Re: smoke thickness help
I always pack my vortex bowl fluffy then lightly pat down the top center to make sure that all of the holes in the spire arent clogged. 3 ring pattern with a push pin. Ring all the way around the outer edge. Ring around the center then a large spaced ring inbetween them. I use 3 coals and a windcover to start it off, then i take the windcover off, and use 2 to 3 coals alternating. It works great!! I get awesome clouds from any tobacco i smoke out of it.
(*Disclaimer* These are my opinions and mine alone. It does not reflect the opinions of others and is based on my personal smoking enjoyment and experience)