What is Aerating a Pipe?
Lighting and smoking a pipe is something of an art form. Especially when packing a pipe, the smoker needs to know what they're doing to ensure that they get the best possible smoke.
One of the most important aspects of packing a pipe is making sure that air flows in adequate levels through the tobacco. A pipe that is too tightly packed will result in a hard draw and a less-than-gratifying smoke.
If one has ever seen tools specific to pipes, such as the many Zippo pipe lighters on the market, they've likely seen the three most common tools used by pipe smokers. These consist of a tamping tool which is used when packing the pipe, a pipe cleaner and an aerator. The aerator is a thin piece of metal, usually with a somewhat sharp tip. This device is used when the pipe is already lit.
If one happens to pack their pipe incorrectly, they will oftentimes realize it when they attempt to take a nice puff and are met with only resistance. Take the pipe aerator and gently poke holes in the pipe. This allows air to flow more freely through the tobacco. This is also a good measure to take if one finds that their pipe is burning unevenly. In most cases, it will take only a few pokes to get the pipe burning correctly.
Some of the signs of an improperly-burning pipe are a hard draw, a harsh taste and one side of the pipe being very hot while the other is barely burning it all. Most of these problems can be fixed with proper aeration. A harsh taste is often the result of tobacco burning too hot. In some cases, this may actually result from too much airflow. Simply back off of the pipe for a few minutes and let it cool down before taking another puff.
Remember to learn to properly pack a pipe so that one can avoid having to aerate the bowl over and over again. Most often, having to repetitively aerate a bowl is a sign that one is not packing their pipe properly. By doing this correctly from the start, one can avoid the hassle of having to make adjustments while they're smoking. It's best to purchase a lighter with the three above-mentioned tools attached if one is a pipe smoker.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Sabot is the owner of an online humidors store and has expert knowledge of cigar accessories, including cigar cutters.