Whole Leaf Tobacco

FX Smith's Sons

dondford

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Amazing video, the last lady shown had a rack of hundreds of cigars with only 3 rejects to her right. I would love to have a template of that wrapper the machine was stamping. Would have loved to have seen the wrapping process, are they hand wrapped or machine wrapped?

D
 

charlie G.

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Another cool point is how it looks like the binder and wrapper is steamed before being cut to bring it up to higher case to roll with it. I think that is what I saw.
I can help watching that video over and over again.
 

webmost

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Amazing video, the last lady shown had a rack of hundreds of cigars with only 3 rejects to her right. I would love to have a template of that wrapper the machine was stamping. Would have loved to have seen the wrapping process, are they hand wrapped or machine wrapped?

D
Take another look. The machine bunches, cuts a binder, binds, cuts a wrapper, and wraps. One gal is laying binder; the other is laying down wrapper.
 

webmost

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Another cool point is how it looks like the binder and wrapper is steamed before being cut to bring it up to higher case to roll with it. I think that is what I saw.
I can help watching that video over and over again.
No steam. Big hands of wrapper are dunked in water barrels in the basement before they are brought to the stem stripper. Time they come off the stripper, they are still underwater wet. I have a little vid of the stripper too; just haven't posted it. Another ancient machine.

Could be that what you mistake as steam is air. Air hold the binder to the die where it's cut. Air picks the binder up and deposits it on the belt. Air holds it to the belt. The bound cigar gets picked up by mechanical fingers, which place it in the wrapperator. Air hold the wrapper to its die. Air picks the wrapper up from the die. Air deposits that wrapper on the wrapperator.

Here is the slickest bit: See if you can spot the needle that flicks out to catch the corner of the wrapper and start it going round the stick.

Everything is so carefully calibrated that each turn of wrapper only overlaps a quarter inch over the last turn.

Wikketty whicketty clack, suff huff poof click, clicketty clacketty thrum.
Steel, steel made in America, made to work, made to last.
Eight thousand cigars per machine per shift.
 

charlie G.

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Thanks for the description Webmost. That must have just been the air I heard holding the binder and wrapper while being cut. Have you been or toured the factory ?
That must have been a cool thing to see. And your right about those sounds, The first thing I thought is, those woman must be wearing ear protection.
Thanks for the info.
 

Gdaddy

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Genius design of machine. Amazing. It certainly speeds production and does a remarkable job.

Webmost, how do the cigars draw? Are they consistent?

As much as I love the machine and the design I'd still take an 'Entubado rolled' hand made cigar any day. I don't agree that the artisan hand rollers are trying to emulate the machine rolled cigar but rather it's the machine that's trying to reproduce the result of a beautiful cigar from the hands of a skilled roller. The artisan rollers produced a beautiful cigar far before the machine was invented. The machine comes close but no cigar!
 

webmost

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Webmost, how do the cigars draw? Are they consistent?

They draw and burn perfectly. I have had machine made cigars from JC Newman which shed teensybits of almostdust in your mouth, which would consequently plug up and die. They were obviously made from sweepings. That's why I gave up my favorite Factory Throwout Sungrown... which I really loved. So I can see the argument in favor of full length leaves. But when the tobacco is cut in sizeable flakes, and the machinery is properly calibrated, then there is no burn problem at all. I get more frequent burn probs from expensive hand rolled premiums guys have sent me, and that's the truth. Here in Dull-Aware, we get loads of rainy summer evenings when an eight or ten buck cigar is apt to plug up, tunnel, or canoe. More times than I can count, I have gotten disgusted with trimming and re-lighting a premium cigar, tossed it, and pulled out a Smithdale to finish the session with no hassle.

On the flip side, when the machinery is properly calibrated, the machine made cigar feels looser than would a hand rolled full length entubado. Hand rolled can be hard as a poker and still draw free. A hard machine made will not. Consequently, you don't get as long a smoke as you do with the hand made.

