Pipe cleaning is very important. When your pipe has been smoked over a long period of time it gets a lining within the bowl. This cake, over time, may become too thick, reducing the bowls capacity. This cake should ideally not exceed a sixteenth of an inch, or 1.5mm. So when it goes beyond this it should be carefully cleaned.

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To this end, a number of pipe tools have blunt-pointed blades. The reason for a blunt point is to prevent gouging the bottom of the bowl. This obviously works, but it's fairly easy to cut the cake unevenly, or even worse, to dig into bare wood. There are a number of adjustable, multi-bladed reamers available, you will find that these will do a much nicer job. Another way of carrying out this task is using a series of wooden dowels with varying diameters, wrapped with a fine grit sandpaper.

Whichever way you choose, when pipe cleaning remember to work slowly and carefully so that you don't damage your pipe. You are ideally looking to gradually shave the bowl cake to the proper thickness, not trying to scrape it out in great chunks. If you are unwilling to do this task yourself you could always take your pipe to a tobacconist. They will usually clean your pipe for a nominal fee.