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meerschaum and clay

Discussion in 'The Smoking Lounge' started by Mickeyfin, Nov 18, 2010.

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  1. Mickeyfin

    Mickeyfin Member

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    Oct 28, 2010
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    I have always been a briar smoker, yet have read many accolades on both meerschaum and clay pipes and their individual attributes....am I missing something, if so what:dunno:
     
  2. Falconeer

    Falconeer Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2009
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    2,658
    Hi All,

    Suspect like most things in the pipe smoking world it's a matter of personal preference. Here's my tuppence worth; it's just that my personal opinion.

    I judge pipes as "smokers" firstly and if they don't smoke well they don't stay with me. Some people value meers because of their beauty, their colouration and their reputation for offering a purer smoke than anything else. While I live in the milder wetter West of Scotland I am by birth an East Coaster. Down in Northumberland on the East the winters are cold dry and windy; you get deep snow hard frosts and a wind that comes over the sea all the way from the Russian Steppes - so you get air you can really breathe big skies, empty countryside and seascapes to die for.

    I found last winter down there that a meer came into its own - led on by my friend Harry who has lived there for 15 years and smokes nothing else but his Peterson African meers. My Falcons foever seemed to need mopping out two to three times per smoke, my Petersons smoked as wet and ordinary briars were worse. Cobs handled the conditions well but spent most of their off duty time parked above the radiator to dry out ready for their next use.

    Meers though reportedly fragile, supposedly prone to cracking in extremes of temperature, and reportedly prone to colouring to a nasty mottled grey if smoked outside in cold, handled everything I and the weather threw at them. For me they passed the "Good Smoker" test immaculately.

    That's my take on a meer, particulary an African Meer - they are my winter "go-to" pipe. They are also handy for travelling - two meers smoked day about have seen me through a fortnight away, never got over wet, needed only minimum cleaning and delivered time after time.

    Others will think differently.

    Happy smoking whatever

    Gerry
     
  3. IrishRover

    IrishRover Active Member

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    May 19, 2010
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    3,178
    Great writeup Falconeer. In a few words you brought me to the East coast, smoking a pipe in winter.
    I am still learning. I do have a meer lined no-name and I actually like the way it smokes barley. I am looking forward to picking up an entire meer soon.

    Thanks!
     
  4. Pschoppy48

    Pschoppy48 Member

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    Aug 21, 2010
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    916
    My opinion is that a clay pipe gives you a purer smoke and you receive more flavor from the tobacco. The bowl gets hot and the pipe is fragile, but I get a better taste in my clays.

    Phil.
     
  5. Mickeyfin

    Mickeyfin Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
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    In looking into clays and Meers are there brands that are recommended like conventional briar pipes.....and if I could also ask:whistle: is there a particular "One Stop" shop all tobbaconist that members go too....
     
  6. Ol Brokedik

    Ol Brokedik Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
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    2,764
    Hi mdsarge.
    Half my pipes are briars and the other half are meerschaums. One thing a meerschaum offers is the opportinity to color it while smoking it. If you havn't read any articles on coloring meerschaums you should. It's a slow process taking months/years. Your meerschaum will actually turn a light, then dark brown. I have a meerschaum that's finally starting to color. You'll feel real satisfaction when you see the meerschaum you're smoking change color. This process involves you.
    When you first get a meerschaum it is a cold color of white. When you see color, you start to feel an 'attachment'to your pipe. The feeling is hard to explain. Your pipe is changing from a cold white to a warm shade of brown. It's like your pipe is warming up to you.
    When I learn how to post pictures I'll get some on our forum.
    Be well.
    Ol Brokedik.
     
  7. Mister Moo

    Mister Moo Normal Cow Moderator Moderator

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    I think Gerry nailed it.

    Additional thoughts. Your inquiry is timely as I am sitting, today, at this moment, smoking RedRap in a big fat Pioneer meer/gourd calabash. I was smoking the same stuff in an oriental-dedicated briar last week. The gourd, of course, is more dry but the taste is about identical - sweet and rich to be sure. However, if I smoked RedRap in any one of a dozen different briars I would say the blend would show less bright and less sweet. A meer always shows a tobacco for just what it is in my opinion. They are far less prejudiced about what they accept and reflect at face value. Consider the low-to-no-ghost character and the low-to-no-dry-out time... and they make for a nice all around pipe.

    I prefer smooth shapes (easier to keep clean without intricate little nooks and crannies all over the bowl). Since coloration doesn't interest me I find pressed meer the equal of block in the smoking qualities. African meer colors differently from turkish meer, too, but the smoking reviws on african block seem uniformly good.

    Buy careful if you go shopping. The cheap, smaller meers are notorious for restricted airways that produce permanent gurgles. I tried one - it was pretty and it gurgled. Everyone with a meer has their own idea about who makes them wrong but nobody will say Fikri Baki is one of them.
     
  8. Grammaton

    Grammaton Member

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    Aug 12, 2010
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    I'm all light-headed now... Those are really nice pipes. I'm tempted to buy one, or ten. I didn't want a meerschaum pipe until now.
     
  9. Mister Moo

    Mister Moo Normal Cow Moderator Moderator

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  10. Puff The Magic

    Puff The Magic Active Member

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    4,099
    Meerz are very much like clayz in their smoking qualities and characteristics. Dry "sweet" smoke. They can take repeated bowlz in fairly rapid sequence (unlike briarz) and still ask for more!

    Great for piping & driving since they smoke dry and nearly zero fussiness involved. They tend to burn most anything you put in them down to just ash and minimal dottle if any at all.

    Mid-priced great quality meerz? IMP all the way!

    Higher end meerz come from the better carvers such as Baglan, Cevher, Bekler, Yanik and others. Altinok has a great selection of these higher end meerz including IMP.

    Meerfan (ebay) is a very reliable merchant and his prices are very fair.

    To me, the only "neg" about meerz is that they are fragile. A loss to gravity (dropped) can make your meer a non-smoker and needing repair if that's possible.

    I like meerz for what they offer in smoke flexibility (smoke nearly anything, different blendz or categories of toby without strong or even perceivable ghosting) and how such a big bowl is so light in weight (yeah, I'm a clencher).

    Get one !

    :velho:
    Ed Puff!
    Cogito ergo puff
     
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