Basic Pipe Accessories
Pipe smoking is an art and like any artist, we need the proper tools to create masterfull smokes. Let's explore the various tools that pipe smokers use.
A pipe tamper is a must-have tool for any pipe smoker. It is used to gently push the burning tobacco down into the bowl. It is generally used after the initial lighting (charring light) to push the puffed up tobacco back down into the bowl. It is then used throughout the smoke to gently push or tamp, the burning tobacco down into the non-burning tobacco. Without a tamper the tobacco below the top layer would not burn properly and would eventually go out.
A combination tool is a simple all-in-one accessory. It contains a tamper, reamer and poke. Unlike the reamer above, this one resembles a small spoon. It is used to gently scrape the sides of the bowl to remove excess build-up. The tamper does the job of pushing the tobacco down into the bowl. The poke can be used to loosen tobacco that becomes tight during the smoke.
A reamer is used to remove built up carbon deposition on the walls of the pipe's bowl. Over time, carbon deposits can line the walls of the bowl and impair the smoking quality of the pipe. If used properly, the reamer can gently remove excess build-up, while not damaging the lining of the bowl. Overly aggressive tamping can damage your pipe. The reamer in the picture is a spring or resistance tamper.
Pipe cleaners are another pipe essential. They are run through the pipe and stem to clean, dry and unclog the pipe. They can also be used in conjunction with a pipe sweetening solution.
Lighters & Matches
Obviously, we need to light the tobacco if we want to smoke it. Pipe smokers light their pipes using matches or lighters. There are two types of lighters, butane. and fluid. Butane lighters can create a soft flame using butane gas. Popular Zippo lights use lighter fluid and require a spark wheel to ignite. Matches are another option but easily go out and can require the use of multiple matches. When using matches, it is a good idea to let the sulfur burn off before you touch the flame to the tobacco. Nothing is worse than tasting burning sulfur.