When it comes to enjoying a good tobacco pipe, it's hard to figure out just which products are the absolute best for you. That's because even the most experienced pipe smoker will likely end up taking some time to try a new pipe, a new tobacco, or even a new method of smoking. It's a hobby that involves regularly sampling new things and it is always as exciting as it is relaxing and enjoyable. As a result, at some point one will likely end up trying flake tobacco instead of the pre-cut loose blends that are so popular.
Flake tobacco is basically a packet of strips of tobacco that have been sliced off a larger cube. These flakes can't just be dropped into a pipe and lit – they have to be prepared in order to be enjoyed. And while there are numerous options available for doing so, the two most popular are probably the cube cut method and the fold and stuff method.
The fold and stuff method is just what it sounds like. Smokers will take a flake and fold it into a square by making a couple of folds, then packing the resulting folded 'wad' into the bowl of the pipe.
The cube cut method involves taking a pair of scissors and cutting the flakes into quarter inch strips along the grain. Then, from those strips, quarter inch pieces are cut to form small cubes. Those cubes are scooped up and poured into the bowl. No pressure is used to pack the bowl, and the loose fill results in a good burn.
There are some differences between these options. The fold and stuff method results in a much stronger flavor during the smoke. However, it takes much more effort to light and to keep the tobacco lit. The cube cut method is easier to light and to smoke, but won't result in as strong a flavor. Additionally, the cube cut method takes a little longer to do. However, it adds a bit of ritual to the process that many find to be more enjoyable.
For most, the cube cut method is the best way for beginners to start enjoying flake tobacco. It offers a simpler, easier method for lighting and smoking and also provides better results overall. Those who want to hurry up and get to the smoke and who don't mind a more difficult lighting process may prefer the fold and stuff method, however.