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Meerschaums

Meerschaums

Postby Geo3rge » Fri May 06, 2016 8:38 am

I have a very old, secondhand (possibly third hand) meerschaum pipe. It smokes fine. It is rusticated and pre-coloured and a bit battered around in its appearance. Nothing great to look at.
Recently, a pipe smoking associate recommended getting a good quality meerschaum, new if possible, in its pristine white state that would then colour bit by bit as I smoked it.
I'm just wondering what experiences members have of Meerschaums and whether they think it's worth getting a new one, or a good secondhand one? How do they smoke? What advantages (or otherwise) do they have over other pipes?
I don't want to spend more than I have to, but these pipes do intrigue me a little.
I won't be rushing out to get one just yet. It may be one for my later years.
But any help you can give would be appreciated.
Steve
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Re: Meerschaums

Postby Geo3rge » Sun May 08, 2016 11:57 pm

Amazingly, I was given a Meerschaum pipe today. I was invited to a pipe meeting about an hour's drive from where I live and duly attended. Weather was perfect and about a dozen of us spent a very relaxed afternoon talking, smoking and enjoying our hosts' refreshments.i had mentioned that I was interested in Meerschaums and one of the gentlemen showed me a gorgeous bulldog shaped pipe, block meerschaum and smoked only a few times. He smokes, nowadays, mainly Meerschaums and had a few that he had brought to the meeting.
I expressed a real delight in it, admiring the shape and colour, plus it is unadorned with carving, which is what I was interested in.
He then said: "It's yours!"
I nearly fell over as he said it. A genuine, generous gift, completely out of the blue and an absolute zinger of a shape. Some colouration to it but not much.
I've given it a clean out this evening (not much was needed) and polished up the stem, and tomorrow will fill up and light up. It will be a truly great smoke, I've no doubt.
Another example of generosity and true friendship amongst pipe smokers. And a couple of folk today mentioned that pipe smokers tend to be very nice people indeed.
After my gift today, I could not argue with that!
Steve
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Re: Meerschaums

Postby KevLa » Mon May 09, 2016 7:48 am

Congratulations, mate! I'll try and remember to post some meerschaum advice here, whilst at work tonight :)
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Re: Meerschaums

Postby Dodger » Mon May 09, 2016 6:07 pm

Change your name to Jim,Steve.As in "Oh lucky Jim" :)
Enjoy it in good health .
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Re: Meerschaums

Postby KevLa » Mon May 09, 2016 10:57 pm

KevLa wrote:Congratulations, mate! I'll try and remember to post some meerschaum advice here, whilst at work tonight :)

OK, here's a few key tips for you:-

1. Meerschaum can be quite fragile in comparison to briar, so handle with care.
2. Gently remove the carbon after each smoke so that cake does not build up.
3. Puffing away whilst outside on a very frosty day is not recommended, as a great difference in temperature could crack the bowl.
4. In normal climes, don't worry about the bowl getting hot. As with clays, meerschaums cannot be burnt through, though be careful not to scorch your hand ;)
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Re: Meerschaums

Postby Geo3rge » Tue May 10, 2016 8:33 am

Thanks for the advice, Kev. Appreciated. I didn't know about the temperature issue at all. Glad you mentioned it.
I'll try and get a picture up on it, as well.
Steve
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Re: Meerschaums

Postby KevinM » Tue May 10, 2016 11:51 pm

Steve, I have never been a huge meer guy, but I used to have a CAO bent billiard meer with grapes and grape leaves carved on the sides that was about 10 years old when it was stolen from me during a robbery/juvenile vandalism act at my old house. I smoked it on and off and never religiously. It took awhile at my smoking pace, but eventually started to color. The rose colored hues that were coming in were outstanding and just lovely. I wish I still had it to see how it would develop. If possible, get an uncolored meer and see where it goes. It will be unique and yours alone. I currently have a bull dog meer, but rarely smoke it. As KevLa stated, wipe it out periodically and do not let cake form. Also, handle gingerly as I also understand the oils from your hands and fingers will cause those areas to color differently. I do find meers smoke true and do not impart flavor to the baccy, but just never cultivated a love for them like some folks do.

Best of luck!!
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Re: Meerschaums

Postby Geo3rge » Wed May 11, 2016 7:11 am

Thanks, Kevin. I appreciated the advice as well as enjoyed reading your story. I'm very sorry indeed about the theft. No reason for it, is there?
This particular meerschaum is a plainly carved bulldog shape, with a straight stem that screws in. Most of it is still white, though the lower part has begun to colour. I note your advice about oil from fingers.

One thing I've picked up already is that the draw hole at the base of the chamber is much wider than in my briars and bits of loose tobacco get sucked into my mouth when I draw the smoke in. Not pleasant. I've tried some Keystones and they sort of help, but I think a gauze will be the answer.

However, it's a lovely, big pipe, with a wide fishtail mouthpiece and a great feel in the hand.
Happy smoking.
Steve
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