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'briar look' vs. white meers

'briar look' vs. white meers

Postby ballzac » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:28 am

Apologies if this has been covered before. I've searched and couldn't find specific information about this.

I'm just wondering what peoples' thoughts are on the 'briar look' meers. I'm going to get my first meerschaum pipe when I have some spare cash to do so (probably in 4-6 weeks), and there are some nice ones in both plain finish and a dark finish.

My first question would be about how the colour is achieved. I'm looking on meerschaum market, and they say that their pipes are "NATURALLY WAXED BY BEE'S WAX". Does this mean that the beeswax itself is a dark colour? I read somewhere that white beeswax is superior for meerschaum pipes.

Secondly, I'm interested in how these pipes age as they are smoked. Does the colouring fade? And does it interfere in any way with the natural colouring process of the meerschaum itself? How do one of these pipes look after a couple of years of smoking?

And finally, does it affect the resale value at all? I'm aware that meerschaum pipes can actually go up in price as they start to colour. Is this the same with a 'briar look' meer? While I primarily want a pipe that I personally like, and would be unlikely to ever sell it, it's nice to own things that are considered more... prestigious :D and if I can't decide between two particular pipes, one plain and one 'briar look', a difference like that might tip the scales.

Any advice appreciated, even if it's slightly off-topic, because I really know very little about meerschaum and happy to learn :)

Cheers
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Re: 'briar look' vs. white meers

Postby gnossos » Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:25 am

I've never looked at meerschaum as pipes that go up in value, maybe some of the intricately carved ones do but I don't think most do. I could be wrong, I only have one meer and I only have that because it was carved in Boston prior to Turkey canning the export of meerschaum.

I don't know how they color the pre-colored ones, but most meers start off white and then "color in" as you smoke them. There are ways to speed this process, say by using a coloring bowl or (I swear I read this somewhere) blowing smoke into a jar and closing the pipe in with the smoke. I also believe I read something about someone cutting holes in the fitted case theirs came in and puffing on it that way to color it quicker. Using beeswax to coat the outside of the bowl regularly is also supposed to help the coloring process, I doubt it's what it's used to color the pre-colored meers.

Common wisdom seems to say to look for block meerschaum rather than pressed.

Ultimately they're too delicate for me, but people really like 'em. I think the goal isn't really to color them quickly. I think it's supposed to take a very long time.
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Re: 'briar look' vs. white meers

Postby HCraven » Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:21 am

Image
This is my great-grandfather's meerschaum. As far as coloring goes, he smoked the bejeezus out of this pipe (judging from the banded shank, chewed through bit, and missing hardware around the rim, not to mention the deeply blackened bowl) and yet it's only moderately colored, though obviously darker in spots. I've got a figural meer in my collection that doesn't get smoked very often, and other than the inside of the bowl, it's as white as the driven snow. Though I've seen some fantastic results achieved in a short time with the Butera coloring bowls, my guess would be that under normal circumstances coloring is a very slow process.
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Re: 'briar look' vs. white meers

Postby Dodger » Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:23 am

They add a colouring agent to the beeswax ,the brown ones stay that way only deepening as they get older .Other colours can lighten or disappear where the heat affects the bowl and shank .

Do not buy a pipe expecting it to go up in value ,it probably will not especially if it is used .

Some meerschaums colour fast and others slowly and there is no way of knowing in advance what the colouring rate is going to be.

I prefer white but have some coloured that are good carvings .They all give a good to great smoke whatever the colour as long as it is block meerschaum
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Re: 'briar look' vs. white meers

Postby Falconeer » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:14 am

I must admit I'm with Gnossos on this one - I have done the meer thing but it didn't really work for me, and being honest I preferrred African meers to Turkish as I felt they were more robust. I don't think I'd advise anyone to buy a meer hoping its value would appreciate though - I suspect this is done with older quality Victorian Era Vienna carved meers - but there are a lot of fakes and copies about so expertise and knowledge would be needed.

Colouring can indeed be a very slow process - but the thing seems pretty unpredictable in advance - depending on the porosity or otherwise of the stone, some block meers colour quickly, some slowly and some very slowly - for example I have a Sherlock Holmes figured meer which has been smoked off and on for two years with a variety of tobaccos and it hardly shows any colour. On the other hand my friend Harry in England has two Peterson system African meers he's smoked since 1982 and his are virtually black.

There are many tricks supposed to work with meer colouring - it might be worth both googling "Meerschaum Colouring" and doing a search on this board - we have discusssed these before I'm sure.

HC - a lovely picture you posted and many thanks for sharing!
"I don't think it matters what kind of pipe you smoke, so long as it is well broken in." - Trevor Baylis former Pipe Smoker of the Year
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Re: 'briar look' vs. white meers

Postby ballzac » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:28 am

Thanks guys. I think I won't let it influence my choice too much. I'll just find one I like and buy it. There is a conflict within me though. I quite like some of the coloured ones, but something does tell me I'll be more happy in the long run owning a white one. I'm not exactly wealthy, so I'll probably only have one for a while, but I'm sure eventually I will have many, both plain and coloured.

Cheers :)
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Re: 'briar look' vs. white meers

Postby coreym2 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:23 pm

Here's a website that talks about the progressive coloring of a meer: http://pipesmagazine.com/blog/put-that- ... #more-4043
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Re: 'briar look' vs. white meers

Postby Dodger » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:32 pm

coreym2 wrote:Here's a website that talks about the progressive coloring of a meer: http://pipesmagazine.com/blog/put-that- ... #more-4043

Thanks for the link :)
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Re: 'briar look' vs. white meers

Postby HowlinWolf » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:39 pm

gnossos wrote:a coloring bowl



I'm not vouching for it, I'm filling in a detail.
Butera Meerschaum Coloring Bowl

http://www.marscigars.com/browseproducts/Butera-Meerschaum-Coloring-Bowl.html


Image
This post is packaged by intellectual weight, not volume. Some settling of contents may have occurred during transmission.
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Re: 'briar look' vs. white meers

Postby Frizz » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:29 pm

HowlinWolf wrote:I'm not vouching for it, I'm filling in a detail.
Butera Meerschaum Coloring Bowl

http://www.marscigars.com/browseproducts/Butera-Meerschaum-Coloring-Bowl.html


Image



I don't know how available these are anymore (Mars has no stock) but I think BladeBoy has some experience with them, so maybe he'll chime in on this. Personally I just smoke my meers and enjoy them; they do what they'll do as far as colouring is concerned. I do enjoy the results but I'm not much bothered with the process.
-Chris
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Re: 'briar look' vs. white meers

Postby BladeBoy » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:20 am

Yes the coloring bowls does offer more even coloration of the pipe, I gave up on mine after 50 smokes, they aren't very practical...
Last edited by BladeBoy on Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 'briar look' vs. white meers

Postby MeerQueen » Sun May 26, 2013 11:05 am

Hi,
Natural bee wax color is white. In some cases if we want the pipe looks more yellow we add another substance into beewax.to get the best result on waxing, it needs to be waxed twice (double waxing). The waxing is done to protect the meerschaum surface and secondly of course it gives a lovely polish to meerschaum pipe.

You must see also brown colors on the market. This is done by burning the meerschaum for a while.this really looks nice on some designs and also the pipe looks like a briar.

Every meerschaum has its own characteristic and all of them colors differently in time.this depends the purity of the stone etc
If the meerschaum grade is high then this means that it will absorb the nicotine well and homogeneously so in this case your pipe will color very nicely.
Regards,
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