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How much would it cost me to switch to RYO?


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Old 12-11-2015, 01:15 PM
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Default How much would it cost me to switch to RYO?

I live in New York and a pack of Seneca Menthol 100s ($7.23) lasts me about 3 days.

I'd like to switch to a cheaper option, and am considering switching to rolling my own.

I was hoping someone could tell me exactly what I would need to buy (equipment and materials wise) to do so. I would like a strong menthol flavor like the Senecas I smoke (I have tried Newports and they're too subtle for me).

I know absolutely nothing about how to roll your own, so if you could tell me all the supplies I would need and where/how to get good quality, but inexpensive stuff I would really appreciate it.
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Old 12-11-2015, 01:37 PM
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Default Getting Started: Machines & Costs

First, let's get your expectations in check. You are not going to be able to duplicate your brand of commercial cigarettes--commercial brands have their own proprietary "recipes" of tobaccos and additives. You can, however, get something in the "ballpark" of what you are accustomed to smoking. Your results will depend on the tobacco(s) and filter tubes you use, and how well one pairs with the other. Many of us don't use a single brand of tobacco, but will mix two or more brands to create our own custom blends. Most of us start RYO because of cost, but stick with it because we actually discover that our RYO cigarettes are better than what we used to smoke.

Machines: This will depend on how much you are willing to spend, and whether you prefer something manual or electric. Since you are just starting, I would recommend using an injector and filter tubes, rather than a roller, rolling paper, and filter. Injectors range from handheld sliders, to mini manual machines, to tabletop manual and electric machines, to an expensive, electric machine that automatically fills its loading chamber. First piece of advice: do not get an auger-style electric machine. If you do, believe me that you will regret it. Only get "spoon-fed" injectors. The handheld sliders usually sell for under $10; mini manual injectors, such as the Premier Deluxe, Pressta Deluxe, and Powermatic Mini, can be found for about $7-$20; Tabletop spoon-fed manual machines might go for $40-$60; Tabletop spoon-fed electric machines might go for $60-$90. Most handheld sliders are pretty much alike. Reputable brand names of the tabletop machines are Powermatic I and II (the latest "generation" has a Plus after the number), Top-o-Matic and Top Poweroll, and Zen SuperShooter. The "Just Good Tobacco" cigarette making machine (formerly known as the "Fresh Choice") sells for $499 new, but used ones might be found for half that price. You should be able to find most, if not all, of these machines at Amazon.com

I personally use a Fresh Choice machine, but still have a working Zen SuperShooter (which I used for 13 months before I got the Fresh Choice), as well as the Powermatic Mini and Pressta Deluxe as back-ups (in case of power failure, or to use when traveling; the Pressta Deluxe I happened to get for free). I once had a manual Premier Supermatic, but I did not have good experience with it.

P.S. After your initial costs, RYO cigarettes will cost, in most cases, anywhere from 75 cents to $1.50 per pack, depending on the tobacco, the filter tubes, and where you buy them from. If you use genuine rolling tobacco (Class J), the cost will be much higher, but may still be less than your pre-made Senecas.

Last edited by masklofumanto; 12-11-2015 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 12-11-2015, 01:38 PM
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Default Tobacco & Tubes

Tobacco: Again, depends on what you are willing to spend. First of all, genuine rolling tobacco (Class J) is now very expensive because of a 2,400% increase in the federal excise tax in 2010. But you don't need it. There are many brands of "dual purpose" pipe tobacco (Class L) that work fine, especially those that are shags or a fine ribbon cut. Prices vary: "value" brands, from internet stores, usually range from $10-$18 per lb., depending on the store. Some "value" brands are pretty good, others are dreadful. "Premium" brands sell for over $20 per lb., some are worth it, others aren't, in my opinion. It may take some "trial and error" to find the brands that you will like, and bear in mind that tastes are subjective. Take time looking at previous threads in this forum, many of the major brands have already been reviewed by forum members. A pound of tobacco will make about 450 cigarettes, YMMV depending on how loosely or tightly compacted you make them.

Tubes: "king-size" filter tubes vary in filter lengths--15 mm., 17 mm., and 20 mm. are the most common, though the Gizeh Silver-Tip Extra has a 25 mm. filter. To my knowledge, none are FSC. Depending on the brand, they usually come in boxes of 200 or 250. They may cost anywhere from $1.50 to $4.00 a box from internet stores. Quality can vary dramatically depending on the brand. Zen, Golden Harvest, Vera Cruz, Gambler, Gizeh, D&R (Ramback and Windsail tubes), and Just Good Tobacco all make good quality tubes. Some people like Premier tubes and I've heard that Double Diamond tubes are okay. Shargio seems to have had problems with inconsistent quality, and in my experience, Shargio tubes tend to mute the flavor of the tobacco (so does Windsail, which is otherwise a quality tube).

Later: Filter tubes are available in a 100 mm. length (the filter will be longer than king-size lengths, probably around 25 mm.), but they'll cost more than king-size tubes. Some machines can't handle 100s, only king-size; other machines can handle both. In my opinion, you don't really need a 100 mm. filter tube, because RYO filter tubes have a wider gauge than commercial cigarettes and, unless you get a very cheap brand that's expanded tobacco, the tobacco used in RYO burns slower, so a king-size cigarette will last as long or longer than your current 100s.

