How to Grow Tobacco

How to grow and process tobacco at home for personal use. This is a non-commercial hobby website.
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 Post subject: Shredding Tobacco By Hand
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 10:03 am 
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Posts: 2056
Hi --

I just got finished hand-shredding my tobacco for cigs and thought I'd pass along what happened and see if anyone can add to this or fix what I did.

Image

1) removed some leaves from my kiln that had been in about 3 weeks. They were smelling good so I thought I'd try some.

2) Removed the main rib in the leaves - I made sure the leaves were flexible by misting and waiting, then was able to pull off half the leaf from the rib by hand in most cases. When I came to a smaller rib, I'd just grip it firmly and snap it off, then continue. These are the second priming leaves off my plants, so they aren't big ones -- all were around 8 inches long (dried) except a few that were about 1 foot long. Only one of them required me to use the box cutter and I just lightly scored the smaller veins then pulled them off the main vein by hand easily.

3) I layered the leaves long ways on top of each other after I finished one, trying to layer them evenly. They were fairly dry by then so I lightly misted the leaves when they seemed little dry. No misting when they were pretty wet.

4) Then, I placed the pile between two plates and put a 25 lbs piece of granite on top of them. I used ceramic plates that fit the bottom to the top without any gaps.

5) After a couple of hours, I opened it up and folded it more square and put the plates and weight back on.

6) the next morning, I opened it up and had a maybe 1/4 inch "brick". I felt it was a little dry, so I misted it and put it in a tupperware container to soak up moisture. This turned out to be a mistake, as hours later, the brick started fluffing up and wasn't together. So, I repeated the pressing overnight.

7) The next day (today) I opened it back up and it was nicely pressed. So I got a metal ruler and a wood chopping block (don't use one you don't want scratched up!). Holding the ruler firmly, using a fresh razor blade in my box cutter, I cut a straight strip off. Move the ruler back a little, repeat. Then I had a pile of long strips still pressed together. I weighed them at 1.2 oz.

8 ) Putting small amounts in a food processor at a time (too much and it just stuck to the blades), I pulsed it until the strips were fallen apart mostly. This is where I discovered that it was too wet to do this since they didn't fall apart enough.

9) Put some in my cig tube injector and made a cig. It was too wet. Also, the strips were a little too big. But it tasted great!

Can anyone add anything to my method? Cutting the strips took less than 5 minutes. The rest took only a few minutes more.

Thanks for any input,

Bob

ps. I edited to add the picture....bk


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 Post subject: Re: Shredding Tobacco By Hand
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 1:35 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:16 am
Posts: 85
The tobacco looks great! How did it smoke?


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 Post subject: Re: Shredding Tobacco By Hand
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 2:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:13 am
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Hi --

minnesotakid, it tasted good. I've smoked about 1/2 dozen of them so far and I could quit buying tobacco soon. I think it has a bit more nicotine in it than commercial blends and these weren't the good leaves.

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Shredding Tobacco By Hand
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 2:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2009 6:03 am
Posts: 2704
Bob

I haven't bought any store bought tobacco in about 6 weeks . The first thing you will notice is breating easier and not much coughing at all . The store bought chemical infested stuff was killing my wife and I fast . Were both feeling better .

My wife got back from her Dr visit a couple days ago and the Dr is always jumping her telling her she has to quite . On her last visit he reared back and asked her , "Did you finally quite " she replyed no but I changed brands . He told her great to stay with the brand she was now smoking that her lungs sounded better than they had in years .

Can't add much to your method but can tell you how we do it . I just catch the leaf wet enough to roll up . I take about 3 seperate half leaves and roll together and flaten them in my hand . Then simply cut up with sissors . It leaves them in long thin shreads . If the tobacco is a little to wet it is a little aggravating but kinda teasing like a woman would tease her hair fixes it and is working good . Then we just dry in oven untill about right .

I spend about an hour and can fix up enough to last us both a couple days . Were considered heavy smokers I'm sure .


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 Post subject: Re: Shredding Tobacco By Hand
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 2:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:16 am
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Bob what kind of tobacco did you do?


