How to tell if it's block meerschaum?

Discussion in 'Pipes' started by YOJiMBO20, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. YOJiMBO20

    YOJiMBO20 Member

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    Today was a good day for my PAD.

    Bought 3 pipes from 2 antique stores while on a break at work. Two are sterling banded briar, the other is a meer. Is there a way to tell if the meer is block v. pressed?

    It was pretty cheap, so I'm not out a lot if it's just pressed, but don't know how to tell. It looks like it's colouring a bit and is very light for its size, if that helps.

    I'll get pictures up later.
  2. Zfog

    Zfog Member

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    Your tongue will stick to block meer a little bit, but not sure if it is all covered with cake or not. Give it a lick lol.
  3. t-bear

    t-bear Active Member

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    It's pretty hard to tell, especially once it's been smoked. With a new pipe, you can lick your finger and touch the inside of the bowl. If it sticks, it's *probably* block. With estates, experience is your best bet...once you've owned a few of both, you get a "feel" for which is which. In this case, the light weight is in your favor...pressed weighs more than block.
    Most of those little $6-10 pipes on the bay are crap...more binder than meerschaum. With figurals, look at the quality of the carving...no one wastes time with the aesthetics of a pressed meer pipe..not cost effective. There ARE some decent block meers done by up-and-coming apprentices though, so this rule of thumb is iffy.
    Smoke it and enjoy it...especially if you don't have lots in it. Then save up a c-note or two and get a quality meer from a reputable dealer/carver....you'll never look back!

    Post pics when you can...I'd love to see your scores!
  4. dwaugh

    dwaugh Moderator Moderator

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    It's very easy. Break a piece off and send it to me. I've been looking at meerschaum under the mircoscope. Here is one of the pictures I took. So, take a small chisel and break a piece off, I assume you still have my address............... ....................
    [​IMG]
  5. Jussto

    Jussto pipe dreamer

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    May I just say sir that you are a true genious in all things pipe, and I am very glad that you are applying your skills and intellect to such a peaceful endeavor (you'd probably make a great evil genius if pipe smoking doesn't work out!).

    To stay on topic, the pressed meers I've seen do not show hairlines as they begin to color, where blocks will. Ill fitting stems and low quality carving are another giveaway.
  6. dwaugh

    dwaugh Moderator Moderator

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    Jussto, no genius here... and certainly not toward pipe smoking. I like looking at materials, but any of the much more experienced pipe smokers have real knowledge of what works and what doesn't. -David
  7. YOJiMBO20

    YOJiMBO20 Member

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    Tried the sticky test. Licked my finger and stuck it to the outside of the bowl. It stuck a little bit.

    Now I just need to clean these guys up.