Bill’s Lighters

Two or three weeks ago I had mentioned that I light my cigars on the kitchen stove. Someone asked me if that’s true or if I just said that to be funny.

First, I don’t say anything unless it’s true and second, what’s so funny about lighting your cigar on the stove? Of course it’s true. It’s not my preferred way to light a stogie but you have to admit it’s quick and easy. It never runs out of fuel and you never loose it. The only downside is you can’t carry it around.

Is There A Favorite?

What is my favorite lighter anyway? I don’t think I have one. Years ago, actually decades, I was known to use matches. It was so easy, they were everywhere. Most stores had them, even businesses like bars, motels and restaurants all gave away matches. Everywhere people gathered had matches and they loved giving them away. They were little advertisements. The problem was they were usually paper matches. It’s hard to light a decent sized cigar with paper matches.

At the time I didn’t smoke many big fat stogies like I do today so it was OK. You could use two or three matches at a time and get a good sized flame. I remember if I wanted a big flame for a really big cigar I’d light the whole book on fire and use that. It seems odd to say that now, but it’s what people did. I wonder if anybody else remembers that?

Some places had wooden matches but those were few and far between. If you wanted wooden matches you had to buy your own.

One thing about those wooden matches that I remember was that you could light them on anything. Striking them on your shoe was no problem at all. They worked great. Matches you get now that are supposed to be “strike anywhere” don’t work for [expletive deleted]. You better have that big box with you or you ain’t getting them lit. The days where you carried around a few matches with you are over.

I’ll bet almost anything it’s because the government regulated whatever was in the match head to make it light good. Now they are almost worthless. I’m talking about the Strike Anywhere kind. I still like the kitchen matches.

Pass The Torch

Back in the 80’s I got my first torch lighter. I thought it was the greatest thing ever. It lit those cigars fast and even. You could pinpoint a tiny spot that needed to be touched up. I thought you couldn’t beat a torch lighter. It didn’t take long to see a couple of problems they have. The fuel was expensive. Didn’t like that.

The other problem was I burned up one of the only pipes I ever really liked. Don’t forget I do almost half of my smoking in the car. Trying to keep that tip flame steady while you are aiming it down in the bowl is hard. All you have to do is shake around a little bit and you are scorching the top of the pipe, or hitting that flame against the inside of the bowl. It is not a good car lighter.

Plus the thing was finicky. I later learned you need to vent the tank all the way before you fill it. By the time I learned that lesson it was too late I had already taken it apart a couple times an it was never the same again. It turned me off to torch lighters.

They are good lighters and I have seen some I’d love to have. Ones with three or four flame tips. Man that’s cool. I guess it would be great to have one, but they aren’t exactly my speed.

The Trusty Zippo

Having a Zippo has always served me well. No other lighter is more reliable and it works outside just as well as inside.

If I had to say anything negative about them is it seems like you have to fill them too often. The fuel is cheap but still, who wants to mess with it that much? Lots of times you go to use it and it’s out. Almost everyone at the Saturday Staff Meeting has a Zippo so Phil leaves out a big can of fluid. Now I fill mine up every Saturday night. Because of that it’s now rare for me to run out of fuel.

With that said it makes a perfect lighter, or close to it. Works just as well on the cigars as the pipe. Inside or outside, it can handle anything. Without too much thought, I’d say if I could only have one lighter it would be the Zippo.

Now Which Do I Use Most

Just because I like my Zippo that doesn’t mean I use it the most. As I mentioned earlier, I do a lot of smoking in the car. In the console and in the glove compartment I have Bic lighters all over the place. They are so darn cheap you can have them everywhere.

You can get a pack of 5 at the Dollar Store for $5. You can’t beat that.

Each lighter lasts a pretty long time, so buying a couple of those packs will last you almost all year. That’s even counting loosing one or two of them.

When lighting a cigar just turn the flame all the way up so you have a nice big flame. For pipes you have to be a little careful so you don’t scorch your thumb. But you get the knack of it. Great lighter to have in your car.

I don’t keep track, but if you were to add up the number of times I use each lighter, the Bic would win hands down. I get in moods where I use a certain lighter for a long time, but in the end it’s the Big you are looking around for when you need a light.

Some Other Ways To Light A Stogie

There are many other things I’ve used to light my cigars over the years. I like the long fireplace matches. I have a wood stove in my house and take a sliver of wood from the woodpile and light it in the wood stove and use that. I’ve also used propane torches when I’m in the garage or shed. There is always one on a workbench. I’ve lit them in the barbecue grill, campfire and using my wife’s candle. One time I had a car and the engine was on fire. Nothing big, just some oil on the top caught fire. I put it out but it kept re-flashing so I was standing there watching it for awhile. My cigar went out and the fire came back so before I put it out again, I touched up my stogie. That was a long time ago.

I have been thinking about lighters because of that question that was asked of me. Also because I saw a video on the internet of the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, lighting a cigar. It looked like it was from a fancy cigar lounge where they light your cigars for you. I’ll tell them to see if they can find that video and put it in this column, but I can’t remember where I saw it, so they probably won’t. Wish you could see it. I would drive across the country to have her light my cigar. Exaggerating, but just a little.

Deadline Coming

Next week is the last week to get your questions and comments in. I have a deadline of the 27th for my new column. I’m hoping it’s only going to be once a month. The first one is due so everything can be put together and sent out the following week.

Anything is free game. I’ll answer questions about anything. Use my email address below or send them to the editor (

Well that’s all I have for this week. See you in seven days.


Bill is the acting Briar Report Chief of Staff,

He takes comments and answers questions at

Follow him on Twitter @StogieReport

Editor’s Note:

We looked for the video Bill mentioned in his column but could not find it. His description was somewhat weak. We were going to put up a similar photo but decided posting salacious material might not be in the best interest of our magazine. You will have to use your imagination.