My ideal cigar would be robusto size, 50 or 48 gauge, with a punched head to make it draw without cutting, with a tapered foot to make it light easily, with a cellophane sleeve which has the name printed on it like the Tuscorora does, with a pull tab to remove the cello, like the White Orchids do, with no band to have to peel off.

As much as I love the machine and the design I'd still take an 'Entubado rolled' hand made cigar any day. I don't agree that the artisan hand rollers are trying to emulate the machine rolled cigar but rather it's the machine that's trying to reproduce the result of a beautiful cigar from the hands of a skilled roller. The artisan rollers produced a beautiful cigar far before the machine was invented. The machine comes close but no cigar!
How much machine like consistency was there in the hand made cigars an ordinary Joe smoked before machinery? Do we know?

Look, I don't buy the artisan versus machinery argument one whit. That argument was definitively settled a century and more ago. My motorcycles are made by machine, my shirt is sewn by machine, this keyboard here is made by machine. I could not afford any of the above made by hand. I could not afford one handful of screws forged and threaded by hand; nor would your screw be apt to fit my nut. Consistency is inherent to machinery but alien to human hands. One hand sewn shirt would cost a fortune even from a sweat shop, and it would take 25 years practice to get the stitches anywhere near as even as a cheap Singer will do right out of the box. While it's true that shirts have been made by hand since ancient times, it's also nonsense to think one hand sewn shirt is more comfy than a closet full of machine knit Henleys at the same price. The King and his Earls prolly had some excellent hand sewn shirts; the peasant not so much. Now anybody can have an excellent shirt. Don't judge the machine product without factoring in how much product the machine produces. Machinery is a good thing. Cottage industry thru rose colored glasses be damned.

Heck, Gladys used to run a switchboard by hand to put you on a party line. Now we hit this forum courtesy of software run by machine. Could we have better discussion sitting in a pub over a home brewed pint and a fine hand rolled lonsdale? Sure. Once a year, if we each trekked 700 miles to meet in the middle. But... Not today.

Unless you are rolling the cigar yourself. That's a game changer. Then t experience of immersing yourself to the elbows in fine leaf satisfies as much as the smoke does.
 

webmost

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Just received a PM from a forum member in which he remarked that Gdaddy "got you upset". I just want to clarify: I don't get upset. I just always try to state my very best case. I guess I'd have to admit I am an emphatic person. But, the prickly heat? Never.
 

deluxestogie

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When Hoyo de Monterrey cigars were made in Tampa, FL, back in the late 60s and early 70s, the best were hand-rolled. The next-best were long filler machine-rolled. I always purchased the latter by the box (#55, to be specific--a small corona with a slightly tapered, closed head), because they were about half the cost. Those #55s were superb, tasted the same as the hand-rolled Hoyos (identical blend), and had a nearly identical draw. They were solid. The one clearly noticeable difference was that the wrapper had to be cut from thicker leaf, in order to survive the machine-rolling process. So the secondary veins were a bit more prominent.

It was a sad day when the company abandoned the machines, and discontinued the #55.

Bob
 

istanbulin

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Bob, as seen in several videos, phases of short filler machine rolled cigars are clear but how about long filler machine rolled ones ? Are filler leaves bunched by hand individually then wrapped in machine ? Actually, this is what I guess because I've never heard of "machine bunching" system.

Edit: Lieberman ...
 
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Gdaddy

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Just received a PM from a forum member in which he remarked that Gdaddy "got you upset". I just want to clarify: I don't get upset. I just always try to state my very best case. I guess I'd have to admit I am an emphatic person. But, the prickly heat? Never.
I didn't think you were upset. Your points are very well made and I'm sure the cigars are good.

You're absolutely right that machines of the modern day make many products better and faster than human labor could ever produce and far more economically priced. So many industries produce far superior products thanks to the speed and consistency that machines offer. Look no further than the automobile industry. However, I don't believe they make every product better. I don't believe 'if it's machine made it must be better' no more than I believe hand made products are superior in all cases. I do think cigars are an exception.

