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Hey, noticed I never got back to you on the flakes.
FLAKE TOBACCO stuff:
Pressed tobacco comes in a bunch of different forms,
most common is flake. Looks like rectangular slices, vary in thickness from thin like a bacon strip and thick leather. Can be handled in a bunch of ways, easiest is just to rub it out a bit and stuff like regular tobacco. Either just between your fingers to keep it a bit more thick than usual, keep some flaky characteristics, or put a flake between your palms and really grind at it to get it to mixture type fluffiness.
You can also do some variation of fold or roll it up and just put it in your pipe, but it'll smoke very differently than usual, and also slower. In my experience it can be hard to get it the right thickness, since it expands a bit when you light it up. What I will say though is that it can be more resistant to windy conditions when you get it right. Lighting is more of a process too, important to get it evenly lit all round, but when you've got it going it will keep lit more easily.
Something inbetween would be to cube cut it, just take some scissors or a knife and cut against the grain to make a diy cube cut. Much easier to deal with than folding, but keeps most of the burn characteristics. Just pour some into the bowl and you're done, it's so dense so no packing needed. Easier to get lit, cause of the increased surface, but also will smoke slower cause of the density of the cubes. In short, best of both worlds. Only, there's a small risk of the whole bowl of tobacco falling out when turning the bowl over to get excess ash off. Haven't figured out if that has to do with cube-size or if maybe the bowl was too smooth and uncaked, too little friction. Also a cube can block the bowl-hole, and the last part can be hard to finish, but I figure it'd be an easy fix to fill up enough rubbed out tobacco to cover the airway and it'd fix both problems. Or maybe put it in a cob, they feel like they have more bowl "grip" inside, rather than the smooth wood.
Then there's coins looks kinda like flakes but are round and spun, cut from a tobacco log kinda. You can actually buy a whole log, but it's a super uncommon format, only one I know is Peter Heinrichs curly block, pic related, would really like to try it sometime.
Can treat them mostly like flake, except they're easier to just fold and stuff, the shape makes packing less of a hardship to get right, easier to light. Just bunch some up and put them in.
Then there's cake.
Essentially just uncut flakes, big brownie shaped thingie you carve flakes from. Tends to be more tasty and potent because of the tobacco getting to meld together better as one uniform big piece in the tin. Just needs a sharp knife and you can carve as thin/thick pieces as you'd like, or the weather demands. Thick will resist wind better, but it'll also taste different. Some will taste weird if you slice them too thin, burn too quick.
(Also not to be confused with crumble cake, which is just mixture pressed together into cubes. Those you just break pieces off with your fingers and crumble up. Real cake has layers of the actual leaves, which you cut against the grain to get the whole mix.)