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: How I settled on a paper shredder
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 10:18 pm 
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Posts: 10
I came by just to make this post about my adventures in shredding tobacco. I used a lot of the information in this section in my attempts to process my own tobacco, and since I took so much from you all here, I decided to give a little back.

I was originally going to link to the post I made elsewhere, but since you wouldn't be able to see any of the images without registering, that'd be kind of pointless.

I've been smoking "roll your own" for awhile. I used to buy cans of Bali Shag until the huge tax hike (5.3 oz. went from $18 to $45 at the store, shortly after it was illegal to ship roll your own across state lines via internet/phone ordering, i.e. interstate commerce). After that I tried a few things and eventually settled with Daughters & Ryan 3 Sails Pipe Tobacco, which smoked just like Roll Your Own and tasted alright.

Then the bug hit me a couple months ago. I wanted to start buying leaves and making my own blends. I loved the experimentation with different leaves, but the biggest and most frustrating obstacle was processing the tobacco, e.g. chopping/shaving/shredding. I've gone through about 6 different techniques, and think I finally landed on a working solution. I wasted a lot of money on this fucking hobby... my story below:

  1. The first was the Leaf Only branded Tobacco Leaf Shredder from the site that I was buying my leaves. I was only able to mount it at my computer desk since the vice/clamp/grip was too thin to mount anywhere else. It was working out OK for a little while until the thing kept jamming up and bending the combs (my tobacco was barely moist). It was also a pain in the ass to get a second or third shred with no hopper. Eventually I destroyed the thing after processing a few times. Cost $50 (unrecovered).
  2. I tried rolling the leaves into cigar shape and cutting with scissors based on this guide. It was difficult to cut, and the tobacco came out too thick no matter what I tried. The problem with a thick cut is that it tastes like you're inhaling pipe tobacco, too much characteristic flavor and is awful going down. I bought a pair of scissors just for this purpose. Cost $17 (hey but now I have a nice new pair of scissors).
  3. I bought a food processor, same problem as in #2. Cost $20 (unrecovered).
  4. I bought a pasta machine and an angel hair attachment. I even bought dremel tool to grind grooves into the rollers so that they grabbed the tobacco. The gears that allowed both rollers to roll in harmony broke not 10 minutes into the venture. The gears were fixed on the rod via a secant cut. That got warped and eventually only one roller was turning. I beat the machine mercilessly with a hammer and threw it in a box. Whatever I did cut actually smoked pretty decently. Cost $115 ($50 recovered)
  5. I bought a 3 foot plank of 3" x 3" oak wood, a hacksaw, a portable vice clamp, and an expensive meat cleaver. I pressed the leaves into brick form with ~ 1000 lbs of pressure (guessing), and tried to shave thin slices using both a straight razor and a meat cleaver. I bought a sharpening stone, and grinded away so that the cleaver was sharp enough to go through paper like soft butter. This whole project took a lot of physical effort from construction to tobacco processing. In the end, I only ended up with the same cut of tobacco as #2.
    Image
    Cost $115 (unrecovered)

    INTERLUDE:
    This next one was the last attempt, pass or fail. It's not even about the cost of tobacco anymore, it's that tobacco is more of a hobby than a habit. However, I can only fail so many times and waste so much money before I start to really lose my cool.
  6. I bought a Staples Mailmate M5 paper shredder. I had to rip out the protective plastic that limits the thickness of the items being fed through, as depicted here:
    Image
    Then, using my metal working magic, crafted an aluminum hopper:
    Image
    I then deribbed all my leaves, blending 5 different types of tobacco (American VFC, Canadian VFC, Oriental, Light Fire Cured, Aged Burley). I shredded it three times. This is the first shred:
    Image
    The second shred:
    Image
    The third and final shred:
    Image
    And here's a view up close:
    Image
    Cost $70.

The verdict: It tastes great and burns well (evenly, ashes solid). It's easy to pack into a tube with a hand shooter as well, which is something I couldn't say about any of my other thick cuts. The only caveat so far is that I have to keep relighting my cigarettes if left alone; however, since it doesn't give me that pipe taste of a low temp burn I'm not going to get too worked up over that.