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 Post subject: Re: Shredding Tobacco By Hand
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 4:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:13 am
Posts: 2056
Hi --

minnesotakid, I grew Silk Leaf from New hope Seed Company. I think it's like Virginia Gold, and heirloom variety popular in the 30's and 40's.

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Shredding Tobacco By Hand
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:29 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 2:13 pm
Posts: 1155
Location: Nashville TN
Lonnie_in_Tenn wrote:
Bob

I haven't bought any store bought tobacco in about 6 weeks . The first thing you will notice is breating easier and not much coughing at all . The store bought chemical infested stuff was killing my wife and I fast . Were both feeling better .

My wife got back from her Dr visit a couple days ago and the Dr is always jumping her telling her she has to quite . On her last visit he reared back and asked her , "Did you finally quite " she replyed no but I changed brands . He told her great to stay with the brand she was now smoking that her lungs sounded better than they had in years .

Can't add much to your method but can tell you how we do it . I just catch the leaf wet enough to roll up . I take about 3 seperate half leaves and roll together and flaten them in my hand . Then simply cut up with sissors . It leaves them in long thin shreads . If the tobacco is a little to wet it is a little aggravating but kinda teasing like a woman would tease her hair fixes it and is working good . Then we just dry in oven untill about right .

I spend about an hour and can fix up enough to last us both a couple days . Were considered heavy smokers I'm sure .


Wow that is excellent to hear Lonnie. When I gave some to a relative of mine, she was surprised despite not having the menthol in them that they didn't burn her throat. Reading posts like this is exactly why I enjoy growing tobacco.


Bob I can't think of anything to add or disagree with. It is a new process to me, and it seems like you have good results from it.


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 Post subject: Re: Shredding Tobacco By Hand
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 2:07 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:13 am
Posts: 2056
Hi --

FmGrowIt, I tried a paper cutter but it didn't work out for me. In another thread someone says he uses a paper shredder with on roller removed to admit the leaves and runs them through several times. My friend has a paper shredder I might buy ($10) and try that.

As far as misting again, I make the bricks by putting on one layer of leaves, then misting it (used 1/4 honey 3/4 water a couple of times and can't really taste it in there). I'm now putting about 50 lbs weight on it to compress overnight which makes a pretty good brick. I tried misting one after making it and letting it sit in a tupperware container over night, but it "unbricked" itself! Fluffed right up!

As far as putting in the oven goes, I dunno. I slice the brick with a razor knife and if it were much dryer, it might crumble instead of making nice thin slices.

Yesterday I made up about 6-8 ounces of shreds in about 20 minutes. They are coming out from 1-2 mm wide.

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Shredding Tobacco By Hand
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 3:15 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:55 pm
Posts: 1342
Location: Midlands of South Carolina
I have taken to smoking the occasional cigar. I bought one of those cheapy cutters ($1.50) to nip the end off from the cigar. As I finished one of the cigars, I thought "hmm, wonder if I could cut the remainer up and blend it with my cigarette tobacco?". I used a razor blade from a utility knife and my wife's small cutting board. I had unrolled the remaining bit to examine the manner in which it had been rolled. Anyway, I folded the remaining leaves up, and sliced them pretty thin. They blended and fit my injector OK.

Then yesterday, I bought 3 more cigars. I smoked part of one on the way home, let it die. I put it somewhere I shouldn't have and it got crushed. I thought about how I might fix it, but couldn't think of anything I had on hand. I was sitting here this morning, and thinking about it and remembered how I folded up the other cigar leaves and cut with the razor. Then I saw my tobacco nipper, and wondered if I could cut the already rolled and damaged cigar with the nipper, then blend that with the cigarette tobacco. I could, it worked. Having the tobacco already rolled up helped keep it together while cutting.

Now I'm thinking more about how to cut my harvest (if I ever get one).


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 Post subject: Re: Shredding Tobacco By Hand
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 3:34 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:13 am
Posts: 2056
Hi --

SC Yankee, the only tobacco I planted this year was Silk Leaf. I've tasted quite a bit of it now and the only thing I can complain about is that it doesn't have a strong enough tobacco flavor. Plenty of sweetness, plenty of nicotine, but missing the tobacco flavor.

