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Hand rolling filtered 100 mm cigarettes
"A little different look at an interesting
rolling technique for the exotic taste"

January/March Issue of RYO Magazine 1st Quarter 2001
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   In previous issues, we have looked at various rolling machines (hand-held) that all do pretty much the same quality of roll and are, for the most part, pretty similar in design. Back in the July/September issue, we reviewed Rizla's 110 mm blue acrylic roller (with orange blanket) and still feel it is the most versatile machine on the market (go to the Back Issues page using the link above left and click on the Rollers section of the July/September Issue). For that reason, we have chosen to use this machine in this issue's Rollers section as part of an attempt to demonstrate a useful and reasonably attractive alternative to injecting cigarettes. We receive so much mail regarding 100 mm RYO smokes and, as there are no injectors out their yet with this capability, we thought it appropriate to cover the possibilities that do exist. Additionally, we receive a lot of mail regarding 100 mm length smokes that are also thinner, closer to the diameter of a Virginia Slims or Sherman's cigarette and, as the following techniques result in also a thinner stick, we think you will find the following interesting.

   Personally, I like thin smokes at times and while I firmly believe that Sherman cigarettes have not nearly the flavor of a good RYO cigarette that uses premium tobacco, I do like the whole ambience of the dark wrapper and shape of the smoke in general. In fact, I am of the opinion that a dark tube (as long as the darkness of the paper would impart little or no taste to the stick) would be a big hit. It is unclear how much of the Sherman taste is due to the dark paper though, as the light and dark versions of some of their selections seem pretty similar in taste to me. On the other hand, dark roll your own papers, especially the Golden Wraps tested below and the Brownies that we reviewed in a previous issue, are made from varying amounts of tobacco components and thus add significant 100 mm handrolling with filterstobacco (almost cigar like) taste to the smoke. With these qualifications we continue.

   Let us begin with a few pictures (scans, really) of the results we were able to easily achieve using the following combination of accessories and then discuss the particulars of how we achieved each. For the test rolls, we used the Rizla 110 mm roller mentioned above, the Rayo white filter available in bags at many smoke shops, the Rizla Blue 100 mm King Size papers, as well as Republic Tobacco's Golden Wraps tobacco papers likewise available at most tobacco establishments online and locally.  At the upper left is the result achieved with the above components using the Rizla Blue white paper. You will notice that you can see where the filter begins. This is a by-product of the sheerness of the cigarette paper and cannot be avoided unless one were to use a much thicker paper. We know of the existence of none such paper in 100 mm length. Note here that even though with traditional filtered cigarettes and filtered tubes, you might think you can see where the actual filter begins, this is an illusion. You are only seeing the outside covering of the filter/paper joint and more often than not, the actual filter is recessed beyond the line of100 mm handrolling with filters demarcation between tobacco chamber and filter. Even so, the stick is pretty attractive and the filtered taste is superb (of course depending on what kind of tobacco you use). To achieve the more Sherman-like appearance (at right), we substituted the Golden Wrap for paper. As we said, there is a much stronger flavor attributable to the tobacco impregnated wrapper itself but the appearance is beautiful and the flavor probably most enjoyable for those who like to casually puff on cigars or cigarillos. You can't see the filter except from an end-on view and the stick is quite solid and roadworthy.

Gizeh and Rayo filters   Obviously from these graphics you can see that very attractive smokes can be hand machine rolled incorporating the benefits of a filtered stick. The filters are shown at left and there are several other filter makers including Gizeh, all of which cost around a penny a piece or so. These filters are very pure and add no chemical taste or toxins to the smoke. TheThe Rizla 110 mm handrolling machine roller, which you've seen in this magazine on numerous occasions, is at right. The only other 110 mm roller we know of is one named the Perfect Roller which we have so far been unable to get a sample of (without buying a case of them from a distributor). We're told, however, that it is an excellent machine with similar capabilities to the Rizla though much less available in most smoke shops or online stores. The Tobacco Wrap papers used are Golden Wraps but as stated previously, Brownies also exist, but like the the Perfect Roller, are a lot harder to find. They are pictured below.

Golden Wrap Papers Brownies 100mm Tobacco Wraps
Tobacco Wraps from Republic Brown rolling Papers

   On the subject of paper taste, I remember back in the 70s using various colored papers that had very distinctive and sometimes repulsive flavors. One that comes to mind was a so-called chocolate paper that tasted more like vinyl plastic than chocolate and some with flags and other decorations in which the dyes used could be easily noticed in their flavors. Some papers, like Cool Jays (which we look at in our Rolling Papers review this time) are intentionally flavored and, in the case of the Jays, the result is quite pleasant. For instance, the Camouflage papers (at right) also reviewed this time,The survivalist cigarette add a little taste to the smoke that I don't appreciate and we feel that it is a highly desirable trait of any paper, unless otherwise intentioned, that it add NOTHING to the tobacco flavor. After all, that is why you choose carefully the tobacco you smoke in an RYO environment. Now, realistically not all papers are designed nor intended to be used with tobacco. Herbal tobacco substitutes and other more recreational substances have such pungent tastes that the little added flavor of a color-dyed paper is unnoticeable. For the tobacco smoker however, these flavors can be, at best, an unwanted distraction.

