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Meerschaum advice thread

Meerschaum advice thread

Postby HowlinWolf » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:18 pm

I'm starting this thread in the hope that members who have experience buying and smoking meerschaum pipes can offer buying and ongoing care tips for people like me who are getting ready to buy a meerschaum pipe.

I gather from looking around on these forums and on the net that the heavy hitters are Altinok, Baki, and Storient. Buyer's stories range from dream come true to nightmare stories of incommunicado makers, pipes that look nothing like the picture, etc.

What about the ones that are made to look already aged?

What's your experience and advice? Thanks!

========
My story: my needs are simple. A classic shape, preferably with a texture like basketry, lace, lattice, or something like that. The Altinok site has about 100 pipes like that ready to ship. This sounds pretty good vs. waiting months for custom carving of a basic pipe. Are they >really< ready to ship?
Some of the ready to ship pipes are captioned "made by IMP." Who or what is IMP?

Thanks again.
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Re: Meerschaum advice thread

Postby HowlinWolf » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:20 pm

p.s. are there US sites selling such pipes, or is ordering from the overseas maker a better idea? I'm thinking about shipping costs and delivery waiting times.
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Re: Meerschaum advice thread

Postby Dodger » Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:42 pm

You do not mention a price range HW ,but it is cheaper to buy from Turkey, Ebay stores such as HS Yanik ,Meerschaum Market and Irmismarble ,who always have pipes listed .I have dealt with all 3 and have had no problems .

Meerschaum is rather peculiar in that no one knows how it will colour and while they give a marvelous smoke they can scratch easily although to clean the outside you use cotton wool and water .

The 2 IMP pipes I have are coated with a white substance which protects from scratches but hides any colouration .

If you are worried about scratches an African meerschaum pipe such as Kiko ,Amboseli and Manx ,have been treated and coloured so do not scratch easily and although no longer being produced can still be found unused on Ebay cheaper than white meerschaum and they are just as good a smoke .
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Re: Meerschaum advice thread

Postby HowlinWolf » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:17 pm

Dodger wrote:You do not mention a price range HW...


I saw quite a few that I liked between $160 - $180. Is that going to get me something good in a basic shape with some ornamentation??
- i.e. not complicated carvings like lions and tigers and bears (oh my!)
or Frank Frazetta babes.
(some of those ladies "have a lotta heart" :oops: If anyone knows of any carver who does ladies more along the lines of a B-cup, I might be interested in that someday. Not trying to be crude, I'm just sayin...)

I'm not looking for an heirloom, museum piece, but I don't want to spend $160 on something manky if $200 would have been the better thing to do.


Dodger wrote:Ebay stores such as HS Yanik ,Meerschaum Market and Irmismarble ,who always have pipes listed . I have dealt with all 3 and have had no problems .


Do those eBay stores accept credit cards or strictly Pay Pal?

Is Meerschaum Market at this link the same as the eBay store you're referring to?
http://www.meerschaummarket.com/servlet/StoreFront

Thanks for the leads and advice!

Dodger wrote:The 2 IMP pipes I have are coated with a white substance which protects from scratches but hides any colouration .


I'm not sure I'd be happy with that. Have others experienced the same as Dodger?

Some other places I found. Does anyone have any feedback about these?

Royal Meerschaum
http://www.royalmeerschaumpipes.com/

IMP Meerschaum USA
http://impmeerschaumpipes.com/
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Re: Meerschaum advice thread

Postby ratatosk » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:48 pm

I have limited experience in this area, the only meer I own is a very basic Group 3|4 Paykoc Rhodesian that is smooth with a few artistic flourishes. I got it at a B&M in Mississippi a few months ago, it is Turkish block, and I have no complaints given that it cost < $90 as I recall. I have no idea how these pipes compare with other meers, but the price range is broad and you can have a look at http://www.paykocimports.com/paykoc-meerschaum-pipes/

The first thing that I had to learn was that the stem is a straight pull off/push on, no turning, and I think that is true of meers in general, but mebbe somebody else can confirm. Otherwise, just a nice smoker that looks kind of cool.
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Re: Meerschaum advice thread

Postby Dodger » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:56 pm

ratatosk wrote:
The first thing that I had to learn was that the stem is a straight pull off/push on, no turning, and I think that is true of meers in general, but mebbe somebody else can confirm. Otherwise, just a nice smoker that looks kind of cool.

