Whole Leaf Tobacco

Plug/flake project

Matthew Evans

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Jun 5, 2011
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Location
central IN
Got started on batch 1. I was guessing as to the amount needed per compartment, and I should have filled them a little fuller. Currently the compression has them at 31/64" thick, and it'll likely get even thinner. If I end up with 1/4" plugs I won't be to surprised.IMG_20201118_213740.jpgIMG_20201118_224411.jpgIMG_20201118_230309.jpgIMG_20201118_231441.jpgIMG_20201118_231903.jpg

Bob, I did have a standby smaller surface area contingency plan sitting next to me, just in case. I think this puts enough pressure out as is, but is getting close to the comfortable limit of a single screw for the given area.

Anyhow, I'm considering this a "feeler" batch. Just wanted to test the press, and get some preliminary findings in before doing any tweaks or anything more complicated. As such, these are simply water and tobacco, and just a slight amount more water than needed to bring them into case.

1:
3 leaves red va (1 part)
2 handfuls katerini (8 parts)

2:
2 parts red va
3 parts dark air cured
4 parts tennessee dark fired

3:
1 part tennessee dark fired
1 part red va

4:
2 parts dark air cured
4 parts red va
6 parts tennessee dark fired


Leaving them in the press until at least Saturday. I'm going to turn the screw tomorrow morning, then head out of town until Friday night, at which point I'll turn the screw again.

I'm curious as to how well the tobacco will stick together and stay stuck. I know Bob's cheese press bucket flake delaminated on drying. Going to try to play around and get to an uncased blend I like that stays in plug or flake form over time.
 

deluxestogie

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I was most impressed by your having labeled both the mold and your cheat sheet. We often forget that things turn around. I always fail to use enough leaf to create a plug as thick as I would like. (You would think I would eventually learn.)

If you want flake that remains eternally laminated, I think you have to use some sort of glue (sugars or starch glues). I've found that a 3-week pressing will keep the slices of a "cigar" plug as relatively decent coins, so long as I am careful with the slicing. I've been tempted to use cigar glue (bermacol) as a secret sauce, but I can taste it.


Process from an upcoming pipe blend.

Bob
 

Matthew Evans

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Jun 5, 2011
Messages
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Location
central IN
The down side of being human is not only our fallibility, but our recognition of such.


I've made enough of my share of mix-ups like measuring holes from the wrong end of a workpiece that I try to minimize the mistakes when I can remember to. That way I can make mistakes in other areas. . .
 

Matthew Evans

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Location
central IN
Bob,

Have you thought about a tobacco based glue? Plant based "vegetable glues" aren't all that uncommon, and I'd imagine some varieties of tobacco have enough resin to make a glue from.

Just thinking. Might grow a known sticky variety to test this out.
 

Costard

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USA
I was most impressed by your having labeled both the mold and your cheat sheet. We often forget that things turn around. I always fail to use enough leaf to create a plug as thick as I would like. (You would think I would eventually learn.)

If you want flake that remains eternally laminated, I think you have to use some sort of glue (sugars or starch glues). I've found that a 3-week pressing will keep the slices of a "cigar" plug as relatively decent coins, so long as I am careful with the slicing. I've been tempted to use cigar glue (bermacol) as a secret sauce, but I can taste it.


Process from an upcoming pipe blend.

Bob
Perhaps a very small amount of food grade gum arabic as a binder?
 

deluxestogie

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Perhaps a very small amount of food grade gum arabic as a binder?
I have gum Arabic. I have xanthan gum. I have bermacol. I have tears of Chios. I can taste glues. I considered a bit of Classic Ranch Dressing, but decided against that as well. I don't want to taste "stuff" that is not the tobacco. To me, the taste is more important than the shape.

Bob
 

Matthew Evans

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Jun 5, 2011
Messages
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Points
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Location
central IN
I have gum Arabic. I have xanthan gum. I have bermacol. I have tears of Chios. I can taste glues. I considered a bit of Classic Ranch Dressing, but decided against that as well. I don't want to taste "stuff" that is not the tobacco. To me, the taste is more important than the shape.

Bob
Yep. Same here. And you can add almost any commercial adhesive or glue you can come up with to what I have at my disposal. Although I hate ranch dressing.

I'm only wanting tobacco and water as the ingredients in my tobacco.

You were correct on the stickiness of the dark air. When I removed the midribs I was thinking about how sticky it was compared to the other varieties. I might play around with a leaf or two.


I've found, when using my press, that blends with Perique tend to maintain their shape (stick) more than blends without Perique. I think this is because it seems to liquify and seep through the plug at higher pressures.
Good info. Thanks.

Moisture, time, pressure. No need for glue.
Good info. Thinks it's going to be mainly a trial and error to get to the right combination of each variable to get to the desired result.