Useful Tips

   We have covered the tools necessary to create the cigarettes shown at the top and now it is time to share with you the tricks, tips and other little things we discovered that should lead to successfully reproducing those results. It is, in fact, pretty simple but there are a few things to keep in mind.

1. When using a filter with a rolling machine, it is important that the filter diameter is for the most part going to determine the diameter of the final stick. In other words, don't try to roll too thin a stick with a filter as it will compress the filter to the point that it will be difficult to get air through and thus make the smoke very difficult to draw. Some compression is okay but only as little as possible.

2. When placing the filter in the blanket either before or after the tobacco is inserted, make sure that none of the tobacco gets on or around the filter. We suggest placing the filter first in the far left corner of the blanket after the blanket has been thoroughly cleared of all tobacco and carefully adding the tobacco to the right of the filter, packing it down as you go. This can be time consuming but is well worth the effort.

3. Expect to make several attempts before you hit on the right technique while remembering that each paper's characteristic is different. Some have better glue than others and some have no glue at all, like the Brownies. We find it very difficult to use machine with papers that have no glue.

4. You need not use 100 mm length papers. The 110 mm rollers work well with any size paper and even the double wides (which mean they are taller papers not longer) work well. With these kinds of papers you simply wind up with more wraps around the tobacco.

5. Try to place the papers, which is the last part of the operation before the actual rolling begins so that they are lined up with the back end of the filter (regardless as to what length papers you are using). You don't want the filter either to be recessed or to hang out past the end of the smoke. All rolling machines come with simple to understand instructions as to their basic operation, and following those should make the process easy.

6. Be aware that even though you might think that using papers and filters rather than tubes is going to save you money, the fact is, smoking this way is far more expensive. For example, a typical pack of papers with 35 leaves will cost you from $1-$2 depending on where you get them. If you assume that you use basically the same amount of tobacco in a hand-rolled stick as you do in a filtered tube (you actually use a little less tobacco when hand-rolling depending, of course, on how big of a diameter smoke you roll), the cost for smoking is nearly tripled as the cost for one paper is roughly $.03 minimum to $.06 maximum with the Rizla papers and twice that much for the more exotic Brownies and Golden Wraps. Adding the $.01per filter price equals anywhere from $.04 to $.07 per stick compared with about $.01 to $.015 per filtered tube. Nonetheless, rolling your own with these little machines requires less bulky hardware and some people don't want a filtered smoke. Others want the added length and smaller diameter which gives a milder smoke and does tend to conserve precious tobacco. I occasionally prefer a hand-machine rolled stick (rarely though with a filter) for stronger more costly tobaccos. I find this method especially useful when camping or backpacking/hiking where carrying a very vulnerable box of tubes is out of the question, not to mention a big Supermatic injector whose weight could easily be substituted with water and food. Let us know your experiences should you try any of the techniques described here. We are truly interested in your findings.

   Next time, we will visit the world of hand-rolling without a machine of any kind. We have received so much mail as to the techniques, tricks and tips for true hand-rolling, that we can no longer ignore this facet of RYO. As a preview, however, suffice it to say that hand rolling is mostly a matter of practice - not secrets. - RYO

Bugler Rolling Tobacco

EDITOR'S NOTE: These reviews are solely for the convenience of people of legal age who already smoke, are trying to cut down on smoking, wish to spend less money on their smoking, want to roll their own cigarettes from high quality tobacco, and, in general, wish to have a far more satisfying, and economical smoking experience when compared with smoking pre-manufactured cigarettes. We, in no way, encourage people to smoke. Further, we prescribe to a sane, more logical approach to smoking that involves common sense as to quantity coupled with a strong desire to manage the habit until it becomes an occasional, freely chosen, diversion, that can be fully enjoyed with minimal health risks. Finally, we strongly encourage those who do smoke to take it outdoors, or to appropriate environments where tobacco can be enjoyed away from those who do not smoke, most especially children.  We do not sell tobacco or related products from this site; We distribute information about our perceptions of the quality of what is available and where it can be obtained. If you are under 18,  it is illegal to buy tobacco and you should immediately exit this site. If you do not smoke, it would seem illogical to start.

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1999 RYO Magazine
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