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So, you've heard the term pipe mud bandied about and have wondered exactly what it is. In a nutshell, it's mixing water and cigar ash (typically) into a paste and then using said paste to build up the bottom of your bowl (to change geometry) or to smooth out dings/damages in the interior of the bowl. It normally should dry/cure for a day (24 hours) before exposing it to heat. It will take a few bowls before it starts to cure and absorb the tobacco tars and oils and harden to it's full potential. After mixing into a past and then using inside the bowl, the "mud" will absorb tars and become a hard substance that is indistinguishable from your pipe. It's generally preferred to use cigar ash (any real cigar with pure tobacco) instead of cigarette ash (because of the paper in the cigarette ash). The cigar ash typically burns into a finer ash and seems to work better when making the "mud". As for how to apply it to the bottom of the bowl, simply place a pipe cleaner in the shank, just barely poking into the bowl. You then want to slightly dampen the bottom of the chamber and carefully dribble mud into the bottom of the bowl, gently tapping on the bottom to settle the mud. Be sure to go slow, and bring the mud to the level of the bottom of the pipe cleaner. Let this sit for 48-72 hours (the longer the better), then gently fill to 1/4 or 1/3 and light up and smoke to ash. Dump the ash, let sit for 24 hours and repeat. Once you have built up a decent cake, you can then continue smoking as you normally would. Don't forget to turn the pipe cleaner every now and then to keep the mud to drying it in place. There are some that use fireplace ash in place of cigar ash. I've never tried this and cannot speak to how well it works. The reports from those that have used it have stated that it dries to a harder substance than cigar ash does. I don't know that I'd want to use the ash from a fireplace myself, but if I did I'd only use ash from wood that is typically used to smoke meats (think hickory, oak, cherry, pecan, apple - but definitely NOT pine/cedar). Where do you think the base ingredients of lye soap come from.