You give a twist to the right when removing the stem ,if you twist to the left this unscrews the plastic insert in the shank .
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Re: Meerschaum advice thread

Postby Dodger » Mon Feb 03, 2014 9:04 pm

[quote="HowlinWolf"]

I saw quite a few that I liked between $160 - $180. Is that going to get me something good in a basic shape with some ornamentation??

Do those eBay stores accept credit cards or strictly Pay Pal?

Is Meerschaum Market at this link the same as the eBay store you're referring to?
http://www.meerschaummarket.com/servlet/StoreFront
For that amount of money you get a good pipe .

Cannot help with the payment question as I have used Paypal for years .

That is the store , no matter who you buy from =they usually arrive within 2 weeks .
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Re: Meerschaum advice thread

Postby HowlinWolf » Wed Feb 05, 2014 3:53 pm

repost:

HowlinWolf wrote:
Some other places I found. Does anyone have any feedback about these?

Royal Meerschaum
http://www.royalmeerschaumpipes.com/

IMP Meerschaum USA
http://impmeerschaumpipes.com/[/color]
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Re: Meerschaum advice thread

Postby Frizz » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:13 am

Can't help much Wolf as all of my meers are older estates, but I seem to recall BladeBoy buying a high end meer, though I can't recall if it was from Baki or Altinok or IMP. And I think I remember there being some issue or another over the shape received vs the shape ordered, but I may be mistaken there. Either way, maybe shoot him a PM and see what he thinks.

That all I've got... :lol:
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Re: Meerschaum advice thread

Postby HowlinWolf » Sun Feb 23, 2014 3:42 pm

I'm leaning more and more toward a US, in-stock vendor for what you see is what you get reasons, combined with presumably much shorter waiting times and lower shipping costs.

This leads to another line of Meerschaums, the AKB line carried by smokingpipes.com.

Do these pipes have a good reputation?
They are rather expensive, too, especially compared to the prices at Royal Meerschaum.

Not trying to beat this topic to death, but I've got the itch wicked-bad, but at the same time don't want to screw up. I intend only to have one or two Meerschaums, and some of them cost more than I would spend on a briar, so I don't have any wiggle room for any kind of "learning curve" effect.
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Re: Meerschaum advice thread

Postby HowlinWolf » Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:57 pm

Another question...
I've read several places that the bowl should be swept out after each smoke with a folded pipe cleaner to discourage the formation of cake.

Would a wadded Kleenex or paper towel be too abrasive?
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Re: Meerschaum advice thread

Postby aquaholic » Sat Mar 01, 2014 2:24 pm

HowlinWolf wrote:...
Would a wadded Kleenex or paper towel be too abrasive?


I don't see why...the whole idea being just to knock any loose ash off the side of the bowl. I'd assume paper towel or kleenex would work just fine.

I think you'll love that pipe HW, I know a lot of people take extra care/ special steps with their meerschaums. To be honest I treat mine just like my briars for the most part, no issues here.
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Re: Meerschaum advice thread

Postby SteveH » Sat Mar 01, 2014 5:45 pm

HowlinWolf wrote:Another question...
I've read several places that the bowl should be swept out after each smoke with a folded pipe cleaner to discourage the formation of cake.

Would a wadded Kleenex or paper towel be too abrasive?

Well, I give mine a bloody good ream with a penknife blade every so often, so I doubt it!
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Re: Meerschaum advice thread

Postby KevLa » Mon Mar 03, 2014 10:52 am

SteveH wrote:...Well, I give mine a bloody good ream with a penknife blade every so often, so I doubt it!

If you're reaming, then cake must have formed already! :)
HowlinWolf wrote:...Would a wadded Kleenex or paper towel be too abrasive?...

Nah, you'll be fine with that, mate :)
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Re: Meerschaum advice thread

Postby SteveH » Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:52 am

KevLa wrote:
SteveH wrote:...Well, I give mine a bloody good ream with a penknife blade every so often, so I doubt it!

If you're reaming, then cake must have formed already! :)

They do have a bit of cake, but I keep it to a minimum.
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Re: Meerschaum advice thread

Postby KevLa » Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:32 am

SteveH wrote:They do have a bit of cake, but I keep it to a minimum.

