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Cobs ... Aging Gracefully

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by Pecci, Dec 27, 2010.

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  1. Pecci

    Pecci Active Member

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    I hope all of you are enjoying the holidays. :)

    I often read about the durability and long life of a cob pipe. Also some of you say that they naturally darken or change color with use. I have 5 cobs and love them, but they are too new to have seen any aging yet.

    I'd like to request photos of your (aging) cobs if possible. I am eager to see what we newby's will hopefully experience one day.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Deckard

    Deckard Active Member

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    I don't have a digital camera so a description will have to do. I've got a few cobs that are a couple years old. I didn't realize just how much they had changed until I bought two new legends for my father. Mine have lost their yellowish color and are more dull, like blond wood and all their tops are charred black which fades gradually down the bowl.

    Aparently they can last quite a long time, but I don't see it. Perhaps its because I beat on mine and tend to smoke them places where I don't want to risk my briars: hiking, fishing, sailing, etc.
     
  3. Pecci

    Pecci Active Member

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    Thanks, Decker.

    Any other comments,discriptions or maybe a photo or two? :whistle:
     
  4. Falconeer

    Falconeer Active Member

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    Hi All,

    Can't work out how to post pix these days but my experience is pretty much the same as Deckard's only a few randon cells in the cob walls have gone a dark brown/black colour. My 1940s Dodge Reed cob is a dark treacle like colour but is still dry and a brilliant smoker - I don't think it was ever plastered and lacquered though.

    The colour change is slow and you don't really notice it until you buy, or are given a set by a generous friend from say Pittsburg, and then it's quite obvious. By the way I aways regularly polish the outside of my pastered cob bowls with furniture polish - it does keep them clean and there is no smell or trace of taste from it,

    Best to all

    Gerry
     
  5. Pecci

    Pecci Active Member

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    Thanks for the furniture polish advice. That's a good idea, Gerry!
     
  6. Bri2k

    Bri2k Active Member

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    This explains the lovely patina on two cobs I recently got from a very generous soul in Steeltown! Even my girlfriend noticed and said it was so nice the experts on Antiques Roadshow would ge full of praise!
     
  7. Falconeer

    Falconeer Active Member

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    Hi All,

    It was Old John Patton who gave me the tip about polishing cobs, then I got talking to someone who works for the National Trust and helps restore really old furniture for them - the recommendation I got was Lord Sheraton Pure Beeswax Balsam.

    The instructions say apply sparingly along the grain with a soft cloth then polish off immediately. I was advised ignore the label, put it on generously with your finger, leave it to dry firm and then brush and polish like hell til it comes up with a soft sheen; repeat as necessary. That's how I did the "Murican Gals" Bri!

    Best to all

    Gerry
     
  8. Bri2k

    Bri2k Active Member

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    I'll remember that Gerry! Thank you! I want to keep those girls looking young for a long time!
     
  9. Old Ted

    Old Ted Active Member

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    After smoking briars, meers and cherrywoods for years, I got my first cobs in 2010, and love 'em - but wonder about durability and longevity. OK -they are dirt-cheap, and easily replaced, but as well as some MM's I got three unsmoked Bueschers cobs on Ebay....they are nice looking pipes as well as superb smokers - and no longer available. Well, one of them has already 'died' - as the spike of my Czech tool went through the bottom of the bowl recently (without undue force being used!). The bowl heel seems to be the weak part, so now I will only buy MM's with the hardwood base plug (Diplomat,Dane etc.) I usually smoke from a seven pipe rack - one pipe each day, then rest, so nothing gets over-used, even so - looking at cob bowl interiors ( I like to keep cake to a minimum ) makes me a bit dubious! - time will tell!, but like I said it's no big deal at those prices.
    Cheers, OT.
     
  10. Puff The Magic

    Puff The Magic Active Member

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    When the softail fails you, don't toss the bowl out........just ream out the soft marrow of the cob and get yourself a nice wood plug and fashion to fit......glue it, and there ya go! Do it man! You'll be even more proud of "Your Cob"!

    Buescher's used to be one of the competitors to MM and eventually MM "swallowed" Buescher's & Co up like a shark on a guppy! MM is the only one "still standing" out of several other cob companies based in or around Washington Missouri USA. Just a tid-bit of nostalgia.

    :velho:
    Ed Puff!
    cogito ergo puff
     
  11. Falconeer

    Falconeer Active Member

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    Hi All,

    It's actually quite amazing how similar much of mine and Ted's experience has been! I only really came to cobs in recent years, but I feel that I was lucky in becoming aquaint with John as I learned a great deal from him.

    I had previously thought that cobs were virtually disposable items that were simply replaced as they failed but I became convinced that the opposite could be made to come true - given a few provisos. Firstly the Cobs should only be MMs with the stem end still inside the bowl, secondly this should never be trimmed away, thirdly cobs should be dry reamed with scrunched up tissue after each smoke, cobs should be rarely scrapped out and instead cake formation prevented by dry reaming, and finally that the cob should be allowed to dry between smokes.