Just got back in town. I'll pull the tobacco about tomorrow and see how it's going.

I've got the press at max pressure . How do I know? IMG_20201120_213329.jpg

I'll run the poisson/span deflection numbers at some point, but I can tell you that it takes a large amount of pressure to deflect 1.5" + thick cherry 5/8" + over a 20" span.
 

Matthew Evans

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Messages
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Location
central IN
Results are in from the test batches. Results... All over the place. The 4 batches were unequally pressed due to shim blocks of different thicknesses, so one received proper pressure, one received nearly adequate pressure, and the other two got not nearly enough pressure.

The best of the bunch is the 1/2 dark fired, half red va. The second best being the red va/katerini. They ended up approximately 1/4" thick.

I did not use enough water. Almost enough on the dark fired blend, and definitely not enough on any of the others.

I think that dark fired is stickier than the dark air when moistened. Probably due to the smoke tar present on the leaves. I can likely get away with using a smidge less water with those blends and achieve better laminar adhesion than with blends without.

Time...I'm not sure. I think longer might have been beneficial, but since I've only got one that had good pressure, but still wasn't wet enough, I'm not sure.

Drying the two pseudo successes down, will see what happens. Against my better judgement I tossed the loose brick of the #2 compartment in a ziploc bag, threw it in a small crockpot of water and have had it just under boiling (195°ish) for 10 hours. Will pull it out before bed and let it reabsorb moisture before opening the bag and drying it down. Not sure if it will cavendishize or not, but we shall see.

Not to be deterred by my lack of a solid result, pun intended, though unintentionally, I have put the press back to use, making one batch of the following blend:

1 part red va
1 part t. Dark fired
1 part dark air cured

I used more water than last time, a spritz between every later, and alternate layers throughout. On pressing I did squeeze a bit of water out, but not an excessive amount, so hopefully that's a good sign.

The plug is sitting at approximately 3/4" thick currently. It'll likely get smaller. I plan on taking this out of the press on 11/29, so 1 week press time.

I started a blend book. If anyone has a printable layout that seems to work for record keeping I'd love to see it.

Even though it's not a complete success the katerini plug smells like week old uncapped wild honeycombs. Marcel's Madeline's ain't got nothing on that for taking me back a few years.IMG_20201121_081705.jpgIMG_20201121_081941.jpgIMG_20201121_144257.jpgIMG_20201121_144303.jpgIMG_20201121_144356.jpgIMG_20201121_144428.jpgIMG_20201121_195003.jpgIMG_20201121_205708.jpgIMG_20201121_210850.jpg
 

ChinaVoodoo

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Sep 1, 2014
Messages
5,660
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Location
Edmonton, AB, CA
Results are in from the test batches. Results... All over the place. The 4 batches were unequally pressed due to shim blocks of different thicknesses, so one received proper pressure, one received nearly adequate pressure, and the other two got not nearly enough pressure.

The best of the bunch is the 1/2 dark fired, half red va. The second best being the red va/katerini. They ended up approximately 1/4" thick.

I did not use enough water. Almost enough on the dark fired blend, and definitely not enough on any of the others.

I think that dark fired is stickier than the dark air when moistened. Probably due to the smoke tar present on the leaves. I can likely get away with using a smidge less water with those blends and achieve better laminar adhesion than with blends without.

Time...I'm not sure. I think longer might have been beneficial, but since I've only got one that had good pressure, but still wasn't wet enough, I'm not sure.

Drying the two pseudo successes down, will see what happens. Against my better judgement I tossed the loose brick of the #2 compartment in a ziploc bag, threw it in a small crockpot of water and have had it just under boiling (195°ish) for 10 hours. Will pull it out before bed and let it reabsorb moisture before opening the bag and drying it down. Not sure if it will cavendishize or not, but we shall see.

Not to be deterred by my lack of a solid result, pun intended, though unintentionally, I have put the press back to use, making one batch of the following blend:

1 part red va
1 part t. Dark fired
1 part dark air cured

I used more water than last time, a spritz between every later, and alternate layers throughout. On pressing I did squeeze a bit of water out, but not an excessive amount, so hopefully that's a good sign.

The plug is sitting at approximately 3/4" thick currently. It'll likely get smaller. I plan on taking this out of the press on 11/29, so 1 week press time.

I started a blend book. If anyone has a printable layout that seems to work for record keeping I'd love to see it.

Even though it's not a complete success the katerini plug smells like week old uncapped wild honeycombs. Marcel's Madeline's ain't got nothing on that for taking me back a few years.View attachment 34281View attachment 34282View attachment 34283View attachment 34284View attachment 34285View attachment 34286View attachment 34287View attachment 34288View attachment 34289
Overall, this is pretty awesome.
 
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