost half of the Peterson brand at around $5 an ounce (The University Flake at $17 for a 50 gram tin comes out to almost $10 per ounce).

If you have been smoking aromatics and are looking for your first fore into
the world of non-aromatics I’d recommend you give the University Flake a try. Or, if you are in the Memphis area go by and see the good folks at Tobacco Corner and ask for the Oxford Flake. I think you’ll be glad you


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Those Doggone Dogs

August 3, 2013

Maybe if you own dogs and smoke a pipe you’ll understand.

It was 2:17 a.m. and Precious, my 15 year old Dachshund very mixed breed, starting whining. It was this low pitched whine/moan kind of sound that means she has to go out and eat some grass. Now remember it 2:17 in the morning, but there’s no ignoring it as it will not stop until she goes out. So, I reluctantly get up, put on my khaki shorts and grab my 13 year old Chihuahua very mixed breed, that only has three good legs and go outside with pipe in hand; this will be no 5 minute stint!

So, I fill my pipe with my favorite private tobacco blend and take one of my pipe lighters and light my Peterson Donegal Rocky 05.

Precious begins her systematic grass eating and I my slow puffing. It doesn’t take long before I remember how magical this time of the night really is. The air is still and the night sounds are soft and my mind is relaxed and allowed to ponder my favorite thoughts undisturbed.

I think (kind of a pray/think) about my family; my amazing wife of 32 years who is asleep, my three children and four grandchildren. Lord let your grace rest upon them. I ponder God and his love for us; let me nestle in it. And before you know it, a couple of relights later, it is 3 a.m. and Precious is ready to return to bed, and so am I.

Isn’t it neat that undesired, unsought for blessings can come our way in the shape of two old dogs.

By the way, I sleep til the late hour of 5:30 a.m. When Jimmy, the Chihuahua tells me it is again time to get up. The magic never stops 🙂


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