    I have actually religiously followed this advice and for me it has worked. A lot of the time my cobs have had moist British Flake such as St.Bruno, Carey's Bruno Mix or Carey's No 7 Dark Flake through them straight out of the pack rather than pre dried and yet so far I have never had a cob bottom go soggy on me. I have mainly Legends, only a couple of Diplomats, but also a couple of 1940s Reed Stem Cobs - and I have treated them all the same.

    Some guys in the Original Corncobsnob Society used to replace the bottom of failed legends with oak plugs cut from dowel and glued in with wood glue and I have heard of others glueing a coin to the outside of the bottom of the bowl - but so far have had to do neither.

    Many experienced people however believe the opposite and run cobs successfully with cake and manage without problems I have to say in all fairness,

    Best as ever

    Gerry
     
  12. Pecci

    Pecci Active Member

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    Gerry, I have heard that eventually the stem portion inside the bowl, burns away. Do you or any, find this to be true? Just wondering if it might be best, not to smoke a cob all the way down to the bottom of the bowl.
     
  13. Falconeer

    Falconeer Active Member

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    Hi,

    In my experience - they do and they don't! Let me explain - as I write I have my oldest Legend under a spotlight and also a 1940s reed stemmed cob; what seems to happen is that the sides of the stem inner burn away but the bottom blends into the base of the bowl and the fine ash and moisture down there produces a kind of pipe mud so the whole thing rounds off and smoothes out.

    This is the process Ed mentioned and which happens overnight somewhere in the first week of regular smoking.

    With a new cob I smoke it all the way down and keep it alight until I can smell the pine burning. After a day or so the burning pine smell disappears and the space starts to fill in with the said fine ash and moisture. That's all there really is to it.

    I gently tap out a cob on my hand after smoking, blow down it to dislodge ash and gunk, dry ream with a tissue and that's it til nighttime when I run a pipecleaner through that day's cob. I never dig a cob out with a spike knife or anything similar.

    It really has worked for me so far!

    Good luck

    Gerry
     
  14. Pecci

    Pecci Active Member

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    Thanks, Gerry.

    Thus far, I've been handling things, exactly as you say, with no reason to change.
     
  15. freestoke

    freestoke Member

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    Just got three cobs in the mail yesterday. Very cool!

    I appreciate your comments as well, Gerry. Sorta made what I was looking at make a LITTLE sense! (These things are a little weird.) But I've smoked five straight bowls in the Patriot, and its scorching right in. I've never smoked a pipe with this small a bowl! Seems you have to pack something like this a LOT tighter, almost like a cigarette or something.

    Now...what do I do with all these big, stupid wooden pipes?
     
  16. Trendsetter

    Trendsetter Member

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    Wow this is the advice I've been searching for Gerry. I'll be getting two cobs in the mail here in a couple days and so many ppl keep saying to not worry about taking care of them because the bottom will break anyway. I ask what I do to prevent that and they say to just throw it away and buy a new one! Maybe its because I am a briar smoker, but I just don't think I could ever bring myself to treat any kind of pipe that way. This thread has really set me at ease about the incoming cobs. Hopefully they will serve me for long lifetimes with the advice here. Thanks ppl!
     
  17. freestoke

    freestoke Member

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    I'd like to correct what I said about which cob I am smoking -- it's the Pride, not the Patriot, although the Patriot is on deck for tomorrow!
     
  18. WyoBob

    WyoBob Member

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    I received a couple of Pride's a couple of weeks ago to keep my Freehand, Diplomats & Legend company.
    They're great little smokers. With the "shorty" Forever Stem, they're the best clinchers ever. One is dedicated to "Balklish" and the other to Va/Vapers. I got a 70 minutes smoke the other day with PS LNF and average around 50 minutes so far. Best bang for the buck, yet.

    WyoBob
     
  19. freestoke

    freestoke Member

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    I stuck some half-inch shrinkwrap tubing on the Pride and it clenches dandy with that! But it occurred to me -- if the Forever Stem is interchangeable, then it seems that the cobs could be treated like Falcon bowls and the FStem like the Falcon aluminum shank/holder (or whatever you call it).
     
  20. Whalehead King

    Whalehead King Balaenius Rex!!

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    I've got three cobs that I've smoked the heck out of for three years, all of them with soft, natural, intact bottoms. I give them a gentle scrape along the sides and only use the dottle spoon aided by a tap against my palm, never the spike, to clear the bottom. The stems are still inset in the bowls. I haven't found them disappearing so much as getting charred and hardier. I don't usually smoke all the way down till the last bit of tobacco has given up the ghost.

    I like the idea of glueing a coin to the bottom, a nice shiny Connecticut quarter. It would set off the Forever Stem nicely with a little personal bling. Any idea what kind of glue would be appropriate? I'm all for super/crazy glue but will it hold up to the heat?

    Thanks,
    WK
     
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