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 Post subject: Re: How I settled on a paper shredder
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 10:50 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:12 pm
Posts: 10
Alright, after reviewing everything, I decided to put a small batch through the machine for a 4th shred. You know what? Much better! Nice hot burn, a little smoother, and doesn't self extinguish. The ash tends to be a little loose now, but the cherry is solidly in there. I can be happy with this.

The problem with blending the variety of leaves is that I sort of force myself to do a large batch. So what I think I'll do at this point is shred 3 times, store it in tupperware, and run it through the shredder a 4th time for my small can.


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 Post subject: Re: How I settled on a paper shredder
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 12:51 am 
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Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 2:20 am
Posts: 153
Location: Norway
Thanks for the info mjmacky i was acctuall thinking about using a paper shredder myself .. looks like you got some good cuts for handrolling and pipe too i might modify my papper shredder and see how it works :D my guess is that i have to get a stronger motor and maybe adjust the with of the cut ...


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 Post subject: Re: How I settled on a paper shredder
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 1:30 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 10:16 am
Posts: 798
Location: near Rising Sun,Maryland USA
Do you think the paper shredder's gears are any better or worse than the pasta maker? Why did you go with a cross cut shredder instead of a conventional one? How much tobacco have you shredded in it so far? Thanks for the post!


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 Post subject: Re: How I settled on a paper shredder
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 4:46 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:55 am
Posts: 524
I have a tobacco shredder that I got from fresh chouce, it is a modified mailmate m-5 shredder. I have shredded over 100# of tobacco with it and it still works fine. They modified the opening to make it larger to accept tobacco leaves, yet It is impossible for me to get my fingers into the cutting mechanism. This is important! The machine is no toy it is quite capable of doing serious damage to human fingers! I used a piece of 1/4" plywood as a push board to get the tobacco into the cutters, I pushed it too far one time and the plywood got shredded up without a grunt from the machine,,,, good lesson....
The machine does a fair enough job of shredding tobacco and is relatively fast,and easy to use. I do not regret
buying this machine and would buy another without hesitation.
As far as the shred I too shred 3 times and the tobacco has the texture of oatmeal flakes and stuffs well with my topomatic.. To get a better burn I used to mix this tobacco with 20% pipe tobacco and it works well as my everyday cigarette blend. Now I have a teck 1 and I use 20% teck 1 shred and 80% paper shredder shred. The teck-1 does a nice shag cut but is slow I dont think I could shred a pound in an hour with it.
The 2 shredders work well for me now for my everyday smoke.
The paper shredder has a 15 minute duty cycle. It is not a weakness of the machine, it is how the cooling system works, Due to the paper dust cooling the motor with a fan is not possible. Most paper shredders have the same short duty cycle, it is in the design. This has never been a problem to me as you can shred about a 5 gallon pail of tobacco in 15 minutes, it is that fast. I have never had the shredder stop from overheat but it is supposed to as a safety feature.

It looks to me that mjmacky did a fine job of modifying his shredder and I believe it will work well for a long time as is.

Dr.Bob


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 Post subject: Re: How I settled on a paper shredder
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 7:53 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:40 pm
Posts: 667
Location: The Real Columbia River Gorge in Skamania County Southern Washington State Member # 1439
I've been using a paper shredder for a long time.
I don't de-rib the leaves though it does it for me
I run the leaf thru it then pull all the stripped ribs out
and re shred it a few times with no problems.


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 Post subject: Re: How I settled on a paper shredder
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 8:07 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:16 pm
Posts: 1572
Location: West Central Fl.
hi
I used pasta makers,paper shreaders ( of all types), even a sewing machine. LoL
But the best I,ve used is one from office max called a Micro Cut paper shreder. It cuts paper just the right size. When it cuts tobacco it comes out a little larger so I run it through 2--3 times till it looks right.
It is small compact has it ;s own storaGE COMPARTMENT and was on sale for $99. I did take 4 screws out and removed the credit card part and makes lots easier to start tobacco in I use a wooden spatula to help push tobacco in sometimes. I bought it in Nov 2011 and have not used any thing else since. When I went to office max they had all their shreaders set up so I could try all of them. and saee what the cuts looked like. This is the best I have found. your MILEAGE MAY VARY.
LEE


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 Post subject: Re: How I settled on a paper shredder
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 10:44 am 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:12 pm
Posts: 10
Jitterbugdude wrote:
Do you think the paper shredder's gears are any better or worse than the pasta maker? Why did you go with a cross cut shredder instead of a conventional one? How much tobacco have you shredded in it so far? Thanks for the post!


