How to smoke the pipe?

Cleaning and maintenance guidelines

A well-maintained pipe can last for a very long time. This is why you should follow these guidelines in order to keep your pipes nice and clean for a pleasant smoke:


  • Can I use alcohol to build the cake in a new pipe?

  • Never pour alcohol in your pipe's bowl! We strongly advise you not to put alcohol in your pipe or on your tobacco. "Breaking in" your pipe or building the cake in the bowl is a slow and pleasant procedure. There is no need for additional substance in the tobacco. Alcohol will produce strong heat and can even lead to wood damage.

    Until the early 70s the inside of the bowl was lacquered. Alcohol was useful to burn the layer of chemical and get rid of its taste. Nowadays, this is no longer the case...

    Jean MERMET, La Pipe Rit

    How to cake a new pipe?


  • How to "break in" my pipe and build the carbon cake?

  • We recommend you only fill one third of the bowl with tobacco the first ten times you use your pipe. Then, gradually increase the tobacco quantity over a dozen or so bowls, until you are filling the bowl completely. The goal is to smoke all the way to the bottom of the pipe's bowl, creating a protective layer, known as the carbon cake, throughout the entire chamber.

    Pipe packing

    The carbon cake is a thin layer of carbon on the bowl's inside surface. Its purpose is to protect the wood from the heat. In order to be efficient, the cake must be even from the top to the bottom, which is why you should not fill the chamber all the way to the top with tobacco the first times you smoke yur new pipe.

    Jean MERMET, La Pipe Rit

    How to build the carbon cake?


  • Is there a specific way to light the tobacco?

  • Be careful and keep the flame source over the tobacco at all time, lighting the tobacco's whole surface. If you use a lighter, try not to char the rim of the bowl. If the combustion stops, simply tamp the tobacco, light it again, and do not worry: it happens to the best of smokers as well! Over time, you'll have to relight your pipe less and less.

    Lighting a pipe

    Buy a pipe lighter


  • What is the purpose of a pipe tamper?

  • The pipe-tamper is an essential tool: the flat part helps you pack tobacco when smoking, in order to have an even combustion. The other two parts are useful to clean the bowl and the shank. Smoke slowly in order to prevent condensation from forming at the bottom of the bowl and when smoking, pack the tobacco regularly and evenly.
    Fill one third of the pipe in then gently pack the tobacco with your pipe tamper. Trickle a bit more tobacco into the pipe. Using your tamper again, pack this tobacco down until it is even with the top of the bowl. Put the pipe to your lips and take a test draw. If you have any trouble drawing on the pipe, dump out the tobacco and start over.Metal pipe tamper

    Using a pipe tamper to pat down the tobacco is essential when smoking. When smoking, the tobacco will tend to swell, which will eventually lead to the formation of moisture. Smoking a "moist" pipe can be a disappointing experience".

    Jean MERMET, La Pipe Rit

    Buy a pipe tamper


  • What should I do if my pipe gets too hot?

  • If your pipe gets too hot while smoking, simply put it aside and stop smoking it. If you keep drawing on a hot pipe, the wood will eventually be damaged from the heat. Do not re-use your pipe after you finished smoking, while it is still hot. Let it rest for a while (at least 30 minutes to an hour), on a pipe stand for instance. A cold and dry pipe is always more enjoyable.

    Too hot pipe

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  • Can I open my pipe at any moment?

  • The mouthpiece and the stem are not made of the same material, hence why they both expand differently under heat. Always let your pipe cool down completely before opening it.

    Do not open a hot pipe

    This is probably one of the most important thing to remember. You might damage the shank and/or the stem while opening a pipe that is still hot.

    Jean MERMET, La Pipe Rit

  • How do I remove the stem?

  • Once your pipe has completely cooled down, hold the stem in one hand and the shank in the other , as close to the juncture of the two as possible. Then, twist the stem as if the two parts were screwed into each other. Always twist in the same direction! To put the stem back on, repeat the operation.

    open a pipe

    Avoid pulling motions! You will either crack the wood or break the tenon. Again, only open your pipe once it has completely cooled down.

    Jean MERMET, La Pipe Rit

  • How to clean the chamber?

  • Gently tap your pipe on the ashtray's cork ball or against the palm of your hand to remove the ashes and the tobacco. Never tap your pipe on a hard item such as an ashtray or a wall, as you would damage the finish and/or the wood.

    empty the ashes

    Pipe ashtrays come with a cork ball, that are there specifically to help smokers empty their pipe without damaging it.

    Jean MERMET, La Pipe Rit

    Buy a pipe ashtray


  • How to preserve my pipe's carbon cake?

  • Do not scrape the bowl's inside, as you might damage it. If the carbon cake gets too thick, use a pipe reamer.

    Scrape the pipe chamber

    Preserving the carbon cake is almost as important as cleaning your pipe. If the carbon layer gets too thick, use a pipe reamer to remove the excess.

    Jean MERMET, La Pipe Rit

    Buy a pipe-reamer


  • Why and how to clean my pipe?

  • Run a pipe cleaner, or several throught the stem and the shank. Do not use any chemical or alcohol. A metal filter can be cleaned by running it under soapy water. A 9mm filter must be changed every 3 to 4 pipe. Allow your pipe to rest for a day, or as many days as your pipe rotation will allow before smoking it again.

    Abrasive pipe cleaner

    A clean pipe is the best way to fully savor the aroma and the taste of your tobacco!

    Jean MERMET, La Pipe Rit

    Buy pipe-cleaners

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