Last edited by masklofumanto; 12-11-2015 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 12-11-2015, 01:50 PM
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Default Menthol

There are two ways of making your own menthol cigarettes:

(1) Menthol tobacco with non-menthol filter tubes.
(2) Non-menthol tobacco with menthol filter tubes.

A couple of comments:

(1) Some brands of tobacco are not actually menthol flavored, but mint flavored. I would think you would prefer real menthol, so look carefully at what a brand's blend is called, menthol or mint (or something else, like "cool," which would then require further investigation). Almost all menthol blends are full flavor, a "light" menthol blend is a rarity: if that's a problem, you could try pairing a menthol blend tobacco with a "light" non-menthol filter tube.

(2) Menthol filter tubes allegedly lose their potency over time. If you buy only a couple of boxes at a time locally, you're probably okay. But if you are going to buy your tubes in large quantities to be shipped to you, I would advise following method #1 above, of pairing menthol tobacco with a "regular" tube. Almost all brands of menthol tubes come only in full flavor: if that's a problem, you could try pairing a "light" non-menthol tobacco with a full flavor menthol tube.

(3) If you're serious about the potency you are looking for in a menthol cigarette, you can try pairing menthol tobacco with a menthol filter tubes. But I imagine the menthol would be very strong, and it's bound to be full flavor.

I haven't smoked menthol cigarettes, other than a few here and there, since I turned 17. So I cannot recommend specific brands of menthol tobacco based on my own experience. What I do recall is that Cherokee Menthol was said to be very good (it's a value brand), but if it is anything like Cherokee Original, expect to have to pick out a lot of stems from the tobacco before stuffing your filter tubes. I also seems to me that premium brands don't usually have a menthol blend; menthol blends are primarily found among value brands.

Last edited by masklofumanto; 12-11-2015 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 12-11-2015, 02:01 PM
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Default Online Shops

Bear in mind that in most cases (there are some exceptions) true rolling tobacco (Class J) cannot be shipped across state lines since the implementation of the PACT Act in 2010. So buying online means getting "dual purpose" pipe tobacco.

Reputable online sellers:
(1) pipesandcigars.com -- cannot ship to WA and MD. Minimum age: 21
(2) tobaccogeneral.com -- cannot ship to OR and IL. Minimum age: 21
(3) smokersoutletonline.com -- cannot ship to MI and MT. Minimum age: 18
(4) rollyourown.com & nationalcigar.com (sister websites) -- apparently ships to all states. Minimum age: 18
(5) bnbtobacco.com -- apparently ships to all states; proof of identification required for customers in AK, AL, NJ, and UT (the four states in which the minimum age to purchase tobacco is 19 rather than 18). Minimum age: 18/19
(6) windycitycigars.com & qwaaq.com (sister websites) -- cannot ship to Cook County, IL. Minimum age: 21
(7) snappycigars.com & eztobacco.com (sister websites) -- cannot ship to WA, MD, and VT. Minimum age: 21
(8) lilbrown.com -- ships to a limited number of states (23 states). Minimum age: 19

About samples: some of the above have pouches, small bags (for example, 3 or 4 oz. bags) and/or tins of certain brands. You'll just have to browse. Pipesandcigars sells D&R, Peter Stokkebye, and Newminster products by the ounce, in addition to pre-packaged bags. Most D&R products are "dual purpose."

Later: I just saw your age on your profile page. It will cut your choice of internet shops in half, should you choose to buy online. The problem with most "brick-and-mortar" tobacconists is they offer limited, and in some case very limited, selection of tobacco and tubes. Beware of what store clerks tell you, in many cases they don't really know very much, they just sell the stuff.

Last edited by masklofumanto; 12-11-2015 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 12-11-2015, 02:07 PM
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Mask, I hope you were copy/pasting all of that
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Old 12-11-2015, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Mask, I hope you were copy/pasting all of that
Yes, I did ... just a little tweaking was required for this OP. The "Menthol" comment (#4) was the only original comment.

I only recently learned how to do cutting and pasting to/from webpages, or from internet to MS Word ... I'm not the most technologically savvy person in the world. LOL.

Docmarlboro (I see you're here now):
Are you getting all this ... this made things easy for answering your question last night. Just disregard the "Menthol" comment (#4). We can talk about tobaccos in the "ballpark" of Marlboro Reds later, just bear in mind the very first thing I said in my first comment in this thread.

Last edited by masklofumanto; 12-11-2015 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 12-11-2015, 02:15 PM
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Copy/paste is in the same category as learning to write abc's in your first year of preschool
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Old 12-11-2015, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Copy/paste is in the same category as learning to write abc's in your first year of preschool
Ouch! Tell me what you really think, why don't you. You don't have to hold back. Well, I managed to get by quite awhile without it ... but at a cost of time and labor. And to think I've had internet access since 1999.

Well, I have got to get back to the grading I should have been doing yesterday. So goodbye for now.
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Old 12-11-2015, 04:19 PM
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Typing everything out for 16 years has probably eaten up more time than you know

@ 5 minutes a day it's 486 hours!! Almost 3 weeks.
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