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New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

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  #1  
Old July 13th, 2009, 06:13 PM
Ernest_Borgnine
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Default New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

Hey Everyone... I'm new to the forums and to hookahs...

So the past couple weeks I have been trying to get my hookah to smoke properly, with no luck.

Here's the details, I would appreciate any advice you guys could give me!

I have a Al Fakher hookah. My problem is I can only get thin smoke with no flavor.

I've tried Al Fakher, Fusion, and Layalina shishas.

I've also tried a washable egyptian hose, Al Fakher hose, and Al Fakher healthy hose.

I've used a regular bowl, Tangiers phunnel, Tangiers funnel w/ scalli.

I've used coconara coals, and Al Fakher naturals.

Everything fits snug and tight on the hookah with no air leaks, vase filled 1 inch above end of downstem.

Tried 1 sheet of foil, shiny side down, and 2 sheets.

Tried different hole sizes and patterns.

1 coal, 2 coals, 3 coals...

Still no luck. What could my problem be I'm thinking maybe acclimation with the shisha? Do I need a wind cover? I've smoked both inside and outside.

Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!

Eric

Last edited by Ernest_Borgnine; July 13th, 2009 at 06:13 PM. Reason: spelling
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  #2  
Old July 13th, 2009, 06:14 PM
Iggy
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

What coals are u using also what is your hole pattern like?
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  #3  
Old July 13th, 2009, 06:19 PM
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

Are you putting the right amount of water into the vase? I believe the water should sit no more than 1" above the end of the valve. This can cause a problem with draw also [too much water causes a harder draw,] I doubt this is the problem but are the shisha too moist to light? I assume the problem would be the water level if you've tried everything else. Hope I helped.
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  #4  
Old July 13th, 2009, 06:23 PM
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

Make sure you mix up your shisha, because most of the flavor is in the juices that will settle at the bottom, so make sure you mix it up well.

When you pack your bowl break up the shisha into little peices and drop it into the bowl, don't pack it down or you won't get no air flow and you wont be able to get any flavor from the shisha on the bottom and leave a good amount of space between the shisha and foil or else you are just going to burn your top layer and that will pretty much kill your session.

Make sure your coals are lit all the way, especially with coconaras, they usually take some time and they sometimes look like they are ready when they really aren't.

I would suggest maybe getting a vortex bowl, I know alot of people say the vortex and phunnel are the same but I prefer my vortex over my phunnel.
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  #5  
Old July 13th, 2009, 06:24 PM
Ernest_Borgnine
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

Hm... I'm trying Al Fakher natural coals and Coconaras.

Maybe my problem is heat related. Either I'm burning it or I don't have enough heat.

Water level in the base seems fine. I've been trying anywhere from 1-2 inches above the downstem. It feels like it's hitting fine, but I'm just not getting any good smoke or flavor.
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  #6  
Old July 13th, 2009, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

if your sure there are no leaks (by putting it all together and suction testing by plugging the bowl) you should look at tobacco and/or heat management.

are you mixing up your tobacco before you pack it, how are you packing the tobacco, your getting little smoke but is it getting harsh? how long are you waiting before you say it failed? it takes 10-15 mins to heat up w/o a wind cover on even with smoking, i usually start it off with a wind cover and it takes about 5 mins to get going well.

if your getting little to no flavor i would be betting that its that your not mixing up your tobacco though

edit- you replied as i was writing, with the burning or little smoke im pretty sure its mixing it up or you have a leak you cant find. i had a leak for a while that i didnt realize, not huge but enough to give me noticeable results

-matt

Last edited by mattathayde; July 13th, 2009 at 06:28 PM.
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  #7  
Old July 13th, 2009, 06:26 PM
Ernest_Borgnine
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

Next time I'll try really mixing up the shisha and try to lightly sprinkle it more. I'll torch the hell out of the coals too.

Smoke is getting really harsh now after 15-20 min, but still not much smoke.
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  #8  
Old July 13th, 2009, 06:28 PM
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

Hmm. I suggest taking it apart, cleaning it entirely, and redoing your setup. Make sure the hose is clean and nothing is in the stem. I think I know exactly what your talking about, but I don't have a "proper" solution.

ninja edit..
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest_Borgnine View Post
Next time I'll try really mixing up the shisha and try to lightly sprinkle it more. I'll torch the hell out of the coals too.

Smoke is getting really harsh now after 15-20 min, but still not much smoke.
If your burning 2 coals, take one off. Make sure its completely white and heated, or else it will give you that shitty taste. If your burning three, try 2 coals. Also, pack less shisha in the bowl. [Could solve your 'FAIL']

Last edited by T o R Q u E D; July 13th, 2009 at 06:32 PM.
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  #9  
Old July 13th, 2009, 06:30 PM
Ernest_Borgnine
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

Guess I'll just have to keep trying different little things. Trial and error.

I appreciate all the help!
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  #10  
Old July 13th, 2009, 06:31 PM
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest_Borgnine View Post
Next time I'll try really mixing up the shisha and try to lightly sprinkle it more. I'll torch the hell out of the coals too.

Smoke is getting really harsh now after 15-20 min, but still not much smoke.
If it's harsh without much smoke, that would indicate to me that there's not enough heat.
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  #11  
Old July 13th, 2009, 06:31 PM
Ernest_Borgnine
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

Yeah, next time I'll take it apart and check everything out.
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  #12  
Old July 13th, 2009, 06:33 PM
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest_Borgnine View Post
Next time I'll try really mixing up the shisha and try to lightly sprinkle it more. I'll torch the hell out of the coals too.

