Coloring A Meer

Discussion in 'Pipe Tobacco' started by The German Shepherd, May 21, 2010.

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  1. The German Shepherd

    The German Shepherd Member

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    what do you guys find is the type of tobacco that colors up a Meerschaum the quickest? I know there are tricks, like blowing smoke into a mason jar and sealing the meer in the jar, blowing smoke onto the pipe bowl as you smoke it, steeping the pipe in tea, etc. But what is the best tobacco to smoke that gives a meer the quickest and best color????

    Jay
     
  2. Neuromancer

    Neuromancer Member

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    When you find out, let me know too... ;)
     
  3. Falconeer

    Falconeer Active Member

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    Hi,

    Sorry I don't know a fast colouring trick either. You might get some help from my "All wot I have found out about Meerschaums" on this site and if it's on this computer I'll post a 1900-ish article which might give some more background,

    Best meantime

    Gerry
     
  4. Falconeer

    Falconeer Active Member

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    Hi Again- here's the article - not everyone will agree with it, but it makes sense to me!

    How to Colour a Meerschaum Pipe

    If you ever made an attempt to colour a meerschaum pipe you may have noticed in your eagerness to paint it a beautiful shade of brown you have filled it again and again immediately after smoking, and while it was still hot from the former charge of tobacco. You have noticed also that in a short time the pipe is burned, and you have destroyed every vestige of hope that it may ever be coloured.

    It will be well for the smoker of a meerschaum pipe to know that the pipe should become cold before smoking it for a second time. The reason is easily explained. In preparing the meerschaum after the artist has finished cutting the design and has shaped the bowl, the finished pipe is boiled in wax. Wax is used for the purpose because it penetrates the pores and keeps the colouring matter in the pipe. The colouring matter is the oil of the tobacco and not the oil of nicotine as is erroneously supposed. This oil of course comes from the inside and not the outer surface of the pipe. The oil of tobacco sinks into the meerschaum which is a very fine porous clay. The oil is stopped by the wax before it is driven out by the heat to the outer surface. If it were not for the wax the colouring matter would pass out by oozing to the surface and get rubbed or drop off and the pipe would never be coloured. No smoker should try to hurry the colouring of a pipe, for the wax will be driven out, and the dry raw clay will not colour properly.

    The smoker should also remember that the nearer to the top of the bowl the wax is kept and preserved, the finer and broader will be the colouring. The pipe therefore should never be filled to the top. I this fact were generally known among smokers we would not see so many meerschaum pipes with a dirty brown colour at the top, where the oil has been forced out by the great heat of the tobacco. In smoking, the smoker should take long slow puffs.

    From the Scotsman Newspaper, Edinburgh, reprinted in the New York Times November 24th 1895
     
  5. Stoked

    Stoked Member

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    I've been smoking red cake in my new meer about twice a day for two weeks now and it's turning a nice red already. The virginias seem to be made just for a meer. Best smoking pipe for VA I've ever had and it's coloring nicely.

    Oh and thanks Falconer. Looks like I am one of the ones who didn't know. The top of my meer is darker than the rest. But I kinda like it that way. At least I know why now.

    I just want it to change color. I'm not really into evenness. Plus who knows? Maybe the rest of the pipe will catch up with the top. If not, I really don't mind. I bought it to smoke. And I'm loving it.
     
  6. Falconeer

    Falconeer Active Member

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    Hi All,

    Yes it's mainly virginias I've smoked in mine and my favourite meer - the Barling African has gone a pleasant dark ginger colour after about a year's use. I have heard that constant use of different types of tobacco will affect the final colour the meer goes, but cannot really comment on that.

    I think the idea of not colouring the top was a fashion of the time - we have seen recently on the forum a beautiful heirloom meer with a fairly defined line where the colouring stopped. As with all things in the pipe world; how you do it and what you like differs from individual to individual and there are few hard and fast rules.

    I personally found the way that worked for me was to smoke the meer for two weeks and then put it away in its box in a drawer for two to three weeks and then smoke it for another fortnight - this did seem to bring out each stage of the colour and while the pipe was in storage the colour did seem to develop.

    Good luck whatever route you go down and Happy Smoking!

    Gerry
     
  7. The German Shepherd

    The German Shepherd Member

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    What about those Butera Meerschaum coloring bowls? Are they effective?

    Jay
     
  8. Falconeer

    Falconeer Active Member

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    Hi,

    From what I've heard/read yes they can but you sacrifice smoking pleasure for colouration. You might be as easy and get more pleasure from simply exhaling your smoke over the bowl.

    There are many different beiefs about why a meer colours and what happens when it does - on the basis of all the research I have done and backed up by my own tests and experience, I personally am convinced the article from the "Scotsman" written at the height of the "Meerschaum Boom" I posted has the thing right. Not everyone will agree however.

    Try googling "Coluring a Meerschaum" and you should hit some stuff from the Philadelphia Pipe Club who organised Meer Colouring Contests at one time (and may still do)- they have info on all aspects.

    Best meantime

    Gerry
     
  9. Demented

    Demented Member

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    English blends tend to color pipes pretty quick, even briar.
     
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