Yeah, I try to keep each of my meerschaum pipes cake-free, as apparently, it can crack the bowl. Unlike briars, they don't benefit from cake, anyway :)
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Re: Meerschaum advice thread

Postby croyleje » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:07 am

I also am interested in purchasing a meerschaum pipe to add to my collection but I keep seeing information about not touching the pipe while smoking, that it can cause the wax to come off and the coloring to be blouchy is this true and how carefull do you have to be while smoking a meer?

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Re: Meerschaum advice thread

Postby Geo3rge » Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:01 pm

Further to the Meerschaum discussion, just a note to say that The Danish Pipe Shop has a new and large selection of pipes. I received their email newsletter this morning and the range is extensive, but they may go quickly! Thought it would be worth folk knowing. I am considering them myself, but unsure whether the cash flow will allow a purchase!
The link is:

www.danishpipeshop.com

Happy smoking today.
Moi, fumer une pipe, naturellement...
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Re: Meerschaum advice thread

Postby KevLa » Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:22 pm

croyleje wrote:...I keep seeing information about not touching the pipe while smoking, that it can cause the wax to come off and the coloring to be blouchy is this true and how carefull do you have to be while smoking a meer?...

For me, this should depend entirely upon how fancy a meershaum you have, and whether or not you want it to colour in the best possible way. I have several block meerschaum pipes that I handle much as I do briars. And I have one cased, lattice-patterned, Turkish meerschaum that my girlfriend bought for me new for about forty quid, and one antique, cased 'egg-in-hand' meerschaum with an amber stem; the gloves go on when I smoke either of these beauties :)
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Re: Meerschaum advice thread

Postby HowlinWolf » Sun Mar 23, 2014 2:13 pm

Having taken delivery of my first Meerschaum about three weeks ago
http://tampandpuff.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=8695
I am definitely a Meerschaum noob, not Yoda.

Observations so far:

For the most part I have been holding my pipe with an index finger overhand grip on the shank - like holding a cigar or bridging a pool cue. Even though I scrub my hands scrupulously before each smoke, the wax on the shank is yellowing to about the color of what my mother used to call "winter butter." I guess this is due to oils from my skin going into the wax, but I chose the verb "guess" deliberately. Compared to a briar, a Meerschaum pipe is practically weightless, so even though I'm not a clencher I've taken to clenching this pipe for the sake of not touching it at all.

I don't "know" that it's better not to touch the bowl, I'm just not taking any chances.

I have occasionally touched the bowl while smoking it in the course of ordinary handling of the pipe. Even though the bowl does not feel hot or even particularly warm, you can tell that the wax does not feel as hard as it did before you began smoking it.

What you've heard about there being more clarity, definition, and separation in a blend's constituent tobacco flavors while smoking a Meerschaum is absolutely true. My first smoke in the pipe was Dunhill My Mixture 965. The 965 definitely tasted different - more open and fresher. Kind of like the difference between tap water and refrigerated or bottled water.
I was pretty surprised.

Do not expect your Meerschaum pipe to color quickly. I have seen a picture of a Meerschaum about the size and bowl thickness of mine that was smoked over 250 times, and the only coloration on it was some coloration of the shank where the stem attaches. It's probably better to go into it with the idea in mind that really significant coloring might be years off, as a pleasant aesthetic side effect rather than an important aspect of owning the pipe.
I have smoked my pipe about 2X a day, sometimes 3, every day since I got it. Almost to the exclusion of smoking my briars, for the sake of the new experience + trying to impart some byproducts into the Meerschaum to start the coloring process.
Maybe when viewed in north window light the back side of the bowl might be turning a little pink. Maybe. The inside of the bowl is as black as coal by now. After every smoke I clean the bowl thoroughly, either a screwing motion with a wadded paper napkin (serviette? ;) ) or a Qtip using a combination of sawing up & down and stirring motions.

I have no intention of making a switch from briar to Meerschaum, but I can see myself buying a few more Meerschaum pipes. A Meerschaum churchwarden and a smaller bent billiard like a Lee Van Cleef shape are particularly appealing.

I have been scouring the web like a madman for Meerschaum advice, but what I have written in this post is based as much as possible on my own observation and experience, not a parroting of something from somewhere else.
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