The gears are way better, it was obvious from taking apart the pasta maker that the gears were not designed to handle any kind of resistance. Like drbob mentions, I went with this model for both the price and because it's the model used in a repurposed fashion for tobacco shredding. I had already put away too much money to blaze a new trail.


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 Post subject: Re: How I settled on a paper shredder
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 10:48 am 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:12 pm
Posts: 10
drbob wrote:
The teck-1 does a nice shag cut but is slow I dont think I could shred a pound in an hour with it.
The 2 shredders work well for me now for my everyday smoke.


I wouldn't mind taking a couple of hours to go through a pound if the cut came out nice, but that's a nice strategy you have set up. From what I understand, though, coming by a Teck 1 isn't a trivial matter.


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 Post subject: Re: How I settled on a paper shredder
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 10:50 am 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:12 pm
Posts: 10
dkh2 wrote:
I've been using a paper shredder for a long time.
I don't de-rib the leaves though it does it for me
I run the leaf thru it then pull all the stripped ribs out
and re shred it a few times with no problems.


I might try that, but I needed to make sure my first attempt was a controlled experiment for a proper evaluation.


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 Post subject: Re: How I settled on a paper shredder
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 10:54 am 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:12 pm
Posts: 10
smbdyiam wrote:
hi
I used pasta makers,paper shreaders ( of all types), even a sewing machine. LoL
But the best I,ve used is one from office max called a Micro Cut paper shreder. It cuts paper just the right size. When it cuts tobacco it comes out a little larger so I run it through 2--3 times till it looks right.


Does it come out like oatmeal flakes in the end? Might you be able to show a picture of the final result? Paper shredders seems to have a great potential in this area, so I'm all for establishing a solid recommendation.

To push my tobacco to the grinders, I use the business end of a chop stick. I was thinking of fabricating a more permanent hopper, but the aluminum foil one I made is pretty sturdy and is working so flawlessly that I can't justify the attempt beyond aesthetics.


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 Post subject: Re: How I settled on a paper shredder
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 1:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:16 pm
Posts: 1572
Location: West Central Fl.
hi

i don't have or use camera.
Ihttp://www.officemax.com/technology/sh ... rodPage~15^freeText~micro+cut^paramValue~true^refine~1^region~1^param~return_skus^return_skus~Y
I did go get link to office max shreADER THat I use. says cut size is 3 mm x 9mm rolled oats is about right. hope link works ok Lee


Last edited by smbdyiam on Sat May 26, 2012 4:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: How I settled on a paper shredder
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 8:18 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:12 pm
Posts: 10
smbdyiam wrote:
hi

i don't have or use camera.
http://www.officemax.com/technology/shr ... rodPage~15^freeText~micro+cut^paramValue~true^refine~1^region~1^param~return_skus^return_skus~Y
I did go get link to office max shreADER THat I use. says cut size is 3 mm x 9mm rolled oats is about right. hope link works ok Lee


Your link came out funky, but I corrected it in the quote. The cut size for the one I'm using is 4 mm x 30 mm. Ideally, I would like one that cuts 1 mm x any mm, but those get expensive
> $300 for 2mm
$1000 - $4000 for a level 5 paper shredder that gives you a 0.8 mm x 12 mm cut.

So unless you're willing to spend bookoo bucks on a paper shredder, looks like 3 mm is your best bet (still thicker then what I'd want, so oatmeal it is).


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 Post subject: Re: How I settled on a paper shredder
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:28 am 
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Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 8:12 pm
Posts: 10
OK, so I tried it this time without deribbing the leaf. Big mistake, I will never do that again. The few elongated stems that were still intact were easy to remove, but now I have a bunch of small hard pieces of stem in the mix. I have to take a few minutes before rolling a couple of cigarettes to sift around with my fingers to dig them out, they're hard as rocks and are difficult to burn, easily falling out of the cigarette. Have you ever used your tongue to single out pieces of bone in your chicken nugget? Well the process is a lot like that, possibly more annoying, therefore I'm going to derib the tobacco before the first shred next time (like I did the very first time).


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 Post subject: Re: How I settled on a paper shredder
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:02 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:11 am
Posts: 375
Location: florida,
looks like trial-and-error,

paid off for you,,


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