Smoking a pipe can be a very enjoyable experience; however, to properly use a wooden pipe, it must be seasoned. Seasoning a tobacco pipe is a very important part of using the pipe, as it will prevent the pipe from burning, becoming dried out or cracking. The seasoning process will create a layer of carbon, called dottle, inside the bowl of your pipe, which will prepare it for more frequent use without damaging it.
Smoke your pipe no more than twice a day at most for the first two weeks of the seasoning process. Fill your pipe loosely, and gently tamp down the tobacco so that your bowl is between one-third and half full for the first four to five days.
Light your pipe quickly without burning the wood of the bowl. Charring the wood will damage the pipe, whereas the black layer that develops within your pipe is carbon buildup. This is the important seasoning layer of carbon. Hold the flame over the center of the bowl to avoid burning the wood.
Smoke the tobacco gently while it is seasoning. Do not take large draws from your pipe until it is properly seasoned; rich mouthfuls will prevent the pipe from seasoning.
Allow the pipe to cool completely between uses. Empty your pipe immediately if it becomes hot to hold rather than just warm, as this means the tobacco is burning too hot and the bowl will be damaged.
Keep the dottle maintained in your pipe; it should be no more than one millimeter thick. Use a reamer to clean the bowl and use a pipe cleaner to remove the dottle from the stem.