See the following links: New York Pipe Club's presentation or Jim Murray's site. Here's a set of YouTube videos posted by Herr Frank demonstrating his pipe filling method Frank Method. Barring such bizarre contraptions as parabolic mirrors, lasers, and miniature blowtorches, there are three ways to light your pipe: with a match, with a butane lighter, or with a fluid lighter (e.g. The wooden match is the traditional pipe lighting device. Strike the match and hold it for a second or two while the sulfur burns off.
Bring the match to the tobacco surface and, while puffing gently, move the match around the tobacco in a slow, even circle. Butane lighters are more convenient than matches, and, unlike fluid lighters, there is less risk of imparting an unpleasant taste to your tobacco. If you wish to use a butane lighter, then purchase one that is designed for pipes. Such lighters have an angled gas outlet that makes it easier to direct the flame into the bowl while avoiding burned fingers. Fluid lighters share the convenience feature of butane, and they provide the only truly reliable means of lighting a pipe in a stiff wind. Zippo makes a lighter designed for pipes that has a circular hole in the chimney which is placed over the bowl while the flame is "sucked" into the tobacco. Other types of fluid lighters may be used as well, but their broad flame makes it all too easy to char the rim of the pipe bowl. The primary disadvantage to fluid lighters is that they can impart a slight taste to the tobacco. Some swear that this can be prevented if one merely waits a few seconds after igniting the lighter before lighting the tobacco. I can still taste (smell?) the lighter fluid, however, and I prefer my tobacco sans naphtha.
Don't be overly concerned if you have difficulty keeping your pipe lit at first. It is not unusual for even experienced smokers to have to re-light several times, especially toward the bottom of the bowl. Try to relax and enjoy yourself--that is the whole point, after all. You'll find it much easier to keep your pipe lit with practice. Charring Light The best way to keep your pipe lit is to light it correctly at the beginning. Light the pipe as described above and puff a half dozen times or so. Then tamp the surface of the tobacco down with your pipe tool and re-light. The first lighting, often called the "charring light" or "false light," will char the top of the tobacco and prepare this surface for the second lighting which will, with practice, take you through most of the bowl. Tamping While smoking, ash residue will form at the top of the tobacco. This residue should be gently tamped down periodically during the course of a smoke and prior to re-lighting. This tamping serves to keep the tobacco--which expands as it burns--properly packed and promotes even burning. If the pipe has an especially tall bowl, the ash may sometimes become so thick that it is difficult to re-light the tobacco below it. If this occurs, loosen the ash gently with your pipe tool, dump the ash, tamp, and re-light. Clogs Sometimes while smoking, the tiny smoke hole in the tobacco chamber may become clogged with tobacco, especially after tamping, and even though you can draw on the pipe, you can't get much smoke. Assuming there is tobacco remaining to be smoked, just remove the tip, and then clear the smoke hole with the reamer tool, a thin steel rod, and then relight the pipe. the rhythm at which you puff your pipe) is very important. With practice and experimentation you will achieve the perfect pace for you. The idea is to puff frequently enough to keep the tobacco lit, but not so frequently as to cause the pipe to burn too hot, which contributes to tongue bite and may damage your pipe. If you can't hold the bowl of your pipe comfortably in your hand, or if you can't hold the side of the bowl against your face for more than a few seconds, then you're smoking too fast. If this happens, set the pipe down for a few minutes to cool, then re-light and start again. Someone once described the perfect smoking pace as one where the pipe is always on the verge of going out. To do this, first let the pipe cool and then scoop or dump out any ash and "dottle" (unburned tobacco that sometimes remains in the bottom of the bowl). Do not bang the pipe against a hard surface, as this may result in a cracked shank or broken stem. Believe me, I lost a whole pipe after I did this on a rail over a creek. The pipe broke in half, fell in and sailed down the creek and out into a nearby river. Instead of using brute force, buy a pipe nail; they cost $1-$2 and you can use the long end to scoop the tobacco out of the pipe, and afterwards, blow through the empty pipe to remove any remaining dottle. Once the bowl is empty, run a pipe cleaner through the stem until it just enters the bowl and remove it. Repeat with additional cleaners until they come out clean (many people, myself included, will use both ends of a pipe cleaner before switching to a new one).
Finally, take one of the used cleaners, bend it into a "U" shape, and wipe out the ash clinging to the sides of the bowl. [NOTE: Some people prefer to leave the ash in the bowl, believing that it promotes a good cake.
If you like, try both ways and see what works best for you.] Set the pipe aside to dry completely. *Ideally*, the pipe should be allowed to "rest" for around 48 hours before smoking it again, but you might have to forgo this luxury until you have enough pipes to do so. Periodically, you'll want to clean your pipe a bit more thoroughly. In addition to the steps above, you'll also want to carefully remove the stem from the shank and wipe out the "gunk" that collects in the mortise; a cotton swab (e.g.