Smoke is getting really harsh now after 15-20 min, but still not much smoke.
if your using a torch to light coconars thats part of the issue, a blow torch heats up the out sides to fast and doesnt penetrate into the inner coal, you need a coil burner or to use a gas stove

are you moving your coals?

also make sure you have a decent gap, some people are for the 1-2mm gap where as i am more of the 1/8-1/4 inch gap

-matt
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  #13  
Old July 13th, 2009, 06:52 PM
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

If your still having issues, I ask. How much shisha are you putting in your bowl? and How dense are you packing it?

Under or over packing really has an effect on smoke and flavor, standard bowls hold 15-20 grams. Fill it up to just below the rim, over that and the coals will come in direct contact with the shisha making it burn instead of smoke.

How densely you pack a bowl is basically decided on how moist a shisha is and the size of the cut (how big the pieces are). I tend to generally over pack a bowl and pick some out with a toothpick while fluffing it up a little.
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  #14  
Old July 13th, 2009, 10:23 PM
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

sounds like old shisha to me, its probabaly alittle dry... If you head to the grocery store you could probabaly pick up a jar of glycerine for baking and just mix it in with the shisha it should revamp the smoke a bit, as for the flavor... I would recomend a new batch of tabacco...
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  #15  
Old July 13th, 2009, 10:33 PM
Ernest_Borgnine
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

I'm trying to break up the clumps and lightly lay it in there, slightly below the rim of the bowl.

When I peel the foil off, none of it is stuck to the foil, which means I'm packing it low enough, correct? Also, some of the shisha at the top is blackened and hard. Is that how it properly burns, or is it burnt?

I am moving the coals, and using a coil burner to heat them up. They seem red all the way through when I put them on the foil, but as they get smaller I notice they kind of turn black. Is this normal, or should I let them sit on the burner longer?

I'll try to pack less shisha, see if that works.

I wouldn't think the tobacco is old, since I've tried three different brands. They couldn't all be dried out, could they?
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  #16  
Old July 13th, 2009, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

your probably using too many coals if its getting harsh
dont under pack the bowl
just a little under the rim
if you dont pack it enough it wont work either
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  #17  
Old July 13th, 2009, 11:39 PM
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

maybe check to see if your purge valve is working. its possible the ball bearing could be stuck in the open position and causing an air leak so the smoke is thin
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  #18  
Old July 14th, 2009, 12:17 AM
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

Looks like you did everything right. Can I ask how you checked your hookah for leaks? Also, have you checked your bowl/hose grommets?
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  #19  
Old July 14th, 2009, 12:38 AM
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

I dont think there is a problem. It just takes time.

You can get all of the help you want on the forum, but taking that information and applying it to real life is the hard part. It took me few weeks to really know how to smoke my hookah well when i first got it.

also, dont try learning how to smoke with AF, some of AF has this tingly feeling to it and you could be possibly mistaking that for burning shisha, or it being harsh.
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  #20  
Old July 14th, 2009, 12:45 AM
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

I really think it is a leak, the more i think about it... even if you overpacked your bowl or put to many coals, you would still get ok smoke even old tabacco (tabacco will stay fresh for quite some time if sealed properly)... and seeing as you have tried many diff things this is the only thing that makes any sense... I didn't even think to check the purge valve... this could be the issue if the rest of your hookah is sealed properly, and when you purge it would seem as if nothing is wrong...
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  #21  
Old July 14th, 2009, 02:48 AM
Ernest_Borgnine
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

Ok guys, about to give it another try.

When I check for leaks, i suck on the hose while plugging the top hole in the phunnel with my finger. I get a pretty strong suction. That's what makes me think it's not a leak.

I will check the purge valve right now.

Grommets seem ok, the only one I'm iffy about i the bowl. Will check now.
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  #22  
Old July 14th, 2009, 02:56 AM
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bradedup View Post
Uhhh...what...
I think it would be best if we didn't ask
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  #23  
Old July 14th, 2009, 03:15 AM
Ernest_Borgnine
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

K so I'm smoking right now (or trying to).

Very little smoke, no flavor.

When I go to purge, a little smoke comes out of the valve. If I had a leak, wouldn't it come out someplace else?

This is getting frustrating...
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  #24  
Old July 14th, 2009, 03:16 AM
Ernest_Borgnine
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

2 Al Fakher naturals. Everything seems to be perfect, just no smoke!

ARGH!!!

I'm puffing away at it. A little bit more smoke, but no flavor. I mixed the shisha really well. It was really juicy.

Maybe another coal?

Last edited by Ernest_Borgnine; July 14th, 2009 at 03:19 AM.
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  #25  
Old July 14th, 2009, 03:43 AM
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Default Re: New to Hookahs... FAIL after FAIL...need adive...

it doesn't need more coal, 2 is ussualy more than enough
I would really look into seeing if all your grommets are air tight, just throw some electrial tape on them to beef them up to make a tighter seal...
Ussually the problem is either the bowl grommet or the one around the base... I haven't seen to many issues with hose grommets... I've actually gotten away with not using them on my old egyptian the nammor hose was alittle to wide to use a grommet so i just shoved it in there without and worked perfectly... make sure you put the hose in tight enough... every now and then you'll run across a stem where the welds arn't air tight, i doubt this is the problem but check just to be sure, look around the area where the stem comes out and see if there are any gaps air can be coming through... but when you put your stem in you should have to wiggle it into place if it goes in easier than that it's ussually not tight enough. and try this with your standard bowl, its more likly to fit tighter...

Last edited by cbyerspace; July 14th, 2009 at 03:52 AM.
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