I was responding to the original statement...
"Cigars are just about the only hand-crafted items I know of which are regularly judged not by their artisanal quality, but by their resemblance to a mass-produced, industrial commodity."
Today's rollers are not being judged by their resemblance to machine rolled cigars since they are the ones who set the standard of what the hand rolled cigar looks like. The artisan is not trying to copy the look of a machine made cigar. The opposite is true. I'm giving credit to the generations of rollers who developed the high standard for the cigar before machines were invented.

The machine does an incredible job coping what the hand rollers do. It's important to understand that they made the machine NOT to produce a better looking cigar or a better made cigar. After all, people loved the hand rolled cigar they were making BEFORE the machine was invented. The reason the machine was made was to speed production to meet the demand and lower labor costs. The machine runs tirelessly, increasing consistency of product and reducing the number of workers. (The Lieberman bunching is another machine that wasn't invented to make a better cigar but rather it makes a faster cigar.)

So, if I have a choice, I'll take a cigar expertly rolled by a Cuban Torcedor 'entubado style' long filler that has generations of experience behind it vs. a machine made short filler designed to increase productivity popping out cigars one after another.





 

DIY Pete

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Like Gdaddy I also prefer a hand rolled cigar. I don't have anything against machine made, they just don't float my boat. I tend not to splurge on many things but a nice cigar is one of the things I will spend some coin on. It helps that I don't smoke a lot, last year I only had around 100 cigars for the entire year. The least expensive (not counting gifted smokes) was one of my hand rolled with leaf from WLT. The most expensive was either a Cohiba Siglo VI or a RyJ Hermosos No. 2 E.L. 2004, don't really remember what I paid for each one but it was in the 17 to 20 dollar range.
Pete
 

deluxestogie

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deluxestogie said:
Cigars are just about the only hand-crafted items I know of which are regularly judged not by their artisanal quality, but by their resemblance to a mass-produced, industrial commodity.
Actually, in a cynical frame of mind, I was alluding to hand-rolled, "premium" cigars from big factories. While I recognize that, to a limited extent, the appearance of a cigar is correlated with its smoking quality, I feel that cosmetics should be the last challenge tackled (if ever) by a new home-roller. Strive for a good smoke.

The human brain is a funny thing. Coffee served in different colored cups "tastes" different. Cigars that appear to be air-brushed to perfection prepare us for enjoying it more than an ugly one of identical blend.

The FX Smith's Sons cigars that I have smoked (thanks to Webmost) drew well and burned well, despite being machine-made. If I ran the zoo, I would alter their blend to be closer to my preferences, but that is my sole reservation about them. By contrast, most Caribbean and Central American short-filler cigars are made with randomly accumulated cigar scrap, in tiny fragments, and seldom offer a balanced taste, even burn or proper draw.

On a more personal note, I would rather light a $20 bill, and watch it burn, than spend $20 on any cigar on planet Earth. But that's just me. I'm a codger from a different epoch.

Bob
 

DIY Pete

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On a more personal note, I would rather light a $20 bill, and watch it burn, than spend $20 on any cigar on planet Earth. But that's just me. I'm a codger from a different epoch.

Bob
Nothing wrong with that but I better not tell you what the most I ever spent on a cigar was. :rolleyes:

Pete
 

darren1979

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I think machine made and hand made all have there place, the two work in harmony. An everyday smoke I choose cohiba club,(machine made) but for something special I chose on my sons birth a montecristo no2 grand reserva.
 

waikikigun

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I enjoy blending and rolling my own, but a vein-crushing unit like FX Smith's would come in real handy.

fxsmith_crusher.jpg
 

MarcL

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Don C. just picked up a lot of what I believe to be associated templates and such witch he may re-post.
 
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