The Chattanooga Pipe Club is a collective of pipe smokers both young and old.
The group will host their first Chattanooga Pipe Show on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Burns Tobacconist East from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5.
Smoking is encouraged throughout the event, which features handcrafted pipe manufacturers, vendors and prize raffles. The event also includes tobacco samples.
Dan Krause has been president of the CPC since its inception about a year ago. He said Chattanooga has a rich history of pipe smoking.
"We used to have one of the largest pipe smoking conventions in the nation at the Choo-Choo," he said. "For various reasons, that no longer exists. But we’ve seen a resurgence in pipes of late, among young smokers specifically."
What: Chattanooga Pipe Show
When: Saturday, Sept. 21, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: 110 Jordan Drive
How much: $5
For more information: Click here
Krause said the biggest draw of the event will be the pipe vendors. Several are expected to bring hundreds of pipes to sell.
"Refurbished estate pipes are huge right now," he said. "We’ll have them for sale anywhere from $50 to $350 each."
However, guests need not purchase a pipe. The CPC will provide a complimentary corncob pipe upon entry to the event. Guests are encouraged to sample the variety of tobacco products on hand.
Additionally, entertainment will be provided by Chattanooga guitarist/singer Lon Eldridge, beginning at 3 p.m.
"One of the other things we’re doing is a slow smoke competition," Krause said. "People get a pipe, two matches, a piece of paper and a set amount of tobacco. The last person smoking wins."
The piece of paper is used to reconstitute the loose tobacco back into the pipe.
Krause just wants everybody to have a good time.
"I want this pipe show to grow, but we’re not trying to plan every moment," he said. "We’re going to show up, and it’ll be one part big pipe club meeting, one part vendors and one part having fun."
Smoking a pipe can be a frustrating experience if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Krause offers some tips for the novice.
"The most important thing is to slow down and relax," he said. "It is not about jamming a bunch of tobacco into a pipe and puffing as fast as you can to get to the bottom of the bowl."
Krause uses a method called "gravity loading," which ensures a proper amount of tobacco fills the bowl.
"This is a method where I just let the tobacco fall into the pipe up to the brim," he said. "Once it is full, I gently apply pressure with my thumb and compress the tobacco from the top."
But not too much pressure. Krause said to continue this method until the bowl is filled (typically, it takes about two or three times).
The pipe should have an easy draw.
"If it’s like sucking on a milkshake, you have over-packed the bowl," he said.
Applying the proper amount of flame to the pipe is another key component of smoking.
"Take long, slow draws as you’re lighting," Krause said. "The tobacco will expand and fluff up as you do this. It’s normal."
The next step is to let the tobacco become charred on top and then to press the tobacco back into place. Then, apply more flame and puff harder.
"A rich, creamy smoke should engulf your head," he said. "Now, the pipe is well and truly lit."
Krause encourages you to sit back and enjoy the experience. The hard work should be done.
But don’t smoke too fast.
"Sip the tobacco at your leisure and avoid overheating the pipe, which can lead to a phenomenon known as tongue bite," he said. "As you settle into smoking rhythm, the subtle flavors of the tobacco will come out for you to savor."
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