A pipe rotation is where a smoker uses a different pipe occasionally to let their usual pipe have a rest. This can be necessary to ensure that your pipe remains in good condition and extends its lifespan. Pipe rotation is a fairly controversial topic amongst smokers, with some arguing that they have smoked the same pipe every day for years! However, there are many benefits to setting up a pipe collection which can dramatically improve your smoking experience.
Why Should a Pipe be Left to Rest?
Pipe rotation is particularly important for smokers who use a briar pipe, which is one of the most popular forms of pipe. The heat from the burning tobacco can cause a lot of changes to the pipe, even altering its structure. As smoke moves through the pipe, the bowl and stem heat up. After the smoke is finished, the pipe needs to cool down fully, and this takes longer for briar pipes than other types, such as Meerschaum. If the pipe isn’t fully cooled before it is used again, the pipe can start to crack and holes will develop in the bowl. Moisture from the tobacco will cause steam to flow through the pipe and if this doesn’t cool sufficiently, then it can give the pipe a sour smell.
How Long Should you Leave a Pipe to Rest?
There are a few schools of thought when it comes to how long a pipe should be left after using it. Here are some of the arguments.
It Depends on How you Smoke
Some believe that how you smoke should be the biggest factor in deciding how often to rotate your pipes. Important points to consider would be: how wet is the tobacco you smoke, what quality is the briar of your pipe and do you draw through the pipe hot? A wetter tobacco or poorer quality pipe, for example, would need a longer rest time than a top-quality briar pipe and drier pipe tobacco. However, there are some flaws with this, as some pipe smokers may not be able to answer these questions or may change up their smoking style from time to time. This would make the same rest lengths ineffective.
Each Pipe Should Rest for a Week
Passionate pipe fans will advocate for leaving each pipe for a full week after each smoke. While this will ensure that your pipes are properly dried out, cool, and ready to use again, it can be impractical, as not everyone will own at least seven pipes! Quality pipes can be on the pricey side, and ensuring you have one for each day so you can leave each to rest for a week is quite the monetary commitment! If you have enough pipes in your collection, then this is certainly the way to go, but if you only have a couple, then you will have to pick another method, buy more pipes, or commit to only smoking twice a week!
Rest Each Pipe for a Day
Most smokers opt for this method, allowing the pipe to rest for around 24 hours after it has been used. This should be sufficient for cooling and drying a pipe, unless the bowl is especially thick. A day-long rest works best for those with a collection of two or three pipes, giving you the potential to smoke twice in a day, while still allowing each pipe to rest.
Smoke Whenever you Wish!
Finally, some pipe smokers assert that the concept of pipe rotation is rubbish! Many pipe smokers will smoke the same pipe multiple times each day, every day, without ever changing which pipe they use. As long as your pipe does not start presenting an undesirable sour smell and taste, then it’s up to you if you’d rather just smoke the same pipe all the time.
What are your thoughts on pipe rotation? Do you leave your pipe to rest for a day, a week, or do you never change it at all?! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or get in touch via our social media channels.