So, I bought a pack of mini-cigars (they look like cigarettes) for $1.50 at the smoke shop, sliced the paper open and blended some in. YUCK! I guess that isn't the taste I'm looking for. What I think I need to do is buy some burley or oriental leaf to mix in with my Silk Leaf to get the flavor I want. I'd like to see blend recipes other people have tried. What percentages of Virginias(it's like Silk Leaf), burleys and orientals makes a good cigarette blend?

Bob


Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Shredding Tobacco By Hand
PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:54 pm
Posts: 103
Location: NW Montana
Bob.....

Just got to try some of mine today and was pleasantly suprised!!!!! :D

I did almost the same as you and mine is about like yours in the pic except I cut mine a little thinner. I used scissors on 6-8 leaves I'd misted and compressed after getting rid of the stem. Once I had a good motion going cutting the thin strips was pretty easy and fairly quick. Problem I had was the thin strips were a tad wet and didn't want to seperate. A little time in the oven and shoved in an open baggie for some air allowed most of the stuck together stuff to be easily seperated with a little hand agitation. Next time I'll allow the leaves to dry a tad longer before compressing.

I smoked some all by itself and it wasn't near as bad as what I'd expected and actually pretty smooth? Burned nice also. I ended up mixing about 2/3 my stuff (lower leaves) to 1/3 commercial stuff and have no complaints? Rolls and smokes pretty darn good IMHO?

I just dried (color cured) and that's it because I wanted to try some? I don't understand this formenting thing at so I skipped that and my first smoke seems to be fine? Have a bunch of crumbly dry leaves stored in a big box and until I figure out a way to cut these en mass....I'll just use the scissors on compressed leaves.

Bought an old meat grinder at the second hand shop but haven't tried it yet. Ran some green leaves thru and it turned them into mush....lmao! :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Shredding Tobacco By Hand
PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:57 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:13 am
Posts: 2056
Hi --

oneguy, since I posted here first, I have it down to an art. My shreds are definitely much thinner now, burn better, don't fall apart at the tip. I made a video with my camera, but it's 33 MB and I need to get Quicktime Pro to reduce the size before I figger out how to post it here.

I'm up to about 15 leaves per brick now and I know I could make it more. That turned out to be 4 oz. pretty wet, less after it dried I'm sure. I just spread it out after shredding and let it air dry with a fan, turning off and on, until it's pretty crispy, that takes a couple of days with the humidity here, no hurry, then into the food processor 5 seconds at a time, you could use a blender, then separate and repeat, and that chops up the stuck leaves pretty good but still leaving reasonably long shreds.

I'd suggest keeping them pretty wet when compressing or when you cut them they will fall apart. Try a box cutter razor blades with some metal guide, I'm getting nice shreds like that.

In another thread someone discusses using a meat grinder and said that it makes too short a thread and much powder, no good. I believe it.

I'll see if anyone I know has Quicktime Pro so I can reduce the size of this file, and see if the forum can show it, or I'll post it elsewhere and provide a link.

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Shredding Tobacco By Hand
PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 7:08 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:54 pm
Posts: 103
Location: NW Montana
I'll keep the blender thing in mind and also the box cutter....

It's DEFINATELY a learn as you go kind of thing isn't it....lol

Alot of work but to sit back after supper watching the game and having a smoke that you grew is some kind of reward!!!!!! 8) 8) 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Shredding Tobacco By Hand
PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 9:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:54 pm
Posts: 103
Location: NW Montana
Boy...am I glad the site is back up!!!!! What happened?

Anyways..... Have to thank Bob for the excellant idea about using the blender for a few seconds to bust up the fine shreds on the hand cut stuff.....works great!!!!!

Been doing mine by hand like Bob and the more I do the better I get at it.

Here's some of the first stuff I did and my more recent stuff is even finer....

Look forward to finding an easier way but this will have to do for now and it really doesn't take much time..... :wink:

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Shredding Tobacco By Hand
PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 1:30 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:13 am
Posts: 2056
Hi --

Oneguy, that looks great! Wish I could roll one of those up! lol....

Now I'm looking for a way that's faster to dry out the shreds after I make them. I tried using a hair dryer, but that caramelized the sugar in the tobacco! (I started a new topic about that experience)

Bob


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