As long as you properly maintain your pipe there should be no issues in having years and years of interruption-free service. We can occasionally however encounter problems, and as such, we have put together this helpful list of ways to resolve these!
This collection of solutions should steer you through any rough patches you might come across:
Problem: The pipe keeps going out
Solution: Check that the airway is clean and clear. The tobacco mustn’t be too tightly packed, as per its cut and moisture content. These need to be packed as appropriate for each different variety of tobacco. Trial and error will steer you to success.
Problem – It’s difficult to push a pipe cleaner through to the bowl all the way.
Solution: The airways through the stem are likely not aligned properly, a common issue with mass-produced pipes. Give the cleaner a half turn when it stops.
Problem: The bowl gets too hot during smoking.
Solution: The tobacco is likely packed too loosely, with too much oxygen being exposed to it, it is ‘stoking up’ as you draw in. Alternatively, you may be smoking too hard for this particular cut of tobacco. You should ease off or switch to a broader cut of tobacco.
Problem: The cake falls away when the bowel is reamed.
Solution: Pack the pipe tighter and smoke to the bottom of the bowl to build up a denser carbon layer.
Problem: The bowl keeps cracking and splitting.
Solution: Ream more often – too thick a cake will expand with the heat and end up cracking the bowl.
Problem – The pipe tastes sour, hot and wet despite being cleaned regularly.
Solution – It has likely become saturated with moisture. Leave it to try out for a week before using it again. You should also rest it for longer between smokes – this will allow it to dry out properly.
Problem – The stem has discoloured and now has a bitter taste.
Solution – Do not leave the pipe in direct sunlight as this brings the sulphur in the vulcanite to the surface. To fix, simply sand with a fine grade of sandpaper, then polish with a stem cleaning paste.
Problem: The push-fit stem has become loose in the shank.
Solution: This is caused by pulling the stem out before the pipe has been allowed to cool and dry fully and completely. A paper gasket makes for a temporary repair, however, the only permanent fix is a larger stem, or to get a repair on the tenon of the older one.
Problem: My tobacco has dried out.
Solution: Revive it by spreading it out on a plastic sheet. Spray it with a fine mist of water or rum. This issue can be avoided by keeping a piece of apple, potato, carrot or lettuce in the pouch – although, do remember to change it often or it could go mouldy!